Thursday, June 2, 2011

And this is a first draft!

I have been far too busy to write any blogs lately.  What have I been busy doing?  Umm... well, writing, to tell the truth.  I am going to school for a degree in Creative Writing, and last night I turned in my final portfolio in my creative writing class.  I had to turn in three poems, a piece of creative nonfiction, and a piece of fiction.  Yesterday I edited my nonfiction, wrote a poem and a half (they were sonnets), and then had two hours to whip out a piece of fiction.  It had to be at least five pages, and I literally typed the last word at the bottom of page five at 7:00pm, when class was starting. I had no time to read through it, let alone do any editing.  I printed it out, threw on some decent clothes, as I had been lounging around in pajamas for several days working on my portfolio, and was only half an hour late to class.  No big deal... five or six people came in after I did.

I just read my story, and I am more than impressed with it, so I decided to share it here and let people read it.  I honestly think I could turn it into something, or just leave it as it is.  I may even send it out for publication, depending on the feedback I get.  Please let me know what you think.  The good and the bad.  Here it is:

Too Much Of A Good Thing

     Nona could not wait to go to sleep. She knew that if she appeared too eager to go to bed, her mom would suspect that something was going on, but it was all she could think about. When she first discovered the secret, she pretended to be sick for a week so she could go to bed early, but that scheme had to end sometime. Next, she pretended to have a sudden desire to do nothing but re-read her favorite series of books, so that retreating to her room for the night at five o'clock in the evening seemed normal. This ruse lasted for several weeks before her mom became suspicious.
      “Honey, I know you love those books, but I'm starting to wonder if you're using them as an excuse to stay away from Hannah. You usually can't wait to go to her house after dinner, but you haven't been over there in weeks! Did you two have a fight?” Mrs Blakesley asked one morning at breakfast.
     Nona laughed at the thought of having a fight with Hannah that would keep them away from each other. “No, mom,” she said, her lengthy pause hanging in the air as she thought of something to say. “I think I'll go over there tonight, actually,” was all she could come up with.
      Hannah was the only person Nona had even thought about telling the secret to, but she wasn't sure if she really wanted to share it at all. Anyone would think she had gone crazy if she told them, and would only believe her if they could see it for themselves. She would have to bring them along to prove that she hadn't lost her mind. But bringing someone else might make it work differently, and she wanted everything to keep going exactly as she wished. She decided to keep it a secret for now, and try to keep finding reasons to go to bed early.
      That night after dinner, she went over to Hannah's, and for the first time in her thirteen years of life, she found it hard to stay until her mom called her home. Usually she begged to stay longer, and walked home as slowly as possible, but tonight she raced home, eager to get into her room for the night. She couldn't brush her teeth and say goodnight to her parents fast enough, and she got impatient with them when they started asking questions about her day and what she and Hannah had done that evening.
      “Nona, you can't talk to us like that. I don't know what has gotten into you lately, but this attitude has got to stop,” said Mr Blakesley.
      Nona looked at the floor in shame, “I'm sorry, Daddy. I just wanted to go to my room. I didn't mean to have an attitude.”
      “You've been spending too much time alone lately,” Mrs Blakesley added. “I think we're gonna set some new rules around here. You kids are gonna have to spend more time with us as a family. I can't have my kids turning into people who feel entitled to do everything they want and then get snippy when I want to talk to them for ten minutes.”
      “Yes, Mom. I'm sorry I was rude to you. I know that I can't do everything I want all the time,” Nona said. She talked to her parents about her evening, hugged them both, and went to her room.
      Glad to finally be alone and more than ready to get her evening going, she got into bed, carefully arranged her dolls under the covers to look like she was there, and rolled over to the space between her mattress and the wall. She let herself fall, and was suddenly gone from her room.
      She landed on her feet on a trampoline that had definitely not been there the first time she discovered this mysterious exit from the world she knew. In fact, nothing had been there at all the first time she came, and she had been quite scared. She had landed hard, sitting on the odd, hard ground for quite some time before rising to her feet. She could see nothing for miles around her, and the only thing she could hear was the beating of her heart, which sounded impossibly loud inside her chest.
      “Where am I?” she whispered to herself, with no one there to answer her. She closed her eyes tightly and opened them again, hoping that she would find herself in her room. But here she was, in this barren land, with no idea how she got there, and no possible way of knowing how to leave. She knew she wasn't dreaming, because she had been wide awake when she fell off her mattress toward the wall, but she began to doubt her memory.
      “Maybe I'm dreaming,” she said out loud, and pinched herself to wake up. When nothing happened, she sat down and started to cry. “How do I get home? I wish I was at home!” she sobbed. Suddenly, she heard music and opened her eyes to find that she was sitting on her bed. She looked around incredulously, her mouth open wide in wonder. Had she really just wished herself home? She looked at the space between her bed and the wall and saw nothing unusual, and she couldn't help but wonder if she could get back to that place. She rolled off the bed again, and, just like before, she landed with a thump.
      “I wish there was a trampoline there to cushion my landing,” before the words were even out of her mouth, a trampoline appeared under her. “No way!” she exclaimed with a squeal.
      “I wish there was grass on the ground.” Instant grass.
      “I wish there was an enormous tree with a treehouse that I could live in, with secret rooms and a working toilet and a refrigerator filled only with food that I like!” Each item she wished for popped out of nowhere, making her clap her hands and jump up and down.
      “I wish for a pet monkey!” she yelled, realizing that she could have anything here. She had been asking for a pet monkey since she was five, but her parents just laughed whenever she mentioned it. “And a parrot!” A brightly colored parrot flew down from the treehouse and landed on Nona's shoulder.
     The wishes kept on going until Nona had a big pile of stuff, and she realized that she needed to organize it and display it. The next month had been spent creating a land that suited her tastes, and by the day her parents confronted her about her attitude, she had everything she could possibly think of. In the regular world, whenever she got something nice, she liked to share with her family and friends, but this new land was different. What if she brought people there with her and their wishes were different and they ended up changing her land? She couldn't risk that, so she continued keeping it a secret and coming alone.
      The next day when Nona got home from school, her parents looked very grave. “We got your progress report today, Nona, and we're not very happy.”
      There was a sinking feeling in Nona's heart as her smile melted from her face. She had been neglecting her homework ever since she found her land, and hadn't studied for a single test. She had gone from straight A's to D's in a month, and was too preoccupied to even realize it was happening. A barely audible, “oh no,” escaped her mouth as she turned ghostly pale.
      “What is going on, young lady? This isn't like you at all!” Mr Blakesley exploded. “First you're avoiding your friends, then you get an attitude when we just want to talk to you, and now this? D's? This is unheard of! You are going to fail eighth grade! And worse than that, what kind of person are you turning into?”
     Nona couldn't utter a word, and just stood there as tears poured down her face.
     “You better answer your father,” Mrs Blakesley said calmly, “and then you will explain why there is a parrot in your room.”
     “A... A parrot?” squeaked Nona. How on earth had her parrot gotten out of her land?
      “Don't act like you're surprised,” Mrs. Blakesley stated flatly. “I'm almost not surprised, with all this other stuff you've been pulling lately.”
      Nona knew that she had no choice but to tell her parents the truth. Her land would be ruined, but she clearly couldn't keep hiding it. There were already daunting consequences, and she was afraid of how far out of control it could get.
      “If I told you, you would never believe me,” she said as she started to calm down. She wiped the tears from her cheeks and took a deep breath. “Follow me,” she muttered as she walked to her room.
      “I wish to go home,” squaked the parrot, flying to Nona and landing on her shoulder. Suddenly, she knew how the parrot had gotten there, and she began to laugh despite her misery.
      “Well, that explains the parrot,” she said, laughing harder at her parents' puzzled expressions.
      “What explains the parrot?” Mr. and Mrs. Blakesley asked in unison.
      “Still too hard to explain,” said Nona. “This may sound weird, but get on my bed, and let yourself fall between the mattress and the wall. Mom, you go first. When you land on the trampoline, get off right away because Dad is coming after you.”
      Neither of her parents moved. They just stared at her and blinked. They looked at each other with looks of utter confusion and then looked back at Nona.
      “Honey, I think we should go to the doctor,” said Mrs. Blakesley.
      “Mom, I know I sound crazy, but you just have to trust me. Just do it,” pleaded Nona.
      Mrs. Blakesley got on the bed and with one look at her husband, she rolled over and fell off the bed, disappearing and causing Mr. Blakesley to let out a high-pitched shriek.
      “Where did she go?” he yelled, rushing to inspect the space between the mattress and the wall where Mrs. Blakesley should have been.
      “Your turn, dad. You won't understand until you're there too,” Nona said.
      Mr. Blakesley hesitatingly got on the bed and rolled off toward the wall, disappearing as he did so. Nona waited a minute, allowing her parents to get off the trampoline, and joined them with her parrot in tow.