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Writing Exercise #1

I sit here writing, wondering if what I’m doing is less writing and more fingers moving across computer keys, the soft clicks a pacifier, lulling me into believing I’ve something to say and am saying it well.

Sam wanders in and tells me he can turn his head far enough to see a little bit backward. I murmur my approval. He smiles and shrugs, then wanders over to the dog. I hope he’ll be distracted long enough for me to write another sentence or two, but no. Already he’s back. Asking me why dogs smell people. Asking if I like his new watch from Chick-fil-a. And informing me that 1-0-0 is 100.

He is thirsty, and talks about which cup would be most desirable for his drink. My new coffee cup with the shoes on it tempts him, but before he can make a decision, he’s distracted by our Christmas Elf who arrived last night, much to everyone’s pleasure.

Except mine.

But I gave in.

As usual.

“Mom?” Sam asks. “You know what I did one time?”

“What?”

“Bal-a-lay — ‘cause I’m learning to be like a girl.” He laughs at his own absurdity, then noticing the strawberry bump on my neck, demands to know if I have any more strawberries. He immediately begins a search of all my exposed skin — not much territory considering I’m wearing jeans, a sweatshirt, and calf-length house-shoes. I let him poke and prod me in hopes of making it to my 45 minute writing deadline. But things aren’t looking good.

Sam loses interest in my blemishes and moves on to the Christmas tree, then back to the elf.

“Mommy, I love elves. I hope we can get another one.”

“I don’t think so. One’s plenty.”

Sam doesn’t argue, already bored with the conversation. He finds a dum-dum lollipop, and wonders if the elf would like it, or if perhaps he’d prefer a cracker.

“Mommy can I eat a cracker? Just one?”

Before I can answer, he steps on something with his bare foot. “Ouch!” He bends to examine the offending object. “What is this thing, Mommy?”

He shows me a fragment of plastic, broken from some unknown toy. I grunt and shake my head in disapproval.

“It hurted me,” Sam says, his eyebrows knit. “I’m going to go throw it away.”

And he does, then pads back toward the stairs leading down to the playroom. I feel a surge of hope. I’m 15 minutes in to my 45 minute session. If I can get the last half-hour alone, perhaps I can make that thousand word goal I’d made for myself.

At the last moment, he veers away from the stairs toward me again.

“Mommy? I still really want a cracker.”

“Okay,” I say. “Go get one out of the cabinet.”

“I can’t reach them, Mommy. They’re in the middle. When I’m six years old, I can. But right now I’m five, so I need you to do it. The square crackers mommy. They’re in the middle.”

And so I sigh, and close my computer and go get crackers. 17 minutes. 523 words. As I move to the kitchen, I hear a fight break out in the playroom. Someone screams my name, but before I can respond, the screamer erupts in laughter, all previous wrongs forgotten.

My eyes prickle, but my feet keep moving toward the kitchen and the square crackers. The ones in the middle.

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4 Responses

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  1. Tracey says

    Wow …. 523 words in 17 minutes? I’m impressed. I don’t have 4 children under the age of 6 and I feel like I’ve had a really good day if I get 500 words in two hours.

  2. jodi says

    Tracey, with fiction, I’m much slower, agonizing over every word. This was just dictation — editorialized — but pretty much typed as it happened. If only I could get out of my head enough to take dictation from my CHARACTERS. Then I’d really be going places. ;)

  3. Anne Riley says

    Verrrrry nice. :)

  4. Robin O'Bryant says

    You just keep moving ahead. One word at a time. Today’s 500 words with tomorrow’s will get you there. Promise.



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