Monday, September 12, 2005

My Stories Are Futile

Here I sit with seven Word documents open. Each contains at least a paragraph, some over a page. None of them, unfortunately, are any good. But out of the generosity of my heart, I will share with you a few of the openings of a few of my trials. And so they go...

Story number 1:
Crickets, it seems, never play to an empty audience. They wait all year until just when the last leaf has grown full and green and come out to play their chirps. Then it isn’t until the geese migrate from Canada and the days end early that they stop. It’s the summer time, when children are out on the streets until nine and people sleep with their windows open, that crickets take advantage of.
My bedroom door was closed and my window was open while I sat on my floor reading M.F.K. Fisher. It was May and the first night I was hearing crickets since the frost had come the year before. I wasn’t conscious of the noise at first; I was too busy trying to concentrate on the France of the writer. Then a breeze mostly warm with a fringe of chill affronted me. I looked at the window, thought about closing it, and realized that the crickets had come.

Story number 2:
The air on the highway smells of old trees and dew-fresh earth. It’s only just about midnight, but there is barely a car on the road. My windows are open all the way, but I’m driving fast enough to sing out loud with the music. I’d probably sing out loud with my windows down even if I were in traffic, but that’s not the point. The point is that I’m driving--fast--and I don’t know where to yet.
I figured that if I got in my car, filled it with gas, and brought along some good cd’s, I’d be set.

Story number 3:
My cousin and I sat on the floor of her bedroom in our itchy uniform skirts and uncomfortable collars. I had gone straight from school to her house to work on our “Plantation Project,” but we were too bored and too at ease in each other’s company to get any work done.
Dalya got up to change the radio station and decided it was time to pass a bit of her womanly advice on to me.
“Nina,” she said, “my mother got me the most comfortable bra in the world. You must try it on.”
I figured, like she said, that it would be the most comfortable bra in the world.
“I’m telling you--you’re going to make your mother buy you one, too.”
We were in sixth grade and both proud bra wearers.
Dalya took the off-white, flowered cotton bra from her top drawer and turned to look at the wall so that I could have privacy. I took off my untucked white shirt and bra and put the one she had given me on. It itched.
“Um, I don’t know…” I said.
I figured it was just me. Dalya said it was comfortable--it just had to be because Dalya wouldn’t lie to me. She turned around to take a look.
“What do you mean, you don’t know?”
“I don’t know…it feels kinda funny.”
The truth is, it felt worse than funny. It felt like torture. I was being itched and squished and dug into everywhere and I couldn’t figure out why I was having difficulty breathing. The bra was clearly too small and I was clearly too dumb to figure that out.

Story number 4:
Marissa Lowenthal was engaged to a 21 year-old boy. This may seem uncommon, but not in her circles. See, Marissa’s mother wanted nothing more than to marry off her seven daughters by the time they could fill out a blouse.
When Marissa was born her mother saw her and proclaimed, “here is a child of infinite beauty! All the men will clamor to have her and what a proud grandmother she will make me!” Marissa had three older sisters and two younger ones. But everyone in town knew that Marissa was her mother’s preferred darling.
The Lowenthals had a tendency to move around a lot. Mr. Lowenthal had a severe case of ADD and found it difficult to stay put in one place for too long. When Marissa was seven, her father built a new huge house across town for the family to move in to.
“I just built a huge house across town, but now I fear it bores me,” Mr. Lowenthal said.
Mrs. Lowenthal suggested that perhaps a change of country would do the family good. And so everyday after school, while the Lowenthal girls would have lessons with a French tutor, the Lowenthal parents would look at houses in France with an international real estate agent. It wasn’t long before Mrs. Lowenthal had all her daughters packed and ready to go.
Unfortunately for our heroine,

Story number 5:
Mary-Ann Lobel’s life was futile. She went to the gym down the street from her house five days a week and still couldn’t lose those extra two inches she had on her waist. Her children all moved off to foreign countries, refusing to marry and give her grandchildren or to call once in a while. They never even sent her birthday cards. And five years ago Mary-Ann’s husband left her for her yoga trainer--a woman ten years Mary-Ann’s senior.

Yeah...I'll spare you the other two 'cause I know you'd LOVE me for it. And I think I'll work on Story number 4. He he he.

15 original thoughts out there

Blogger Elster said...

Number 4 for sure. I like the ADD line. Do you have any idea where these are going? I find that whatever i start needs a novel to finish. I think I am incapable of writing a short story.

Monday, September 12, 2005 8:57:00 PM  
Blogger BrownsvilleGirl said...

Actually, I think I'm going to go with the one I just started. :) Here:
Toby Richman hated reading or writing fiction. She thought it was futile and that at the end of every story someone either died, fell in love, fell out of love, became rich, or became poor. Toby couldn’t understand this. “Why can’t they just go on with their lives?” She thought.
See, the thing about Toby wasn’t that she just despised fiction, but that she thought she was above it.
“Everything with an iota of intrigue has already been written about,” she said. “Everything has been exhausted and there’s nothing I can do about it.”
Her writing teachers didn’t get her. Her classmates didn’t get her. Even her parents didn’t get her. Toby was all alone in this and she knew it. Loneliness was just something she as an artist would have to embrace. “It will make a marvelous chapter in my memoir” she thought of it. Because she was, of course, going to write a memoir. And Toby knew her memoir would be grand.
Every time something out of the ordinary happened to her, Toby grabbed her writing pad and jotted it down. Fortunately for Toby, she lived in New York City, where the extra-ordinary happened on quite an ordinary basis. Pile of clothes beside me on the sidewalk rises to life. Is it Jesus coming back from the dead or just another homeless man with a beard to look like Jesus?...The heat is unbearable, and I escape into the cool air conditioned subway car. Behind me I hear a man get on, a man who has been following me from the train I have just transferred from... And so it went, day after day of Toby’s life.

Hehehe. I think I could write about someone as ridiculous as Toby who thinks that Fiction is futile because then I can make the story futile and claim that that was part of the bigger picture. Or I can give her a cliched ending and say that that was part of the plan, that she tried escaping that but that it happens to everyone because it is, after all, fiction.

Monday, September 12, 2005 9:20:00 PM  
Blogger Elster said...

why is it so bad to want to escape from "real life"? Thats wut fiction is my dear

Monday, September 12, 2005 9:24:00 PM  
Blogger BrownsvilleGirl said...

Oh, I just can't write it is all.

Monday, September 12, 2005 9:36:00 PM  
Blogger BrownsvilleGirl said...

Actually, even the books I read for escape (Ruth Reichl, David Sedaris) I realized are non-fiction.

Monday, September 12, 2005 9:36:00 PM  
Blogger Elster said...

ur twisted

Monday, September 12, 2005 9:40:00 PM  
Blogger BrownsvilleGirl said...

:(

Ah, but that's what you love about me, isn't it?

Monday, September 12, 2005 9:41:00 PM  
Blogger Elster said...

100%

Monday, September 12, 2005 9:42:00 PM  
Blogger The Nucular Jew said...

Number 3 for sure Dina... number 3!

Monday, September 12, 2005 11:28:00 PM  
Blogger MC Aryeh said...

I think you'd end up with some pretty interesting and unexpectedly funky stories if you combined a few sentences from each:

My cousin and I sat on the floor of her bedroom in our itchy uniform skirts and uncomfortable collars. Crickets, it seems, never play to an empty audience.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005 3:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Ian macnaturefreak said...

You mention Canadian Geese migrating. I'm sorry to tell you, but in most parts of suburban NY State, the geese have ceased migrating and have taken up permanent residence on golf courses. You should altert your story accordingly.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005 1:55:00 PM  
Anonymous miryam said...

Ian has a point. Did you ever check out the backyard of our elementary school? It was disgusting!! And by the way, story 4 would be better if it were mnore realistic ;)

Tuesday, September 13, 2005 6:33:00 PM  
Blogger BrownsvilleGirl said...

Ew, Mir, I remember! Another place the geese are currently occupying: Willow Tree Park. When the Wild Turkeys start blowing themselves up to claim their land back, we'll know we have trouble.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005 3:16:00 PM  
Blogger Elster said...

I have geese thgat live in a stream across the street from my house. The crap on my lawn alot. The make alot of noise. They are not afraid of cars or horns. They are afraid of me only when I make hissing noises at them.

Thursday, September 15, 2005 5:41:00 PM  
Anonymous ian said...

When I was a kid the geese were threatened by me I guess because they used to chase me around and hiss. In Monroe there was a pond that the geese were infesting, and the town figured that if they killed the algae the geese ate they would go away, so they dumped algaeside in. This killed all the algae all at once so that it settled to the bottom in a sheet. This created a place for anaerobic respiration to take place and Botulism developed which quickly spread to the geese who began dying en masse all around town. Pesky critters...but tastey!

Sunday, September 18, 2005 2:29:00 PM  

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