Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Turtle or a Snail

   For this week's ramble, I find myself thinking about all the people who are churning out words for NaNoWriMo. My hat is off to those people. Even if I spent several hours a day scribbling down a bunch of nonsense, I physically couldn't produce that many words in a month. My arthritis won't allow it. Plus, when I write, I picture the scene in my head and repeat over and over until I'm happy with how it plays out. Then I write it down and read what I've written. If it doesn't match what I had envisioned then I start over. It could take hours just to get a single page of story written the way I want it.
   Most people would see that as working at a turtle's pace but that's on a good day. When health issues or depression raises their ugly heads, I end up shifting down to a snail's pace or stopping altogether. If it wasn't for the wonderful comments and encouragement I've received from my new online friends, I probably would have given up long ago.
   I am making progress though. Final edits are almost complete on my novella as soon as I receive the last of the beta comments and suggestions from my critique group. Not sure how well it will turn out since the money I had set aside for an editor was burned up by an ER visit. Hopefully the feedback I've gotten and with the help of a friend who will look it over for punctuation, it will be alright. I'm also slowly adding new chapters to my epic fantasy and have entered several short contests.
   If you're getting tired of reading scenes from my fan/fic, I decided to share the first scene of a western a friend of mine challenged me to write.
   Good luck if you're doing NaNoWriMo and thanks for reading.

                                    Chapter One

                         Never Look Back


Even though nothing had changed, everything felt different. The smell of bacon frying, and the sizzle of eggs in the griddle were just like every other morning in the kitchen. As of today, it could no longer be called their kitchen. The ranch now belonged to another.

Maebelle Cutter set the plate of flapjacks alongside the eggs and bacon, sat at the head of the table, and joined hands with her two boys in silent prayer. All the words that needed to be said had come out over the past several days. Today was the day for goodbyes.

Joshua finished first, gulped down the last of his coffee, stood up and carried his dishes to the sink. Emptying the water bucket into the large pot on the stove for hot water, he headed for the well outside, and gently shut the door behind him.

“Yer brother still ain’t keen on the idear, is he?”

“Na, don’t you worry bout him, Mama. He knows it be fer the best. He jus not be liken it.” Sonny finished his coffee, got up and kissed her on the forehead. “Ya shore there ain’t nothing else we can do?”

She reached up and placed her hand on top of his were it rested on her shoulder. “You boys need to hit the trail if you aim to reach your uncle’s place in time. Mr. Crenshaw and his younguns will be here shortly to help me pack up what’s left and finish movin out.”

“Best be getting the horses saddled up then.” He squeezed her hand and left, passing Joshua on the way back in with a full bucket. Crossing the yard, he led the horses out of the now empty barn, and stopped to gaze out over the open fields where herds of cattle used to roam.

The beginning of the end came three years ago when the railroad forced his Papa to sell a strip of land right through the middle of their property. A right of way they called it. Then at Christmas time that same year, the old man lost his battle with a sickness that had plagued him all year.

Even though he and Joshua tried to keep the ranch going, their hearts just weren’t in it, and it pained him to watch the fire diminish in his Mama’s eyes. It was time for everyone to move on.

“Come on little brother. Let’s say our goodbyes to Mama and hit the trail. Uncle Travis is waiting for us.”

She stood on the front steps to hug the boys, and kiss each of them on the cheek, then held them at arm’s length. “Papa’d shore nuff be proud of you boys and the men you’ve growed up into. Sonny, I expect you to watch over your brother, and see he don’t come to no harm.” With a tear in her eye, she continued. “Now get on outta here, and live your lives jus as it were meant to be! Never look back.”

One last hug and a kiss before the brothers mounted up and rode out through the front gate for the last time. If they had looked back, they would have witnessed their mama huddled on the top step, head in her hands and her body racked with sobs.


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