Story-a-Day May continues. I’m still writing backstory scenes. There is a connection between my published novel and the story I’m writing now. It isn’t a clear sequel, but actions taken in by characters in the novel do help bring about the situation in the work-in-progress.
I’m reading a book about the artist Joseph Cornell. It talks about people Cornell knew and one of them was a fellow called Robert Motherwell. I’ve long loved Cornell’s work, but I hadn’t heard of Motherwell before. And really, what I like best about him is his name. So, to start the scene for day two of Story-a-Day, I gave that name to a character. Just because.
Here’s half of what I wrote.
Jasmine Motherwell looked forward to the next town and the town after that. It’s what they did, move from place to place and discover what was to be discovered there. Perhaps it was an old woman who read the stars or a middle manager who performed circus tricks in the garden when no one could see. It could be a sandcastle competition or a quilting store where the owner worked with a magic thread.
Everyone in her clan learned how the ordinary held the extraordinary if you looked. The frazzled mother knew more stories than Scheherazade and the gas station clerk could dance while setting fire. A boring house might be overrun with mice that had fortunes written on their bones and high school locker might harbor a ghost. Jasmine believe it all and searched for something she could tell the family about when they finally sat down together for the evening meal. Her curiosity called down the forest path in the small Florida town she’d never heard of before.
She liked the name of the town, Lake Belle. It sounded enchanted and promising. Surely she’d find something amazing to tell the family about. Always her siblings and cousins outdid her, finding something more miraculous than she ever managed. Just last week, her cousin Calix, showed up at the evening fire with a tale of a squirrel who’d fall in love with a raven and would bring the bird shiny gifts.
Her spirits rose as she walked. A wooded path always held magic. But what Jasmine forgot was that not all magic carried light and wonder. Some magic twisted around with danger and darkness. Her people had warned her many times. They were not careless or naive. But nonetheless on a bright clear day it was hard to remember words of warning form one’s elders.
The path curved and the temperature dropped, not so unusual in November even though Florida could be hot through to the New Year. Jasmine shivered and wished she’d brought her sweater. Dead leaves swirled around her feet. She tended to prefer spring over fall, but she enjoyed the crunch of brown leaves under her boots. Jasmine stopped to inhale the smell of the woods and she didn’t notice the shadow across the path.
Now, tomorrow I will be selling my art at a festival all day long–unless the weather says, “No, you’re not.” The weather forecast is all over the place, so maybe I’ll end up with a ton of writing time. I guess that will be the bright side of a lot of wasted effort. But maybe it will be beautiful day! And people will want to buy art! ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN!
In the meantime, today’s busy. I’m finishing up last minute preparations for tomorrow and checking the weather report every five minutes. But at least I wrote a scene.
Scottie didn’t bother to hide the pregnancy test. She knew better. Instead, she took the plastic stick and headed straight for Sunny’s room.
Sunny, however, wasn’t there.
Scottie went to the kitchen and plopped down at the table. One of the other girls was washing the dishes. They girls took turns with the chores. The assignment list, ratty and curled at the corners, hung on the fridge. Scottie wondered who would be stuck with her responsibilities.
“Carla,” she said.
Carla finished rinsing out a glass before she replied. “Yeah?”
“When’ll Sunny be back? You know?”
“When the devil brings her,” Carla snorted. “I don’t know, but if I don’t have this kitchen clean, she’ll tan my hide.”
Scottie nodded, but she’d already tuned out. It was foolish to leave when Sunny could be home at any minute. The idea surprised her. A few seconds before she’d never have thought to take off. She’d expected to tell Sunny the truth and wait for the consequences. Now she was thinking of heading out on her own.
“What doctor does she use these days?” Scottie asked.
Carla froze, her hand above a bowl with dried bits of cereal on its edge. “You need the doctor?”
“Damn, girl. You the smart one.”
“We don’t get paid for our brains.” Scottie stood. “Sunny didn’t let little Pam go to a doctor, did she?”
Carla dunked the bowl in the dishwater hard, sending a splash onto the counter and the front of her shirt. “You really have gotten dumb. You know how Sunny is. You deserve what you get. You get what you deserve.” She scrubbed the inside of the bowl and muttered a curse at the girl who hadn’t rinsed the Frosted Flakes out of the bowl that morning. “What’re gonna do?”
“I have money to see the doctor or I have money to leave. I don’t have money to do both.”
Carla inspected the dripping bowl for any last clinging flakes. “Your lucky to have any money at all.” Satisfied with her work, she turned on the faucet to wash off any remaining soap. “Things’ll change around here for you whatever you do. You know how she feels about mistakes.”
Scottie didn’t answer. She’d made up her mind, and Sunny could go to hell.
Okay. That’s it. Thanks for reading!