I found a resource a few weeks ago that I have at last taken the time to investigate. It’s called diyMFA. There’s a wealth of information on the site, articles, resource lists, prompts and I’m sure more. I’ve chosen today to be day 1 of this, and I’m feeling quiet enthusiasm, which is much better, for me at any rate, than a bouncy excitement that throws me headlong into things with an energy is seldom feasible to maintain.
So. I’m going to start today(well…not exactly start, considering I’ve been awake for six hours) with some Word Discipline. When I checked out the Writer Igniter prompt I immediately felt a tickle of inspiration. I’m going to follow it. I’ve decided to avoid the severe limitations that ordinarily would be my approach to a Word Discipline session. Instead, I’m going to aim for a piece 500-750 words or half an hour. Let’s see what happens!
Rain. I should be thanking the rain. Loren struggled to smile.
The grimace that resulted made her passenger flinch and before she could hand back the change the business man was out in the downpour. He huddled under the limited shelter of his briefcase and rapped on a brownstone’s door. His gray suit went black with wet before the door swung open and he rushed inside.
Loren headed back onto the shiny street. She rolled her shoulders. The muscles creaked in protest. It was time to consider calling it a night. The streetlights had long made starbursts against the sunless sky and the smell of wet wool permeated the car from an endless stream of passengers.
More water flowed across the blacktop than cars. The ache in her hands intensified and she forced one hand loose and dug the nearly smooth penny from her pocket. Loren worried it, rubbing her thumb over and over, heads then tails then heads again. She drove on autopilot; left, through four lights, right, immediate left down through the alley, right again, run the crazy-tilted stop sign. Hmm. It’s been hit again. She bit her cheek on the prayer that she wouldn’t find more dents on the Chrysler.
The garage gaped, both spots empty. “Dammit, dad.” Tired and now frustrated she pulled in and sagged into her seat as the door squeaked its way down. “Go to bed, Loren. Don’t sleep in the car again.” She scrubbed at her face, collected her cashbox from under the seat and her bag from the passenger side. Her fatigue fuzzed everything and she felt disjointed. Still she went through all of the motions her dad drilled into her, rolling down the windows, checking tires, the body, trunk, interior.
He wouldn’t remember all those steps now. Her chest constricted around that ever-present ache. She touched the penny in her pocket, the subtle circle stilling the twisting sadness. She made herself reach for the clipboard hanging on the pegboard. Get on with it, Müller.
She pulled at the cotton twine that kept a pen handy and frowned at the empty cap. “Dammit,” she grumped. It took riffling through her father’s beat up rolling tool box to find another one, its barrel stained with dark fingerprints, a fold of three sheets of paper caught under the cap. Loren flipped the pages open with a mostly automatic motion; she was always finding various business records in the garage.
The glimpse of handwriting; all-too familiar, small, slanting, meticulous; drove the air from Loren’s chest. She slid down the wall, her vision blurring as she read.
Dr. Thorpe called me today and told me I need to write you a letter. I don’t know what you’ve talked with her about. Don’t be mad at her. She knows us, Syd. She
understandsshe knows about Mom, and even if I’m bailing on more appointments than not she’s our doc. So here goes. I know I deserted you, kiddo. I know you need me and I’m not there.
I can’t be there. Mom was my life. I still look for her every single second of the day. I hate myself. I hate myself because she raced her car away from me.
I look at you and I see her and I see the accident and I see all the ways I failed as a husband, a father, a man. I don’t deserve you or your kindness, Sydney. I ruined us.
I know you go by Loren now. But you’ll always be Sydney to me.
I ruined you. The scars…
I was twenty-three the first time I kissed Lacy Jackson. She was tall, leggy, with these eyes that made me feel
made me feel
I cried after kissing her
she slapped me for kissing her and kissed me outside the cinema and lectured me on
etiquette before she would let me talk to her father ask Mr. Lorens and introduce her to Aunt Trudy
I asked her to marry me and she told me no, no, no then asked me why we didn’t have a wedding date and where we would live if she was a city girl and I was a city boy and we grew tired of skyscrapers and fire escape gardens and hailing taxis in the rain
she found a penny outside the courthouse and slid it into her pocket
tucked it into a locket
shiny smooth worthless penny carrying around all the hope of our vows all the promise of our words all wrapped up saved up
tastes like a fist that penny
she tucked it into that little baby bootie into a velvet pouch into
a pocket on an itty bitty pillow
payment for a tooth
giving all our hope away
she was so beautiful
How can I
Loren closed her eyes against the panic scribbled across the next two sheets, the craters where the pen pushed through the paper, the slashes of anger at the end. Her hand flexed and in the silent hush of the garage the paper crumbled. A drop splashed onto the white lines crazing the skin of her right arm, stained the paper, bled the ink.