Monday, July 19, 2010

A Brief Update & A Very Short Story

I thought I should probably post something so the blogosphere wouldn’t think I’ve abandoned ship. First, a few excuses and a brief update: I haven’t been ignoring your blogs, but after 2 three-week-long trips to NH (since my last post) and the current craziness of putting our house on the market, I’m a little distracted.

As far as Story for a Shipwright goes—I’ve had 2 requests for the full manuscript, and 2 subsequent declines. I’m just so tickled that someone found the premise interesting enough to ask for that much, but a little disappointed that I didn’t receive some sort of feedback with it…Oh well, that’s okay—we all know that’s the biz. So, rather than second-guess the entire project and assume it’s my writing that sucks, I’m getting ready to send out another round of queries.

I’ve also started a new WIP, but for now, all I have to post, literarily, is the result of a 7 minute prompt, provided by a fellow writer, (which I couldn’t post without turning into an hour-and-a-half revision).

The Prompt:
Evening sun reflecting off a ripe peach sitting on the porch rail.
(the picture probably gave it away)

It’s not as if I heard the porch boards creak or caught the fleeting shadow of a goldfinch darting from its nest in the corner lilac bush—it may have only been a flash of radiant hue from the setting sun that beckoned me. Whatever the impulse, it drew my attention from the single dish I had just set to drip-dry, and brought me to the front screen door, my damp hands patting my cotton skirt. I certainly didn’t expect to find anyone out there, nor anything for that matter. Why, scarcely anyone but the faceless mailman knew I had taken up residence in the secluded old farm house, with painted clapboards checked from the Southern heat.

I didn’t see it immediately. Not until I sat in my lone rocker did I discover it at eye level, within arm’s reach in front of me, on the railing. Ochre blazed against the viridian and burnt umber background, so perfect and ripe, absorbing and reflecting light as if the sun itself had studied that spot for an eternity before planting itself right there. Rather than scrutinize the bushes for a broken twig, or the dirt walkway for a footprint, I stared in astonishment for an eager moment.

Reaching for it with both hands, my fingertips met its downy texture. Fondling it, brushing it against my upper lip, I breathed in its summertime scent. In seconds, I pierced its skin sending a dribble down my chin, escaping from a smile I could not restrain. Abandoning my self-consciousness, I devoured the peach like an undisciplined child, and sucked any remaining flesh from the pit. The way I used my bare wrist for a napkin and smacked my lips would have earned the scorn of any mother.

At last, I held up the pit for inspection. Who had left such a delectable gift?

Perhaps the college student working a summer job at the paint store, who wouldn’t meet my eyes, but raised his feathered brow with intrigue when I objected to too much yellow: “No,” I had told him, “too apricot. More peach—a fleshier, more succulent tone.”

Or perhaps the old spinster lady with fingers bent at painful angles, tending her fruit stand, holding out the peach that would be past ripe by tomorrow, as I clutched a pint of dark, dew-laden cherries, while counting my very last pennies.

Maybe the John Deere-capped and pepper-chinned farmer on the road, whose mud-caked boots shuffled along, halfway between town and his truck, and declined a lift because, he said, “It’s a beautiful afternoon, and I ain’t as broke down as my ol’ Chevy yet! But you’re a peach for offering.”

Or, I hoped, the azure-eyed gentleman at Stan’s Art Supplies, with crisp white sleeves, twice folded, exposing thick forearms, who asked if I was interested in purchasing the Summer Peach watercolor. When I said, “No—I’m simply studying the technique,” he handed me an enrollment application for an upcoming workshop, which I filled out, even though I loathe classroom settings.

I then placed the naked pit back on the rail, wondering if I ought to plant it, or if it might sprout, right there, overnight, of its own volition.