The Canadian Writers' Collective

Writing, and writerly tangents

Friday, February 22, 2008

A Work in Progress

Here's an excerpt from the story I'm working on right now. It's about a woman who is raised by perfectly loving parents, ill preparing her for any difficulties, however minor, she encounters in adult life. This section is about her husband Chris's childhood, which was nothing like her own:

Chris's dad had been military, always away on assignment, leaving his wife in charge at home. She was a chainsmoker and alcoholic, which complicated a lot of household tasks. She liked to have a glass in one hand and a cigarette in the other, so it would take her twice as long as any normal person to hang up a load of laundry, and even then there would sometimes be holes burnt through the sheets, especially if the boys were tumbling about nearby. She was constantly threatening to give them up to social services. She said that there was a special 24-hour hotline that military mums could call for help. For ages, they believed that at any moment an armoured jeep with bars on the windows might come to take them away so that their mother could finally do the laundry in peace. They laughed about this now. One Christmas, they’d laughed so hard that Chris’s thirty-three-year-old lawyer brother actually peed himself on Teenie’s brand new white puffy couch. This was all the more disturbing to her, because she didn’t get the joke. As far as she was concerned, there was nothing remotely funny about her mother-in-law. The woman’s crimes were beyond unforgivable. How could someone wish away a child?


Blogger Steve Gajadhar said...

I love how the holes in the laundry, that is beautiful detail, Anne.

Fri Feb 22, 02:35:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Steve Gajadhar said...

Wow, I need to pay attention to what I'm typing...

Fri Feb 22, 02:36:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Anne said...

Thanks, Steve!

Sat Feb 23, 06:31:00 am GMT-5  
Blogger Chumplet said...

Oh, my God! That was my mom!

Sat Feb 23, 08:15:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger ad said...

lovely detail, Anne...
I know Teenie. Her name's not Teenie, but it's Teenie nonetheless.

Sat Feb 23, 09:28:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Anne said...

Chumplet, really?

Adriana, I'm intrigued.

Sat Feb 23, 11:44:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Tricia Dower said...

Too bad I didn't know about that 24-hour cart your kid away service when I was an Army wife. Sounds like a great story in the making, Anne. Bad mothers are so much fun to read about.

Wed Feb 27, 09:27:00 pm GMT-5  

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