I continue to have fun dabbling with my writing. I wish I had more time to play with it. In the spirit of being with what is, I realize I can come back to the lessons and activities any time. I got feedback on the second assignment today. The lesson was on Show and Tell and we learned about being specific, using sensory information, and drawing scenes with the observation, imagination, and language skills from the first lesson. The instructor liked the tenderness of this line “She moved her hands to her lap and gently folded them together.” There’s something for me about the phrase “powdery soft edges of his faded white v-neck”. Is there something that you particularly like from the passage?
Loretta was on the bucket seat of the 1975 Ford pickup with Mick. Her body did not touch his, and her palms were pressed down on either side of her into the worn brown leather. Her lips were pressed together, intent on drawing a dark mean line.
Mick looked straight ahead as his hands gripped the steering wheel at precisely 10 and 2 o’clock. Below the powdery soft edges of his faded white v-neck every muscle from his biceps to his wrists tensed. Under his Wrangler’s, his knees pointed straight ahead as if directed by the eyes above them.
He knew he could get home out of sheer habit. Heck, he knew this stretch of road like a best friend. He had driven it nearly every day of the 17 years since he’d learned to drive. He had started with the family tractor as a kid when he was responsible for mowing the fields. He’d been so excited to graduate to the rusted blue truck on his 16th birthday when his granddad had gave it to him so he could help haul the horses.
“We’ll be just fine, Loretta. Why do you always do this?” he finally said out loud. He was hot, despite the winter chill outside, and getting his thoughts into the air had done nothing to help his rising blood pressure. He knew if he wasn’t careful, the alcohol would make him say things he would regret, things that would make her cry.
“Oh, so now it’s my fault. That’s just like you, Mick. Blame me because you’re stubborn and stupid.” she retorted. She hated it when he made his poor decisions her responsibility. She’d offered to drive home from the bar at the edge of town where they’d gone to release the stress of another hard week’s work. She’d had her favorite wine cooler – okay, maybe a couple of those delicious fizzing drinks that tasted of ripe summer blackberries. But she’d not had too much, like Mark, who put down one beer after another like a chain smoker with a full pack of cigarettes.
There was a long stretch of silence as the wheels of the truck hummed on the freshly paved asphalt of Old Highway 55. Within the confines of the cab their frustration lingered with the air of stale smoke and rusted tools. She began to feel bad for what she’d said and softened a little as she gazed at the sliver of shimmering moon and blanket of stars in the sky. She moved her hands to her lap and gently folded them together. Her lips softened into a slight pout.
“What the hell was that!” Mick said, shaken when the truck jumped unexpectedly. Loretta grabbed Mick’s leg with her left hand and pressed her right onto the dashboard for support. He felt the seams of the steering wheel against his palms as he tried to maintain control of the truck.
“I don’t know,” she said softly. “But, it sounded like we hit something…something big.” She emphasized the last word with a drawl, a trace of fear creeping in.
The big thump echoed in their ears as Mick slowed the truck and eased it onto the shoulder of the road. Mick got out of the truck first. Loretta followed, putting her hand on his back, needing his assurance that everything was OK. He paused and reached for her hand as they walked behind the truck. They looked into the darkness, seeing nothing.
The assignment was to ‘show’ this (which is a ‘tell’): Loretta and Mick were driving down a lonely highway one winter night. The car hit something, making a loud noise. Loretta and Mick bickered about whether he was driving drunk or not, then they got out to see what was hit. They peered into the darkness, seeing nothing.