I am about to go and read the prompt, but I should tell you that as a nonfiction writer, I want to challenge myself this month to build some fiction and storytelling chops. I think my work will be better for understanding what keeps people turning the pages and how a plot is supposed to move along. It’s just a theory. But then, this is just an exercise.
SO HERE GOES: It’s 92º in my living room right now and the laptop is hot besides, so this is definitely not Vermont in January. I have never been in Vermont in January, SO HOW WOULD I KNOW, but I picture snow banks, snow-laden trees, frozen windshields, icy streets, laughing children in colorful jackets pulling sleds, and in my mind’s eye, I see quaint horse- drawn carriages.
In Holland, where I spent most of my childhood, we would skate on the canals in January. By we I mean everyone, all ages. Skating in Holland is not something just for kids, in fact kids always had adults around until some certain age. There would be little stands on the side of the canals selling hot pea soup, hot chocolate and the like, and we wold be begging grandfather and dad for coins to buy some. No horse-drawn carriages though, I think that image comes from Christmas cards.
My little sister fell through the ice there once when she was five, in the canal that ran next to our house. She was brought back immediately, wrapped warmly and taken home, but our apartment was cold and damp and she developed TB. She had to spend 6 months in a hospital and eat home-made yogurt every day, or that is her primary memory of the place. She HATES yogurt now, even frozen yogurt that doesn’t taste like yogurt.
When she got out of the hospital, my parents brought HER to Vermont, left my brother and I in Holland with my grandfather. We must have been 9 and 12. I’m the oldest. During that time I got pneumonia and I remember grandfather sitting by my bed helping me to sit and to breathe. This was the early 1950’s and pneumonia was much more serious then.
Maybe that’s why I love the Sonoran desert. I don’t mind hot. I hate cold. I sit in my living room and have a view of the Catalina mountains. People here ski at the top of the mountain in the winter, directly across the foothills from where we are, at about 7000 feet higher elevation. No, we can’t see skiers from our kitchen. Instead I see about six mesquite trees out my windows, some large white yucca starting to bloom up high and one huge catsclaw tree.
The wall of green leaves shimmer and the branches sway in the Spring breeze we always have. We are at about 3400 feel elevation. I LOVE my view. we had 8′ sliding glass doors put in all along this side of the house so I would always feel like I was outside. I have a wet towel around my neck and the fan is on, trying to cool down a couple of degrees.
I would put down the laptop and go work in my office on the desktop, but it’s even hotter in there. That window faces Southwest and at 5:30 PM, which it is now, the sun is beating onto the window and so it’s like a huge electric heater – it radiates lots of heat onto my desk. In the winter I love it there. Now I have the towel around my wrist. If I move it around it seems to give better relief.
I think my twenty minutes are up. I don’t think I was supposed to edit as I went along, so I have to go back and see if I said anything. Our first TWIST is to publish this. Why would a reader want to follow my stream of consciousness?? If anyone does, could you just put a period in the comments?? Poor readers…