Tag Archives: challenge

Response to C. J. Gorden’s KAPOW


Self-described struggling writer C. J. Gorden uses a “Kick Ass Prompt of the Week,” a.k.a. KAPOW, to help writers produce. On July 30, the KAPOW  was to write a first person piece in the voice of a child. My response is below.

Brat

by Fay Moore © 2012

See that girl standing under the tree? That’s my spoiled brat sister. Our housekeeper always says my sister’s the baby.

“You can’t expect her to do this or do that. She’s the baby.”

I get so sick of hearing it. If my sister takes my softball and leaves it in the rain, I’m not supposed to get mad at her because she’s the baby. If she comes in my room without permission, I’m supposed to be happy about it because she’s the baby. If she follows me and my friends to the ball field, I’m supposed to watch over her because she’s the baby.

Baby, schmaby. She’s a brat. Why can’t she play with that curly-haired girl next door? Why is she always following me around? She always wants to go where I go. Me and my friends don’t want her following us.

If she’s along, we can’t sneak up on my teacher Miss Marple’s house and peek at Miss Marple in her bathing suit. The wood fence around her swimming pool has four knot holes close together that are just the right height for us boys to press our eyeballs to and watch Miss Marple rub suntan oil on her legs and stuff. Miss Marple can’t see me, but I can sure see her. If that brat sister of mine is along, I can’t sneak a peek because she would tell on me, sure enough. Mom would ground me for a week.

And I can’t throw eggs at cars either. Or rub limburger cheese on door knobs. Man, that’s fun.

We boys rub limburger on old Mrs. Lender’s door knob. We know she gets home from work around four o’clock, so we hide in the tree fort across the street and wait. You should’ve seen her face the first time we did it. When her hand hit that slimy stuff, she jerked back like she was snake bit. Then she put her fingers to her nose and smelled them. Whew. Her expression was priceless. No way we could get away with cheesing anybody with my sister around.

Dad would take me by the shirt and walk me over to Mrs. Lender and make me apologize. Then he’d make me clean her door knob and wash down the door. Next I’d get stuck cutting her grass for a month, for free.

And it would all be because of my stupid sister. Yeah, she’s a brat.

C.J. Gorden’s blog can be found here: http://cjgorden.wordpress.com/2012/07/30/mondays-kick-ass-prompt-of-the-week-kapow-7/#comment-101

Banana Curried Cauliflower


This morning I was perusing my collection of recipes clipped in the past for use someday. Someday is tonight.

I spotted a recipe card for Banana Curried Cauliflower that I have had in my possession for more than ten years, yet never used. For the average American, this dish sounds exotic. It certainly isn’t meat and potatoes. Mention to a friend in casual conversation that dinner includes Banana Curried Cauliflower and watch for the dumbfounded look on the friend’s face.

The point is an author needs to serve up the literary equivalent of Banana Curried Cauliflower once in a while. It shakes up writing rituals and creative habits one has acquired. Further, it pushes an author’s limits outside the comfort zone.

This is what I have been doing with my sudden fiction stories (using the song prompts) on this blog. I am trying out new characters, topics,  voices, and writing styles. I want to see if any of it fits me as an author.

Tonight, after eating my interpretation of the cauliflower recipe, I may chuck the recipe card in the trash, or I will write personal remarks on the card before placing it into the permanent recipe file.  An author will act similarly with a newly concocted exotic-for-him work.

By venturing beyond the commonplace, both diner and author  expand personal experience upon which to call in the future.

Making Hay While the Sun Shines


Literally. That’s what I have been doing for the past two days.

The heat is record-breaking. The hay should cure quickly. I doubt any bales will mold from too much moisture or ignite from spontaneous combustion, a problem that comes from too much moisture in tightly compacted grass.

On the tractor, I enjoy watching a crow as it flies back and forth over the newly cut rows. It is in search of an easy meal. I note the bedding spot of fawns, hidden in the tall grass.  And I marvel at how thick the grass is this year compared to last year.

All idyllic sights and thoughts.

That is, until the muffler falls off the tractor. The muffler exhausts through the cover over the engine on the topside of the tractor. When the engine runs, the exhaust pipe with muffler gets HOT. It can be hot enough to ignite dry grass.

The freshly cut grass is moist. I am wondering whether the fallen muffler presents a fire hazard.

I have no work gloves with me, since my chore of mowing wasn’t supposed to include mechanical malfunctions. I look in the small storage box under the tractor seat and find two greasy rags.

As a girl, I hate grease, especially on me. But I can’t leave the pipe and muffler where it has fallen in the field, so I use the greasy rags to pick it up and carry it to a shaded dirt patch at the edge of the field. On a dirt patch, there is nothing to ignite.

That task done, I get back to work. Round and round I go. The sound is now deafening without a muffler. My ears are ringing. Salt droplets are running down my face and into my eyes. Dust kicked up from the cutting is irritating my eyes. My neck, which I tried to protect with upturned collar, sunscreen and a brimmed hat, feels like it is burning in the sun. I’m parched.

I have three swaths to go.

I should finish before traffic picks up on our road from workers who are homebound at the end of their day. Since the tractor and equipment take up both lanes of the road, I want to have the road to myself when I move between home and the field.

Sputter. Cough.  Silence. The tractor dies. It won’t restart.

I cut the ignition off, climb down and walk home. There is a heat advisory. I am dressed in a hat, long-sleeved shirt, long pants and boots — in case I have to get off the tractor in the long grass. I want to fend off ticks, bees and snakes, as well as the brutal sun. I never anticipate hiking in this garb.

Isn’t this a perfect illustration of the writer’s life? We make preparations and start out on a project, thinking it will go one way. Then surprises pop up, affecting the plan. One never knows which direction the detours will take.

One can cry about it or adjust.