I'm at the point where I'm working on two books at once. It seemed like an impossible task to my sleep-deprived brain when I first decided to do that, but I'm finding that going back and forth between books is kinda fun. Of course, my second book is only at the outline stage...I'm saving the actual writing for the NaNoWriMo kick-off on November 1st!
But having two books, two sets of characters, and two time frames going at once has been interesting. I can enjoy the story of Leah and her Amish ways, and then dip right into the turbulent and quirky world of Annie Thomas. Ahhh...I forgot to introduce Annie and her story to you.
Annie Thomas is a girl on the edge of womanhood. And she's growing up during America's most troubled years. Her story takes place between the summers of 1966 and 1968. The working title of this book is "The Powerful Odor of Mendacity", and yes, it's based on a short story I wrote for the Faithwriters Writing Challenge a few months ago. I loved the character in that story, and with encouragement from Jan Ackerson, I decided to expand Annie's tale into a full-sized book. I'm so excited to get to meet her again! (Annie that is...I'd be happy to meet Jan again, too, but...well...you know what I mean.)
I won't say that Annie is me, but she's got a lot of my personality in her, and she's got spunk. I hope you'll enjoy getting to know Annie as I tell her story, and I promise to add a few excerpts on here from time to time.
So--I'm excited to soon be writing again, and excited to get going with NaNoWriMo, too. I hope to hop on here a couple of times in November to let you know how the whole crazy NaNo thing is going.
Here's the short story of Annie I wrote for the Writing Challenge. I hope you enjoy the read.
The Powerful Odor of Mendacity
©by Dee Yoder
One morning, Kinsey and Peach took me downtown. My sister and her friend never went anywhere with me, so right away I was wondering what was up. We rode the bus to the Square and hopped off at Reed’s Department Store. The sun was shining so brightly, I got an instant headache, and my headband made it worse. It was stabbing into my scalp with its tiny teeth like I had a hungry piranha stuck up there.
At the store, Mr. Rivers swung open the door and held it as Peach sashayed through like she was Princess Grace. I mumbled my thanks and followed them inside.
“Hey, Peach, look at that,” Kinsey pointed at a skinny mannequin. “Pink from head to toe!”
“Law, Kinsey, I saw a girl wearing that same outfit on American Bandstand last week!”
They giggled. I rolled my eyes. Man! I could have been down at the creek with David and Royce Withers catching crawdads and, instead, here I was, burning daylight with these two goofs.
"C’mon, you guys. Why’d I have to come? Let’s go get what we came for.”
“Stop whining, Annie. Heaven knows we wouldn’t have brought you if Mom wasn’t sick.”
“Why’d Mom want me to come with you two turds anyway?” I asked.
“Ugh! You’re so disgusting!” Peach flipped her hair and swayed her skinny hips off toward the Lingerie Department.
My sister looked at me like she was staring at an ugly bug. I couldn’t help but be impressed by the way she could curl her lip up so far. “Come on,” she finally sighed. She led the way to Peach, who was fingering a pink, lacy slip.
“Do you see them?” asked Kinsey.
“What?” Peach answered dreamily. She acted like she was in love with that slip.
“You know, them. It.”
Peach met Kinsey’s eyes, and they looked at me and smirked. My headache started beating my brains out. Uh oh.
“There’s a powerful odor of mendacity in this room!” I shouted.
“Shh! You weirdo! Don’t yell like that!" My sister smacked at my arm, and then narrowed her eyes. "What’d you say?”
“Shut UP” Kinsey whispered between clinched teeth. She pulled me over into the aisle with the brassieres. At least, that’s what the sign said: PLATEX BRASSIERES 20% OFF.
Peach strolled over and said, “You just like to use big words because you think it makes you look smart. I bet you don’t even know what that means. Where’d you even hear a word like that?”
“Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.”
Peach raised her eyebrows to Kinsey and said, “Law, law.”
My sister put on her snotty, hoity-toity face. “ Mom would never let you watch a movie like that! Where’d you see such a thing?”
“The Withers and me hid in the bushes over at the Twi-Light Drive-In”
“I’m telling Mom!”
“Like I care.”
I started back toward the front of the store, but Kinsey pulled me to a stop. She and Peach circled me like two ranch hands trying to rope a mustang.
The next thing I knew, they were holding up one of those BRASSIERES and trying to measure the stupid thing against my chest! My head swam, my cheeks turned hot as coals, and I started fighting them off with both fists.
I heard a confusing mix of voices as Kinsey and Peach tugged and wrapped those awful bands around me, until finally, they stopped, exhausted.
“We’re getting this one,” said Kinsey with tightly pursed lips.
I watched as the two girls hurried to the counter and paid for that thing. Kinsey motioned for me to follow and we left the store and got back on the bus. Shame melted me to the seat. The bag carrying the monster underwear seemed to me like it was pulsating.
“Mom, we’re home!” Kinsey threw the bag on the chair, and she and Peach took off upstairs.
She turned once and gave me a look of near pity. I shuffled into the den, where Mom was lying on the sofa. She opened her arms, and I knelt into them, face hidden.
“I’m sorry I couldn’t go, honey,” Mom said.
“It was awful!” I cried. I could feel her stroking my hair.
“Annie, everybody has to grow up. It’s the way God planned it.” She leaned over and whispered in my ear, “The Bible says, ‘I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.’* Someday, you’ll know God did a beautiful job making you into a lovely young woman.”
“I’ll never wear it! Never! ” I said fiercely. Mom just smiled and kept stroking.
*Psalm 139:14 (NIV)