Friday, August 10, 2012

A Meme for Michelle Davidson Argyle

My longtime friend Michelle Davidson Argyle has, uncharacteristically, allowed herself to be bitten by a goofy writing meme bug, and I have (equally uncharacteristically) decided to play along, at least partly. I am expected to turn to page seven in my work-in-progress and find the seventh line and then display, here, the next seven lines. "Line" is ambiguous and my current work exists entirely in longhand, in a small notebook, so I'm taking "line" to mean "sentence." Anyway. Here it is, some rubbish from the first chapter of a possible novel(la) called Mona in the Desert:

My fourth year, maybe: from it I recall a walk through the neighborhood with my brothers (I remember Sean and Nigel being there and I suppose but have no proof that Jerzy and Michael were also present). My mother led the way, my father being at work. As my older brothers came along--unless I am mistaken about that detail--it must have been during their summer break from school. The walk seemed to take hours, the entire afternoon, as my family walked for miles from our house, my brothers and me following my mother like chicks after a hen, down street after street to the refrigerated utopia of an ice cream parlor where we each were allowed one scoop of any flavor we liked on a sugar cone. Then we made the long trek back over hot sidewalks, miles to go until we were delivered safely home again. Of course in truth the walk must have been short, well under a mile, and it must have taken less than an hour to complete the entire expedition. Everything seemed to take longer when I was a child; time expanded then just as it now collapses and time is the thing of which I have the least.

That all reads unfortunately like memoir, I see. I might cut all of this from the draft. I don't know.


  1. What a lovely excerpt! My hubby and I were discussing the other day how Darcy must feel like every day is an eternity. I remember the Christmas break feeling like a YEAR. It was awesome. Now time just flies by, and I'm sure it will only get worse. I suppose it has to do with the ratio of time we've been alive and perceived time we have left to live. :/

    Thanks for participating!

    No more memes for me for a long time.

  2. Yeah, for the first time in my life, I'm really aware that time here on Earth is finite. It's not a good feeling, to be frank. It's made me more than a little twitchy the last year or so. I always feel that I should be doing something else, whatever it is I'm doing at the time. Very likely, what I should be doing is getting professional counseling! And prescription tranquilizers.

  3. This is beautiful, Scott. I don't think it reads as memoir but more like memory, which to me is different. I love that chicks to hen line. Very visual.

    And I hear you on the time being finite. Try being 50 with an almost 8 year old daughter. Scares the hoozis out of me nearly every day that I won't have enough time with her.

  4. Anne, thanks! I think the chicks & hen line will have to go, because it seems cliche to me. I have an idea about a kite pulling its tail of knotted ribbons behind it, but I haven't written any of that down. This new thing is all pretty loose and I imagine there will be serious revisions if I actually finish writing it.

  5. I really like that idea of trekking through the heat to get into the ice cream parlor and having a scoop and then having to walk back through the heat again afterwards. It gives this excerpt that fleeting happiness of childhood which makes me emotional.

  6. There is a lot about fleeting happiness in Mona in the Desert.