Sometimes I want to write more about John and Martha. They tax me; they are my white whale, having broken into my life and stolen every bus stop scene I ever wanted to write. If I want to describe true love and beauty, they creep into my mind and kick all the adjectives out. But the real problem is that they hate me. They feel manipulated.
They have every right to feel that way. I’ve reprised them again in a story that takes twelve lessons of my online Writing Essentials course to tell. It was a way to keep myself entertained while I crafted lessons on such scintillating topics as punctuation, sentence writing, paragraphing, and word choices. In case you weren’t there for those lessons, Martha did shoot John, but only in the toe. He was cheating on her and drinking up the money she needed for their four children. She did time, but learned a trade while in the slammer—firefighting.
So Martha is feeling smugly productive (first female firefighter in her town) but also annoyed with me for making her serve such a long sentence. (It was just one toe.) John has been trying to punch his way out of quite a few paragraphs since I wrote him as a drunk with a hapless girlfriend. That would be Bertie, who can’t stop ordering, “Just one more teensy glass of chardonnay,” giggle, giggle.
The four kids are okay, but one by one they’re beginning to hit adolescence, so perhaps I’ll have to name them, figure out their true ages, and explore exactly how they are going to give their parents grief. John’s mother has been a real brick, taking care of the kids while Martha was in prison, so she may have to have something to say about what happens next to this struggling family.
Then again, maybe you do too.
(My apologies to Gullie who is now shoving her finger down her throat.)