Friday, January 14, 2011

Evan Christopher

To fourteen year old Evan Christopher, the night was a stage on which his story would be told. A forbidden world that, while his parents slept, drew him like a pirate to the sea. The magic portal to this realm, his first floor bedroom window. Metal-framed and sideways sliding, he had oiled it to a hush. The only sound a gentle scraping as it slid on its track, an incantation that brought forth his favorite music. The rhythm of crickets. The dialogue of frogs. Insomniatic birds. The distant wash of city traffic. The occasional whoosh of car tires on wet pavement, rising and then falling away on the highway near his home. A beautiful, chaotic symphony of promise.

Ready now. 1:00 AM. It was time. One sneaker on the threshold, hands braced on the chilly frame, he hoisted himself and teetered on the precipice. There by the wall his trusty bike, gold and glistening in the light of the gibbous moon, conspiratorial, waiting for him. Somewhere out there was a place he'd never been. Something he'd never done. He believed danger was a beast that, though it might touch him, would never taste his blood. Fearing nothing, he leapt once again into the abyss.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Mailman

We put the mailman out the window feet-first, with Robby standing in the stubble of the back yard on a bucket and me on a chair inside lifting the guy by his armpits. He was still sweating. His face kept pressing up against my belly the whole time, so his mouth would gape in his white face, like he was snoring. Each time I wedged it back shut with my forearms. The guy's teeth were like little bits of hominy, all gristly, the back ones with black fillings like moldering peas.We got him through that window good and then I stood there, on the chair, looking at Robby panting. The smell of dust was in the air from the metal sill. The mailman was on the ground, and Robby kicked him.

"Here," he said. He wiped his brow with the back of his arm and then held out his hand.

I took his hand with mine and vaulted through with my other hand on the sill below me. I felt the chair kick out from my feet and had memories from TV of hangman, of suicides. The sill cut into my hand. The air was fresh when I was moving through it.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Write someone coming through a window or a door.

Transitions are hard. For a reader, a poorly-executed one means either a moment of blindness or a slow-motion bog of details.

What do you need to focus on for a good transition? This week, try it out by writing someone going through a window or a door--in the first person. You might find it surprisingly tricky.

Also, stay tuned for the Herkimer's first-ever giveaway, coming up this month! What'll it be--diamond tiaras? Box sets? Opera tickets? 99-cent grab bags? Who knows? READ ON!

Write with guts!


Sunday, January 9, 2011

It's better this way

Tired of making excuses for herself, she kept quiet and fixed her eyes on the glove box. Long after this moment she would realize what she wanted to say to her mother, who was driving her home, "I had to be more than just picked up, I had to be excised from the birthday party like a malignant lump in a sackful of yet harmless but susceptible tumors. Mother, I commend you for taking action as soon as you did. You saved the birthday party from utter ruin." If only she could have had these words properly arranged before they pulled into the driveway, and her mother commanded, "You just sit right here and think about what you did. And don't move until I say so." The beloved daughter appeared shamed, but really she was frustrated at not having found the words to succinctly express her feeling that her playgroup sucks.