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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Memories and character sketches .

Memories are great fodder for stories, settings, and character sketches. The following is a journal item I wrote several years ago. I re-discovered the piece just last week, and it reminded me why it's important to journal. I submitted the entire story to a literary journal, and it was accepted. What follows was the first page of the story of an authentic wedding:

photo by Jeff D. Johnston

“Mark called,” my mother said without looking up from her crossword puzzle the moment I got home from work.
“Oh?” A rush of love coursed through me. I couldn’t keep from smiling.  My first born.
“He’s getting married.”
Panic obliterated the rush of love. The urge to wail rose in my throat.
I gulped and croaked, “When?”
“They haven’t set a date.”
“No. I meant when did he call?”
“About an hour ago.”
“Oh.” That certainly didn’t give me time to intercede. I was in Detroit, Michigan, Mark was in Mobile, Alabama, and I could be reasonably sure his relationship with his future bride was longer than an hour old.
“What’s her name?”
“He didn’t say.”
I looked at her in utter exasperation. Swedes can be so cryptic. “I hope she’s not some barefoot cutie he found in a field picking cotton,” I muttered as I punched in my son’s phone number.
My mother lifted her brilliantly white coif and smiled. “I have a picture of you doing that very thing.”
“Mom! That picture was taken in Texas more than four decades ago. I was three-years old.”
“And your point is?”
“Hi,” I said when I heard the lilt of Mark’s baritone reverberate in my ear. “Grandma said you called.” My voice trailed into thin air because I was still choking on the “m” word.
“Mom, are you sitting down?”
The word “No!” strobed like a neon sign in the back of my head.
My legs couldn’t hold me, and I collapsed onto a kitchen chair. “I am, now.” I leaned my forehead in my hand. It’s true, I thought. My baby’s getting married. “Grandma says you might have some wonderful news.”

“No might about it, I’m getting married.”

I remember that I was a blathering idiot for several minutes after those words. But the marriage was and is perfect, as is the daughter-in-law. But if I hadn't found that piece of journal, the exact memory would have been lost. Do you journal? Have you used the memories in a story? Let me know, won't you?

You all-guys keep on keeping on, and I'll try to do the same. 


PS: The picture of a Dauphin Island, AL, beach sunset is by Jeff D. Johnston

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