Short Story Beginnings

Today, I’m offering up a bit of a short story for this Monday…Monday should always include a bit of fiction.

Rufus

It was the night of the mosquito orgy. All buzzing, low sultry lovemaking—too bad it would only end in more mosquitos. Every summer evening, Rufus sat on his porch slapping half-heartedly as the humming rhythm intensified and waned then climaxed again. Any sensible person would have gone inside, moved away, but Rufus didn’t mind. His only concern was sipping his whiskey, Jack Daniels Green Label, the only kind he would ever drink. Curled up at his feet, his coon dog Mutt, the only kind of dog he would ever own. Staring across the knee high grass in front of his trailer, he could see the large farm house where he grew up. His mother rented out his room only. She kept hoping his brother Donny would come back, but Donny had been dead for sixteen years. Snaking through the long hay and unkempt yard, his drive way ended at the beginning of Highway 52, the main road in and out of Junction. No one came up this far to his house. The only visitors out this way came from the Baptist Women’s Alliance to see his ailing mother.

Leaning back in his chair, he stared toward the white clapboard farmhouse and watched the hired painters leave. A few lights flickered on and off, and his mother would have by now settled on the couch. She probably gave those poor guys an earful about her alcoholic son living in the trailer over yonder. Looking down at his whiskey, he remembered that first sip. The bitter burning liquor almost drove him back to being a lifetime teetotaler, but a few more did the trick. Like every man, he needed something to piss the Jesus fire of his mother off. Not that she would notice. These days, she rarely moved far from the farmhouse sofa feigning illness. She didn’t notice the maid Eva who cleaned. She didn’t notice all of the school’s phone calls and messages about Rufus’s absences, his official withdrawal forms, and his constant work on the farm.

Spitting his chewing tobacco into an old coffee can, he watched the lightening bugs in his yard. He never apologizing for being a bad country song cliché. He loved the farm. The cattle, the large plot for his garden, his large blue Ford tractor. He always dated the waitresses at Jenny’s. Perky, small town girls looking for a small town fella, just like Rufus. His broad shoulders, bronze hair, and full teeth smile got him everything from extra tea to an extra piece of chicken. And an extra piece of pie to share later after work complete with whipped topping.

Now, his leathery hands scarred from working the land. His hair streaking silver only garnered the attention of the divorcee crowd with their silicon enhanced cleavage, but he was done chasing after those types. Only one woman ever lived up to his expectations, and she was too busy bothering the Bennett twins or batting her fake eyelashes at Dave Pike. Another sip of whiskey, and he would call it a night. His knees creaked as he stood up, but the rumble of a car wheels and door slamming jolted him from his usual routine. Never one for disruptions, he kept going in the house hoping whoever it was would take the hint that he wasn’t interested.

“You Rufus?” A strong female voice hollered from the gravel drive. He turned to see a short, well-endowed teenager with bronze hair and fiery blue eyes. She stood next to her car in a tank top and jeans complete with pink leather cowboy boots. He stared long at her since she looked just like, but no, not really.

 

What do you think should happen next? Who is the young woman wanting to find Rufus?


What’s This Blog’s Story?

Where the storytelling happens

We are all storytellers.

Whether we write, sing, click and capture the moment–we tell our stories. I’m writer. Words, my tools, and I share some stories here. Because this is my quiet piece of internet real estate, a small respite, sometimes, a sanctuary. This is my art, my gallery, always a work-in-progress.

Every good artist rethinks her work.

In May, I will have done this blogging thing for 2 years. Most of this time, I floundered and blogged as I felt. But slowly, I know this can’t continue. I need purpose…a reason to keep writing here. I hear rebranding bandied about by other bloggers, finding focus will help gain a following. But as I thought about my blog, I have no idea where my focus should be  or where to go from here.

So may I entreat your help?

In the comment section below, would you share 3 words that describe this blog(or 2 or 1, not particular)? What do I do well? What would you enjoy reading?

Thank you, friends.

So, what’s this blog’s story? Also, why not make this blogger smile and subscribe?

Never Miss a Post. Subscribe by entering your email address: Delivered by FeedBurner

Silent Story

Walking away from a blog, taking a break always makes the returning that much harder. 

18 days, an almost
blog suicide.

Every day life steals away my heart, a piece of soul. And my writing becomes sporadic; I wonder if I should simply quit this whole blogging endeavor. But some sort of siren song compels me to write. I return the blog updates, pushing back the dusty cobwebs of my small bit of internet real estate. Sitting down at my cluttered desk, I punch the keys for words and phrases and sentences hoping somehow to write what I am feeling, how the burdens placed upon me grow heavier. But I can’t.

Somehow, my story has become a sealed document. The words fester inside, longing for me to give them life on the page. Again, I censor what I want to say. Some days, I write about incounous things of puppies, of sunshine, of books, and of Jane Austen. Deep inside, my heart hardens just bit because I long to share the real life, the dirty, the unperfect. But I am trapped in the “life’s perfect” mask, and I can’t get out.

Maybe, this is why I have been away from my blog for so long.

I have a story to write out, and my blog should be a somewhat safe(albeit public place) to share my story. But it isn’t. I envy blogger who can write about their non-perfect lives, who write beautiful stories of mothering or my case step-mothering, who bleed beauty and brokeness. I feel like I yelling from behind a glass prison cell. Desperate for someone to stop and listen, to tell my story beyond the perfect. But I don’t think anyone hears.

Sometimes, I wonder how a writer survives under such circumstances. Can a writer exist and not write the her story that’s in desperate need of telling? I don’t know. I’m still deeply entrenched in this burdensome silence, and for awhile longer, I remain silent and strong and brave. Well, I put on a mask of bravery. I’ve learned to cry, to hurt, to exist in this oppressive silence. Then, I replace the real with my mask, my battle armor, and head out to stand firm against this unfair thing called life.

This is the only way that I know to be strong, to write out my story for now. 

 

Building a Better Story

Every December, some Facebook application comes out with the “my year in status updates.” The year of 2010 narrated by me…I wrote each status, posted it daily or even hourly…the story of my year compressed into one image.

After reading Donald Miller’s book “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years,” I find myself drawn to the concept of story—what makes a good story, who is telling a good story, how does a story become better. Like any piece of writing, story must be pruned, edited, chosen purposefully what elements remain within the construct of story. And story is individual, unique to each of us…we can’t simply pattern out story after anyone else’s and hope for the best. But story is still an abstract idea. Sure, it sounds wonderfully uplifting to choose a better story, making each scene of our life better than the last scene, culminating with a grand entrance into that “unknown country.” Putting flesh and bone to the abstract concept of story is much harder.

Growing up in church, I learned that if one opportunity or thing I wanted didn’t work out that God had something so much better for me, something more exciting than I could dream up. For years, this was my comfort—when I didn’t get the job I wanted, when I didn’t get what I had prayed for etc. Something better was always around the next corner. But what if it is not? What if there is simply just routine around the next bend in the road? No new job opportunities, no new exciting whatever…would we still be content if God chose a story for us that rested solely in the mundane?

As Americans, more than likely not. We want more exciting lives, constantly grasping for what is better and seemingly out of reach. We convince ourselves that God ‘s plans always include breaking away from the routine of life—eating, sleeping, basically daily living. What if building a better story isn’t all about choosing more exciting actions or scenes or opportunities. What if building a better story rests in the moments when we are thankful for the mundaneness of our lives, for the moments of waiting, for the moment when we keep our hands open rather than grasping for new things.

Question: How do we build a better story?