Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Contest and snippit..yikes

A contest I just found last night--

Check out Southern Princess you must post your most memorable Valentine's Day moment.  You must visit her blog to see the awesome prizes.

Alright, here I go --confidence --boost up.  My stomach is tossing about as I am about to press the publish post button.  *gulp*.  Here is a snippit from my WIP.  I am not going to reveal too much other than it is a sad scene for my MC Anna.  I may post a happier moment from my WIP tomorrow.

I stared at the furniture and wondered why my mom kept such odd knick knacks. I focused at the one on the coffee table--the small glass figure of a giraffe. Why a giraffe --I had no idea but I know my dad found it amusing and would tease my mom on how it did not match with any of the other decor. I could not believe that after all these years it never broke. It was tall, fragile clear glass yet it had an elegant stance as if it was readying itself for a ballet performance.

"Anna. Anna," a voice softly called as I shook my head to release the giraffes grasp on my trance.

"Ivy. Hey," came out in a soft whisper as I turned the onyx ring my father had given me on my birthday.

"It is time, you know go," her eyes squinted holding back her sadness.

"Right..I just need my crutches."

"I have them and Bryn has the wheelchair in the car." She pointed over by the door where my crutches leaned against the wall.

"Why do I need that?"

"Your mom insisted. It is better that you have it. We even have a blanket so you will be the warmest person there." she softly smiled.

I knew she meant well and I hobbled to my feet as Ivy helped me onto my crutches and assisted me with my coat zipping it up like I was her child. As we stepped out into the tundra, I exhaled releasing my pinned up emotion. I slowly made it over to the small SUV trying not to fall. Bryn stood there waiting with the car running and as I got closer he opened the door. He softly smiled as he gently took my arm and helped to lift me into his small SUV.

My mom was riding in a limo with Ivy's mom, and my aunt and uncle. We didn’t have much in the way of family but I felt more comfortable with my friends than anyone of them hence my choice to ride with Ivy and Bryn.

The ride to the cemetery was long and slow even though it was maybe fifteen minutes away. I stared out the window catching glimpses of the trees that stretched their bare lifeless limbs to the sky. I even caught a small red bird every so often in tree, on a wire, on a rooftop and I wondered if it could be my dad—watching. As we drove I tried looking for other birds thinking this could distract my thoughts but no other birds made their presence known.

My stomach churned as Bryn pulled up to the cemetery and I waited in the car staring at the multiple headstones that adorned the landscape. Under each of those stones lay someone who had left somebody behind--they left hearts sad and souls empty. They left, and I wondered where they went. Could they see us? Were they watching us now? Were they happy? My attention was broken as Bryn opened my door

“Let me help you out” he reached under my arms and guided me to the wheelchair.

“Thanks and I’m sorry for…” I felt I needed to tell him that for all my emotional garbage he dealt with.

He squatted down to be eye level with me. “Don’t apologize. O.k. ? “

He stood back up and lightly kissed my forehead. I just closed my eyes savoring his care. I knew Bryn had other feelings for me but today I couldn’t let that clog my mind and I could tell his intentions today were strictly friendship. He stepped back as Ivy placed a warm blanket across my legs.

As Ivy pushed me across the hard ground the wheelchair raised and lowered as we got closer to the site. The sky was covered in grey, dull clouds that tried to keep the sun hidden. I began to wonder how they could dig a hole in the frozen ground? Who did the digging? How did they become a "gravedigger"? Really what were the requirements for that job? My thoughts were so random and ridiculous all to keep my mind off of what was coming upon my sight.

Rows of chairs were set up around a casket that hovered above the hole that I thought might be impossible to dig. The gray casket that housed a body--- one that once held love, happiness, laughter now confined to a box that would be put into the ground. There was a crowd already seated including my mother who only slightly glanced at me as Ivy wheeled me up to the front row. She locked the wheels and sat next to me as Bryn sat on the other side. My own mother who showed such compassion in the hospital now was reverting to her old loving self but when she needed the attention-- a quick hug around me along with a sob and people would flock to her.

I stared at the ground not wanting to look at the coffin again. The air stung my lungs as I took deep breaths in trying not to roll out the tears as I exhaled. I really didn’t know if I had any tears left. I looked down at the blue blanket trying to distract my eyes and saw Bryn and Ivy holding each of my mitten covered hands. It made me smile for a minute knowing I did have people who cared.

As the priest started his prayers, my eyes started their hurtful journey from watching his mouth let out the breath which flowed out visibly into the cold air to the huge floral arrangement next to him. How these flowers stayed beautiful in the cold was fascinating but my eyes needed to move on they were anxious yet cautious to see it see what was to be final.

I moved my eyes to coffin and I could see the sun trying to shine a reflection on the metal decoration in the harsh air. The reflection was a little dull but comforted me into thinking that it was shining for him. As my focus pulled outward digesting the whole scene, the tears began to well again and a slight cry came from my lips.

He was gone.

There you have it. Whew--letting out a big breath. 
Please be aware that this is from my first draft so please, please, please understand it is not in final form. 

Another note: I realize I am not the coolest cucumber in the vegetable dish but I am looking for a few good folks to start a critique group.  See my previous post for details. 

I hope everyone enjoys their day! I'm stuck with a ton of snow falling.  :)


  1. Hey there, Christine. :) Wow, you may not think you're a brave soul, but putting even pieces of your baby out there for the world to see for the first time is nothing but brave. I haven't done it yet. I'm not finished enough of my current MS to think about posting partials.

    I really like the beginning of the scene with the giraffe knick knack. I teach young kids (first grade), but our writing program is through Columbia U's Teacher's College and it's all about craft and voice. We teach the kids from a very young age to expand on very small moments like the one you described. Lucy Calkins, director of the program, often uses beautiful small moments written for adults when we have workshops, and yours reminds me of something she would share. I could hear her saying, "Do you see how in that tiny moment, the moment where she picked up the giraffe, we got to know the character, her feelings, an idea of what is happening in her life..."

    Hey, if you can make Lucy Calkins proud, you've got a good thing going. She's a tough customer. :)

    I would love to join you in a critique group maybe in a month or so when I have a little more substantial work done, if you are still interested. I won't feel badly if you choose other people instead before then - you seem ready to roll! Best of luck to you!



  2. Hey, Christine. I was really moved by this scene. Good job, writer lady. You set a scene that was so easy to become a part of. We can all relate with Anna. I especially liked the section about the head stones covering someone who had left another behind. It struck me as so true. I was also drawn to the characters. I wanted them to be my friends. Thanks for being brave. I'd love to see more.:)

  3. Lindsay- If you are interested I will keep a slot open for ya. Thanks for your kind feedback--it is so nerve wracking. :)

    Roxy--Thanks for your kind feedback too. I can't believe how nervous I am getting over such a little thing. I know you do not write YA but maybe I can get your feedback on more.

    Thanks guys!

  4. No way, putting your work out there is not a little thing! It takes guts. I really enjoyed reading this and I think a lot of young people will be able to relate to your MC. I liked how her thoughts seemed to wander--very realistic.

  5. I agree with Lisa and Laura on multiple points. Putting your work up is terrifying and you did it! That takes courage. The cowards are the ones who let fear keep them from doing something because we all feel fear!

    I also think people will be able to relate to your MC.

    Good luck finding a critique group! They are so helpful!

  6. Great job, Christine! What I really like about this is the realistic way you presented it, the details about the flowers, the chairs, even the priest's breath. Yes, these are the things we notice in real life. And it's also interesting to read how your mc asks questions, almost as a distraction to keep her from the absolute reality of the situation, and to stop her tears. It's something we all might do, and so relatable. Nicely done!

  7. Whoo-hoo! Good for you posting this! I love this scene! Very realistic and emotional.

  8. Is this the beginning of the novel? I feel like this is the beginning. It's awesome. Sad, but awesome.

  9. Bravo!!!! Congratulations. You did it. I really struggle to put my own work out there, too. And I must say, this was beautiful. So sad...touching. Such brilliant details. Well done, Christine.

  10. Lisa and Laura--Thank you so much for your encouraging words. A weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

    Nisa-You have been so sweet! Thank you for your support.

    Joanne-Thank you for your encouragement. I am so glad to hear your feedback.

    Kelly-Thanks :) Now when I decide to post another snipit I may have to get your feedback first on which one to post.

    Mariah-Actually, it is at the beginning but not the actual beginning. If that made any sense. There are (2) chapters before this. I still have so much revising to do. Thanks!

    Carolina- You are too sweet! Thanks! :) I have been so nervous today and I now I feel so much better. You guys are awesome!

  11. Beautifully written. I enjoyed the twist on where I thought it was going to where it actually went. I was imagining her struggle was with her newly-found loss of leg movement. But her emotions were about her Dad. Well-done.
    Winged Writer

  12. That's a huge step, posting one's writing. Congrats on your courage! It was a moving excerpt.

    Thanks for visiting my blog this morning. I'm grateful to connect with other writers. :)

  13. Great excerpt. I especially like the wandering thoughts--extremely realistic, and also the image of the redbirds against a gray winter sky.

  14. Beautiful excerpt! You're a very talented writer and I wish you every success in the world. I look forward to following you on your journey! :)

  15. Oooh...Christine, I am hooked! You have a beautiful writing style that is almost poetic. Happy wishes to you on this journey!