Lifestyle Magazine

Writing Woes

By Bewilderedbug @bewilderedbug

For this week’s IndieInk challenge I decided to write a quick excerpt for an idea I had for a novel…sort of a mini-intro. I hope you like it.

Oh and PS I am writing it on my iPhone so please do forgive typos (although I think I got them all).

Sitting at her desk, Jenny let out a frustrated sigh. The blinking cursor on we computer screen taunted her for her lack of inspiration.

Her publisher was harassing her for her second book but for some reason the ideas evaded her. Her last book had been so much easier.

Then again, she had only written that book because her high school teacher had pushed her into the competition. The teenage romance series ‘Sweetheart High‘ had chosen her submission, ‘Dreams of Desire‘ as the winner and had published it.

It had started off small, but people loved it and soon it became a national best seller. She had even done interviews with various local news casters. She had been the local teen hero back then.

That was six years ago – she was a carefree sixteen at the time with no sense of the rigors and responsibilities of real adult life. She had more time and free brain cells to think then…

She pushed away from her desk and went upstairs to the kitchen for a glass of orange juice. Her mother was sitting at the kitchen table doing her daily crossword with her cappuccino mug full of English Breakfast tea. She had one every morning, another after lunch and the third just before bed.

Jenny smiled as she wondered what her mother would do without caffeine. “Morning Mom…”

Her Mom looked up with a smile. “Morning my little writer! How’d it go last night?”. She knew her daughter wrote best late at night.

Jenny shook her head and turned towards the fridge.

“That good huh?”. Her Mom got up an got a glass out of the cupboard. “how much have you gotten done?”

Jenny turned around, frustrated and slammed the orange juice onto the kitchen island. “Absolutely nothing….” she said through gritted teeth, “Not one word, not one letter, not even one frigging idea!!!”

Her Mom looked at her silently, took the juice from her daughter and poured it into the prepared glass, waiting for her daughter to tell her what was on her mind.

“I don’t have any clue, not a single clue!!! I mean, it was so easy last time! What’s wrong now?” Jenny poked the right side of her head absent-mindedly, “why won’t it just…come to me?!?!”

“Don’t do that darling”, her mother pulled her fingers away from her scalp “you’ll give yourself a bald spot.”

She walked back to the table and turned back to her tea. “Are you going to sit or continue to pace a hole in my kitchen floor?”

Jenny flumped into the seat next to her mother and continued. “Mom, why is it so hard this time?! I mean all I did last time was pull from my high school experience…”

“I should certainly hope not!” her mother said looking up, “no daughter of mine would ever dare to act like Miranda in your book! She was such a little slut!”

“…based on my high school experience AND that of people I knew Mother! Can I finish?!”. Jenny saw the twinkle in her mother’s eye and continued, “You would think because I am so much older I would be able to think of more things to write about!!!”

“Of course, dear,” her mother said turning back to her crossword, “us old folks are just so boring that there is nothing we can write about at all…life is so hard.”

“Mom you know I didn’t mean it like that!”

Her Mom looked up, “Jenny, stop feeling sorry for yourself. Go for a walk or something. Maybe you’ll get inspiration – something spectacular may happen in your boring life…plus I need to finish my crossword and I have a bridge club meeting today…”

“I can’t go anywhere Mom, I have to get this done.”

“Jenny you are driving me nutty.”. She got up and grabbed a brown paper bag from by the stove. “Go drop this off by Mr. McNaughton…it’ll give you somewhere to go. Go on!!”

Jenny let out an exasperated breath, grabbed the brown bag, rolled her eyes and stalked off to the front door. She grabbed her satchel and shouted back to her mother “I’m going to stop by the library after!”

The McNaughtons were her parent’s best friends but they had never had any children of their own. They lived two streets away and Jenny knew their house as well as she knew her own.

She walked up to the familiar blue house with the pink door and azaleas planted out front, knocking with the angel shaped knocker that smiled at her as she entered the porch.


Mr. McNaughton smiled when he saw her and opened the screen door wide. “Come in my dear! Carol is out at the grocery before her bridge club meeting, but she made the most fantastic pie last night! I was just about to have a piece, do you want one?”

Jenny’s stomach grumbled and she remembered that she did not have any breakfast yet. Mrs. McNaughton was famous for her pies – they were the hit of any bake sale they were a part of.

“Maybe I will! I can’t stay too long though, I am off to the library…”

“Sounds good sweetie!”

She followed Mr. McNaughton to the back of the house and sat at the pink wooden kitchen table with heart cut outs. Mr. McNaughton put the kettle on and took the pie out of the fridge and started preparing their morning snack, humming as he went.

It was a familiar tune. “What’s that song again?”. Jenny asked.

“Hmm?”. Mr. McNaughton brought a huge slice of pie to the table. “Oh, it was out wedding song way back when there were no such things as cars.”

He smiled. “I used to be in a band so we composed it. I’ve sung it for you before! It’s still Carol’s favorite.”

“Right, I remember” said Jenny, smiling as she accepted her cup of coffee. She sipped the strong, sweet, milky coffee and stared at the picture gallery on her kitchen wall.

“I love Carol’s pies, they just can’t be beat….” Mr. McNaughton continued to speak as he rattled around the kitchen, but Jenny was no longer paying attention to him, something only visible from the kitchen table had caught her attention.

A small picture gallery wall had been put up between the cabinet and the kitchen window. Pictures of the McNaughtons smiled down at her from the yellow painted walls. One at what seemed like a wedding of a friend, one on vacation on a beach somewhere, another in front of the Eiffel Tower, another holding a boa constrictor. A whole life together was chronicled on this simple wall that she had never noticed before.

The focal point of the wall was the large photograph of the McNaughtons at their wedding. They were so young, dancing, a beauty in a white dress and a handsome man in a black, traditional tuxedo. They were staring at each other, oblivious to the world and to the photographer. The photo fascinated her.

Mr. McNaughton’a voice interrupted her thoughts, “Jenny? Are you okay?”

The idea suddenly struck her, “Could you tell me how you and Aunty Carol met?”

Mr. McNaughton smiled and sat down,
“Of course! Why’d you want to know by the way? You never seemed interested!”

“Oh, I just noticed your photos,…” Jenny said, suddenly realizing that he may not want their story in a book and started prattling on nervously, “..and I am writing a book and I felt as if there may be a story there that may inspire me and I thought that if you told me I might find something to write about and I realize that it was a bit of a weird question and you might not want your story as a book and…”

“Jenny, Jenny,” Mr McNaughton laughed, “I can’t keep up! I don’t mind telling you!”

“Oh,” Jenny said, feeling as if she had just run a marathon. She took a deep breath. “ahem….do you mind if I record it and use some of it in my book?”

“I don’t mind, Jenny.” he said, Patton her hand. “Tell me when you are ready.”

Jenny stared at him, not quite believing that this was happening and not quite understanding why she was so excited to write about what would be a typical love story. She just felt something in her gut, an instinct screaming at we telling her that she had to get this in paper.

She pulled out her scratch pad and three pens.

“I’ve forgotten my recorder so I may need you to repeat things as I write.” she apologized to him.

“That’s fine…”

“Okay, I think I am ready.”

Mr. McNaughton took a sip of her coffee, smiled and started to speak.

“It was 1948, and Carol was one of the guards at the jail in Florida I was imprisoned at. I was vacationing and had ended up in a brawl and we had all been arrested. It was, in hindsight
a terrible vacation
…but then again, if I hadn’t gone, my life would be completely different.”.

He raised his hands and looked around. “I wouldn’t have all of this, I wouldn’t know you and I never would have known how good this pie tastes….”

For the IndieInk Writing Challenge this week, Seeking Elevation challenged me with “It was, in hindsight, a terrible vacation.” and I challenged Jay Andrew Allen with “Malevolence”.

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