Sarah Selecky is an accomplished author who amongst other things writes prompts for aspiring writers. She also hosts Little Bird Writing Contest that you will find here. I am as usual a day late – well almost a week late in starting – and a dollar short, a saying I seem to be using a lot of this time of year. So I decided to give it a try.
Now the idea is to read a prompt and then take 10 minutes to write it in a notebook. By the end of the month you can submit a story from the lot, or several stories to Sarah who then has a judge (this year it is Alix Ohlin) choose a winner.
We may not want to post what we write, but my first story in ten minutes is something that I want to share. I wrote it in ten minutes and have not done any editing yet, which of course is the idea of the whole thing.
Write a scene using the name of your first car you remember. In 10 minutes.
My mother was on the phone talking to her family in Scotland. I was thirteen at the time and we were excitedly waiting for my father to return with our very first brand new car.
I looked anxiously out of the large picture window to the front driveway waiting for my father, and the car. Brand new. What would it look like? What would it smell like? My parents had only told us this morning and we were more excited that a three year old waiting for Santa.
“Mum, he’s here, pulling in the driveway. Oh it’s beautiful, I didn’t know it was white. Mum hurry, get off the phone, you are going to miss all the excitement.”
I figured we would never get this exact moment again and I so wanted her, needed her to get off the damn phone. She knew how important this was to my father. Get off the phone, I silently screamed at her.
Mum turned her back to me and spoke hurriedly and all quiet like into the old black dial phone. What could be so important, I thought, and quickly came to the conclusion that nothing, nothing on earth was more important that this event. Why was she taking so long?
Dad was now getting out of the car, its big wide door swung open. The four other younger children were running around, squealing, jumping and touching everything inside and outside the car.
Mum finally, after what seemed an eternity hung up and stared quietly and unmoving at the floor. She took a deep breath and finally looked at me, finally acknowledging my presence that she seemed to try to ignore only moments ago. She did not speak for a bit, just looked at me as I kept looking past her to the wonderful scene in the front drive.
Raising a family of five on a working man’s wages meant we didn’t get a lot of new things including clothes that were often hand-me-downs. This was an occasion.
Mom walked over to the window then turned to me and said, “Chris, this is your father’s day. Don’t tell him about the phone call. Let him enjoy this day.”
Confused I asked exactly what the phone call had been.
“My twin sister, Ellen, just died in Scotland. I will tell your dad later.”
Putting her shoulders back, and lifting her head, she pasted on a smile and stepped out unto the front porch embracing the happiness of the celebration.
I don’t think I have seen such an unselfish act since.
My cousin in Scotland mentioned the other day of March 3rd that my Mom has been gone for 30 years and her Mom the identical twin has been gone for 50 years.