Friday, February 12, 2010

Katie's Six for #fridayflash

When I began this writing journey, I discovered Six Sentences, and editor Rob McEvily was very good to me. One of my shining moments was creating and seeing my first 6x6 (six stories compiled together as a virtual book) at the site. To view the original posting, as Rob designed it (it looks so cool!) follow the link:

I offer you for this week's friday flash:


(Katie’s Six/One)

White/gray, white/gray, white/gray. The dotted line on the highway mesmerized as Katie pressed her forehead against the cool window. Drops of rain plastered her hair against her scalp--mom’s cigarette smoke pooled into a cloud near, but never escaped through the crack. A passing sign’s letters spelled WELCOME, but Katie doubted they’d stop in this state long enough to find out if it were true. Mom mumbled it wasn’t far enough. Maybe in the next place, the boogie man wouldn’t find and hide inside mom’s boyfriend.

(Katie’s Six/Two)

“Hey baby, we’re here.” Katie yawned, rubbed her eyes and saw her mom’s tears and a ‘v can y’ sign blinking behind her mother’s bent form. “Come on, little angel, get your backpack.” Katie stepped out of the car and into a puddle, the dirty water cold and squishy inside her thin sneakers. A thick rope clanked against the flagpole, striking a rhythm that signaled the rain to attack. She wanted mom to carry her, but mom had already disappeared in the dark room behind the dented door marked with the crooked six.

(Katie’s Six/Three)

“Spongebob is yellow.” Katie knew that. It took almost twenty minutes and digging through three plastic buckets before she found the broken crayon. She didn’t care what color everyone else used. Tonya-with-an-‘O’, could use the sunshine yellow crayon, and the burnt sienna, and the carnation pink, and the pine green, and any and every other crayon, except one. Because, despite all the colorful names in the world, Katie knew--truth was grey.

(Katie’s Six/Four)

Katie liked the song but pressed her lips tight together, even though the bus driver hummed along and winked at her in the slanted giant mirror. The bus driver wore a sleeveless shirt. Birds’ nests filled the space under the woman’s arms, but Katie never spied a canary, or a nightingale, or even a parakeet. No, birds couldn’t live under arms. Sometimes, they lived in cages, but only if they didn’t sing. The boogie man snapped the necks of canaries that sing.

(Katie’s Six/Five)

Katie poked her straw into the thin membrane and imagined she broke the juice box’s head. She wished she could poke a hole in another head. She stared at her plate and counted. Fourteen peas. Eighteen macaroni elbows. Four mommy screams… and one more boogie man.

(Katie’s Six/Six)

A cold breeze woke Katie. A moon beam shone on the backpack. Katie pulled on her sweatshirt and slipped on her sneakers. Mom threw the backpack out the open window and then climbed over the sill. Katie leaned into the night and let her mom pull her close. She wrapped her arms around mom’s neck, laid her head on her mom’s shoulder and hummed a tuneless song.


Marisa Birns said...

Went to have a look. It does look cool!

Your Katie's Six was so wonderfully written.

Such a young girl to have to learn that life includes boogie men.

Laura Eno said...

Beautifully written. You bring the grayness to the front, hopelessness, no end in sight.

theothersideofdeanna said...

Very vivid and wonderfully written story Peggy. I especially like 'Coloring'. Such intense descriptions throughout. Fabulous work!

Sulci Collective said...

I love the form and voice of this. Outstanding work. Every aspect and detail of it right in tune and on pitch. Brilliant

Marc Nash

Maria A. Kelly said...

Great story. I love how you made it into short chapters. Stunning in it's stark essence of tragedy. Beautiful and sad.

Reverend Bayn said...

Excellent work. I loved this line, "Because, despite all the colorful names in the world, Katie knew--truth was grey," but I had to read it a few times. Would it work without the preposition? I'm not sure what was tripping me up.

shannon said...

The little details you color this story with really bring it to life...the broken crayons, the squishy shoe, the ill-fated canary. Love these snapshots of a broken life. Well done!

John Wiswell said...

These are sweet, Peggy. I'm glad you've kept at writing since these, too. Everyone you've touched is better for it.

Linda said...

I remember this from long ago. It moves me now as it did then. Especially the fifth 'stanza'. Woven beautifully. Peace...

Heather Lloyd said...

Katie's Six conveys powerful images and a strongly realised character within six sentence snippets. I particularly liked the first three extracts.

quin browne said...

i felt this was one of the most powerful pieces of writing i'd ever seen when i first read it on six.

it keeps that place in my list of works i've read in my life.

Cascade Lily said...

Wow. I just got home from seeing The Road. It was gray and bleak too. Nicely done Peggy

Draco Torre said...

Great colors. An interesting form. Glad you shared these and the link.
-David G Shrock

David Masters said...

Evocative and melancholy. I feel for Katie.

mazzz_in_Leeds said...

Yowser. Bit heavy for a sunday morning!
The singing canary was particularly poignant for me. Poor Katie :-(

CJ Hodges MacFarlane said...

I really like the set-up of this. The only place that slowed me down was the "truth was grey" bit, seemed much to mature for a little girl who is coloring pictures of Spongebob. Then I read the comments and saw someone else got tripped up there too... maybe it is just some sentence structure or something I can't put my finger on.
Regardless, this is exceptional.

ThomG said...

One of the best works on all of 6S. I remember when Rob put up the 6X6 and I thought, "who is this person and where did she come from?" Glad to have had Quin introduce us.

G.P. Ching said...

I have never tried this type of structure but I am completely intrigued now. Very effective story. Thanks for introducing me to this.

Sepiru Chris said...

Dear Peg,


Short, sweet, and terse.

(Not you--my comment. Or at least my initial one ["Wow."]. I have not idea if you are short or tall, but that certainly seems relevant. Your story crafting skills are mighty. Further, these six are not sweet, but, man, are they savoury.)

And I really like the book format, too, that that website did for you, or, more correctly, for your submission.

On the subject of gray, which you spun out in your sextet, I might direct you back to my second 3WW submission of the week. At least the image was grey, and you might like the words better.

And, on that note, I was delighted to read your comment; honesty and candour beat meaningless snippets any and every day of the week.

And, you might like my retake of lucid if you go to my 3WW reprise (hint, hint--it is a new submission on a new post).

Finally, I have missed visiting your, and other sites, too. I was on a slightly involuntary hiatus. My bogeyman, who happens to be more medical, made a reappearance. He is beaten back, though, again, so I can visit.

And I was traveling a lot in China where I just cannot access any sites. The joys of globalism.

Anyway, I ought to stop here.

Thank goodness that I know that you will keep writing and providing such wonderful words, if chilling, sometimes, for the rest of us.


Kevin Michaels said...

Loved this then - love it now. A vivid and well written six that really cut inside me. In six great sixes you told such a raw, poignant story of Katie that stuck with me for a long time.

Eric J. Krause said...

Such excellent details in this piece. Very sad for a girl so young to have to learn such life lessons. Good story!