- Books, Literature, and Writing
Writers tool box
My mother bought me a kit called The Writers Toolbox for Christmas. Being as though i feel i need some practice, because I'm going to be writing a novel, I'm giving the exercises a whirl.
It starts you out with choosing 3 popsicle sticks at random and then writing based on what they say.
The 3 i chose were 1-There she was, Amy Gerstein, over by the pool, kissing my father.
2- Margret had this habbit of spitting. It began to get on my nerves.
3- the way she made tea.
So i changed the names on the Popsicle sticks, and went to work. Id love some real feedback, even if its negative. Forgive me if i get defensive and throw a hissy fit in the comments section, ha ha. I tend to defend my writing even when it sucks. <3
This is what i ended up with.
There she was, Ellen Fisher, over by the pool, kissing my father. Most people wondered why i called her Ellen, her being my natural mother and all, but there was nothing natural about her. Then again, there's nothing natural about leaving your husband alone with 2 children so you can go off and "find yourself."
The first time she left, she went off to California for 3 years. This was the result of some random stranger telling her she "had a face for the silver screen." When that didn't work out, it seemed that she had developed "the lips for a bottle." and that was the second time she left.
And the third
And the fourth.
She bounced back and forth so many times between us and rehab that i had lost count. If you ask my grandmother, she'll just say "that's Ellen for you."
I often wondered why my father didn't just divorce her, and move on. Once i asked him and all he said was that "sometimes love gets you stuck on stupid." i thought i might understand that better when i got older, but 8 years later I'm still trying to figure it out.
Everyone adored Ellen, despite her countless failed attempts to stay sober. She'd come home in July clean as a whistle, and by Christmas shed be so drunk that she could hardly wave goodbye. Who knows why she ever went out to California in the first place. Everyone around her already rolled out the red carpet for her every time she entered the room. She was always the center of attention. Even my sister Maggy did everything but as Ellen for her autograph.
Ahhh Maggy. Don't get me wrong, i loved my sister, but her anxiety drove me crazy. She was always fidgeting, she could never sit still. Maggy smoked. One after another after another. And now she had started this habit of spitting. I began to get on my nerves. With every drag of a cigarette, she would spit on the grass making it impossible to enjoy being barefoot in the summer.
I didn't think Maggy could smoke any more until Ellen told her that she shouldn't smoke so much. This would make Maggy so anxious that between the accelerated spitting, and the smoking, you would think that Joe Camel had taken up residence in our back yard.
But Maggy wasn't all bad. On of my best memories of her was the way she made tea. Whenever anything stressful happened, a relapse, or a broken relationship, Maggy would sit me down, make a pot of tea, and we would talk about EVERYTHING. She would start out by lining up the sugar, honey, lemon, and milk (even though none of us took milk) on the counter. As the water boiled, she would wipe down the counters, and rewash 2 mugs just for the two of us. When the teapot whistled, she would bring everything over on a cutting board, and as we talked, she would dunk my tea bag for me. This was one of Maggie's OCD actions that seemed caring, and it actually comforted me.
Somehow, with the drinking, anxiety, and sheer stupidity, Ellen, my father, and Maggy functioned. I must have my own hangups, because despite theirs, i functioned right along with them. Somehow, we were a family.
Okay, so remember this is just a writing exercise. What would you change around? What would you have done with the Popsicle sticks given? I'm just trying to be a better writer and sharpen my eye and my skills. Thanks guys!