Friday, August 11, 2006

Sunday Scribblings: Who Else Can I Still Be?

I love these Sunday Scribblings prompts! I think I'll do this one twice, once as a personal response and once as fiction.

Personal:
I feel like my life goals are the same or similar to what they've always been:
  1. be calmer,
  2. write more,
  3. have fun.
I wonder: is it a good thing that I'm consistent throughout the years, or does it mean I'm not accomplishing anything? Let's go with the former since my latest goal is to become someone who is gentler on herself. :)

Fiction:
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I'm playing around with POV in a short story I'm working on, trying to decide if it's worthwhile to tell the story from different angles. Here's something from the POV of the father:

Who else can I still be, you ask? Lots of things. At first, after my wife's death, I thougth I couldn't be anything. I thought I'd just live quietly, avoiding thinking about the fact that the bitch was cheating on me. (I hate to think of my late wife like that--as a bitch or as a cheater. But I know that the latter, at least, is true.) And then Susan, my daughter--my too smart for her own good daughter--had to nose around and discover June's affair. Once someone else knew, I couldn't be quiet anymore.
First, brandy started disappearing from my liquor cabinet and landing in my belly at an alarming rate. Then I started skipping days at work. I'm a professor, and it's summer, so it's not like any one would notice if most of us took off for a few days. But I work all summer, all day. That's why my secretary came looking for me at my house on her lunchbreak when I didn't show up or return her calls for two days in the week after Susan left.
Until she showed up in my living room, I never thought of Patty as a real person. She was a good secretary--dependable, smart. I didn't know much about her personal life, other than the fact that she was a single mom to a 12 year old boy. But that day I learned an awful lot about Patty, an awful lot. And since then I've learned a lot about lots of women. More than I ever had before. The only one I'm sorry for is Torrey, a former student who came by to say hello. Yes, she's old enough to not get me in legal trouble, but I should've known better. But god, to see that young skin again! And to realize how little I appreciated it when I had young skin of my own.
So who can I be? I can be anyone. I've got a get out of jail free card
--a dead, cheating wife-- that allows me to get away with just about anything, at least for a little while.

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19 comments:

DJPare said...

Wow! I never pictured the dad this way...Great stuff! I know you're just experimenting, but good stuff!
Rough character! That would be good practice for you, I think, writing someone who is struggling to not be BAD!

Roadchick said...

The dad doesn't appear to be struggling not to be bad. He appears to have discovered a side of him that he didn't know existed. . .and doesn't particularly want to put away. (Who will put the tiger back into his cage once he has been unleashed?)

alyndabear said...

I've got to be more gentle with myself too - thanks for reminding me!

I love that character, he's got some issues to get through, but I can't wait to read more about him..

-Aly

hundred and one said...

In that short paragraph, the dad really got under my skin. Well done!

FatCharlatan said...

Wow--Bug, this is great! I'm dying to read more because you really have piqued my interest (I wanna know more about what Dad did with Patty and Torrey...and what caused his wife to seek an affair...I bet the backstory is really interesting).

Great idea to use Sunday Scribblings to flesh out a fictional character. I may have to "borrow" that idea! :)

TI said...

Bug, the dad's story is worth pursuing. Good stuff. TI

Bug said...

Wow! Thanks everybody! It's so great to get feedback. I really appreciate it, and I will surely visit your SS posts and do the same!

paris parfait said...

Well that's quite an unexpected twist on the prompt! Well done, you! The dad doesn't know what hit him - and sounds like someone I know in real life.

Michelle said...

This really made me wonder if many older guys have that thought about not appreciating the younger skin when they had the chance...

What a good piece about rationalization!

boliyou said...

I love works in multiple perspective, and I'm fascinated by this man you've created. Well done!

lisrobbe said...

well written and great perspective from the dad's side. Not sure why everyone seems so surprised though, it takes good writing to see both sides.

my backyard said...

I like the "get out of jail free card."

I'd like to read the full story.

Mardougrrl said...

I really liked the tone you struck here with the father's voice...he is obviously in pain, but he seemed to pulling anger closer to him even as he pushes it away. That's hard to do, and you managed it beautifully here.

And the personal part of it...yes, perfectly expressed. Thank you!

wendylou who? said...

you have a real talent for fiction..very nice

Kim G. said...

Bug - you have a gift for the hook - I want to know what happens to this guy. I can see him on a slippery slope but can he pull himself back up?

Great start on an interesting character . . .

Jemima said...

Fantastic. Goals is a good way into the topic, I may ahem, borrow that idea.

And the story positively fizzes. Disappearing brandy happens to me. And I really should learn to appreciate my youngish skin before it completely gives up on me.

Hmm. A confused reaction to a death. Too much that is written is very simplistic. I like complicated and messy. I like the theme of how we know about others, and what we know, and the vastness we don't know. Mmm. Identity: exposure and secrets, caring/ignoring/choosing to share.

That is what I shall be thinking of today.

Bug said...

Thanks again to everyone who commented! I'm really inspired to move forward with this now. I appreciate the feedback! Now I'll spend today reading your blogs. :)

Tammy said...

This left me wanting more :) Well done!

Kay said...

When does the whole book come out?

Very good!

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