Saturday, May 22, 2010

writing commitment

500 words per day, that's the commitment to the Summer Novelist's Club on Facebook. a bunch of Columbia College grads, students, alum & professors. It feels great but i wonder why i need to have a commitment for something that feels soooo damn good.

the start:

Pink cherry blossoms mingled with lavender magnolia blooms to fill the crisp spring air with a perfumed welcome. Beyond the tree-lined gravel drive were rainbow clumps of full-bloomed tulips peeking through knee-high grass. There, at the end of the pastoral scene, sat a weathered plantation, graying paint-peeled columns stood solemn guard over the black holes of fractured glass. A warning caw of a crow lingered on the breeze. Marie sat beneath a cherry tree, elbows on knees, chin in cupped hands, and sighed deeply, drenched in her surroundings.

I’ll be damned, this is the house from my dreams. She picked a blade of grass and stuck it in her teeth. Marie pulled the letter out again, straightened the worn creases, its corners yellowed and ragged from constant fingering. The faint scent of lavender still wafted with each shift of the delicate stationary. She stared for the millionth time at the cramped script etched into the tiny pink rose watermark.

July 12, 1992
Dear Marie

I was terribly sorry to hear about Dot’s death. Please accept my sincere condolences. I’m sitting here watching the simple little ceremony and I’m sure she would’ve loved it. Your mama was always an outside girl. Never knew anyone as easygoing and full of fun as she was. She was certainly the free spirit of the family. You all look like your daddy—a lot.

I’ve known your mama since she was a little girl and we never lost contact over the years. In fact, if it hadn’t been for Dot I wouldn’t be alive today. She was a great woman, your mama. I hope you know that. She never did get to come visit like she wanted to so I’m inviting you. She always wanted to come when the cherry trees blossomed, so if you come maybe you’ll come then. That would make her happy.

Anyway, we’ll be prayin’ for you and your mama and maybe we’ll see you all soon.

Yours Truly;
Louise Stroebe

And so here she was and the cherry trees were in bloom. She creased the paper yet again and put it back in her shirt pocket. It was certainly peaceful and serene but she couldn’t imagine her mother being ever wanting to be here. “Outside girl, easygoing and full of life” was not the general description of her mother by anyone. Up until the day of the service Marie had thought of the woman as a little Hitler, and then not even that little. She lived her entire life, and tried to make Marie live her life in stoic, regimented order. Marie was the radical Harley riding, free-loving, free sprit, not her mother. Yet, when she and the kids let the winds of Lake Michigan take the ashes, Marie had a tingling sensation that she may have been a bit mistaken.

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