Friday, January 22, 2010

Let's Write Together

The idea, this somewhat superfluous idea, just came to me...

What if we wrote something together?

I'll start us off here, in this post, and each commenter leaves the next little bit. You'll have to read all the comments before your own, to know what's happened, to gauge where to go next. I know that asks a lot of your time. But if you're game...

Voice may vary, direction may change. No worry if you're not a writer; it's open to all. You can even come back more than once, as long as you allow others between your posts. Let's see how cohesive we can keep it. Or, if a whole piece wants to unfold for you, write it all and post on your own blog. I'm cool with that, too.

Wouldn't it be fun? And won't it be a great way to spark creativity?

I'll post the story we've written in its entirety next week (or links to your own, if that's what you choose). Let's say a few sentences to a paragraph or so each? Take a little room to play.

Here's our beginning:

Small. That's only a start to describing the café, like an abandoned shoe box, ugly exterior, dilapidated corners. Still, my choices were slim, and my stomach hungered, so I sluiced through a puddle and parked at the lot edge. Told myself, Some of these places are gold mines, food so good, you forget where you're eating it. Maybe this was one such place.

I shoved off regret as I pushed through the inferior door, pushed through the urge to turn and go. A woman spied me then, too soon, before I could second-guess for good. No matter I couldn't tell her place--server? another diner?--as she flumped to a table with a bowl of beans. My presence had been detected, and I couldn't leave.

43 comments:

Journaling Woman said...

Had she been their before? Why did it look familiar? And why were heads turning her way?

She found a booth and took her seat. Her back could never be against the door. She needed to watch.

Journaling Woman said...

I hate when I use the wrong word. Sorry.

Amy Sue Nathan said...

The women behind the counter whispered as they stared at me. I read the menu, made my choices, and slid the plastic sleeved paper to the edge of the table. The permed and tattooed one rounded her station and walked to the booth. She had drawn the short straw.

"Long time no see," she said, cracking her gum. Her smudged name-tag said 'Cammie.'

I looked from side to side. "I'm sorry," I said. "I've never been here before."

Cammie raised her eyebrows. "Don't worry, Rose. We won't tell anyone you're here."

"My name isn't Rose," I said, being careful not to say what my name was. This place was not a hidden gem. It was a creepy, dirty diner, just like it looked. My lunch would probably be inedible.

"OK, your name isn't Rose and you don't want coffee with extra milk and two sugars, grilled cheese with tomato and a piece of Ella's peach pie."

How did she know?

Tabitha Bird said...

"I'd better go."
I tried to edge past the ample woman.
"Stay Rose. What's the rush? He isn't here you know."

"Um, you have me mistaken with someone else."

Again I tried to leave.

Jen said...

Who was this Rose? And why did they think it was her? Did she truly resemble this poor woman?

the pit in my stomach grew larger, the hunger pains aching. I looked out the window in hopes to find someone normal stop by this little place. The woman didn't seem at all displeased at selection the short straw, then again this Rose person didn't seem to be welcome here. She desperately wanted to leave, but as she inched to slid out of the booth, the woman stood right in her path.

Mumsy said...

"We are all friends, here! Stay a while, and get acquainted, Rose." The woman said.

"No, I'm not Rose. For the last time, I'm not Rose!"

The woman smile with a teasing smirk, "Ok, so you're not Rose. Who would you like to be?"

Janna Qualman said...

Ooh, you guys. This is so cool!

P said...

At that moment, a tall, elegant man walked in, nodded at the girls behind the till and slid into a far booth. I couldn't help but stare at his beautiful, and somehow recognizable, face. He caught my eye...and smiled.

"Rose, you're here...I thought..." He shook his head then got up from the booth to approach me.

"Uh...do I know you? What the hell is going on here?"

Michelle Gregory said...

He stood over me, amusement playing across his face. His brown eyes twinkled, as if they held a secret. His warm hand rested on mine. I should have tucked my hand in my lap, but I couldn't.

For one brief moment, I wished I really were Rose.

JLC said...

He motioned for me to scoot over so he could sit beside me. At first I didn’t want to. He was, after all, a stranger even though he didn’t see it that way.

“You may sit across from me, but I am serious when I say that I am most certainly NOT Rose.”

The gentleman sat and scooted across his seat until he was directly in front of me. Then he leaned in close to stare at my face. At first I thought he was going to kiss me and I pulled back from him, but he didn’t. Instead his eyes reflected confusion and eventually he sat back against his seat.

“No way.” He shook his head. “This is too strange to be a coincidence.” Then he stared at me again before adding, “Has the thought ever occurred to you that, maybe, you might have a twin sister?”

My heart immediately jumped into my throat. I often had dreams of a sister. One who looked exactly like me, but they were just dreams. I was an only child, or at least, I thought I was.

Janna Qualman said...

*claps wildly* I love our story!

Jen said...

*laughs* I would have to agree! What a fun idea! I'm glad I participated!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Delightful story. I hope someone finishes it. I want to know if Rose is the long-lost twin.

Blessings,
Susan :)

septembermom said...

My mind can't process this possibility right now. I can feel the anxiety grabbing hold of every inch of me as my heart is like a locomotive in my chest. This is not the time for a discovery or a reunion. It has only been 4 months since George's accident. I sleepwalk through my days.

"Miss, are you okay? Do you need a glass of water?"

"I'm not sure how I feel right now."

"Let me tell you about Rose." I looked up and knew that I had to hear the story. No hiding now.

Sharla said...

My earlier hunger was replaced with nausea, but my mouth was suddenly dry. Cammie darted a glance at me as she passed and as I held out a hand, she flinched to avoid it. I pulled it back.

"Um, I just wanted some iced tea, please?"

Cammie nodded and sent a concerned look to the man sitting with me before she headed off to get my tea. What on earth had I walked into? And what the hell had Rose done to these people to elicit such a reaction? I looked into the man's eyes.

"Go ahead."

She Writes said...

"Come on, Rose," he said. "We know each other a little to too well for games, don't you think?"

He did look familiar in a vague sense of the word. Something about his eyes, the way his mouth turned up slightly more on the left than then right when he spoke, but still I couldn't place him.

"Listen, I am not Rose. I have no idea who any of you people are. I stopped in to get a bite to eat, against my better judgement. How about we start this conversation with you telling me who you are? Or better yet, how about I find another place to eat?"

He laughed, "Wow, you really are good. Okay, I'll play along. But first, what do you want me to call you?"

JOY said...

I gulped. I didn't want to tell him my real name. He'll never believe it. Yet I wasn't sure either if I wanted to make one up. I wasn't the type to lie or even pretend. I was just too honest.

I looked over the crowd in the restaurant trying to avoid answering his question.

Cammie brought my iced tea with her abrasive flounce, the glass clunking on the table. I gratefully gulped several sips.

Be brave, I said to myself. Pull up that courage. Go ahead and answer him. Tell him who you are.

I took in a deep breath and said, "Well, I don't even know your name but I might as well tell you mine You'll never believe it."

Michelle Gregory said...

ahh...!! now i'm dying to know what happens!

Sharla said...

**clapping clapping clapping!**

patti said...

Ooh, I wrote vicariously through your great bloggites!

This really is amazing, Janna!
Can't wait to see where it ends. Do we visit the different blogs?

P.S. Sara and Tiffany, two critique partners, just wrote a novel like this. One wrote the female POV, then "passed" it over to the next, who wrote the male POV. It is a brilliant novel!!!

Patti

Janna Qualman said...

Hey, Patti! I was thinking next week, when I post the final story, I'll link to all the contributors' blogs. So hang tight! ;)

VirtualWordsmith said...

"My name is Peony, if you must know. My mother always said that the "poor man's rose" smelled more lovely and was more beautiful."

The man raised an eyebrow, and said "Peony, huh? How convenient."

Kristi Faith said...

Fear gripped me as his eyes roamed over my heavily clad body. A girl could never wear too many clothes in this kind of weather.

"I knew I shouldn't have told you."
The man looked more amused. "Peony. Who are your parents? Their names?"

Journaling Woman said...

I am in love with this story!!!I am on the edge of my seat.

Jessica said...

Oh my gosh! What an awesome idea. I want to play but hubby is waiting for me. I'll check back tomorrow!

You're brilliant. :-)

Karen said...

"No way, I've told you plenty, now it's your turn. Tell me more about this Rose. Is she from here, and where did she go?"

"Yes, she grew up here, but..."

I raised my head and looked into the eyes that suddenly glazed over and a frown creased his forehead. I noticed his manicured fingernails as they drummed the table.

Silicon Valley Diva said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Silicon Valley Diva said...

I caught the flicker of gold from his wedding ring; he caught me looking and a smug smile spread across his face.

“Peony. Peony.” He kept repeating the name, like he was getting used to it. "Maybe it doesn't matter anymore."

My pulse jumped out of my skin. I reached over to grab my glass.

“Don’t!” Before I could take a sip, he snatched it out of my hand, spewing ice tea all down my front. “Don’t take another sip.”

Ignoring the sharp chill of liquid hitting my body, I shot up out of my chair. People were looking. I didn’t care. Disgust and anger had eradicated my fear.

This was getting ridiculous.

“Just who are you?” I motioned to Cammie who was now cowering behind the bar, “this place? And who in the hell is this Rose?”

I stood looking at him. But before he could answer, a woman walked through the front door.

She was carrying a gun.

P said...

**I eagerly woke up this morning to see what happened next and received this horoscope in my inbox:
Hi Paula! Here is your Daily Horoscope for Saturday, January 23

You might suffer from a case of mistaken identity -- and you could be on either end of the mix-up! It's a good time to practice your gracious exits as you figure out who is really who.

lol so weird!**

P said...

The woman's eyes scanned the restaurant and immediately locked on mine. I froze. A small smile flashed across her face. She approached the table and placed a hand on the man's shoulder.
"Eric, I'll take it from here. Rose Buckingham, you've been a hard girl to find. I need you to come with me"
Fear traveled down my spine. "What? No way. I'm not going anywhere with you"
"Rose, let's not cause a scene. We can do this my way, or the hard way. I suggest my way" The woman took hold of my arm and led me towards the door....and a waiting police car. It was then I noticed the flash of her badge inside her coat.
"Um...you've got the wrong girl. I'm not Rose, I'm Peony!" I started to panic and glanced back at the man still sitting at the booth. He smiled and lifted a hand in a wave.
"See you soon Rose..."

Janna Qualman said...

P, your horoscope is highly entertaining!

So thrilled with the details and twists of this story. Keep it coming, guys! We've got to figure out what happens to poor Peony. :)

Sharla said...

(can we play more than once?)

Journaling Woman said...

Peony was put in the backseat of the cop car. She looked down at her purse. She needed to get to her cell phone, but who would she call? There was no one.

The officer slid into the driver's seat and adjusted her mirror to look at Peony. "You can thank me later for getting you out of there."

Peony's eyes grew wide.

Kristi Faith said...

At this point it only seemed fitting that I keep my mouth shut. My heart pounded, begging to be released from it's bony cage. My breath came in short gasps and I briefly wondered if this was it. The culmination of my years ending with an ill timed visit to a diner?

"Preposterous," I told myself.

"That's what I've been thinking, too, Rose. What should we do about it?" The cop in the front held my eyes in her rear view.

Michelle Gregory said...

George will know what to do, I thought.

Reality crashed into my head. George was dead. I would never see his smile again. I would never be able to laugh at his bad jokes or hit him when he teased me.

My throat felt like it would squeeze shut and never open. George would never be able to help me. I was on my own, just like before.

Jill said...

I concentrated on my breathing. In. Out. In. Out. This day had gone from odd to downright bizarre.

"Where are you taking me? What is it you think I did?"

I was going to have to gather my wits and sort this out, without George.

Amy Sue Nathan said...

I was such an idiot.

"Do you want to see my driver's license? That will prove I'm not Rose."

"Sure, but fakes are a dime a dozen around here. You know that."

She shook her head like I was an idiot for pretending not to know about counterfeit IDs.

I dug in my purse, pulled out my wallet, fumbled with the stupid clip, flipped open the small leather folder and held it out. She took it.

"Nice," she said. "This is a pricey wallet."

"Look at the license."

She did. She looked at it, at me, at it, at me, folded and clipped the wallet and handed it back to me.

"That's a really good fake," she said. "Must've cost you a bundle."

Deb Shucka said...

This was going from bad to worse. I had to think of something - and fast. I thought about running, but there were no handles on the back seat doors of the cop car. I considered giving in to the sobs choking my throat. Maybe she'd be the sympathetic type. No. That dubious eyebrow and her belief that my perfectly good ID is fake were a hand I wasn't willing to play against.

But there was one possible way to convince her I was telling the truth.

"I'm not lying and I can prove it."

"Funny, Rose. There's nothing in the world you can say or show me that will help you out of this scrape."

"I want you to look at my left hip. Just do that for me, and you'll know for sure what a mistake all this is."

Janna Qualman said...

Oh my gosh! Guess what? The Jill a few posts above is my sister! How cool is that?!

I have a couple other 'Jill' followers, and was so surprised and excited when I followed the link and saw my sister's face!

*is sheepish for not noticing sooner*

Jill Maxwell said...

Tried to make it obvious it was me with my profile pic, but for some reason it didn't come through. I'm hoping I have it figured out now.

Janna Qualman said...

There! I see you ^ now. And it helps that you added your last name. ;)

She Writes said...

What fun this was! Brilliant idea!

Janna Qualman said...

GREAT job, everyone!

I hope this stops no one short, but I'm going to cut the comments off here.

I think this is a great place to start stitching up the story--without any new twists or turns, though they've been awesome--and I'll do that in the next couple days.

Watch for our completed story next week!

How, oh how, will it end? BUH Buh buh...