Skip to main content

Explore or shut the door?

Becky McGee lived in a small blue house with green shutters smack on the corner of Allowiptus and Ash.  As corners go, this wasn’t a bad one to live on.  Ash was a quiet, two lane, tree lined street with flower beds and picket fences.  There were 13 houses on Ash in a variety of sizes and colors, but mainly white, off white, cream, and ivory.  There was a smattering of tire swings and plastic slides, one disheveled looking sandbox, and one house with boarded up windows that hadn’t been lived  in for a while.  Even this lone abandoned boarded up house was neat and prim with bright red shutters and an empty dog house out back,  just waiting.

Allowiptus, for its part, was home to only a single house.  Becky McGee’s small blue house with green shutters.  The lawn was not very big, but not very small.  The flowers were bright, but not too bright.  A flag whipped in the wind on a tall pole out front and a lamplight was timed to turn on precisely at 8pm each night.  It was a very pleasantly ordinary place to live on the outside.

On the inside Becky McGee’s house was an interesting conglomeration of stuff.  Immediately apparent, if you were to step through the red front door, was a very organized system of chaos.  Boots on the left, a mismatched herd of rubber and leather; jackets on the right, hanging on pegs set at various heights and sporting a variety of decorative knobs on their ends.  A lively umbrella stand in the corner next to the front door, filled with pinwheels that spun when the breeze entered in.  Also on the right, a small staircase leading to the second floor and sporting windchimes between each banister gap.  A healthy dose of potted plants peppered each tread of the stairs.  

An open doorframe on the left revealed a cluttered and cozy yellow living room, if you could ever pry your eyes that far.  The sitting room, as Mrs. McGee (Becky’s mother) liked to call it when she was being fancy, was stuffed full with two large couches the precise color of a just ripe peach.  The cushions sagged heavily, almost dragging the floor as if they were tired, and yet were unexplainably comfortable if you happened to risk a seat.  The couches were arranged in an exaggereted “L” shape with a zebra striped table to occupy the elbow of the “L” in the far corner of the room.  One couch lived in front of a heavily curtained window, while the other was situated beneath the largest painting of a Chesire cat in a top hat you’ll ever see.  (It’s quite unnecessary to mention that this is, perhaps, the only painting of a chesire cat in a top hat you’d ever see, too.)  The dark wooden floor was mostly hidden beneath a thick carpet of an undecided color, sporting the ever suitable variagated mix of brown, tan, white, yellow, red, green and blue.  In bad lighting you might mistake this rather unfortunate carpet for something the Chesire cat spit up.

This eclectic sitting room gave way to an impressive dining room, heavily paneled in inlaid cherry wood and filled to capacity with a dining table that could easily seat twenty with room to spare.  Of course, you could barely walk around this table without being pressed up against the inlaid walls, but once you found your seat for dinner it was quite comfortable.  A heavy chandalier hung on an unsteady chain over the center of the massive table, a cut crystal symphony when lit and the stuff of a fabulous cartoon prank when not.

Behind the dining room was a too-small kitchen with barely room to turn around.  Yellow cupboards, black countertops, and pink tiles all fought bravely for your attention but ultimately lost it to a massive, white refrigerator (whose doors wouldn’t fully open).  The best part of this postage stamp kitchen, perhaps its saving grace, was the smell.  It always smelled like bread or chocolate or cinammon or pickles. 


Anonymous said…
I got caught up in the description ... And then a little bored. You paint pictures when you write, and there are several lines that are pure genius- but in a story you don't want to reveal everything at once. I would save some of these descriptive parts for a later time. Too much scene-setting will lose your audience.
Sarah said…
That's exactly the kind of feed back I am looking for, thanks! I actually felt the same way when I reread it, I need to insert some kind of action.
Rebecca Colson said…
Very descriptive! That's a gift. I have trouble with that, myself. I would have liked to have read some descriptions of Becky or her mother sprinkled in, here and there, as if they were part of the furniture, the decor- but something that would stand out- just because it's the characters who really grab our interest and keep us wanting to read more in any story. :)
Harmony said…
I love the descriptions, but it was too much at once. I usually picture things in my head as I read, but my mind got too clouded to picture it all. Maybe focus on one area of description- outside, or a room of the house- have something happen there, and later in the story describe something else. It was too much for me. But I think you should keep with it. Your writing is really succinct and beautiful.
Sarah said…
Thanks this is just the kind of feedback I am looking for!
I liked the description...maybe toned down just a smidge but would agree with Becky as well, I want to know more about Becky and her mother. Nice work!

Popular posts from this blog

Dear Carly,

I assume that one day you will come to me wanting to know who you are, where you came from, where your other family is and why they gave you to us.  I offer you little bits of information already, but certainly not crumbs enough to satisfy the appetite.  Perhaps it won't matter to you.  I am assuming a lot, already, about how adoption will impact your life.

People often wonder why adoptive parents are hurt when their children seek out biological roots.  I have the answer, and it's very simple.  Adoption - at its core - makes us question the legality, authority, voracity, and validity of parenthood.  For most adoptive parents, first you must come to terms with an issue that strikes at the foundations of mortality: fertility.  From birth, most of us are driven to form families.  First we are nestlings, nurtured and weened and eventually taught to fly.  Then we are nest-builders, filling our lives with the stuff necessary to drive life forward.  Knowledge, safety, money, a sturdy …

Fragmented re-introduction

I dreamed a dream once of what this would be like.  Of life.  Of patterns and songs and ticking off boxes to find my way. 

Trouble was, I keep looking at the wrong list.

This year's list:

- Turn 40 (check)
- Move again (check)
- Send the boy on a mission (check)
- Finish admin license
- Get lost (check)
- Get found (check)
- Lost again (check)

Wait, that went off track. 

Adulthood is a lot of getting off track.  And back on.  It's weird.

I thought at 40, I would have it all together.

But, I'm barely keeping it from falling apart. 


So, this is me where I am now.

40, working, waiting.  My boy's on a mission in Boise.  My girl's 12 going on 20.  My husband hates his job most days, and loves it alternatively.  Same for me.  We live in a small town I don't like very much and dream of going somewhere else, but we don't know where that is. 

I want to be a writer, but I don't spend time writing.

I read something the other day that gave me hope: Guy Fieri…

On being away from home and turning sixteen: a letter to my son

Dear Josh,

I missed your sixteenth birthday.  I'm sure you recall - or maybe it wasn't so bad because you spent the whole day with your friend watching movies.  Godzilla and Guardians of the Galaxy, you've said.  It's no surprise to me that Godzilla was your favorite of the two.  That atomic green monster holds a special place in your heart.

It was very difficult for me to be away from you when you crossed this threshold in your life.  I remember turning sixteen, being sixteen, and wondering when I would feel like I was actually sixteen.  When I was sixteen, I went and found my first job, I started driving myself around, and I pretty much felt like I was in the wrong skin.  I'm only now, at 37, beginning to feel in the right skin.  Or at least comfortable with the skin I'm in.  But you - well, you don't seem to have a problem being you.  I can't explain how very happy that makes me feel, how very reassured.  Because it can be really hard not to like you…