Author Archives: Jana
We’re all drawn to certain places. If you had the power to get somewhere — anywhere — where would you go right now? For your twist, focus on building a setting description.
They drove past the old iron bridge across Little River on what once was the only route to Idabel; or at least that’s what her mother had always told her the few times they had traveled this narrow, curvy, back road. She tried to remember if she had been in such a hurry when she was twenty-five. The fact that Jill lived on this antique highway, which meant she drove it at least twice a day, made her uneasy.
“Please slow down, this road is so dangerous.”
Her interview wasn’t until nine and they still had plenty of time. She felt her stomach rise and fall every time they flew over a hill, just as it did when she was a little girl. She thought it funny that Jill knew this road better than she ever had and felt regret that she hadn’t spent more time here with her.
“O M G! I’m not going that fast Mom” Jill laughed “Jeez! Did you ever tell him that you don’t have a car?”
No, she hadn’t told him and her nerves were frazzled. Why would the man want to hire her if she didn’t have a car? “I will address that if he offers me the job. Anyway, I will be living on the property.”
She was sick with worry, it felt crazy to be trying to get a job without a car. She hoped it didn’t come up. This was her dream job and she wanted it badly.
“We must have passed it, he said it was between the river and the by-pass.” She leaned forward to get a better look, “turn around and go slower.”
Jill turned around on a dirt road leading to a small neighborhood and started slowly back toward the river. Other than the old ball field close to the intersection and a few houses, there seemed to be nothing but woods and pasture.
“He said you could see it from the road. That’s about the only details I have.” Back at the bridge, they turned around at the little park nestled in the trees right on the edge of the river. If the place looked anything like this, she knew she would love it. “Oh, and it will be on the left.”
“Are you sure about your directions, Mom? I don’t see anything but trees and a brick house up on a hill!”
“Look!” She had spotted a mostly glass, with cedar trim, building peeking out of the trees high on the hill. “That has to be it! Probably the back of it, it’s the only thing I’ve seen that looks even remotely like a cabin or a lodge.”
“How do you get to it, I wonder?” Jill slowed down, smiling at the relief on her mother’s face, “I don’t see a driveway anywhere.”
She inched along so she didn’t miss an entrance unseen the first time. “It must be where we turned around, maybe down the road a little.”
Just around the curve, on the left, the woods cut off abruptly at the edge of a giant grassy lawn with a stark, red brick house at the top of the hill. The yard inhabited a large beautiful catalpa tree, a scraggly elm, and a bare magnolia.
They continued down the dirt road past the brick house, into what looked like a trashy neighborhood. Several small houses in need of paint and an old trailer house with no underpinning lined the right side of the road. Each residence had two or three junk cars, a homemade shed, and various repair projects scattered around the yard.
I actually did this when it first appeared in my email. Instead of going to look for it in one of my many notebooks, I’ll just do it again! I know the first time I did this, it was simply a very long list of the things I needed to do. I’m sure I could cross a few things off that list and add a hundred more, but the looming to dos don’t seem to be what comes to mind.
Earlier tonight, I decided to clean out my inbox and unsubscribe to a few things when I came across the Writing 201 workshop. Great I thought, I haven’t even finished 101 yet! I clicked the link and registered for Writing 201. Even though 101 is not prerequisite, I feel compelled to do 101 first!
Why do we feel the need to do things in order?
I’m thinking I need to do all of 101 before Monday so I can be caught up before beginning 201. My nature is that if I don’t get it done, I can’t begin the new workshop! I didn’t pay for the workshop and it’s not some kind of requirement so why do I do this to myself. I probably won’t get it all done before Monday, in fact I most likely won’t even come back to do Day 2.
My twenty minutes of free writing are up and I have to go to bed, but this is the most I have written in forever! I hope I will start 201 on Monday , even if I don’t get 101 done!
Maybe sometimes we need to just start improving from this moment instead of waiting to catch up before we can move forward.
This is really an odd time of day for me to write, but who knows maybe it will be the time that finally works for me! The ADHD in me could write at any given moment a hundred times a day, but the OCD demands that I schedule it at the same time everyday for a set amount of time. Luckily, I have just enough OCD to keep myself employed and able to run my household!
The reason for the time shift today is that my high school friend, whom I found out is my cousin at our reunion this weekend, just called and will be here in a couple of hours. I thought I better get my “postaday” done before she gets here and maybe I’ll be able to sneak in a few quotes or something this weekend. She is probably staying until Sunday!
I always thought of myself as a loner, since I have never had a problem being alone and even prefer to be most of the time. It seems that ever since I decided to move back to my hometown and write something, I have become quite social! Well, I guess that’s a story for another time…
…supposed to be working, Dr. Phil is on (the only TV I watch besides Grey’s Anatomy) and I gotta straighten up the house.
My father never had truck driver’s block.
Saturday night, the girls from the class of 1980 held a reunion to celebrate my 51st birthday at Salt Creek Lodge. Most of us had not seen each other since high school but we seemed to pick up right where we left off. We talked about life after high school, success and failed relationships, kids, careers, and grandkids. We talked about people who had died from health problems, horrible accidents, and even murders. We wondered about people that we hadn’t heard from or didn’t know about and speculated about where they might be and what they were doing. We talked about staying in touch and all of the future possibilities of more get togethers. I learned that one of the girls was my cousin and we had never even known when we went to school together. We thanked each other on facebook and posted what we knew about others. I learned that LS had written a book and was most intrigued…
From “A Writers Coach” by Jack Hart about a Pulitzer Prize-winning story by Tom Hallman:
Tom’s first draft was just that, an initial run at the story that mixed great promise with plenty of disappointments. The second draft tied up loose ends, tweaked the structure, and sharpened the character development. The third polished the language, refined the imagery, and pushed through to the final level of excellence. Seeing that progression, one editor told me, was the most instructive lesson he’d ever had in newspaper writing.
In eleven more days I should have developed the habit of “posting” every day even if I haven’t written much yet! Now I want to create the habit of learning something about how to write every day. Now off to find a first draft of something I can apply this new knowledge to.
from Salt Creek Lodge
Hangin’ out around the campfire with old friends from school…it’s been over 30 years since I’ve seen most of them.
Havig a great time, we need to make this an annual event.
My friend from high school is here.