February 5, 2012

Trifextra Weekend -- Take 2

Erm, here is my response to Trifecta's Trifextra (can I say that?): Write a story in three sentences. Hoping a run-on won't totally get me disqualified! I'm exhausted and now desire a drink. I'm going to make some more curtains instead.

The End

At the precise moment her skull shattered the Mustang's windshield her perception of time slowed to a near standstill.

In the hours it took for her to rocket beyond the shattered glass until the sudden and final impact of her body against a sturdy sequoia on the roadside, she experienced once again the very best moments of her 27 years of existence -- her mom kissing her goodnight; the applause at her first violin recital; the security of her sister's hand in hers; her first french kiss, sweet, long and salty at the ocean's edge awakening in her the first rich, swooning feelings of womanhood; her father's breath-stealing embrace; her grandmother's leathery-wizened fingers wiping away her tears; the smooth metal as her husband slipped a sparkling ring on her finger; her pudgy toddler, gazing up at her with big brown eyes as she tucked him in.

She knew she shouldn't have been driving, that swerving toward a semitrailer truck was wrong, but somehow she couldn't find a different outcome, so suddenly all she'd had was gone.

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Update: After I wrote this piece, I heard these two interviews on CBC. One is a man who studies the elderly and asked them to give him life's lessons (the two most outstanding: don't give un-asked-for advice to adult children and choose to be happy despite your circumstances) and one was with Jeanette Winterson, in which she openly described her nearly successful suicide attempt -- spoiler: her cat saves her! -- and how at the moment of deciding it was truly not a decision, rather like the last line of my story, where I don't believe the woman was able to change her choice. Ms. Winterson's cheerful demeanor was not at all what I expected of her given her earlier writing so I had no choice but to give her my full attention.


I hope you have the time to enjoy both interviews, as each gave me inspiration and affirmation that life is worth living if you find your peace.

20 comments:

  1. Have you ever read Roberto Bolano's "2666"? Your run-on sentence is a baby in comparison. I think I counted 3/4 of a printed page with no period in that book, and it won much critical acclaim.

    In any case, I think you've captured this well. :)

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    1. Now that would be a sentence. I mostly like to edit down to fairly short sentences and paragraphs, so this was a different kind of stretch. But I had an idea ...

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  2. ah, very literal (from the prompt-- head going thru the windshield). Nicely done.

    best,
    MOV

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    1. Thanks for recognising my plaything -- I know that I was pushing the point, but I simply couldn't resist. And when I found myself writing parts of it on my ipod at 3am because the idea wouldn't leave me alone, I knew I was a goner.

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  3. I'm not generally fond of run-on sentences . . . BUT . . . I felt the emotions of this piece. :) How did the curtains turn out?

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    1. Thanks, me either. My kids didn't go out for two hours with their dad, a friend dropped by with a toy from a Pampered Chef party I had attended, I made and served lunch, the veggie broth I put on the stove turned bitter for some weird reason (I blame an errant garlic stem) so, Ya. No curtains. Yet. I'm doing dishes.

      Oh, no. Another run-on sentence. I must be on a roll.

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  4. Karen, thanks for joining up this week for Trifecta's Trifextra (perfectly permissible). Your run-on sentence is nothing next to some I've read, and so long as all the points made in it are concise, individual thoughts, I say it works just fine. I liked that you took the prompt within the prompt and ran with it. I also like all of your images of a sweetly-lived life. The chubby toddler being tucked in makes the ending even sadder. Thanks for this piece, Karen. If the curtains turn out half as well, you'll have a lovely home indeed.

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    1. Really glad you liked my pursuit of that pseudoprompt. It enchanted me as soon as I read it so it had to happen.

      I put one really long clause in the middle of the never-ending middle sentence, but I don't really think it worked as I intended it to, to really mark this one occasion that shifted her world. I wonder IF I could have done that differently or better (like shortening the other clauses more or ... probably it would take weeks or months to get all the other words choppy enough)? Sigh. I really am more of a theatre person at heart ...

      But it was fun to excise that head through the window bug. Thanks for the compliment. I'd better now get to those curtains.

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    1. Thank you Kelly. I thought it was sad too.

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  6. Glad you posted. I saw your message too late and would have said YES YES YES. What is it with our themes of happiness comes at a price? We need to get the blog ladies together for a sleepover weekend in a cabin with wine.

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    1. My point wasn't that happiness comes at a price, funnily enough. Man I've had a funny day after writing this though, JC. First I heard a gerontologist talking about interviewing and seeking the advice of the most aged people in our society, and what he heard overwhelmingly was that at some point people choose to be happy in their hardships and their good times, I personally believe that works for me. Then I heard my first radio interview with Jeanette Winterson, about her most recent book, Why be Happy when you can be Normal (or something like that) where she describes suicide as an impulse that at the moment you are attempting it it is impossible to talk one's self out of. You'll like this: the time she was most likely to succeed in killing herself her cat saved her. I KNOW, right?!

      I'll link the two interviews when they come available.

      Erm, so my point here was not so much that my character had a great life but that when her life flashed in front of her life, only the good and decent parts went through her mind. I liked the idea of that idea. It wasn't even that she felt regret, it was what it was.

      Does this make sense?

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  7. I do like the way the run-on captures that life-before-your-eyes moment

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    1. Thank you! It is so nice to hit a feeling on the head. No pun intended.

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  8. I'm with jesterqueen there. I didn't mind the run-on at all because it helped you imagine the "life flashing before her eyes" bit.

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    1. Thanks, Satu. I appreciate the feedback, it was what I intended.

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  9. I love this. I don't mind the run on because I could care less about punctuation or rules when it comes to creative writing. You had me from that first sentence.
    I almost wrote about the moment of impact too, but by the time I felt the deadline looming I had forgotten all about that idea. Ha.

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    1. I love that you had that impulse too. I was being cheeky at first, but then I couldn't get my idea out of my head so I thought I should probably write it down.

      And then I heard the above two interviews. Totally timely. Totally amazing.

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  10. Wow. Just stopped by to catch up. This is a very powerful offering.

    Timely, as well, as the subject has been on my mind - in a conceptual way, not in an I'm contemplating doing it way.

    The run-on completely captures and communicates what I can only imagine the reality would actually be.

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    1. Basinah, I'm so glad you've come to visit and that you've found a piece that speaks to you. Thanks for your compliment. Who knows what one experiences at that moment, eh? I am, in fact, someone who doesn't feel particularly concerned about it which is also maybe reflected here? (You know, only the good things flashing?)

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