Friday, July 16, 2010

Magic and Meatloaf

Today – and every Friday – I will be participating in a creative writing meme called the Red Writing Hood. Ericka from Alabaster Cow and Cheryl from Mommypants are hosting it over at The Red Dress Club. Join in, link up, check out all the posts! This week’s prompt is to begin a short fiction piece with the words, “Your mother.”  Disclaimer: First attempt at genuine fiction since a very fraught experience in college. I'm generally much better at -ahem- stretching the truth. 


Your mother was magic.  Mine was meatloaf.

Your mother knew you were going to propose, and still she screamed into the phone when we called with our news.  My mother smiled, and murmured approving words.

Your mother let me try on her wedding gown, and even as we laughed at how badly it fit me we both knew the moment had marked our hearts in a happy way.  My mother looked confused when I asked if she had her gown:  "who has the space to store that sort of thing??" she queried incredulously.

Your mother gave a giant picnic basket as an engagement gift:  real linen napkins, champagne flutes, diminutive salt shakers.  My mother gave us a juicer - purchased in the 80s, she'd given it a good wipedown and it was practically new.

Your mother lobbied for engraved invitations, and when we hesitated at the cost she graciously agreed you could scarcely see the difference anyway.  My mother furrowed her forehead in confusion as I searched for the perfect typeface for the program.

Your mother enthused on long-distance phone calls as we described our tiny newlywed apartment, and sent napkin rings in the mail - "to make your dinner table pretty!" the note inside cheered.  My mother visited, and sat quietly as I served roasted vegetables on our wedding china.  "I like the view here" she volunteered.

Your mother kept hugging me with tight hugs when we visited, even as the brightness of happy newlywed anecdotes faded.  If my mother noticed the lack of news, the increasingly-tense emails, the solo visits home, she never mentioned it.

Your mother sent beautiful cards, inscribed with simple messages of love, forgiveness, patience.  My mother came to the apartment one bleak October day and wordlessly packed the china, the napkin rings, the picnic basket, and most heartbreaking: the photo albums documenting our years together.  Certainly, there would be no album documenting our coming moments of leave-taking.

Your mother was magic.  My mother was meatloaf.  Neither was enough to make Us.


Lori-Anne said...

Like so many things you write, Kirsten, I read this and thought to myself, "I wish *I* wrote this!" Well done.

Cheryl said...

Oooh...I really, really like this. I love the telling without telling, if that makes sense. Treats the reader as if they're intelligent and can read between the lines, so to speak. Which I personally really appreciate.

I've been waiting for you to post today, and I'm so glad you did! Great job, sister!

Missy said...

I fear I overuse the word "love," but I love this! I think you did a beautiful job with it. The use of meatloaf to describe a person? Perfect. Fits my mother-in-law to a T; I was wishing I had the mother-in-law in the story!

Great work - I can't wait to read more from you.

Elizabeth Flora Ross said...

This is my life, only in reverse. "My mother" in your piece could easily be my actual MIL! LOL Enjoyed this. I wrote my first fiction in years, too. Here's to us for giving it a go! :)

Jessica Anne said...

Wonderful! That first line is so good. And I loved the structure. Really a unique way to tell a story. Really well done.

The Empress said...

This was the most creative way to tell a story I've come across.

Excellent, and I enjoyed reading it. It was something that felt satisfying. Your ending was perfect.

This was really wonderful.

kirsten said...

Thank you all for your lovely & supportive comments! It IS kind of a rush to go out on that limb, isn't it??

hezro said...

Wow! Amazing Kirsten!!

Wendy said...

Oh Kirsten, that is so good. Simple, spare, perfectly paced - the story of a marriage in 350 words. You MUST keep writing.

Varda said...

Kirsten, one word: WOW!!!!! (one word, but five exclamation points.) You can write, sister. Why did you stop writing fiction? This was amazing... keep going.

ericka @ alabaster cow said...

so good! and i'm afraid i'll be "your mother" as ava grows older but in a way, i don't fear that because that woman is there for the main character and quite honestly, what more can be asked of her?

love the meatloaf reference!

Keda said...

this is absolutely wonderful! I really enjoyed it.

susie @newdaynewlesson said...

bautiful. sound like your mil was a gem

Amanda said...

Woah...I skimmed (i.e. skipped) your intro and as I read your post I was all, "No WAY! Agnes isn't like that!" When I got to the second-to-the-last paragraph, I knew something was certainly amiss.

Nice story-ette.

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