Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Alas! It's late again. I've finally finished my homework (one day late) so you get a piece of that instead of insightful political commentary (who has Obama chosen?!) or adorable anecdotes about my children (they are both still perfect).

And, as always, a note or two about the Olympics:
  1. If you missed this morning's women's volleyball quarter final between Italia and the USA, you missed a great show. USA! USA! USA! Bump-Set-Spike!
  2. Obama's feel-good campaign ads almost don't bother me. (I like my Olympics without election year politics.) But McCain's incessant attack ads are really starting to tick me off.

Now on to a brief except from my 3-page description of a farm. I'm using my weekly homework assignments to write a short story. It's coming together out of order, all in little 2-3 page snippets, but it's been a fun new way to write. (For this excerpt, remember how much I love nature, and realize that my main character in this story shares an exaggerated version of that trait):

Steph turned the Volvo off the interstate onto a lettered highway, then a double-lettered blacktop liberally sprinkled with potholes, and finally onto an unpaved road that didn’t seem to have a name at all. Each road got noticeably windier and narrower, until Clara’s sense of being a speck in the middle of a big, open state was replaced by claustrophobia; the trees crowding in on the car limited visibility more than skyscrapers downtown.

They bumped along the gravel road for a while, stirring up such a trail of dust that Steph stopped the car in the middle of the road long enough to raise the retractable hardtop and ensure that everyone had their windows closed. Clara removed the blanket from baby Carrie’s face and took a deep breath of air conditioning.

For several miles, Clara had been noticing periodic columns of something along the side of the road. Bugs, she realized just before Steph accelerated again. There were swarming columns of bugs every few feet. She shuddered.

A large, white mailbox appeared on their right, hidden by the trees until they were almost upon it. The mailbox marked a dirt track leading up a small hill and into a thicket. Disregarding her shiny, green paint job, Steph turned onto the narrow path and plowed ahead. After only a hundred feet or so, they topped the rise and popped out of the undergrowth, finding themselves in an open area of closely mown prairie.

“Oh!” Clara said, surprised.

“Dad likes to mow before people come out here,” Steph said. “It keeps the bugs down.”


  1. Ellen - it's not you and it's not exactly your dad's farm, though I admit to stealing a few of your lines! And I swear that's it's really not your dad that I kill off in the next scene. Other than loving the rural experience, my character and your dad share very little.

  2. I love it! Thanks for the note. It did seem very familiar, except for the Volvo, unfotunately. :)

  3. Yeah, that character is also definitely not you. I just started with a few familiar details (middle-aged couple from city own farm way out in country where they host annual reunion/hay ride) and created a story around that. It's been fun. :)

    Besides, I don't really see you in a Volvo convertible. Too long for you. ;)

  4. But the main character (Clara) has your hair.