Friday, May 09, 2008

Friday Snippet 43

Apparition of the Face of Aphrodite
by Salvador Dali
print for sale at

The snippet is pasted in. It's nearly dinner time Sunday and suddenly feel the need for a shower. I feel dirty after writing this scene. I've been avoiding it for several weeks. And thus wondering whether I'm qualified for the storytelling business: If you can't stand the heat....yadayadayada.

This is essentially the climax of the THEN thread. The back story for the story that opened a year later with Crystal waking up in a sleazy motel not remembering how she got there or who she had been with. I meant to alternate back and forth with the NOW thread and the THEN thread but I stayed with the back story all these weeks because I was avoiding some nastiness in some upcoming scenes there. Now I haven't much choice.

This discipline of putting up a scene hot off the keyboard each weekend is working a kind of miracle though. Even though it is extremely rough and full of mistakes and things I want to change my mind about, having made the commitment forces me to focus on progressing the story by stumble and by fumble though it is.

The final draft will have the past and present threads interwoven and the breaks may not be in the places they are now. It is hard to resist going back and redoing everything from the beginning every time I see something I want or need to change. Some examples: the description of the pool area in this scene should have been included in the first THEN scene which had Crystal doing her homework beside the pool and then taking a swim. In that same scene I said Crystal had five siblings and then I forgot to write the twins who came between Jade and Winston into the story.

I want to change their father's first name. The vehicle they rode from church to home in is a van but when I had the father unlocking the passenger door behind the driver's seat to remove Winston's car seat last week, well, umm I'm not sure I've ever seen vans with passenger doors on the driver's side.

I want to give Jasper more personality and I want to introduce the mother in a scene with Crystal. Probably I need to add a scene between the dinner table scene that ended with Crystal heading upstairs with a tray for her mother and last weeks drive home from church.

That is just a few of the things I am itching to get my fingers and mind tangled up in but I'm denying myself the satisfaction until I get the bare essentials of the story laid out like the fabric of a dress that I can then cut and shape and stitch its seams.

Speaking of dresses... Last week it was established that Jade and her sleepover friend Nadira had traded outfits. Jade is still wearing Nadira's. I did some research to help me visualize better and found this incredible site. Below are links to the homepage and to the image I settled on:

Traditional Kurdish dresses.
Nadira's dress.

You can catch up or review via the links to the first eight parts available below.

Thanks for your patience.

Home Is Where the Horror Is
by Joy Renee

(part one; part two; part three; part four; part five; part six; part seven; part eight; )

Father stood aside in front of the gate to the breezeway between the house and garage, aiming a remote key at it. As the lock clicked he nodded Jade to lead the way. Jade pushed the gate inward and at Father's nod Crystal followed after her down the narrow walkway bordered on either side with potted dessert plants, cactus, aloe, sage, chicks and hens with a scattering of other herbs. Overhead hung several large buckets containing tomato plants growing out of their bottoms; each bucket a different variety--Romano, cherry, yellow pear, beefsteak among them. This was part of Mother's kitchen garden. Since there was no place for a normal garden plot she found places to grow things in all the nooks and crannies inside and outside the house--on the decks, around the pool, in the window sills inside and in window boxes outside, in pots all over inside and outside the house.

Crystal heard the gate slam behind them and lock shut again. Father must have shut it with his foot. She watched Jade make her careful way past the prickly plant, carefully holding back the folds of filmy fabric that hung from shoulder to ankle in layers. Its pastel colors a misty rainbow embracing the still curveless body. Crystal imagined Jade must be feeling like a princess ever since putting on Nadira's dress this morning. Nadira had explained that this was a common style among her mother's people, the Kurds on the border between Iraq and Turkey. Crystal and learned this morning--overhearing Jasmine's mother introduce her brother's family to Father--that Nadira's mother had been raised in a Christian community in Erbil, Iraq. Jasmine's Uncle, whom she had never met, had gone there as a Missionary over ten years ago. He had just brought his family out because of the troubles there.

As Jade reached out for the gate at the opposite end of the breezeway its lock too clicked and she pushed it open. Both gates would swing either way so they could be pushed by the hips, elbows or feet of someone with their hands full. Crystal followed Jade out into the pool area which was essentially the entire back yard. This gate was the only entrance or exit from the back yard without going through the house itself. Several rooms had patio doors opening onto the poolside, including Father's study, the kitchen and the Family room downstairs and the Master bedroom upstairs that opened onto a large deck that overhung the area outside Father's study, providing shade from sun and those occassional fierce Southren California rain showers.

There was no lawn here inside these twelve foot fences. Except for the pool itself and a yard or two of deck surrounding it every square foot contained some kind of plant. More of Mother's 'kitchen garden'. There were two avocado and several citrus fruit trees at poolside. There were a lot of flowers too all mixed in with food plants though it was hard to draw a definitive line between food plants and 'just' flowers as Mother used many of the flower parts in various recipes. She also scattered fresh flower arrangements all over the house, took several to church every weekend and sent them to neighbors and church members on any occassion and no occasion. Nearly every guest at the Garnet home went away with a vase of flowers or cuttings from a plant they admired while there.

Unsure of what was expected of them, both girls paused a few steps beyond the gate and Father pushed past them carrying Winston's carseat to the edge of the pool and setting it down at the 5 foot marker facing the water. The still sleeping Winston sighed deeply but otherwise did not stir. Father turned then and said simply and softly, "Both of you, jump in." There was no anger in his tone but granite firmness was in every syllable.

Crystal understood immediately and knew that arguing would only make this worse. She reached for Jade's hand and tried to warn her with a squeeze and a tug to just join her quietly. But Jade stood there in rigid shock and said the very worst thing she could have said, "But that might ruin Nadira's dress!"

Father said only, "Now. Or I'll give you something more important than female frippery to fret over." and he placed the sole of one foot on the back of Winston's car seat.

Crystal jerked on Jade's hand and half drug her to the edge of the pool on the deep side of the car seat. Without pausing she jumped, pulling her wailing sister in with her.

By the time the girls surfaced, Father was standing at the shallow end of the pool, Winston's car seat at his feet beside a stack of beach towels. He tossed two bars of soap into the water. "Jasper and I will be taking the van to a car wash and then having dinner. After I leave here you are to put all of your clothes into this garbage bag and then suds and shampoo thoroughly before going inside to rinse off the chlorine. Help your brother do the same.

"Once you are dressed you will proceed to strip all three of your beds to the mattress and launder the bedding including the pillows. After the first load is in the machine you may fix lunch. Then Crystal, you will precede to steam clean the carpets in all three of your rooms."

He turned now and spoke directly to Jade, "You are to remove every item of clothing from your room and Winston's to the laundry room where you will remain to operate the machines until every item of bedding and clothing is clean, dry and put away appropriately. Crystal may advise you on correct method for sorting, machine setting etcetera but that is all.

"I expect this will take until at least this time tomorrow so I will excuse you from school. There will be no music or other form of distraction while you work." he paused. "Am I completely understood?" Crystal nodded but Jade just stared up at him with trembling chin and unblinking eyes.

"The next time someone tracks mud into my home, I will scrub them clean myself and strip their room to the bare wood, furnish it like a nun's cell, including the wardrobe." He turned on his heels and entered the house via his study door.

4 tell me a story:

Anonymous,  5/11/2008 7:50 PM  

Ugh. *shudder* You're right. That was a particular piece of nastiness that must have been hard to write. Kudos to you.

Ann 5/12/2008 7:15 PM  

Ooh, he makes me want to smack him upside the head. Well written.

Elizabeth Bauterfly 7/27/2008 10:27 PM  

well this one is very interesting and will be remembered by Jade for long into the futur and I wonder why it seemed she was so familiar to this situation. You are making the reader think and ask questions and you are using visualization to your advantage and putting the words into a form that makes me see exactly what I would think is going on.

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