Thursday, June 9, 2011

Unanswered Prayers

This week, we'd like you to write a scene that includes a happy ending.
Surprise us. Don't give us what we expect.

The address on the fat yellow envelope was shaky. That's because Anya's hand was shaking when she wrote it.

"WFM Publishing's editors are interested in the book proposal you sent on February 10th. Please send a hard copy of the full manuscript to my attention for further consideration." That's what the email said. At least, those were the words that mattered. Please send manuscript. Interested. Consideration. They seemed like magic words, the "abacadabra" that would make her lifelong dream come true.

Hazy, half-formed pictures of literary success floated around in her brain like watercolor dreams. Book signings, rave reviews, book clubs, bestseller lists...all the things a successful author enjoyed. Most of it scared her. Fame? Terrifying. Public speaking? Mortifying. Marketing? What was that? Getting published was the only part of the dream that Anya had focused on; she pushed the realities of it away.

Anya dropped the envelope in the mail. Should she tell her husband? Would it be better to surprise him if she sold her book? She thought about the look on his face if she just casually handed him an advance check of many thousands of dollars. (Big dreams! Anya smiled to herself.) Would it sell enough that she could become a full-time novelist? She could hire an au pair and spend blissful hours writing, in some sun-filled corner room.

Weeks went by, then months. Anya imagined how she would furnish her writer's den. She speculated on how many books she'd have to sell to make it into a higher tax bracket. She thought about a sequel. Movie rights!

Then she looked at her little daughter, four years old and freckle-faced. She looked at her husband. He was as much a part of her as her own heart was. They had developed the kind of marriage that simply works, with love and laughter filling their home as naturally as cool freshness filled it on a rainy day. There was room in her life to write, because he was so supportive. Anya had crafted the life she wanted. Writing that bestseller was an old dream, but she wasn't as sure about it anymore. Maybe it wasn't the right time for that wish to be fulfilled. Maybe she was just losing her nerve because change is so frightening.

She opened the letter, and smiled.

"Thank you for letting us consider your novel for publication. Unfortunately, it does not fit our needs at the current time. Please contact us again with your next project."

Anya didn't need a happy ending. She had a happy now.

Always, feel free to comment! Trish in AZ

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


I wrote this as participation in the Red Dress Club. I'm also submitting to Free Fringes'  lovelinks because this one really felt good to me.... and because I love lovelinks (found some fun blogs there!).

We'd like you to write about what your character wants most.

Which reminds me of the scene in
Good Will Hunting when Robin Williams' character asks Matt Damon's character, Will, what he wants. And Will can't answer. Because he doesn't really know.

Do you know what you want most? Does your character? Write a piece of 600 words or less and come back to link up here Friday.
This prompt was inspired by a prompt from Writing Forward.

There is a golden moment at day's end. That fleeting time between the end of day and the beginning of night, when the sun is down, the sky is still light and the trees are black silhouettes against the comfortable blue of the sky...that is the marrow.

There is a peaceful calm just before I drift off to sleep. The day's worries leave me for a time, my hope rises that tomorrow will be an easy and productive day, my body relaxes into my cozy bed and the sound of my sweet husband's even breathing lulls me deeper into rest. That is the marrow.

When the holiday meal is over and everyone sits companionably around the table, stuffed and happy, when the cooking is successfully over and the evening sets in, we tell the family stories. We laugh and remember; we contemplate the distance between those treasured moments and the pleasant now. Everyone feels warm, supported and loved. That is the marrow.

After nine months of joyful anticipation, edged with anxiety for the momentous task ahead, after hours in the delivery room, I held a new baby boy in my arms. I did that twice, four years apart. They were beautiful, wet and squalling, and my wonderful new role wrapped around me like a warm blanket. That, too, was the marrow.

It's the tasty, chewy center to life's crunchy, difficult outer parts. It is the rich, life-giving, replenishing nucleus of a life dappled by the shadows of everyday challenges. I strive for it always.

Where ever I am and whatever I am doing, I look for those juicy moments of peace. Sometimes they flit near me, but stay out of reach, chased away by the trials of the day. Other times, they hang around patiently  and I have a long stretch of simple joy.

I chase those moments of marrow like my OCD dog chases her ball. I work for it each  day. I cultivate it and try to create opportunities for it to show up. I wait to see it coming, my ears perky and my eyes blazing. My heart speeds up and my anticipation rises and BAM! The moment is there. The only thing to do is to stop where I am and gaze with relief and pleasure on the brief interlude when all the world falls into place for a few glimmering seconds.

It is the marrow.


Always, feel free to comment! Trish in AZ