Friday, May 28, 2010

Scrambling for a Scrapbook

This week's StoryCraft challenge was to use an ordinary incident from my life to write a 500-1000 word piece which taps into the reader's emotions and gives us a payoff at the end. The more banal the incident, the more kudos to you for making it riveting! Let me know what emotions you get from this story. I felt a number of things myself.

Now, I have been making scrapbooks since I was pregnant with my son in 2007, so I have gotten pretty good at it. I mean not Martha Stewart fancy, but I do all right. It is so much fun trying to find stickers and whatnot to go along with the theme of the photos I have taken.

November of 2008, Kevin, one of my co-workers, asked me to make a scrapbook for him after seeing some of my work. Up until that time, I had only been making scrapbooks for myself and as birthday or retirement presents for my friends. Kevin became my first paying customer.

Kevin didn’t bring me his photos until February or March of 2009, sometime after the Super Bowl. I remember that because he wanted to include articles of his team winning. At that time I was waist high in homework, house work, motherly work, and work-work, so I had very little time to dedicate to his scrapbook. But I promised Kevin I would make time. Every time he saw me, he inquired about my progress.

“Do you need any money for anything?” he asked one afternoon.

“Well, I was at the craft store and found this nice book that I think you would like.”

“How much is it?”

“I think it’s about $25 but I’ll double check.”

“Well, here’s $20,” he said, pulling the money out of his pocket. “If you need any more let me know.”

“I sure will. I’ll bring you the receipt when I get it.”

“That’s fine.”

The next week, Kevin asked if I had gotten the scrapbook I had told him about. I told him that I hadn’t gotten a chance to get to the craft store but that I would definitely go that week, which I did. So when he came to ask about the book again. I handed him the book and the receipt. He gave me another $10 and told me when I needed more to let him know.

It took maybe a month for me to call his cell to tell him about some design ideas that I had. He told me what he liked or thought we could do without then we ended the call. Another month went by before I brought him the book with only a third complete.

“I like it. So, how much longer do you think it will take? I have some newspaper clippings that I would like for you to add.”

“It won’t be too much longer. Just bring me what you want added. I may have to buy another book for the articles, but I’ll bring you a receipt like I did the last time.”
“Okay,” he said.
I could tell he was sick of me giving him the run around. I really felt bad that it was taking me months to do what used to take a couple of weeks at the most. During my Christmas vacation, I was able to put a nice dent in my work in progress, but when school resumed, I fell behind.
Now, a year later, I’m still not finished with the book and Kevin is getting antsy. Last week I told him that I would complete the first scrapbook this week during my vacation. He looked skeptical but he nodded and walked away.

Last night, I tore up my storage room/home office trying to find Kevin’s scrapbooks and materials. All I found was the empty b I had bought for the articles, but the one with the pictures were nowhere to be found. When I was packing for the move to my new place, I just knew I put his stuff in a bag by itself so it wouldn’t get messed up. But the bag wasn’t in the room, or in any of the closets. I had changed cars since then, so it wasn’t in the trunk. Kevin was going to kill me and I couldn’t blame him.

I called his cell phone a few times, but didn’t leave a voice mail. If he was going to yell and curse me out, I would have rather do that on the phone, so by the time I went back to work he would just be rolling his eyes at me. Since I didn’t have his work extension, I called my friend Keisha, who used to date him. I told her about losing the book and the pictures. Keisha told me to look through the stuff in the room again just in case I had overlooked it.

“But, it’s not here. I looked everywhere. He’s gonna be mad isn’t he?”

“Yeah, he really wanted that book,” Keisha said.

“I know and he’s been so patient. What am I gonna do?”

“Just look again, that’s the only thing I can tell you.”

“Something told me to scan those pictures, just in case…”

“See, you should have followed your first mind.”

“I know. You know what? Maybe I left Kevin’s stuff at the old house.”

“Girl, you know you should have cleaned that house up before you left.”

“It’s not like that; I mean I think I forgot to put it in the car when I was moving. The house is still vacant. I’m gonna go by there tomorrow and see if it’s still there.”

“You didn’t turn in the keys?”

“The landlord didn’t ask for them. She lives in California. I figured she would have someone here change the locks or something. I’ll go by there just in case.”

And guess what? The locks hadn’t been changed. As soon as I opened the door, I saw the bag with Kevin’s scrapbook and clippings laying on the room floor right where I had left them, two months ago. Lord have mercy!

I will definitely have the first scrapbook complete and the second one halfway done by Tuesday when I return to work. Never will I ever take on another project that I know I can’t handle.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Poetry for Your Senses

I finally got a chance to launch the poetry blog that I had been talking about for months. The name of it is Poetry for Your Senses. I chose that name because I like to write pieces that appeal to the readers 5 sensory senses (sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell) as well as their common sense.

Before deciding to create Poetry for Your Senses, I had mostly posted my work on MySpace, Facebook and a few here on this blog. Sometimes I even tweeted a few lines just to see what type of response I would get (It was favorable, I might add.)

The subject matters of my poems are basically the same as my other writing: relationship, family, friendship, and of course the love of writing.

Some of the poems on the blog will come from my book, See What I See, and the others from a work in progress titled, How Does It Feel. I would love to know what you think of my poetry so please, feel free to comment. All feedback is good feedback in my book.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Getting His Way

This week's flash fiction challenge was to write a short story using nothing but dialogue. This is something I've never done before. Let me know how you think it turned out.

“Hey baby,” I said to my two year old son.
“Did you give Granddaddy a hard time today?”
“No no. We watch TV. SpongeBob. Cowboy picture.”
“Well, that’s good,” I said walking into Dad’s room.
“Hey Daddy, how did Don act today?”
“Aw, you that lil’ rascal don’t bother me. He was just being a typical boy.”
“Yeah, that’s what I’m afraid of.”
“Ha-ha, aw that boy all right.”
“Mommy, mommy,” Don yelled pulling on my sleeve. “I love you soooo much!”
“Uh huh, I love you too. What do you want?”
“Mommy, you want some Subway meatball?”
“That boy half ate the food I cooked earlier. He ain’t gone do nothing be waist your money,” Dad said.
“I ain’t gone waist it on the floor, Granddaddy, I’m a eat it.”
“Well girl, it’s up to you, but he ain’t gone do nothing but mess over it.”
“Don, why didn’t you eat all of your food today?”
“It was nasty. I throwed up.”
“He didn’t throw up, he only ate part of it and I gave the rest of to the dog.”
“Well, since he’s still hungry, I’ll buy him some chicken nuggets.”
“I don’t want no chicken nuggets. I want Subway meatball.”
“Well, you’re getting a chicken nugget Happy Meal. I don’t care what you say.”
“I don’t want it!”
“Well, I’m gonna play with your toy and I’m not gonna let you play with it.”
“I want my toy, Mommy,” Don says falling out in the floor.
“See, that boy only cuts up like that with you. Women ruin children.”
“Well, if he doesn’t eat it, I’ll eat it.”
“Don, you’re going to have to start eating all of your food. You know I can’t keep buying food for you when granddaddy has already fed you.”
“I don’t like it.”
“Well, what didn’t you like?”
“All he wants to eat is meat. That boy is gone be big as a hog if he keeps eating like that.”
“I eat corn and tater tots…” Don said.
“Boy tater tots ain’t no vegetable!” Dad said.
“…and beans and rice and barbecue…”
“Don, you remember the salad we ate the other day? That’s what Granddaddy is talking about.”
“I like bell peppers and onion and cucumber…”
“That’s it! See Daddy, he likes vegetables, just certain kinds.”
“…and tomatoes and pickles…”
“Don, we get it!” I said.
“Mommy, you want some Subway meatball?”
“Boy, you silly. Come on, let’s try to get there before they close.”

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Visit

Photo credit: copyright Danielle Ruschena, 2009

This is the second flash fiction challenge from @Story_Craft. The challenge was to write a piece about, or from the POV of a character inspired by our choice of four photos. I chose the one above. I hope you enjoy.

It’s really beautiful here. My best friend has found himself a wonderful paradise to live in. I’m on my way to see him for the first time in 10 long years. The scenery along this road is so inviting that I want to just pull over and take off running through the trees. I contain my excitement and continue on to my destination.

I had run into Shonn’s cousin, Tyrone, in Wal-Mart six months ago, and he said that Shonn had been looking for me. Then he gave me Shonn’s email address and phone number. When I called my friend, he sounded really excited, as if life had really turned out great for him. I’m happy about that because even though Shonn was always good at hiding it, I knew there was always something on his mind that he wasn’t comfortable sharing with me. I respected his privacy, but I still couldn’t help wondering what the big secret was.

As I approach the lovely home, that Shonn had sent me several pictures of, I see an attractive very well dressed woman standing on the porch. My friend had not told me that there was a woman in his life. I actually felt a pang of jealousy.

I park and get out of the car with a fake smile pasted on my face. She meets me at the car and grabs my bag. Her smile is a lot more genuine. There’s something very familiar about this woman, but I’m sure I had never met her.

“Nikki, I’m so glad you came,” she says embracing me, tightly like my friend used to. When we part, I take a closer look at this stranger—her face, her hands, her body. Damn.


“I go by Shontell now.”

Her strong arms catch me before I hit the ground.