"...everything in life is writable...if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt."..... Sylvia Plath

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Started a new memoir

I've been thinking about writing a second memoir for some time now. I adored my grandparents, on my mother's side and knew that some day I would want to write about them. They were such an interesting couple and my relationship with both of them was like no other. They adored my sister and me.

I couldn't help myself today and started writing about them. The words poured out and I ended up with 4000 words. Here is an excerpt, the first I've posted:

Roxie and Alfred: A love story
(excerpt from a WIP)

My grandfather could be very cantankerous and argumentative, but not to my sister and me. To us, he was kind, generous, and funny. He told us stories...sometime the same ones over and over but we didn't mind. We would go into his smelly little room and jump up on the bed and he would take us away into a land of his imagination. His stories would be mostly about the sea. He had been a seaman and a cook on several different ships.

The strong smell of pipe tobacco swirled around our noses whenever we entered his room. It was very small with a brown metal single bed, built high off the floor, and pushed into one corner. It was covered with a home-made quilt and a khaki army blanket. Three pillows were stacked one on top of the other at the head. There was nothing on the small window above the bed except a tan paper shade.

Next to the bed, was an Oak table with spindled legs. The large square table top was littered with everything from fishing tackle to car keys to newspapers. His favorite silver lighter glistened in a beam of sunlight which had somehow made it's way into the dark room. Linoleum covered the floor and an open closet with no door stood across from the foot of the bed. Homemade pale yellow curtains were pushed to one side revealing a scant collection of worn clothing.
We would peek our heads in the door.

"Papa, can we come in?"

Papa jumped up, shuffled to the door and opened it wide, letting some of the stuffy pipe tobacco-tinged air escape. His brown leather bedroom slippers clicked against the linoleum and he loomed, all 6 foot 2 of him, in the doorway. His beautiful full head of white hair nearly reached the ceiling.

"Good afternoon, ladies. Do come in."

"We came to hear some stories" I said.

"And to have our backs scratched," my little sister chimed in.

"Okay" he said. "But first, let's see what we can find in my little leather purse."

We scrambled up on the high bed, grabbing on to the army blanket and bed posts to steady our climb.

"What's in it? What's in it?" We both giggled, as papa opened up the silver clasp on the tiny leather change purse he always kept with him for occasions like this.

"Well, let me see now." He would always take his time so as to build up the suspense.

I slid as close to papa's side as possible and Bebe jumped up on the bed and ran around to papa's back, grabbing him by the shoulders and peering over one side to get a look into the change purse. She was so excited, she nearly toppled forward over the edge of the bed. But papa caught her just in time........to be continued

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  1. Love your sweet memories, and the way your words danced on the page (screen).

    PS: Discovered you on She Writes

  2. @animprobablelife: Thanks for the nice comments.

  3. Nancy, I entered another world here, one I liked instantly and could spent a lot of time exploring. Some descriptions matched my own grandfather but that's really irrelevant. It was as if I were one of your school friends along for the visit to your Papa's and there I am, waiting with you to discover what is in the purse and all the while knowing there may be an adventure story too. I love the comfortable, familiar pace.

  4. @Alexandra: Thanks so much for the lovely comments. Sounds like you "got it". I'm trying out a new style of writing with this one.