Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Few Nonfiction Pieces

These days I'm calling my dear older son "Journey Boy," for reasons I made clear on my other blog -- the one that's mostly dedicated to my shamelessly shallow addiction to J. Crew clothes.  See this post where I introduced him to the blogosphere.  This morning I posted an update about Journey Boy's great adventure.  As I was elliptical-trainering this afternoon, it occurred to me that I should link a few of my non-J. Crew-related posts from that blog to this one, for the benefit of any existing or future Followers of "500 Characters Max" who don't share my interest in the Crewniverse.  I don't pretend to understand you, but I do forgive you and welcome you here. :-)  And I'd like to introduce you, too, to my precious Journey Boy, so I direct you to the two posts about him linked here.

I'll toss out two more links for you to essay-style posts on my other blog.  Fair warning: Even when not responding to a writing prompt that says "be very descriptive" (see "Prologue"!), I'm prone to long and winding linguistic roads.  I do aspire to mix that up a bit, too, so feel free to critique the writing as much as you'd like.  In the meantime, I hope you'll enjoy getting to know me a little better through these pieces.

Why I Love Man Caves

Phyllo Dough Friends

Monday, October 12, 2009

For your consideration: A Prologue.

Good afternoon, editors-at-large. Today's post is 500 words (sorry, I've made my blog's title a complete lie right off the bat, I'm afraid.)

The following is a draft prologue to a young-adult (tweens to teens) storyline. I hope you'll enjoy it. For the moment I won't divulge anything more about the plot or characters to come, because I'm interested in seeing whether I'm pointing you in the intended direction. What do you imagine will happen next? :-)

One last necessary legal note: The following, like everything on this blog unless otherwise noted, is an original piece that I've written. It's my intellectual property, and of course it's all © 2009 JCAUNCMom. All Rights Reserved.


     The owner stood, still as a mannequin, in the little shop’s bay window, his slight, rumpled figure barely visible amidst the jumble of dark, overstuffed furniture (“VINTAGE VICTORIAN!!” trumpeted a placard propped in an embroidered chair). Behind thick, black-rimmed glasses his eyes loomed ant-like, huge, startlingly blue and out of all proportion to his small, creased face. His gaze was fixed, alert and unblinking, on the rain-swept street outside. Nothing was moving. A cold, steady morning drizzle had become an afternoon downpour, and the town’s residents had wisely retreated indoors. At five o’clock night was falling fast, the gloom not yet broken by the streetlamps standing ready to blink into cheerful yellow life at any moment. Water hissed and gurgled along the sloped shoulders of the darkened asphalt into the old iron gutters marking every block. There was no other sound.

     After a while the owner’s chin hiccupped up and down, just once, ever so slightly, and underneath his bushy silver moustache the corners of his mouth twitched upward. Then he turned and made his way carefully out of the window and across the shop, weaving expertly among crowded rows of orphaned household goods. Fat, faded sofas, twinsets of once-elegant armchairs, musty rolled-up rugs, elaborately carved beds and tables from tiny to enormous all stood silent and a little forlorn, waiting for a chance to be useful again. Every surface was crammed impossibly full with objects perched precariously and in no apparent order. Porcelain figurines stood in twos and threes underneath the shades of crystal lamps, as if pausing to chat, while silver candlesticks and brass lanterns fought for space alongside stacks of brightly painted watering cans, blackened frying pans and battered iron soup pots. And everywhere, books filled any nook or cranny like mortar. The owner glided past everything, touching nothing.

     In the center of the shop stood a battered wooden desk, and he ducked behind it, reaching to flip a concealed switch. At once, the shop’s mismatched old ceiling lights flickered on and an ornate red neon window sign began to glow invitingly to passersby.

Forgotten Treasures
Browsers Welcome!

     Once more the owner stood very still, allowing his eyes to adjust to the light. At his feet, a small white dog stirred and slowly stood up, waving his plumed tail and woofing softly. The owner glanced down, crouched onto his heels with a tiny grunt, and ruffled the dog’s cottony head. Then the owner pushed himself upright, leaned onto the desk on both forearms and with a little sigh stared toward the doorway. The dog watched intently, and, seeing his master settled, padded around the desk and curled into a snowy ball on the floor. His chin rested cozily on his paws, but his satiny black eyes stayed open, blinking very slowly, and his steady gaze followed his master’s. Together the two waited, and if anyone had been watching carefully, they’d have seen that both master and dog were smiling.

Welcome. Wow, is this scary.

Welcome to Chapter One of a true adventure story. I'm gonna call it "The Day I Went Naked in Public", because that's what this feels like.  Like I'm standing out in the street in front of my house buck naked, and you're all watching and wondering "Who is that crazy woman and when is she gonna put on a robe??"

I've called myself a writer since I was quite young.  I do have some credentials, to be sure -- I majored in magazine journalism in college and did well, I won some writing awards in law school, and I've taught writing (to colleagues in my former life as a lawyer and to youngsters working on those all-powerful college applications).  But let's be honest, shall we?  Those things matter not one bit in the real world -- the street cred world -- of published authors.  And that's the world I'm jonesing to join.

Like most aspiring authors I've got lots of stuff scribbled here and there in some embryonic form.  None of it's seen the light of day, til now.

This blog is my standing naked in the street place, my put my money where my mouth is place.  I'm going to start sharing my scribblings.  And if you want Naked Street Woman to find her bathrobe, please let me know what you think.  Enjoy the scribblings, critique them, and, if you like them, encourage me to write more of them. 

Scribbling Number One coming soon. :-)