#Fiction Friday: #Novelines from the Book

Mormoni
White, Protestant, & Republican were the dominant demographics of Green Haven, & those that fit into all 3 categories tended to be the most successful.

Such talk of homes for unwed mothers made me feel as if I had been blasted back to the Fifties, but the Mormons were a relic of bygone days.

Strange how grandmothers would pretend their daughters’ illegitimates were theirs, yet I felt maternal towards my sister, rather than sisterly.

The Schafer home was a Mormon version of the Cleavers, complete with pictures of Ronald Reagan & the WASPy-looking Mormon Jesus.

I imagined Sister Schafer’s mind was like looking at a crazy quilt through a kaleidoscope.

I knew not how to help my pregnant friend, for I’d never even kissed a boy.

 

What we both knew was that God already knew this little stranger, for the child’s bones had been knitted in the womb by the needles that were God’s fingers.

The idea of hidden pregnancies & secret adoptions was like removing a shiny dust jacket, only to see a stained & battered book.

If a man chose not to go on a mission, he was partly responsible for the souls he could have saved. Salvation was a shared responsibility.

I always wondered, if you were married, how did you keep from outgrowing one another, but then I realized, you grew together. You were grafted into the family tree.

I was one of many girls, all vying for the affections of an elder from the Mormon Corridor. I wanted to be taken away, & then taken.

I shelved the thought of Elder Roberts, like a book I had read as a child & had gone back to, finding I had outgrown it.

I imagined the Holy Spirit spoke through me, but how could that be, when I wasn’t worthy? When I’d yet to be baptized, not born in the covenant?

In my new life as a Mormon, I began to do other things girls my age did. I got a job, working for boiled peanuts; I learned to drive.

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Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #423: Little (Blank)

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Heard of chocolate milk moustaches? Well, this is a goatee.

Little Things (That Make Life Good)

Chocolate milk moustaches & the sound a straw makes when you’ve sucked it good to the last drop

The chocolate nugget at the bottom of a Drumstick sundae cone

Waking up to the aromas of bacon & coffee

Paper newspapers & excursions to the bookstore

The smell of matches after they’ve been struck, birthday candles after they’ve been blown out

The experience of ripping paper off a present rather than pulling it out of a bag

Front doors with glass that let the light in, open windows on a nice day

Non-committal sweaters (i.e. not pullovers) & clothes without zippers

The non-committal semicolon, the amazing em-dash, & the cute little ampersand

Clever epitaphs & witty puns

2 spaces after a period

Cursive writing & typewriter font

Whiteboards for practical use, chalkboards for decorative

Long, luxurious lavender bubble baths

Lady Stetson & Prell

Non-sitting cardio machines

Roller skates you can strap to your existing shoe

Real bicycles that take you places

Mint-green Mini Coopers

TV shows that aren’t set in Chicago, New York, or Los Angeles

Bright lipstick with shiny lip gloss

Clothes that don’t have to be dry-cleaned

No-sew sewing projects

Truffle making

Retro kitchens with modern appliances

Willow Tree nativity scenes & Precious Moments snow globes

The Hallmark Yule log with the dog & cat in front of the fireplace, classic Christmas music playing in the background

I Love Lucy–an allegory of the American Dream

Humor, because life is serious

http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/wednesday-poetry-prompts-423

Sweet Little Nothings

Teach your grandma to take a selfie

Eleanor Carter had been a real dish
when she was young—
“Like Wedgwood Blue china,”
she would say.
She had ripened into an Heirloom tomato,
ready for Jesus to claim,
to pluck from the aging vine.
But when the day came that she learned how to take a selfie,
her poodle—
all ribbons & bows—
photobombed it,
becoming an Internet sensation.
She found she was no longer
the cat’s meow,
but rather,
Kippin Caboodle was the dog’s bow-wow.

On Journalism: My College Writing Experience

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“The Bluffer” staff (Poplar Bluff High’s high school newspaper). My dad is the one with the glasses in the back of the room.

There’ve been times I’ve wondered if I’d gotten on the newspaper staff in high school (rather than the yearbook) if I would’ve decided to major in journalism (rather than the culinary arts, which was a colossal waste of time). I don’t even remember seeing our high school newspaper around, except once (for fifty cents or a quarter), and I thought, We have a newspaper?

Even though there was a permanence about the yearbook (encased in hardcover, like a coffee-table book), the staff meetings were just another class to me. What’s more, I don’t even have any of my old yearbooks. I’m a nostalgic, sentimental kind of girl, but not for my high school days.

Maybe it was because I was shy and didn’t have any school spirit (I always begged my dad to check me out of the pep rallies, because why should I cheer for a bunch of misogynistic athletes?). Though I was involved in the Art Club and “The M.O.B.” (Ministry of Believers), I often found myself feeling like I was stuck in hell for seven hours a day.

I remember writing stories for the yearbook, but I don’t remember what any of them were about. Because my creativity wasn’t nurtured or appreciated, I thought any writing career other than being a poet or novelist wasn’t for me.

My dad was the sports editor of the Poplar Bluff high school newspaper staff (see above photo) from the fall of 1968 to the spring of 1969. I asked him what it was like back then. He remembered the girls far outnumbered the boys, and that one of the girls was what they called a “morgue editor,” meaning she cut out articles and pasted them into a book. Then, for the Christmas issue, the whole paper was printed in red

Being the family historian, I record not only my memories, but the memories of others. I love to document, and newspaper article writing does just that. Through writing features, I record other people’s experiences, but in writing a humor column, I’d be documenting my own in a way that would resonate, or connect, with people.

A couple of days ago, I texted the Editor-in-Chief on The Corsair (our college newspaper) that the only way I’d ever become a journalist would be as a humor columnist, reason being that I’d never get accused of disseminating fake news. (Advice columnist would be second best, and I wouldn’t go all “Judge Judy on people. That is one rage-filled lady.)

Through my run (so far) of being on the paper staff, I’ve found what I not only love to write the most, but what I’m good at, too. (Books by Dave Barry or Erma Bombeck are next on my library list.)

Ernest Hemingway and Margaret Mitchell started off writing for newspapers—maybe writing for one of them (a newspaper) one day is in my future. (I’m trying greeting cards, as well, even though most English professors think they’re %@#$.)

Though I don’t love interviewing people (people are like a box of chocolates—some are Roman nougat, and some are orange cream, which are slightly less horrendous as peanut butter kisses), I enjoy talking to them, and have learned a lot from doing so, whether it be other opportunities or good life advice. I wouldn’t have met many of the people I have if it hadn’t been for interviewing them for The Corsair.

Though I’m not majoring in journalism (and you don’t have to, to write for a newspaper), my journalism experience has helped me become a better writer, for all writing experience is valuable experience. I’ve learned, through analyzing my blog statistics, that my non-fiction posts far outpace my fiction ones, which is why I’m going to pursue the technical writing program at University before the creative writing one.

But what I’ve learned the most is that every time I think I have it all figured out, I learn something new that changes the trajectory of my life. I guess that’s what makes life interesting.

~

For more articles on what I’ve learned through my journalism experience:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/tuning-up-volumehow-ive-fine-tuned-my-ear-editor-sarah-richards/?trackingId=OoPJ6YprK%2F93UtZ3XVQ3TQ%3D%3D

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/editing-my-way-through-collegeone-less-word-time-sarah-richards/?trackingId=1OTyfkzaGFdb%2FwMiSk95oQ%3D%3D

https://sarahleastories.com/2017/02/04/feature-story-ideas-for-a-college-newspaper/

https://sarahleastories.com/2017/10/27/journalism-101/

https://sarahleastories.com/2017/10/29/journalism-conference-notes-my-conclusion/

 

#Fiction Friday: #Novelines from the Book

Mormoni
The Green Haven Ward was austere compared to the facilities of The Mount of Olives Baptist Church, but then, the Mormons had their temples.

Like little children, we played ping-pong & Ultimate Frisbee, had cookies & Kool-Aid, & talked about our friends. We were the unmarried Mormons.

One temple marriage a month was Green Haven Ward’s average, & Kath, Leann, & I were expected to contribute to it. The girl least likely would.

The notion of going to Brigham Young University or on a mission, of marrying young, & having many children was foreign to me.

I’d seen what I wanted that hot July day, & so I spurned all others, ultimately saving my hand, if not myself, for when he returned.

The R.M.s (returned missionaries) were considered a real catch for the Y.S.A. (young single adult) women.

I had never been casual about sex, but I’d never considered making love outside of marriage as tampering with the sacred powers of procreation.

Elder Roberts, for me, was a cool drink on a balmy day. Tony, for Kath, was a wildfire without hope of abeyance. I knew love, but not passion.

When Kath asked me if I’d ever been in love, I said, “I am in love,” for I’m in love with an elder, who is out there, making himself worthy of me.

Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #422: Harmless

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The Weight of Words

If words were harmless,
there would be no speeches,
no debates,
no letters,
no newspapers,
no books,
no poetry,
no music that tells us how to feel.

Though actions speak louder than words,
works,
louder than prayer,
words can explain away
a multitude of actions,
for they often precede action.

Lo, if words were harmless,
then how could the words in the Bible be so powerful
that many have sought to destroy them,
even absent of their original delivery?

http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/wednesday-poetry-prompts-422