Wednesday, September 13, 2006

8 Sentences

First: Tonight is Ellie's first night in her brand new big girl bed in her brand new big girl room. It's so high! There are no rails! (I did put a lot of cushions on the floor beside the bed, though.) She went to bed more easily than she has in weeks. She came to the door once and knocked, we ignored it briefly, and she climbed back up into bed (with the help of a two step stool!) pulled the blanket over her, and went straight to sleep! We'll see how the rest of the night goes.

Second, my homework for this week. I'm taking a fiction workshop this semester, and last week we read the most incredible short story in class. It was wonderfully crafted, intriguing, and perfectly complete all by itself. It was also 8 sentences long. Our instructor challenged us to follow a similar format for a short story to turn in this week. She did acknowledge that to do this well, we'd need lots and lots of revision time, which we obviously don't have. So presumably a mediocre effort will suffice. Here's my first draft; I borrowed the characters from an old NaNoWriMo fragment.

Clara was storing a box of newborn clothes and diapers in the basement when she stubbed her toe on a slightly dusty cardboard bin that turned out, upon inspection, to contain plaques from the wall of her old office.

She was still sitting on the floor, reading her old notes and commendations, when her husband came back from walking their daughter around and around the block until baby Cate fell asleep. After putting the infant in her crib, he stepped up behind Clara and rested his hands on her shoulders.

"I miss it," she said, "It doesn't have to be this, but it has to be something."

She couldn't see her husband's face, but his hands clenched her shoulders slightly as he said, "But what about Cate?"

Clara stood and walked outside, away from her husband, away from her child. She didn't stop walking until she found herself in the middle of a crowded cafe, twenty pounds lighter than usual without the weight of her child and its baggage. It was not enough.