Tag Archives: writing

Confrontation scene


Problem: I haven’t started writing. There was an option for this. I could have rewritten a scene from the novel I’m reading. While it seems like a worthwhile exercise, why not simply write the original confrontation scene? This is the teachers’ write assignment that finally gave me the kick in the butt to stop ‘planning’ my novel and just start writing. Now that I have a scene, I can write from the antagonist’s point-of-view. I’m happy with 688 words for my first session. If I could do that five days a week for a year, I’d have my draft finished next year this time! That’s exciting.

Aw hell no! No fucking way! No fucking way she gets to pretend she’s got her shit together and start telling me what to do. For 17 years I’ve wanted nothing more than for her to be the parent that she’s never been capable of being and now she’s six weeks sober and she wants to start telling me what I can and can’t do, who I can hang out with and where I can and can’t go. I don’t think so. I’ll be 18 years-old in eight months, and I’m not saying it’s been a piece of cake, but I’ve managed to get by, take care of myself and I haven’t done too shabbily. I screamed at her, “Fuck you, Denise!” as I slammed the back door to our dumpy little single wide. Cursing was commonplace in our house, but I knew calling her Denise would cut deep. The only other time I called my mother Denise was during a particularly bad argument the summer I was 12. She had gotten so angry that I have never said it aloud again until today. Even though I call her mom, to me she’s been Denise ever since I realized that she didn’t act like a mother.

A few weeks ago, Denise had a come to Jesus moment in the middle of the day. When I came home from school and she was crying and screaming; she apologized to me over and over for being a shitty parent. She swore she was going to sober up and get her act together. Of course, I’d heard this before, never with such emotional fervor, but it was a new tune with the same old lyrics. I figured she’s just had too much to drink, I mean, more than usual, so I tried to put her to bed. Usually, when she gets all emotional that works. Not that day. I ended up bailing and hanging out in the park until it was getting dark, because she just wouldn’t calm down and I didn’t know what to do. I just sat on the swings texting my friends for hours, until my phone battery dies. When the street lights came on, I figured it was time to go home. When I walked in, at first I thought she had passed out, but she was on the couch with my laptop. She barely looked up when I came in. I didn’t want to know what she was doing. “Night,” I said over my shoulder as I kept walking through, “I’m going to bed.” I didn’t want to make eye contact, but clearly there was no danger of that.

When I got up the next morning, mom was passed out with my laptop precariously balanced on the end of the sofa. I picked it up, to pack it in my bag for school. “Great!” I muttered, “dead, just great!” Hopefully Mr. Jacobs would let me charge it during bio, because Mrs. Mathers would eat my face if I tried to tell her I couldn’t work on my memoir during second period English Lit because my laptop battery was dead. I was in no mood for one of her tirades today. Usually when Denise was out cold like this I could do anything and she wouldn’t wake up, so I wasn’t being gentle or quiet.

“Oh good, you’re up,” she said as she rolled over, groggy and almost fell onto the floor. “Janelle, I have to tell you something,” she said expectantly, a smile starting cross her sleep lined face.

“Whatever it is, it’ll have to wait,” I said. “I’m late for school and I can’t miss the bus.” I picked up the pace and hurried out the door. I didn’t even have breakfast and I wasn’t really late, not that Denise would ever know. She was almost never awake before 11:00AM. I took my time walking to the bus stop. I shouldn’t have been so short with her. I didn’t really know what she was going to say. That was my imperial flaw; I always gave her the benefit of the doubt. Well, not this time.


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Sunday Reflection

This is the first summer I’ve really participated in Teacher’s Write. I’ve lurked and started, but never really committed to it. This week I’ve followed along and have completed the tasks/assignments. Additionally, I’m blogging every day of the summer on my personal blog. I did this previously in 2011 and it was one of the best summers in recent history. Right now I’m tracking my writing progress by each blog post. Basically, everything I write gets published to my blog. I’d like to start working on my first novel. Part of my problem seems to be goal setting and following through by setting time aside to write. When I challenge myself with something like posting to a blog each day, it kind of forces me to spend time writing. It’s a lot like exercise; sometimes I do it early in the day and it comes easily and at other times I squeak it out just before midnight.

This week I’ve been posting to two blogs, my personal one and my professional one. I’m using my professional blog to publish everything I write for Teacher’s Write. I celebrate my progress by sharing my blog on facebook and responding to people who comment either on my blog posts or my facebook posts. I love that interaction with my readers.

The highlight of the week for me was my blog post about my daughter’s cliff jumping adventure, while the most difficult part of my week was writing my blog post on Friday night. I left it until late and had no idea what I’d write about. I was beginning to nod off at my computer before I finally posted it. One other notable part of my week, and the part of Teacher’s Write that I found most helpful, was writing my word hoard. I haven’t started my novel, but I think I’ve got a premise and I’ve started working on my protagonist. The word hoard was helpful with characterization and I think it will help me get started.

My issue right now is this… I’m writing, more now than I ever could during the school year, but it’s all short pieces for my blog and Teacher’s Write quick writes/assignments. I need to get out of the blog trap and start on something more substantial. Last summer I didn’t blog with the intention of setting time aside to write, but without the public committment to post, I didn’t stick with it. For the week ahead, I’m planning on doing my blogging and participating in Teacher’s Write early in the day, so I can carve out some time to begin writing/planning my novel. Wish me luck!

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Word Hoard

I’ve been struggling with a story that I want to tell and creating a word hoard for my character helped me imagine the story a bit better. I think this will help me get moving with it.

Janelle Grace (starting her junior year in high school)

smart life-choice
seriously necessary
just thought I’d ask
it’s fine
What’s up?
Would it be socially acceptable?
don’t lip me
but still
so there’s that
Can we just take a minute to talk about…
so in other words
not a huge fan
just no
that was golden
gotta go
just the simple fact of
that would require
don’t hate
I would but
any ideas
pretty much
so basically
I’m super sorry

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Teachers Write – Assignment #1 – June 4th

I created this blog to reflect on my practice. And, although I got off to a great start last fall, I just didn’t keep it up. I’ve decided that I’m going to join Kate Messner’s Teachers Write Blog and use it as motivation to keep me doing what I want to do this summer–write! So, what better way to keep me on track, than to post it here for others to read?

She started June 4th, so I’m ten days behind already, but I’m going to jump right in. I’ll catch up a bit, and skip over some of the first things but from tomorrow on I’d like to complete the daily assignments/tasks. Tonight, I’m doing the first assignment from June 4th, hence the title, because it was all about making plans to write.

I’m planning to write when I first get up. Last summer I went to the gym, but this summer I’ve got a different plan for exercise and I’m going to enjoy writing over my first cup of coffee. I’m going to commit to at least 20 minutes, and if it ends up that I spend hours writing, so be it. If the weather is nice, I’ll write on my back deck. If I have to write inside the house, I’ll sit at the kitchen table if I have the main floor to myself and I’ll retreat to the office when I have company. Of course it won’t work out as simple as this every single day, and for the eight week days I still have that pesky work thing to do, but it’s a solid plan and I’ll work with it.

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