Story #4 – Women’s Memoirs, StoryMap: The Neverending Writing PromptTM – Kendra Bonnett and Matilda Butler
[NOTE: Our special discount on StoryMap ends Sunday, December 11, 2011 at midnight (Pacific time). The price increases from $12.97 to $14.97, our sale price for the rest of December. Then January 1, the price returns to its usual $19.97]
Whether you write memoir, creative nonfiction or fiction, you’ll find that StoryMap: The Neverending Writing PromptTM is a useful tool. As we explained yesterday, StoryMap will help you practice writing about yourself…invaluable to the aspiring memoir writer. Just write yourself into the story; then when you turn back to your memoir, you’ll feel more comfortable writing about yourself.
But there’s more. StoryMap will keep you laughing as you discover the funny and imaginative names of the many businesses in our fictive town of Five Points, Oklahoma. There is, of course, Curl Up & Dye…Brandi Alvarez’s hair salon. The coffee shop, A Brewed Awakening. But you’ll surely want to weave Dyan Von Secondberg’s emporium of pre-owned fashions and the I See London lingerie shop into your stories.
And besides weaving yourself into your storytelling, you’ll want to include Thibodeau, the proprietor of Thibodeau’s Tool Town. Mr. Thibodeau carries his toolbox with him wherever he goes…whether he’s going out for dinner or taking a leisurely stroll around the block to walk his dog.
Remember our motto, the path to better writing takes practice and work…but no one says you can’t have fun in the process. StoryMap will get you writing, help bust up the most stubborn case of writer’s block and set your creative juices flowing.
For this fourth installment of Snow Moon, No Moon, I wanted to work on dialogue. Specifically, I wanted to practice writing a three-way conversation with very little attribution. You won’t find many “she saids” in this copy.
NOW, BACK TO OUR STORY IN FIVE POINTS, OKLAHOMA…AND TOMORROW WE TURN THE STORYTELLING OVER TO YOU! We invite you to pick up the story where it ends tomorrow and write your own creative conclusion. Then send your story ending to us so we can publish it here on Women’s Memoirs. You’ll find the contest rules at the bottom of this blog post. You’ll need your own copy of StoryMap, but don’t worry. We’re running a special sale all this week so you can have your own copy of StoryMap for almost half off the regular price.
And if you missed the first three installments, here are your links:
Snow Moon, No Moon
By Kendra Bonnett
Will Rogers Park was a sight to behold. Every tree, every bush twinkled with tiny blue and white fairy lights–still visible in the early morning haze. Last night’s dusting of snow added to the effect. It was as if the park had been sprinkled with powdered sugar. Between sips of her cappuccino, Brandi oh’d and ah’d at the little winter wonderland.
“The high school students have outdone themselves this year. This will be our best Snow Moon Festival ever.”
As she approached the center of the park, she noticed the fountain, which had been drained and wrapped in burlap for the winter. But the students hadn’t overlooked it. They had tied a huge red ribbon around the base of the fountain and dressed it up with a bright red bow. “Too cute.” It was the kind of attention to detail that appealed to the artistic Brandi.
Alice couldn’t have cared less for the beauty around her. She was hot on the trail of something. Brandi wasn’t sure if it was a mouse or a rabbit; she couldn’t see any tracks. But Alice was in pursuit.
“Alice, stay with me. We have a job to do. And I’ve got a scone for you.”
Alice had started back toward Brandi when she spotted something even more interesting. She cut to the left and chased around the the fountain. Following the dog’s path with her eyes, Brandi suddenly realized that they weren’t alone in the park. A tall woman stood on the far side of the fountain. She wore jeans and a buffalo plaid coat and carried what looked like a cloth shopping bag. Her collar was pulled up against the cold. Brandi couldn’t get a good look at her face but didn’t think it was anyone she knew.
Alice stood at the stranger’s feet. The woman looked in Brandi’s direction then dropped to her knees to pat the dog.
“Good morning,” the woman shouted. “Is this your dog?”
“Yes, Alice,” Brandi, who was still 15 feet away, yelled back. “I hope she’s not bothering you.”
“Not at all. Hello, Alice. You’re very pretty. I’ve always had terriers and I love Airedales.”
Brandi followed in Alice’s tracks. As she came closer, the woman stood back up. Brandi guessed she was close to 6 feet tall. She also wasn’t wearing a hat. I wouldn’t wear a hat either, Brandi thought, if my hair was that thick. But what really captured her attention was the color. Professional habit. The woman’s short blonde hair had streaks of red in front–artfully applied. She definitely isn’t from around here, Brandi said to herself. You don’t get a color job like that around these parts.
“The park’s beautiful. Isn’t it? I just love coming out here in the morning. It’s so peaceful. Even more so just after a snow. And the decorations…our students always do such a terrific job.”
“Very nice. I thought I’d take a stroll while I waited for my friend to join me. But these don’t appear to be Christmas decorations. What are they for?”
“The Snow Moon Festival. It’s a Cherokee tradition. Five Points is known for this. Come Saturday, town will be swarming with people from as far away as Little Rock and Topeka. There’s a parade and everything…I’m Brandi, by the way.”
“Kendra. Nice to meet you.” Kendra couldn’t help but notice that the young woman kept staring at her head. “Is something wrong? Do I have something in my hair?”
“Oh. Ah, no. Sorry. I didn’t mean to be so obvious. It’s just that, well, I’m a hairdresser and, well, you have such a fabulous color job. I mean you don’t see work like…well, do you get your hair done in Oklahoma City? Or maybe Tulsa?”
Kendra’s eye’s brightened. She laughed. “Thanks. No, no. I’m not from this area. East coast. Westchester, New York, well, Maine actually. But I get my hair done in New York. It’s an indulgence, I know, but I come down from Maine to get my hair done in Westchester. I’ll be sure to pass your compliment along to my hairdresser. I’ve been going to him for years.”
“I can see why. May I ask you a personal question? How many colors?”
“Eight or nine this time. I love the red, but he insists on adding a range of bronzes and blondes to keep it looking more natural.”
“Well it’s fabulous. He certainly knows his business. I’d love to learn his technique. I have a small salon here in town.”
“Nice.” Kendra transferred her bag to her left hand, which Brandi could now see was a Trader Joe’s shopping bag–and a full one at that.
“It looks heavy,” she said, shifting her eyes to the bag.
“Oh, yeah. It’s okay.” Then she switched the conversation back to Alice. “I love your dog. Airedales are special. They’re smart and funny.” Alice seemed to know the conversation was about her and barked. “Sorry, I don’t have anything for you. I’m waiting for my friend to bring… Ah, here she comes now.”
Brandi turned to see where Kendra was looking. She saw a woman dressed in a black skirt and a heavy leather bomber-style jacket walking toward them carrying two cups. She appeared to have a small brown sack tucked under her arm. It was the woman who had opened the door for her back at A Brewed Awakening.”
“I really have no business out here in the snow wearing just these little flats. I’ve got snow in my shoes and my feet are freezing.” She handed one of the cups to Kendra. “Here’s your cappuccino; I got a delightful jasmine green tea. And the barista said we had to try the strawberry tarts. They’re gluten-free.” With her free hand she took the sack from under her arm and held it open.
As Kendra looked inside the sack then reached in for a pastry, she did the introductions: “Brandi, this is Matilda, my friend and business partner. Matilda, this is Brandi and Alice. Brandi is a hairdresser in town.”
“Hi. We sort of met. Jenny always recommends the strawberry tarts. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.” Alice stared at the tart in Kendra’s hand. “She’ll start begging in a minute, but you don’t need to give her anything. Jenny gave me a scone for her.”
Brandi reached in her pocket and produced the scone. Alice turned and sat a perfect sit in front of her…waiting. Brandi broke the pastry into quarters. As she gave Alice the first piece, Kendra said, “Such good manners. I wish I could say the same for Angus.”
“Angus? Your Airedale?”
“No, I’m currently dogless. Angus is a big orange tom cat. And he’s not nearly this well behaved.”
“We’ve been all over your town, Brandi, and when we passed Bad Cat, The Angry Pet Modification Clinic, Kendra said she wished she could take Angus in for a treatment or two.”
“Ha, it would take more than two treatments to straighten him out.” They all laughed.
Brandi looked at her watch. “Oh, it’s 8:30. I only just have time to do what I came here for and then I have to get to work.” She shook the paper sack she’d been carrying. “Whenever it snows, I bring food for the fox squirrels.” She whispered the word ’squirrels.’ “I don’t like to say the word too loud; it gets Alice too excited. Usually I just refer to them as ‘skews.‘ She doesn’t know that word.”
“I used to have the same problem. I always referred to them as ‘the s word” around my dogs.”
“Well, fox squirrels [again she whispered the word] are quite rare, you know, but we have a large family of them living in the big loblolly pine. They just adore the loblolly.” As if on cue, the three women turned and looked at the magnificent pine. “I make up my own special mix of fruit, grains and nuts. They must have good taste because not only do they love the food, but they have chosen the best tree in town for their home. This old tree is more than 90 feet tall. It surely would qualify for Oklahoma’s registry of Champion Trees…if someone in town would just file the paperwork.”
They admired the venerable pine. Their eyes started at the base. The gnarled, grayish-brown trunk was devoid of branches…totally and completely bare…for at least the first 60 feet. But as their eyes continued to move up the statuesque trunk they eventually saw branches that were covered in delicate soft needles. From a distance, the loblolly had the appearance of a perfect holiday tree sitting high on top of a 60-foot pole. Like all the trees in the park, the loblolly was trimmed in blue and white lights.
“At night, the lights can be seen from as far away as Chandler and Davenport and for a 20-mile stretch along I-44. I’m told that this year it took more than 20 students six hours to decorate the tree. And that’s not all, they had the help of Danny Beaver who volunteered two of his largest cherry picker trucks and members of Fire and Rescue Co. 1 who brought their hook and ladder truck to put the giant moon globe on the top.”
As their eyes peered at the tippy top of the tree, Matilda and Kendra heard a scream. They looked at Brandi. She had dropped both her coffee cup and her sack of squirrel food. “Oh my God, it’s gone! I’ve got to go tell…” But she never finished her sentence. The sack broke open on impact. Squirrel mix scattered on the snow, and Alice ate as fast as she could.
Brandi looked at the two women briefly, said nothing, just turned and started to run in the direction of town. “Alice, come.” Alice didn’t want to leave until she’d finished eating. “Now!”
And she was gone, leaving Matilda and Kendra to look at each other. Then at the tree. And finally at the rapidly retreating figures of Brandi and Alice.
HOW TO ENTER OUR FIRST STORYMAP CONTEST
We’ll wrap up the last installment of Snow Moon, No Moon tomorrow…all but the ending. That’s where you come in. As promised, here are the rules for writing your own Five Points story:
- Because all Five Points stories are based on StoryMap: The Neverending Writing Prompt, YOU MUST HAVE your own copy of StoryMap. We’ve made that very easy. We’ve slashed the price this week only. StoryMap regularly sells for $19.97. From now through Sunday, December 11, 2011, you can have your copy for just $12.97. After December 11, 2011, and through the end of the month, the price goes up to $14.97. Then, on January 1, 2012, the price will goes back to $19.97. So hurry…save…and get to writing.
- Follow this link to our Women’s Memoirs store to get your StoryMap at our SALE price.
- Read the installments of “Snow Moon, No Moon” all this week. On Friday, we’ll leave the story hanging and invite you to get creative and write a conclusion for our story. Remember, you’ll need a copy of StoryMap to participate.
- Because we are Women’s Memoirs, we want to tie this contest to an important aspect of life writing…writing about yourself. So, you must work yourself into the story. As the Snow Moon, No Moon unfolds, you’ll find both Matilda and Kendra worked into the plot. You’ll need to do the same. Come join us in Five Points.
- Email us your ending for our story by Wednesday, February 29, 2012, and we’ll publish your story, showcasing your work here on Women’s Memoirs. Send your story conclusion to Matilda (at) WomensMemoirs (dot) com
- Keep writing and using StoryMap to stretch your creative storytelling because we’ll be announcing more contests and StoryMap writing activities.
Remember, come back tomorrow (and all week) to read Five Points, OK: Snow Moon, No Moon. Then, after Friday’s installment (and with your own StoryMap in hand) you can begin writing your fabulously creative conclusion.