I recently created a humorous spin on the grammar rules prescribed in well-known books like White, E.B. and William Strunk’s The Elements of Style and Joseph M. Williams and Joseph Bizup’s Style: The Basics of Clarity and Grace.
View the pdf of my project here: “Dwight Schrute’s Elements of Sales.”
I knew evil existed. I read about it in history books, in the Bible, and in my fantasy novels. I was prepared to fight an evil that was distant, looming, powerful. I wasn’t prepared for a disguise. Or for it to be convincing.
I just want justice.
I want justice for all those like me who could not speak and make it stop.
I want justice for those who feel guilty for what they witnessed, although they never lifted a hand.
I want justice for all those that are not just hurt, but are made to believe they deserve the pain.
I want justice for those who deal with sleepless nights, flashbacks in public places and paranoia, indefinitely.
I want justice for those who watched unspeakable acts take place, but doubt their own sanity because they were the only witnesses.
I want justice for those that are trapped in their own heads, afraid to think lest they attract more violence.
“Well, I don’t know where to begin. A lot has happened to me.”
She was standing at the sink. She had stopped her washing and was staring into the bubbles. She left her hands in the water. Maybe she didn’t have the energy to raise them. Maybe she just liked the feel of the hot water on her skin.
She nodded over her left shoulder, throwing a fatigued glance towards the man sitting at the table behind her and to her left. Her audience.
“What do you feel when you get a good idea?” She drew her eyes back in front of her and studied her hands.
“Like really good.”
So good that you have to satisfy the urge to write. So good that you are ready to sprint forward after it like a destination you search for that appears suddenly over the horizon. Like there’s a basin in your mind and it will overflow with a precious liquid. It will overflow before you find pen and paper and you can’t let a drop of it be wasted. All this she thought. Her eyes were lost in the soap.
You frantically search. For something, anything to record the thought before it escapes. She stopped searching the bubbles. She began massaging the thumb of her left hand with the right. It hurt now and then after a busy day.
Out-of-the-blue she continued talking, not accounting for her long pause to her guest. “When you have an idea…I mean for writing…Instead of getting excited, do you start to feel scared?”
She couldn’t hide her the emotion creeping into her voice. “When I have an idea, I do… I-I can’t, can’t do anything.”
Almost inaudibly, she added a sentence. Her voice retreating into her throat and a twinge of pain creeping up her chest to her mouth, she talk-whispered, “I haven’t been able to write in years.”
Back to washing. Can I tell you how I got to be afraid to think? she thought.
She wished she knew how to ask and how to tell.
Day 3: Write about the biggest time you put your foot in your mouth.
Just like she imagined, they were entering the church together. He tentatively, nervously led her up the three white stone steps to push open the carved wooden door.
I watched his every move. When our eyes met, I shivered. Is he really interested in me? Why?
The church was asleep, but it was dreaming. Its pristine white paint became canvas of blue in the soft afternoon shadows. Foreground for splashes of painted light from the stained glass windows on every side.
An aisle welcomed us. We genuflected, then step-by-step made our way to the altar. Is this what it would be like?
Genuflecting again we had reached the front pew.
I knelt with him, nervous. He pulled out a small white pouch with a zipper. He carefully grabbed a bead and guided the fragile chain into his other hand. The rosary had plastic red beads, with many many small reflective sides.
“Oh! That’s the kind of rosary you get in the mail! We got one from a charity my mom donates too. They are all that same plastic and are red…” I trailed off. My initial excitement of having a topic of conversation was killed by the expression on his face.
What did I say wrong?
He stood up and the left the church. Alone.
Baffled. I followed.
“My dead grandmother gave me that rosary.”
His beautiful face I adored so much was closed. He was disgusted. He would not look at me.
Day 2: Tell about a character who lost something important to him/her.
Funny. She muttered under her breath, almost unaware that she made an audible sound. She was staring through the floor-to-ceiling wall of glass that made the second story window.
Funny...Her thoughts went on without her mouth. Funny how easy it is for some people.
She watched a girl walk out of the double doors of the first floor below. The girl emerged from under her feet to meet two friends waving at her in the court yard. The three girls met in a trio at the center of the paved area.
They formed a triangle of affection…Also as dangerous as the Bermuda triangle.
She blinked. She sighed. Glancing at her watch, she was late.
Once again she lost track of time.