Tuesday, November 08, 2011

First Person? Third Person? Who Knows?

And I'm at 14117 words right now. But who cares? What's important is that sometimes my narrator switches from 3rd to 1st Person and it's worrisome, but one WriMo told me that it might be a way for the protagonist to let me know exactly what the story is or how to tell it.

And that is somewhat true. I don't quite have a beginning, middle and end sort of story right now. It's all like the shapeless mass the earth was when the big bang happened.
With that in mind, I'm going to offer another excerpt. It includes some snatches of poetry. I like the sardines one best.

Please share only with attribution. Thank you.

Back on the Food Truck:
            I was filling the napkin holder with twice as many as Garland said I should. I just was not being careful. Or so I would let him think. In reality, I had had a dream, a dream in which I wrote beautiful poetry on napkins and gave them to our customers. They would read like fortunes and people’s lives would change.
            For instance, when I thought of Mrs. Robusto’s regular order for chili dogs on Chili Dog Wednesday, something like a haiku came to me:
            "When you bite me, dear
            You burn your lips. Hot mustard
            coats your lower teeth."
            Then Mr. Rosavsky’s sardines sandwiches:
            "I did not swim in salt for long enough
            to grow to my full size
            I was netted and gutted
            then smoked and drenched in oil
            How dare you! You don’t know what I’ve been through!
            That tomato is an insult."
I wrote with a soft, but sharp pencil and when Mr. Rosavsky came I got his napkin ready, stuffed it in his bag along with the nicely wrapped sandwich. I wondered what he would say when he saw it.
            But no.
            Garland grabbed the bag.
            Whew. It was just to put the cookie in.
            Then he winked at me.
            I wondered if he had seen. Of course I wondered what would happen when Samuel J. Rosavsky the third would read my silly poem about sardines. What if he just threw the napkin out?
            Just then Carl Strommer from the Internal Revenue Service came by. “Grilled cheese?” I asked him cheerfully.
            He nodded and said, “I wonder if I can get two sandwiches today. I’m pretty hungry and we have a lunch meeting. Also, do you know where I can get a hot chocolate? I usually like to drink one of your cans of lemonade, but I have a scratchy throat and want something warm.”
            Now that was one problem we had. We did not make hot drinks for our customers.  We could barely make a couple of cups of coffee for ourselves, let alone satisfy the hot beverage traffic. I looked over at Garland who was starting in on the sandwiches and told Carl, “If you stop by that cart over there, they have hot coffee. They might have cocoa or tea” I pointed with my elbow to a small cart a few feet away from us, the one run by the Gunderson twins: Big Julie and Chuckie.
            Quickly I scribbled:
            "the chill hurts my throat.
            my cry for cocoa, almost unheard
            if all the world was steam and smoke
            I would be happy."
            I had just enough time to finish it and stuff it in the bag without Garland seeing when he handed me the grilled cheese to give to Carl. Carl came back from the Gunderson cart with a small styrofoam cup. He did not look happy.
            “I got some hot water,” he said glumly.
            I felt so sorry for him, I handed him a packet of lemon juice we sometimes gave customers who ordered our fried calamari buns on Fish Fridays. I told him it might help soothe his throat.  He looked like it was the nices thing that anyone had ever done for him.
            “So,” said Garland, “What are you putting in those bags? Menus, I hope.”
            “Don’t be a kidder, Garland. I’m not putting anything in them.”
            “I saw you, Vera. Don’t lie to me.”
            I faced him directly and said, “Poetry.”
            “Poetry?”
            I felt defiant, as if I were thirteen years old and had been caught climbing the tree in the neighbor’s back yard so I could get their apples from the tallest branch. And they would catch me and I would say, “I wasn’t doing nothing!”
            “Is it a crime to write poetry? What are we? In Stalinist Russia?”
            “No, but what if these guys don’t like it? I don’t want to drive customers away.”

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great!
Here you get poetry, in Stalinist Russia, Poetry gets you!

Eri said...

heh, Anonymous!Thanks for reading!