Tuesday, February 09, 2010


There is a contest at The Tenth Daughter of Memory. There are nine muses (prompts) and you write something for each. All nine make up one whole story. 5 muses are already up. The first muse was “A Random Memory.” Here’s my 1st, called Dark.
The second muse is “A Fear of Writing.” What follows is my selection and the continuation of the story.green butterfly

The bright, harsh light of the adult world raged through the opening door and blinded her. It shattered the refuge created during her punishment. She blinked to adjust her inner screen to the reality of appearances. 

No tears proved the lack of irreparable harm. No blood proved the lack of serious hurt. 

Several whacks with the wooden spoon reminded her that she had too much fun when she should have remained frightened and grown contrite. Her very being felt wrong.

The women sat around drinking coffee laced with Schnapps and smoking cigarettes purchased for their once-a-week get-together.

“Where is your daughter?”

“Out in the woods, getting dirty, I’m sure. I wish she would wear pretty dresses and sit with us like your pretty little girl.” She flicked her fingers in the direction of the Shirley Temple look-a-like.

“She gets good grades though, doesn’t she?”

“Yes, her teacher is very happy with her. She doesn’t cause any real problems. The teacher does complain that she’s always adding her own ideas.” Drawing on a cigarette, inhaling in deep exasperation and forcing two streams of thick white smoke from distended nostrils.

“What does that mean?”

“She does the assignments. She gets all of the answers right. She completes them in plenty of time.” Looking down at the silk, lace cloth covering the table, hiding the shame showing in her eyes. “Then she uses the time left while others are finishing to play games with the work. She never disturbs anyone. But when it’s time to turn in the assignment, she rushes to put it back to the right way. The school wanted to move her ahead a grade but the teacher said she has trouble sticking to the directions.”

“Isn’t she young for her grade, anyway?”

“Yes. Still, it would be nice to tell our friends she skipped.”

She came in with skinned knees and a smudge on her face after escaping the mushroom ogres that chased her through the pines. She looked at the living doll playing in the living room. She looked at the faces of the women seated around the dining room table. Her very being felt wrong.

"Show me your homework."

"The assignment was to write a story..."

"You erased words and made smudges."

"The teacher wants the story about…."

"It looks messy. Rewrite it."

“I wrote about…”

“You crossed out words.”

“I told how…”

“You can do better. Rewrite it.”

“The girl visited…”

“That word looks wrong.”

“Spelling doesn’t count.”

“Have you no pride? Rewrite it.”

“I received an A.”

“That looks lovely.”

Her very being felt wrong.  green butterfly



  1. Again, great story. Well written.

    You're very talented. I'm not sure if I told you that yesterday, but even if I did you deserve to read it again.

  2. AWESOME...I really enjoy this :)

  3. I don't see any smudges or crossed out words. You must have learned how to be creative AND neat at the same time. The grown-ups were right in a sort-of way: it is useless to be creative and imaginative if no one can read or understand it. Too many people think just being weird and different is creative, but weird is just the dressing around the real substance of creativity.

  4. Sad when parents can't really see their child.

  5. I feel sorry for the girl. Or any girls growing up with parents like that.

  6. So often parents try to live their lives thru their kids - and ruin them. A great shame.
    Excellently written, by the way.

  7. It probably comes as no surprise, but you just wrote my autobiography. I would pay you if I had any money to do so.

  8. This is so good. Sadly, so very true in so many families.


  9. I remember that wooden spoon that my grandmother used. Nothing I did was ever good enough for my mother.

    I am enjoying your stories.

  10. Opulently I acquiesce in but I think the collection should acquire more info then it has.

  11. "Her very being felt wrong"..this statement is enough to express thousand thoughts and feelings.

  12. Hi Nessa - I enjoyed this

    I read it fast, but:

    She flick (s or ed ??)her fingers in the direction of the Shirley Temple look-a-like.

    I think you want to re-write -
    Looking down at the silk, lace cloth covering the table, hiding the shame showing in her eyes.

  13. this was snow-phenomenal

    sorry - it's snowing buckets over here

    keep up the great scribing

  14. This was very good. \
    I remember when I was a kid in high school one teacher told the class "I am not interested in what you think I want to know what other people thought and you needed to research it."
    It killed my soul to think school was about what other people thought and I was being graded on that instead of my views, thinking opinions.etc... No one cared and to me it was about educating the child , not educating yourself through the child.
    In those days teachers made fun of you so you never told or wrote anything about how you thought.
    Maybe to some degree this could apply as well to these days with even worse consequences.hmmm

  15. Thanks for linking this when you commented on my blog. I didn't know about the 9 muses. I read "Dark" which was anything but. And this piece? The young girl is so special. I will continue to follow.

    If you don't mind and when you have time, can you tell me how to create a link in the comment box? I can't figure it out.

  16. P.S. Thanks for my new title, the Queen of Multitasking. I LOVE it!

  17. This story is really very dismal.

  18. That was neat, Nessa. I probably won't go read the other parts. I hate to take the time for that. :)
    (Would the teacher like me for saying that?) I used to read Zane Grey magazines in school because I had all my work done. My mother said she didn't think that I EVER brough home any homework.
    When I transfered into the last two years of high school they would not give me the grades I had earned at the other school, they said no one could make grades that good.
    My mom had to repeat kindergarten. She changed schools and the new school said she was too young for second grade.
    Do you think the school system discriminates agains Manx people?

  19. Oh, wow. I have heard this conversation, been on the receiving end. You nailed it.

  20. Somehow I think there will be even more conflict as this girl grows older!

  21. It is so sad when parents try to force their children into a pre-determined mold, often breaking their spirit. Parents should take time to discover their children and encourage them to pursue the things the children are interested in.
    No child should be forced to become a 'plastic doll,' or used as a stepping stone to impress friends.
    No wonder her world felt wrong.

  22. It saddens me when parents don't see their child as an individual to be celebrated. It is so important to appreciate the child and let them grow as a person with love and encouragement. I loved this story. "Her very being felt wrong" is such a powerful line.

  23. WOW, great story! :)

  24. I had this image of a butterfly's wings being torn off while reading this - very powerful.

  25. I like the story.
    Felt so frustrated with the little girl's mother.
    Poor girl.
    Thank you for linking back when you were at my blog.