Thursday, March 1

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!

DeAnn @ The SIP project said...

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!