At the August meeting of Alleghany Writers it was all about the dialogue.
There were eleven writers at the Thursday meeting of Alleghany Writers and that many different variations of a conversation between the two women in the photo below. Were they mother/daughter/granddaughter/acquaintance/friend? Yes! We had them all!
Every story had a validity. Each writer played out the scene using these characters and this particular setting. The orange liquid was fruit juice in one story and a veggie smoothie in another. Either way, it was perfect. Intentional.
It’s why the prompt exercises are my favorites. We have a very diverse group. Our minds drift in different directions, and each path is just where our stories need to go.
This is what I heard when I looked at the picture:
What are you doing over there Mrs. Findlay?
Looking at these peas. They are so perfectly round and look so pretty against the white plate.
Why, yes they do, don’t they? But why don’t you put down the knife. Try your fork. It will scoop them up better.
But its fun this way. Counting peas just like I counted pills at the drugstore. Put them in tall rows and funnel them down into the little pill bottle. Watch.
Well good. I’m glad you found that memory, but your hand will get all greasy if you scoop them right off the plate. And you know we’ve talked about how it’s not nice to eat with your hands in the lunch room.
You mean it’s alright to eat with your hands in other places? Great. Let’s go there for dinner!
Now, Mrs. Findlay. Let’s not get funny. You know the campus has everything you need. Just a few more bites of dinner and we can go over to the park and watch the sunset. You know how you like to do that.
You’re pretty new at this angel thing, aren’t you dearie?
Yes maam, you are my first assignment. Is it that obvious?
I have dementia. I’m not dumb and blind. You’re trying, I can see that. But your trying is very trying. Get it? Trying and trying, same word but different definitions.
Oh, yes, I get it now. I’m sorry. I don’t always get what you’re saying, Mrs. Findlay.
I know. You millennial angels are a bit slow on the uptake. You need to learn some references from other generations, for goodness sake. Spread your wings. Get a dimension.
As the Sisters of the Scorched Soles complete their first working weekend, goals have been established and assignments made. Permission to nag has been given and each sister has a timeline for our projects.
Neda has her historical novel about Frederick Stowe. Jill has her series of short stories about the five senses. I have this blog.
Let the writerly activity begin!
Establishing our roles in the Scorched Sisterhood: Neda, the nurturer and provider of food and comfort. Jill, the practical, logical, techie youngest sister. Ginger, the cheerleader and lifter of spirits.
Ready to Begin Again
I didn’t realize how exhausted I was until I reached the bottom of the mountain. How much I needed the comfort of my sisters and the ease of mutual analysis and shared opinion that comes through extended time with close friends!
There is the point at which you can say almost anything, be yourself, unvarnished. It came easy with my St. Joe friends. We had years of history and shared experiences. There was no BS because everyone knew the best and worst already. Nothing to hide.
My first two days were spent stripping the built-up varnish of daily life to let the natural wood of my being breath for a while. I became a spiritual nudist, floating along on a cloud of joy, easily moving toward a positive and enriching purpose.
How fortunate we are to have found each other and to be at this point in our lives where vision can become clear and action can be taken.
I was actually looking forward to jury duty! It’s been a busy few weeks and I was hoping to get a bit of diversion, maybe even some allowable judging of my fellow man.
The process was fascinating. Hearing the explanation of why we were there, watching the line as people waited to ask the judge for a deferment to a later date. This was her first trip to Alleghany. She was very attentive. Listened carefully to each plea to be excused. But, you could read her lips between the sweet smile. Nice try, but not enough of a reason to get you off. Back into the jury pool. It was people watching at its finest.
I heard names I recognized. Now they had faces. I saw faces I recognized. Now they had names. There were even a few who I knew by name and face, only to find out that name was not their legal name…which I could understand, since I was the Ginger Collins who answered to Barbara Anne when they called the roll.
It wasn’t an episode of Law & Order, but it was a genuine cast of characters who had me jotting down details to enrich my character descriptions in future stories. There were a few rugged individuals. Leather-tan faces, backs hunched over, a slight limp in the walk. I cast them as outlaws or eccentric millionaires. There were women with classic features, looking like they had finished the dishes and removed their apron just in time to get to the courthouse. Of course, there were a few bad fashion choices. There always are. But my favorite of the day was the man whose face was the rural version of British royalty. The jug ears, the prominent nose. To my eyes he could have been a cousin to Prince Charles who somehow ended up in the North Carolina mountains. I spun a yarn around that visual for a good ten minutes!
Then it was over! After all the prep and procedure, we were released. This means I will never find out what those three men in the blue suits at the front table were talking about. Maybe that’s my next story!