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September 17, 2007



They plied me to the dealership with promises of a new jump rope and a cherry Mr. Misty. She buckled me into the silver Dodge Aspen, righting my tiny frame as it slipped on the burgundy naughahyde. The ride seemed interminable, my coloring books and chubby crayons barely passing the time. When we arrived I was nauseous and I stumbled a little onto the tarry car covered lot. A salesman pressed down his slick black hair and approached us, plucking a root beer sucker out of the pocket of his blue checkered jacket. She walked around with me and we played "which car is your favorite" while he and the dealer talked business. Soon he returned and with a wide smile alerted me to an imminent surprise. Fabulous possibilities swirled in my little brain - a trip to the carousel? A sleepover at Grandma's? Tell me tell me tell me, I begged, thrilled with anticipation. "Here it is!" he exclaimed, pointing to a green Dodge Charger paying tribute to a military tank. I was confused to say the least, and wondered if maybe this was the ride to the carousel or the shuttle to Grandma's house. "This is our new car! they cried, pride of ownership beaming in their faces. "What about our car?" I questioned. They told me it would stay at the dealership, that someone else would buy it. Grieving tears welled in my inexperienced gaze, confusing them and distracting from their joy. They didn't understand - that was my car. My little window in the backseat taught me about how to get to the grocery store and that we were late for church when noone was walking in the lot. I listened to the staticky radio play mysterious songs and wondered aloud how he always knew who was singing before the DJ said so. I looked for my car at the end of preschool and knew that she was there for me and that I was safe. I wondered how could they do this to my tiny world, but I couldn't articulate this at the time. I just climbed into the slippery backseat of the green tank and turned around, pressing my face as close as I could to the back window, waving a tiny hand goodbye to my friend.

Queen of Carrots

Lois sat in her wheelchair, straining to hold herself upright in the posture that had intimidated generations of novice typists. Before her stood the rows of musty boxes Becky had preserved; Lois didn't ask and didn't try to remember if there should have been more. Surely there were more; ninety-five years could not fit into so small a pile. Enough that these were the ones before her, to give away now. She would not stretch herself to think of how many things Becky must have thrown away in her absence.

The first box produced a stack of small oriental tapestries, faded in color but still rich in texture. They had sat under a hundred soup bowls; they had fed people from a dozen nations. She had found them in a tiny shop in Seoul, with a little bird singing in the window. Now which niece, or great-niece, or neighbor, or acquaintance, would want them? None of them would remember the bird.

So many boxes and so many people and she needed to rest. How could she have traveled to Seoul when it was now so far to bed?


Suddenly she was alone. The nurse was the last to walk out. Sam was in the bathroom, just a few feet away, but nonetheless not in the room. The baby was gone.

She wasn't sure how long it was, but afterward she swore it was an hour, even though that was impossible. She didn't expect to feel so lonely. He wasn't her baby. She kenw that. She'd told herself a hundred times what a wonderful gift she was giving Marty and Joe, something they could never have had without her -- their own child. She had two of her own. She didn't need or want another.

And yet, she was suddenly lonely. And cold. So cold she was starting to shiver. She reached for the blanket the nurse had dropped at the foot of the bed, but her arm was still hooked up to the IV pole, and bending made her belly cramp up. Ah, the cramps. She'd forgotten about those. Well, at least she wouldn't have to try to nurse through them. Hopefully the meds would make her uterus go back to its original size, and it wouldn't hurt as much as when she was nursing her other two. And then came the tears. There would be no real nursing. "Oh, these damn hormones!" she thought, wiping away the tears furiously.
She'd offered to pump milk for the baby, and Marty and Joe were thrilled to be able to give their baby the best, but the hospital pump hadn't arrived yet, and they'd already given him his first bottle of formula at the nurses recommendations.

Laura @ Laura Williams' Musings

My first time writing here, but I would like to join in...

here's my story.

As Fall sat in on the tiny little farming town, the farmers began their annual picking of apples and preparing their fields for the weekend corn maze jamboree, that the townsfolk of Pikeville would soon be frolicking in.

Meanwhile, something was amiss down on main street of this tiny town. One of the two town's traffic lights was wildly flickering from red to green. Drivers weren't sure whether to stop or to go.

Down a sidestreet from this strange traffic scene stood the old jail that was built in the 1800's. The lights in the jailhouse were flashing on and off almost as wildly as the traffic light. Screams were being heard from within the jail.

From inside the jail came eerie taunts and blood curdling screams. Passerbyers were running in total fright. The drivers up on main street were emerging from their cars and were standing frozen in their place.

The jail was empty. There were no prisoners being housed in the jail. One lone sheriff's car sat in the parking lot and that car had been sitting there for months waiting for repairs.

One question was on everyone's mind. Who was inside the jail and why?

Queen of Carrots

Amanda~Wow, what a powerful and intriguing piece. Is she a surrogate? Is there more?


new here -- good stories, everyone!

is this a version of natalie goldberg's writing practice, or did i miss that part because i came in late?


How many times had I said "no"? Not yet, it's not right, my grandmother would kill me, my mother would be disappointed in me - NO. Not to Sergio, who was so beautiful. His hair so brown and thick, smile so exotic, he made me dream of things that had no name or shape for me yet. Not to Mark, so tall and slim, such a dazzling boy. And, oh, how he tried! Too bad he didn't realize how satisfying to me his efforts were. I didn't need anything more.
None stood closer to magic, none was more tempting than Tom. He literally made the room spin just by walking through the door. A Black Irish poet, with a Tom-Cruise smile, we would talk for hours. There have never been sweeter kisses. I couldn't take such torture now, probably couldn't even fake such heat these days. But, no, not even for Tom (god, I wonder where he is now?)
No, I gave it all to Stanley. Older, suave, smooth lying Stanley. I saved it all and gave it all to Stanley ...and then spent the next 10 years of my life trying to get it back!


Great, great stuff this week, writerwomen!
MJ--I love the beautiful details--My little window in the backseat taught me about how to get to the grocery store...etc. burgundy naugahyde, chubby crayons. I can feel and smell and see it all! Fells like you're just hitting stride with a lovely sense of nostalgia (I don't subscribe to the anti-nostalgia movement--it has a place!) and loss. Keep going, writer!

Queen o' Carrots--that last sentence is especially wonderful, telling. I would love even more sensory detail--to feel what it's like to be so old. Fascinating. Thank you, Queen!

Excellent start, and so creepy! I love it. Now I'm ready for you to move from the omnicient to one person (first or third)--do you write for tv or movies?

ann--welcome, and yes. Take a look at the first post here for more!

dina-- "close to magic" I LOVE. What does each suitor (or some of them) smell like? Shape of hands? Any physical quirks (or even just more specifics--raspy voice, shovel-shaped fingernails, too much musky-sweet aftershave) to help us differentiate? This is a GREAT start, and a terrific choice for the topic.



This is for the "giving something away" topic (9 minutes)

He didn’t cry that first day, but his eyes filled with tears. So did mine. I felt like I was losing my baby, giving him to the world, and I was sad and afraid.
“Would you like me to take your picture?” some kind mother offered.
“Oh yes, please, if you don’t mind,” I replied.
My husband, my son and I huddled together on the bench in the all purpose room. She said, “Smile,” and took the picture. I thanked her profusely as she handed me the camera and then I kneeled down to give my son another hug.
“Have a wonderful day, James,” I said, rubbing my nose against his neck to get his sweet smell in my memory. “I love you, muffin,” I whispered.
“You can go now, Mommy,” he said, not quite looking at me, so I wouldn’t see his eyes shining.
“Okay, honey. Have a good time. I’ll see you later. I can’t wait to hear about your day.”
I backed out of the room with my husband, my son sitting on his classes’ bench, biting his nails, looking anywhere but at me. Outside, I peeked in the window, and saw a little boy sit next to my son and say something. James looked up and smiled shyly. I smiled through my tears. Maybe kindergarten wouldn’t be so bad after all.

Gwendolen Gross

dct--Such a beautiful moment of turning! If you WANTED to work more on this, the dialogue could be more specific to the characters (more original words here and there--I do love some of the gestures as they are!). You've given us a moving portrait of a big moment...

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