First Story

OK, guys, don’t laugh at me, but I am working on a story.  Not only it’s a first story I am writing in about 24 years, it’s also in English, the language that still mystifies me from time to time.  It’s a work in progress, and it’s been consuming me for about 2 weeks.  I joined the Writing Club, and this is going to be a submission entry for one of the writing prompts.  To be perfectly honest with you, I find it a little disturbing that it’s rather easy for me to write something using a prompt, but the subject of the original story hasn’t revealed itself to me yet.  Vagueness, thy name is… well, you know what my name is, or at least some of you do.

I used to want to write a historical fiction novel, but lately got very intimidated by the  Outlander saga.  So much research!  Where do I find the time?  I would have to get right all of the period details, the accents, the food, the clothes…  not to mention to have a compelling story line… OK, not historical fiction, then.  I don’t like sci fi, so that particular genre is not for me by default.  Maybe not mystery either, since I don’t know enough about detective work.  Unless, of course,  I would be able to write a historical mystery like Umberto Eco or Orhan Pamuk, which, of course, is safe to say, will never happen.  I love both of these writers, but what they do with words and ideas is way out of my league.  Talking about intimidation!  These two can put a lid on my fragile resolve by simply being present on my book shelf.  However, The Daughter of Time is written in a different vein, but is a historical mystery nevertheless.  Hmm, I might think about that one.  OK, let’s continue inventory.  Comedy?  I don’t think so.  Romance?  Not a chance.  Drama, maybe?  Who knows.  Definitely not the non-fiction.  I am fed up with dystopian novels.  Could be fantasy, though… Or mythopoeia… You bet I can’t pronounce that one, but as long as I can spell it, it works. How will I ever chose?

The story I am writing right now would probably fit into ‘realistic fiction’ genre.  The writing prompt was: write a fictional story based off of a story one of your grandparents has told you.  This assignment somehow spoke to me.  I thought about my grandmother, who told me exactly 10 stories about her childhood and adult life, and I think I remember all ten of them.  She wasn’t a great storyteller, she was a science person, so when she chose to tell me something, it had to be something special.  So, without further ado, I present to you the first couple of paragraphs of my very first story.  Let me know what you think!

Perla (working title)

 Her overjoyed parents named her Perla, and there never had been a better match between the name and its bearer, for her skin had the creamy color and the rosy undertone one customary sees in a mother-of-pearl.   She was the source of almost hysterical joy for her mother, tiny Rochl of the troubled eyes; and unabashed adoration for her father, the imposing Meyer, whose corpulent figure could be found making nuisance of himself in the nursery at least 10 times a day.  She was the only living child of Meyer and Rochl Litvak, and her five early departed and fiercely mourned siblings were probably annoying the Almighty every blessed day with their incessant pleas for her health and happiness.  Meyer owned the biggest clothing store in Odessa on the prestigious Deribasovskaya Street, and as such was in the perfect position to shower his precious daughter with the most luxurious layette that could be purchased for money in the year of our Lord 1898.  The elderly grandparents, numerous aunts, uncles and cousins, in short, the crème de la crème of Odessa, were bringing their good wishes along with the mounds of toys and tchotchkes to the sprawling Litvak house in a steady stream for days; and every little trinket was properly cataloged and stored in a safe place, waiting for the time when the baby would surely have the need of it.  It was a huge blow, therefore, when a few months after the happy occasion the family realized that Perla couldn’t hear anything but the most obnoxious noises.

At first poor Rochl was so devastated, that she even voiced an opinion that cast a huge doubt on Adonai’s involvement in the lives of his chosen people, because if He did care about them, He surely couldn’t have punished her so cruelly for the sins she’d never committed.  She was promptly severely reprimanded by Meyer’s minatory stare and the choir of scandalized relatives.  Who was she, after all, to question His will?  Out Lord, obviously, was trying to test the family’s resolve and devotion to Him in these trying times, and so they, the family, had no other choice, but to accept the gift and the accompanying challenge with gratitude and submission.  After all, Perla was a woman, and a silent wife might mean a happier husband in the long run.  Assuming there would be a husband, of course. 

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4 thoughts on “First Story

  1. Glad to have found your blog as well! I will let you know about Durrell’s book. I had to choose last night: begin Jane Eyre or Justine. I should have gone with the latter. Two girls could not have been SO differrent. I tried to comment on your CC reading list ..but could not find the link ‘comment’. You have some great titles …I would like to borrow! I read Ulysses by Joyce…even went to Dublin and saw the house/museum in his honor. The book left me in a daze b/c I was/am not capable of fathoming Joyce’s depth. I did read (see blog) The Dubliners and loved it. Must stop, time to ‘cheer’ Jane Eyre up a bit….if that is possible! (Me: ex pat – US moved to The Netherlands….never looked back!)

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    • Thanks N@ncy! I fixed the comments on the Reading list. I went to Dublin this summer and did the Bloom walk, feeling guilty all the while for not having read Ulysses. I am sure I’ll do it this time. Oh, yes, the difference between Jane Eyre and Justine is about as big as between the writers who created them. But don’t worry, Lawrence Durrell will wait. I am sure you will love him. He has an amazing writing style, so rich and luscious, you can almost taste it. He said that DHL was his biggest influence, and it shows…

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      • I did the Bloom Walk and even took a bus tour down the coast under Dublin and in passing…saw the place mentioned in Ulysses. If I ever get the energy to ‘research the book a bit more’ I may give JJ another try! Plodding along with Jane Eyre…I’m not a fan of the book yet (call me crazy)…but that can change.

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  2. Well, I think the book did not age well. I am sure there is something to be said about plain honest women of moderate abilities, who do everything right, study hard, and eventually meet the man of their dreams, but in this day and age, this just doesn’t speak to us anymore. I remember reading Jane Eyre when I was in college, and I liked it very much at the time. Not sure I will like it as much in 21st century. Have you read My Name is Red, by the way? I am really enjoying it now…

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