Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Story-Time Tuesday - Writing Fiction

Jenny Matlock
If you missed where this story started just click here to read it or simply click on the Story-Time Tuesday link at the top of my blog to take you to previous chapters.

Writing Fiction - Chapter 22

Here's where Chapter 21 left you.

Lying can get pretty complicated sometimes, you know?

When Mr. Moron told me about not seeing his son, I had just wanted to commiserate with him. Obviously his anger issues superseded any possibility of accepting comfort.

I straightened my shoulders and spine and got my laptop.

Today was the day. I was going to finish the first post I had started and hit publish.

After all, denial wasn’t just a river in Egypt any more…it was becoming a freakin’ ocean in my life.

And now, Chapter 22 continues.

Clicking on my blog, I saw the whole test post I had written previously. “My name is Spike, and this is my blog.” I read it again. What had I been thinking?

I highlighted those words, erased them and typed instead , “My name is Pearl, and this is my blog.”

I looked at the words. It seemed kind of short. I tapped my fingers on the keyboard. No matter how hard I concentrated, I couldn’t think of anything else to write. When the phone rang, I about jumped out of my skin. The answering machine started to pick up but when I heard Jessie’s voice, I ran over and shouted, “Hold on! Hold on!” and shut the machine off.

“Sorry, Jess. What’s going on?”

She sounded sniffly again, that girl always has allergies. “Mom, what’s going on with you? You are never home anymore. I swear every single time I call you, you’re out running around.”

“Jessie, a lot has happened. Edgar has gone back to his Dad…did I tell you that? Today I went to that cute little coffee shop on Main Street and had a double peppermint mocha latte with extra foam and…”

“Mom? Are you kidding me? You went to a coffee shop? By yourself?”

“Of course, I didn’t go by myself,” I replied, “I went with a friend and…”

“Which friend?” she asked.

Seriously. That girl needs to get a job interrogating terrorists or something. “You don’t know her.” I said dismissively.

“What’s her name?”

Holy bamboo spikes under my fingernails. “Her name is Walden, and I have to go now. Check your e-mail in a little bit. I’m sending you a link to my first blog post! Love you Jess!” And I hung up.

I went back to the laptop. “My name is Pearl and this is my blog,” I read again. Sadly, no one had added more words in my three minute absence.

I tapped again on the keyboard and then I typed some more.

“I am a mother of two…” I clicked away. Oops. I backspaced and erased a few words. “I am a mother.”

Re-reading the whole thing, I realized it sounded totally dumb.

I erased the whole thing again.

I walked around the kitchen, thinking.

I got a drink of water, thinking.

I dug through the candy jar to see if there were any miniature chocolate bars left over from Halloween, thinking.

“Think, Pearl, think. Be nice, but not wishy-washy. Be clever, but not smart alecky. Be vague, but specific.” Suddenly I knew what to write.

I sat down and the words just flew out of my brain and onto the computer screen. Several minutes later, here’s what I had written:

At a certain age everyone needs to take inventory of where they are in life. Right now, I have been at the same place doing the same things for way too long. I am ready to shake up my life with new friends, new foods, and new things to do. My name is Pearl, and this is my blog.

I hit preview and I liked it.

I read it out loud and I still liked it.

It met all my criteria: nice but not wishy-washy, clever but not smart alecky, and vague but specific.

I took a deep breath and hit the publish button.

I exhaled.

“There you go, Mr. Moron,” I said triumpantly, “Would a person who was certifiable write a first blog post like that? I think not.”

Quickly, before comments started coming in, I sent a link to my first post to Jessie, and then I waited.

After about five minutes had elapsed nothing happened. I was certain my computer wasn’t working right, so I turned it off completely and then started it again.

No comments yet.

Maybe I hadn’t hit publish right, so I typed in my blog address and there was my post. Hmmm…that was funny. I refreshed the screen after about three minutes, and then four minutes and finally at five minute intervals for about an hour.

No comments.

My Grandmother had always told me, “A watched pot never boils,” so I decided to quit watching my pot. I made a quick dinner and cleaned up. Nothing was boiling in my pot when I checked it again. I snuck out the front door to avoid Millie and went for a quick walk around the block. Nothing boiling yet. I did a load of laundry. I watched a TV show.

The best thing about waiting for the boil, though, was that my blood had totally stopped boiling about Mr. Moron. I hadn’t thought of him hardly at all. I had thought about Edgar a few times but quickly shut him out of my mind. I’m sure Edgar was happy living his life out with Mr. M and being called Spot.

That’s what my head told myself anyway. My heart had a different story, but I worked really hard just to ignore it. My husband had always told me I needed to listen to my head more anyway. I giggled for a moment thinking that if he were here today I would tell him, “Better late than never.”

But if he were actually here today, I wouldn’t have anything to tell him because I would have never been wandering around walking and I would never have found Edgar and I would never have…

Arrgggh. See what I mean? My heart gets carried away when my head is trying to be all logical.

Finally I went to bed with not even a hint of a boil in my pot. Where were my comments?

Before it was even light out, I leaped out of bed and ran downstairs to my laptop!

It seemed to take forever to power up and when it did I was dismayed.

Seriously. Where were my comments!!!!????

Thinking that perhaps I hadn’t set my blog up correctly, I typed a comment to myself. I wrote something wickedly clever…the word ‘test’.

It seemed to post OK and when I refreshed my computer a few seconds later, there it was. “Test” for all the world to see.

Or perhaps not.

I don’t think all the world had even seen my blog last night. How could that be possible?

The other blogs I had visited had comments on their posts. Maybe I should say that I wanted comments. Perhaps that was it. Perhaps people that read my blog felt uncomfortable putting a comment on a new blog.

It took me a few minutes but I finally figure out how to make changes to my original post and here’s what I typed:

At a certain age everyone needs to take inventory of where they are in life. Right now, I have been at the same place doing the same things for way too long. I am ready to shake up my life with new friends, new foods, and new things to do. My name is Pearl, and this is my blog.

I’d also like to shake up my life by getting new comments on my blog. Please leave one for me.

I made coffee, defiantly ignoring checking for comments. When it was done brewing, I filled my “From Texas with Love” mug with fat-free Half and Half and the steaming liquid. I think I needed a little peppermint and whipped cream because after yesterdays treat my plain old drink tasted extremely boring.

No comments.

I made some toast. Put away the laundry from yesterday. Dusted the living room. No comments other than my own.

Obviously I was doing something wrong.

I decided to do a bit of research and see what it might be, so I googled “why isn’t anyone leaving comments on my blog?”

Heavens. It seemed like there were as many responses to that question as when I googled “What to do about depression”.

Apparently all I needed to do was write what people wanted to read, ask questions on my blog, talk about interesting things, join memes (whatever that is), visit other peoples blogs, join blog hops, be witty, be consistent, don’t have too big of pictures, don’t use too small of font, etc., etc. etc.

I didn’t really know that blogging was going to be this complicated.

I definitely needed caffeine. And what better place to get it than the cute little coffee shop on Main Street? Surely Walden wouldn’t be working today. I could just sneak in there, get some coffee, and then come home and sort through all the blah, blah, blogger’s do and don’t’s.

To be continued, Tuesday, February 8.

(c) 2010 Jennifer R. Matlock
This publication is the exclusive property of Jennifer R. Matlock and is protected
under the US Copyright Act of 1976 and all other applicable international, federal, state and local laws. The contents of this post/story may not be reproduced as a whole or in part, by any means whatsoever, without consent of the author, Jennifer R. Matlock. All rights reserved.

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The Quintessential Magpie said...

Cute! I loved reading this, Jenny. It's so light and fun. I like Pearl.


Sheila :-)

Jocelyn said...

Yay for Pearl's first Blog Post!!!! Come one someone comment.....please!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Loved this chapter..can't wait for the next!!!

Have a great one sweet friend!!!

Unknown said...

Dear Jenny,
I would love for you to come over and join in on my giveaway at my new place!
<3 MommaHen

Julie Kwiatkowski Schuler said...

Oh Pearl, if you find out how to increase your readership, let us know.

Ames said...

Arrrgggh! I want to know what's up with Mr. Moron!! :( I'm pouting here....

I felt the same way as Pearl after I made my first post. Ha ha! Then I just resigned myself to the fact that I was writing to no one and then it happen one day. This marvelous witty kind lady named Jenny posted on my blog and then the door opened.

Thank you Jenny. I do so love your stories. But can you please, please, please hurry up and get back to why Mr. Moron's got a lump in his throat??? I got's ta know!~Ames

Viki said...

I love that Pearl wrote her first blog post. I was beginning to wonder if she ever would LOL. Keep on going Pearl, ha.

Judie said...

Ha! This sounds so familiar! I had to beg my friends to read my blog!! They looked at me like I had two heads!! "What's a blog?"

Poor Jessee! It's not nice to lie to your children!!

Susan Anderson said...

I loved Pearl's first blog post. Its vague yet specific nature was appealing as all get-out!



Anonymous said...

Good for Pearl, she has finally started her blog. I hope when she goes to the coffee shop Mr. Moron will be there, I want to find out what is up with him. Looking forward to the next chapter sweet Jenny...still loving this story, it is fantastic!

summersundays-jw said...

Love this story. Guess most of us felt that way when we first started. I finally had to talk to myself & decide I was writing for me. I'm watching today to try to get 100 followers -- after almost 400 posts. Oh, well, I enjoy it even if not many others do & I soooo like your stories. Jan

Pat Tillett said...

Very good reading! I was amazed at how few of my friends really knew about blogs. Then I was even more surprised when almost none of them followed my blog!

Mrs. M said...

Great job Pearl! Now I think you need to do some blog-hopping! :)

H said...

Great first post! Pearl really seems to be showing the first hints of flowering.

Now maybe, if she would just be quiet long enough to let Mr Moron get a word in edgeways, she might find out that his wife DIDN'T leave him, and actually begin to make a friendship.

Amy said...

Dear Pearl,
This is a great first post. I am intrigued. I can't wait to get to know you more. Good luck shaking up your life! I hope you post more real soon.
~ Your first follower, Amy

Amy said...

It is nice to get a breather from all that frustration both Mr. Moron and Pearl were causing. Sheesh! She is a nervous talker, isn't she? When she gets nervous she doesn't stop talking. But I like her. See, I am following her blog now. Her first follower. At any rate, I love your story and am so glad she is finally able to breathe a little and to not be so hurt and frustrated.

Lisa H. said...

As a new blogger, I'm interested in learning along with Pearl. I can't wait to find out the definitions of meme, linky, etc.

Willoughby said...

I'm so happy her blog is finally up and running! I have no doubt that she'll get some comments very soon!

Tina said...

Um, Jenny? How are we supposed to comment on Pearl's blog when you didn't give us a link? Ok, I've got an idea. I'll leave my comment here, and then you can cut and paste and leave it at her blog.
Hey Pearl! Just met you through a blogging buddy, Jenny. I'm so glad she told us about you, because I'm really looking forward to getting to know you. And I have a tip for you. To get readers, the very quickest way is to jump out there and comment on other's blogs. Usually, if they're polite, they will visit you back and leave a comment. Same thing for following. If you follow them, a lot of the time they follow you back. Best of luck!
Tina from Life is Good.
P.S If you click on my little picture, you'll find my profile and there's a link to all my blogs right there.
And Jenny, don't get worried about me. I do know Pearl is a character and not a real person, but dang girlfriend, you make her SO real!