Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

The Memory Painting

March 3, 2016

The buzz of the doorbell broke Ivy’s concentration.  She stepped back from the canvas and rolled her shoulders to ease the ache she hadn’t felt while she worked.  The doorbell buzzed again.  Longer.  It sounded like the person outside was pressing the button down without letting up.  She thought about ignoring it but the damage was done.  She’d been pulled out of the world she was creating.  Now, her fingers cramped, her stomach growled and her eyes burned.  She glanced at the wall where the battered rooster clock had once hung then remembered she’d packed it into the box going to charity.

A fist pounded on the front door while the doorbell continued to buzz.  She blew out a breath.  It had to be Jake.  Patience had never been one of his virtues.  Wiping her hands on a rag, she walked through the house and opened the door.  Jake stood there with his fist drawn back ready for another assault.

He lowered his hand.  “Thank God.  I was beginning to think you’d fallen and hit your head or something.  I’ve been ringing the doorbell for the last fifteen minutes.  I was almost ready to break a window.”

“I was working.  Do you always go visiting at the crack of dawn?”  As soon as she said it, she realized she was wrong.  It was well past dawn and there were several inches of snow on the ground outside.  The last time she’d looked, there had only been a dusting.

He frowned at her.  “It’s two in the afternoon, Ivy.”

“No wonder my stomach is growling,”  she hesitated for a moment before opening the door fully and stepping back so he could come in.   He obviously was going to keep bugging her until she listened to whatever he had to say.

Jake stomped his feet on the mat and followed her. “I haven’t had lunch either.  Why don’t you grab your coat and we can go to Wyatt’s for a burger.  The roads are pretty clear.”

Saliva pooled in her mouth at the thought of a Wyatt Burger.  Thick, juicy, topped with  Swiss cheese, leaf lettuce and sliced tomatoes.  She swallowed and pressed a hand to her grumbling stomach.  Lunch wasn’t the only meal she’d missed.  Yesterday, she’d wandered into the kitchen to zap a bowl of soup then she’d looked at the canvas she’d prepped and had a vision of the picture she wanted to create.  She never had heated up that soup.

“Ivy, are you okay,” Jake touched her arm and she jumped.  She would like to blame the jolt of electricity she felt on the carpet, but neither of them had moved from the parquet in the entry way.

She rubbed her hand over her forearm.  “I’m fine.  Just a little tired.”

Jake reached for her hand.  “You’re bleeding!”  He turned it face up and scowled.  “You’ve cut yourself.”

“I’m fine.”  She tugged but he didn’t let go.  “I told you I had been working.  Aluminum has sharp edges when you cut it.  Her hand warmed where he touched it.  It felt good.  Right.  She jerked it back and tucked it in her pocket.n

He narrowed his eyes.  “I thought you said you were going to mash the cans to make your daisy.”

“I decided to do a different picture.”  She chewed on her lip.  “Wyatt’s sounds great, but I’ll need a few minutes to clean up.  I could meet you there.  They brought my car back yesterday afternoon.”

“Yeah, I saw it in the driveway.  Go ahead and get ready.  I don’t mind waiting.  No point in having two cars out in this.”  He walked into the living room and perched on the arm of the sofa.  Ivy imagined her mother was rolling over in her grave in protest and the corner of her mouth twitched up.  “I’ll only be a couple of minutes.”

A couple of minutes turned into fifteen once she’d looked into the bathroom mirror.  There was no way she was going out in public with her hair staning out in all directions and shadows under her eyes deep enough to hide a small mammal.  She shuddered.  No wonder Jake had asked if she was alright.  She looked like one of the walking dead.  The quick shower she took helped clear the fog from her brain and the few minutes she spent brushing on makeup and twisting her hair up didn’t work miracles, but at least she no longer looked ready for a coffin.

She pulled on a clean pair of jeans and her favorite tunic then walked back to the living room.  Jake no longer perched on the sofa.  She glanced out the front window and saw his car still parked behind hers in the driveway.  Where had he–the kitchen.  Her picture.  She ran through the house and her sock-clad feet skidded on the tile floor.

Jake stood by the table looking down on the canvas she’d placed there when she began gluing on the metal pieces.  “I can hear the music of the carousel and the screams from the roller coaster,” he murmured.  “I smell Italian sausage and hot grease.”  He turned to face her.  “Ivy, it’s, it’s,” he shook his head and turned back to the canvas.  “Wonderful is too tame a word.  You said you didn’t paint.  This is a painting, not just beer cans and glass.  The little girl by the ring toss stand–that’s you isn’t it.  And the young man with you?”

“My brother, Donny.  It’s the last time we went to the fair.”  She stepped up beside him.  “It’s not finished yet.  I just started on the ferris wheel.”

He shook his head.  “I would never have believed old cans could be turned into a roller coaster that feels like it’s moving and you can already tell the ferris wheel is going to be amazing.”  He reached for her hands and held them lightly.  “I’m awed by your talent, Ivy.  I always have been.”

“You never told me that.”

He met her gaze.  “I should have.  I should have said a lot of things I didn’t.  I think I was afraid once you realized how talented you were, you’d wonder why you had hooked up with a third rate hockey player.  Then I’d lose you.”  His mouth twisted.  “And guess what happened anyway.”

“You didn’t lose me, Jake.  You threw me away,” she said.

Check out  Keziah Fenton’s next scene







Scene 4–The Closed Door

February 3, 2016

     “Your brother’s a cop!”  Ivy held her cell phone between her ear and shoulder while she painted the canvas with quick slashes of blue paint. “How the hell did that happen and why didn’t you tell me he was living here now.”

      “ “I don’t’ want to talk about your brother.  I don’t want to hear what he’s doing and I don’t care where he is.” ” Sue said.  “Sound familiar?  I don’t remember you telling me you had changed your mind on any of that, Ivy. If you want to know how and why he left hockey and went into the police academy, you’ll need to ask him.  Then you can tell the rest of us because he hasn’t.  We’d barely recovered from the shock of learning he’d been a cop in Buffalo for three years when he took the job here.”

            Ivy stepped back from the canvas and decided it was enough.  Switching her phone to the other ear, she carried the brush to the sink and turned on the water to rinse out the paint.  “You should have told me, Sue.”

            “And give you another excuse to could put off dealing with your parents’ estate?”  Sue snorted.  “I’d have been a bad friend and a worse lawyer if I’d let you do that.” Her voice softened.  “It’s time, Ivy.  You can’t move forward until you have put the past behind you.”

            “So you keep saying.”  Ivy set her brush in a ball jar bristles up.  “I still think having a moving company come in to box everything up and move it to a storage unit would have served the same purpose.” 

            “You can still do that if you want.  No one is stopping you.”

            Ivy freed her phone and rolled her shoulders to ease the stiffness.  “I’m here now so I might as well go through it and get rid of anything I don’t want to keep.”  She looked around the arid landscape of her mother’s kitchen.  Beige.  Everything in here was some shade of beige.  Her gaze went to the canvas on her easel and the bright orange Gerber daisy in a sunny yellow pot she’d placed on the kitchen table.  Well, not everything.  Not any more. 

            “I’ll be there bright and early Saturday morning to help,” Sue said.

            “Thanks, Sue.”

            “Look, my next appointment is here.  Don’t worry about Jake.  Unless you plan on robbing a bank or spraying graffiti on the train overpass, you won’t even need to see him.  Bye.”

            “Bye,” Ivy said and stuck the phone in her pocket.  She hadn’t told Sue Jake had come by the house today. Or about his insistence on talking to her.  She wandered down the hall and stopped beside one of the closed doors.  She’d been here almost a week now and she still hadn’t been inside.  She touched the knob and a shiver passed down her spine. 

            Feeling like a coward, she spun around and walked to her old bedroom.  Reaching down into one of the boxes littering the floor, she pulled out a stuffed giraffe.  Ivy cradled it in her arms and sat on the edge of the bed.  It was a souvenir from happier times.  She’d been nine when her brother won it for her at the county fair.  He’d groaned when she pointed to the bright purple one with lime green spots.

             “Are you sure that’s the one you want?  Mom’s going to hate it,” Donny warned her.  “The pink and white one would match your room better.”

“Pink is boring.  I want him.”

He shrugged his shoulders and handed her the giraffe.  It was half as tall as she was but she hugged it tightly and insisted on carrying it back to the car herself. 

              “So does your new friend have a name,” he asked once they were settled in his pickup.   

“His name is Magners.”

            “Magners?”  He swiveled in the seat and stared at her.  “Where did you come up with that?”

            “It’s the name of that stuff you and your friends like to drink and he looks like a Magners to me.”

            He looked at her and then at the giraffe and started to laugh.  “Magners.  Yeah, he looks like something you might see if you drank too much of it.  Just don’t tell Mom and Dad where you got the name, ok.”

            Neither one of them had ever explained the name to her parents, but looking at Magners had always made Donny burst out laughing.  Even at the end, when the cancer was killing him, she’d bring Magners with her into his room and he’d smile. 

            “I guess that’s why I’ve dragged you all over the country with me, you poor old giraffe.  Every time I look at you, I hear Donny laughing and remember the fun we had that day.  He never blamed me, you know?  He told me that.  He said it wasn’t my fault my bone marrow didn’t match his.”

            A tear ran down her cheek and plopped onto the rubbed plush neck.  Keziah Fenton’s story.















Writing Prompts–More of Jake and Ivy’s story

January 22, 2016

Keziah’s entry in challenge

Words for today: pieces of string, broken glass and David Bowie


Jake pulled up in front of the house where Ivy had grown up.  He’d made some calls and discovered this is where she was staying.  It would have saved time if Sue had answered his questions, but his sister insisted on maintaining her policy of silence regarding anything to do with Ivy.  After five years, he knew better than to batter his head against the wall of neutrality she’d erected in an effort to maintain her friendship with Ivy without damaging their familial relationship.

He grabbed the plastic container she’d left at the rink last night.  She’d slipped out while he was breaking up a fight between two of the kids.  After the game, he’d discovered she’d gotten the name and number of a local towing service from one of the parents.  The owner of the service was a relative and had been glad to pick Ivy up at the rink and before going to tow in her car.  He’d even given her a lift back to her house.   Anything to help out his niece’s coach’s wife, he’d said when Jake finally ran him down this morning.  Sometimes people in this town were just too damn friendly.

Jake walked to the front door frowning as he noticed the overgrown bushes on either side of the front porch.  Someone could easily hide behind them and not be seen until it was too late to call for help.  He’d bring his hedge clippers over and correct that as soon as possible.  Probably not today, he thought as snow began to fall.  If this storm dropped as much snow as the forecast predicted, he was going to too busy to prune bushes.

He rang the doorbell.  Waited and then rang it again.  She was home.  She had to be.  Her car was still at the repair shop and he’d already checked to make sure she wasn’t with Sue.  What did she think, if she didn’t answer the door, he’d just leave the container and go away.  He pounded on the door.

“You might as well open up, Ivy, I’m not going away without talking with you,” he yelled holding his finger down on the doorbell.  “IVY.  ANSWER THE DAMN—”

The door swung open.  The sound of David Bowie singing “Heroes” blasted out.  “Stop yelling, Jake.  You’ll have the neighbors calling the police complaining about the noise.”

He held a hand up to his ear.  “What did you say?  I can’t hear you over the music.”

She rolled her eyes.  “Ha, ha.”  She reached for the container.  “Thanks, but you shouldn’t have bothered.  Mom probably has forty of those things.  I’m trying to get rid of them.”

Her hand brushed his.   The way his body tightened you’d think she’d touched his groin.  God, she was sexy.  The pants she wore hugged her legs like a second skin and he ached to slide the oversized shirt she wore over her head so he could see her curves.  It looked like she’d filled out in all the right places over the last few years.  Not that there had been anything wrong with the way she’d looked before.  She’d always been his wet dreams come to life.


He jerked his gaze back to her face.  “What?”

“Either give me the container or take it away with you.”

He raised an eyebrow.  “Aren’t you going to invite me in?”

She shook her head and several rich brown strands of hair drifted out of the messy knot on the top of her head.  He almost drooled.  “I’m working.”

He smiled.  “I already figured that out.”  He brushed a finger over her cheek.  “You have a little blue paint right here and a David Bowie album is turned up almost to the point of pain.”

She flushed and rubbed at her cheek.  “Then you know I’m busy.”

This time when she reached for the container, he let her take it.  “We need to talk, Ivy.”

“It’s been five years, Jake.  We’re divorced.  There isn’t anything to talk about.”  She started to close the door.

He stopped it with his hand.  “I bought one of your pieces.  The one you called “Lost Dreams” made out of pieces of string and thousands of bits of colored broken glass.”

She froze, her eyes wide.  Then she stepped back and he walked into the house.

Still Here (Or here we go again)

December 7, 2010

I am not a good blogger.  That’s obvious to anyone who has checked this site.  It’s been Christmas here for almost two years. 

And who wants Christmas every day.  It would be boring instead of exciting.  Just the same ol’ same ol’. 

So I’m going to try again.  My goal is a new post each week.  It may be more often.  We’ll see.

Blogging is kind of like talking to yourself.  At least it is for me.  But then I don’t have a big following.  Yeah, that’s an understatement.  Of course, those who have checked in see the same post and wonder if I fell off the face of the earth or what. 

Not really.  The people who do check in here are friends I keep in touch with on another blog.  So they know where I am.  At least some of the time.  And I really appreciate the fact that they do keep checking back to see whether I’ve posted again.  Thanks guys.

Anyway.  I often want to work through things I’m trying to accomplish.  Or just write them down so I can remember what the heck I’m supposed to be doing.  That’s getting harder as I get older.  I’d like to think it’s because I have so many things on my mind or because I’m juggling so many balls that I lose track.  But it’s probably age. 

So what am I trying to do right now?  I’ve gone back to writing a book I originally had the concept of several years ago.  I put my other manuscript on the back burner because I could probably edit it for the next ten years and still find something else I want to change.  Also, it didn’t excite the editors and agents who read it so I’ve moved on to something new.

The plot and characters for this book have been wandering around in my mind since I put it aside.  Occasionally they’d jump up and down and wave their hands to get my attention and I’d think some more about it.  So when November and Nanowrimo rolled around again, I started it over.

As you can see, I made the 50,000 words.  And set a new goal.  To have 100,000 words done by Dec. 31.  2010.  Important I remind myself of that.  This will be the majority if not all of the story.  In a very rough and gritty form.  Not something I would let anyone read.  But I’ve found I work best if I kick my internal editor out and just run with the story.   Because without the story, I have nothing.  I can spend months trying to find the perfect first line, polishing the perfect first chapter.  And I have.  But what use is a great first line or great first chapter if you don’t have anything else.

So this is the ugly draft I’m working on.  And I’m having fun with it.  And learning.  And remembering why I started writing in the first place.  For the joy of seeing the story and characters unfold.

Nano went pretty well.  It was after I made the 50,000 I ran into a road block.  I just couldn’t get into the scene I was supposed to be writing.  I knew why I needed the scene.  The book is a romance.  It also has paranormal and mystery elements but the core of it is romance.  And my hero and heroine hadn’t spent a lot of time together.  Hard to get romantic that way.  So I added this scene.  Or tried to.  I blamed my dismal word count over the last few days to the crazy schedule we had this weekend.  Family wedding with the shower, rehearsal dinner and finally the wedding itself.  Lots of fun. 

And then we went to hear one of our son’s in concert at his college.  Long drive when I could have been writing longhand in my notebook.  And I tried.  That’s when I realized I couldn’t write the scene because it was boring. 

So today I tried a different path.  I’d had an idea and changed the prologue.  Then I started a scene that will come towards the very end of the book.  And the words flowed.  I’m very thankful to the authors who wrote the pep talks for nano.  Several of them recommended this. 

I’ll still have to deal with my boring scene.  Jazz it up or dump it and do something else to get them together.   Or the problem might be earlier in the book.  I think I’ll have a better idea of that when I finish the scene I’m working on now.