Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday Forays In fiction: NaNo Snippet


I finally have a snippet from my NaNo novel I'm willing to share. To set it up here is the synopsis I posted at NaNo:

Set in a mobile home park Mobile Hopes features the lives of a dozen or more separate families through the summer and fall of 2008. Each family is living its own crisis that is impacted by the current events of July through November. From the immigrant family hoping for citizenship to the family forced out of their foreclosed home in the suburbs hoping for another chance at the brass ring, they epitomize the American Dream and breathe life into the headlines.
The concept is to create a novel out of a collection of short pieces--short stories, vignettes--so that a weaving together of a community is witnessed through the eyes of at least a couple dozen individuals. Each individual is undergoing challenges and crisis that are exacerbated by the current economic crisis.

My snippet is an internal monologue from Gerta who is 97. Born on the 4th of July around 1914, she is old enough to remember when women could not vote in America. She has been widowed over thirty years and has just recently had to move in with her grandson and his wife after the house her husband built for their family was put up for auction by the state for back taxes.

Note: this is still very rough and unfinished. I have never shared a fiction piece that was this raw and relatively unedited before. I don't know why I'm so eager to do so now.

I Don't Know Why
by Joy Renee

I don't know why I'm here. It's too hot. It's too crowded. It's too noisy. All those pops and whistles. The yammer yammer. And all those kids running and yelling. The mouths on them too. Land's sake. It's like they got not much more than a four word vocabulary and the first three are Me, I , and You. My skin wants to crawl right off me. I don't know why I can't just go home.

I don't know why that looney Lucy picked this dress for today. Too fancy. Don't see no need for fancy on such a hot day. A day like this Augustus would say no need for a dress atall. We would walk about in our birthday suits inside our house. The house we first lived in 1932 the year we married. And every house after that. There were four more in three different states before the house he built with the help of his brothers and my father that hot summer of 68. The house the sherrif took away from me last month. I don't know why.

I don't know why I can't just up and walk on back over there. It's not that far from here. I used to walk tween here and there all the time especially on hot days like this. Bringing the kids on down to the creek to wade and splash. But that was before they put in this trailer park and the malls and all those streets and painted lines on them and put up signs and signals. Stop Go Cross Don't Cross. If Agustus were here he'd say it was time to move on. House or no house. He'd build another if he had to. In another big field with acres separating us from neighbors. I don't know why he had to go.

I don't know why I don't just join him now. It were up to me I'd a been there before now. If that looney Lucy would drive me back home I could at least be in the rooms where we used to be together. Our house had big wide windows everywhere to let in the light and the breezes. Only airconditioning we had 'sides that was a few old fans. Didn't get the new fangled cold air blowers til sometime round the time that Bedtime for Bonzo guy got to move into the White House. Remember thinking How'd a guy with a dirty monkey get to move into that nice house. Agustus would have been gobsmacked by it but he was gone by then. I don't know why I hooted and pointed at the TV that day and told Agustus to look at that monkey's uncle now.

I don't know why looney Lucy won't let me go outside. Its too hot she says. What does she know about hot? I can see those trees moving. She can't tell me a breeze like that under the wide sky wouldn't be better than the stinky one that box in her bedroom window blows through this big tin can. I just might go anyway. I can wait until she is sitting on the floor in front of that ridiculously big TV with her nose trying to sniff her own butt crack and I'll say I'm going to the bathroom but I'll go out the back door. I don't know why I need permission from a looney Pee Lotta Teas teacher anyway.

I don't know why she doesn't cut that hair of hers. I've told her and told her til my teeth bout fall out that hair like that begs to be grabbed like a rope and swung. I tell Carl nearly every night he needs to take and drag her back to the bedroom with it. I offer to cut it for him if he'd only hold her down for me. I don't know why all he does is grin and say "What a card you are Grandma."

I don't know what he thinks he knows about cards. Now his grandpa. He was a card. That man would put worms in a peanut butter sandwhich and serve it to one of the kids. Tell them that eating worms was how fish got gills so they could breathe under water. Only kid who ever fell for it and actually took a bite was Carl. The last of all our babies and grandbabies. He wasn't yet three that summer. I don't know why Agustus didn't wait til he was near about Kindergarten age like with all the other kids.

I don't know why Agustus couldn't watch his mouth around the babies. I don't know how many times I told him if I had to soap one more child's tongue for something they heard him say, I was going to stuff the bar in his mouth and make him chew it. Wasn't it that same day he gave Carl the worm sandwich that I came closest to doing it too? It was the summer we were building the house. It was the day Agustus dropped the roof beam on his foot. I heard him yelling clear out to the garden where I was picking green beans for lunch. I yelled back "What do you want Agustus?" and Carl who was swinging on the tire swing hung from that tall maple yelled over to me, "Grandpa says 'Frost my balls' Grandma." I don't know why I didn't drop that basket of beans.

I don't know why these teeth won't stay in my mouth. When I fall asleep in this here chair, my head hanging tween my collar bones, I often wake to find them gone. Then the great denture hunt begins. Found them tween my titties once. Found them tween the cushion and chair arm many times. Once looney Lucy found them in the cats' water dish in the kitchen. I don't know why she thinks I put them there just to get her goat.

I don't know why she dotes on those three cats like they was her own born babies. Now Agustus he liked his dogs but I never once saw him kiss one of their noses. Nor hug on em like they was one a his grandbabies. He wasn't much for cats either. Said they were too fulla themselfs. Said they held thier noses so high cause they were so fulla of it and couldn't get their noses outta the stink. Speaking of stink. They used to keep that litter box right beside the toilet. No matter how much gagging I did while in there they couldn't be convinced to find a better place for it. Not until the day anyway that I lost my lunch along with my teeth right into it. I don't know why they couldn't find a better place to move it then the floor of their room right under the window the cooler sits in.

to be continued...

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