HEAR NO EVIL

4 years ago
This article was written by a member of the SheKnows Community. It has not been edited, vetted or reviewed by our editorial staff, and any opinions expressed herein are the writer’s own.

I’m in Target, with hordes of shoppers, when I overhear yet another cell phone conversation.  The teenager in the next aisle begins to talk Louder.  And Higher.  And Faster.  Every few words are punctuated with Nope-No Way-Not Happenin’-That’s So Lame.  Oh, and the ever-so-demure I Don’t Give A Rat’s @## !

Seems this sweet young thing is a bridesmaid and her Bridezilla is demanding the unthinkable.

“I DON’T CARE, I WILL NOT WALK DOWN THE AISLE WITH YOUR DAMN DOG!”

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I’m told that it’s not unusual to have a dog in the wedding party these days. WP Blogger Krista suggests it’s ideal fodder for a post/story. She’s probably right. But as it stands, this ‘story’ is just an anecdote, something to tell at parties or in waiting rooms full of strangers talking on their cell phones. To become a full-fledged story, it needs characters, motivation, and specific details ~ and that’s just for starters.  Jane Yolen says that anecdotes are not fiction by themselves. They need the sandpaper touch of art.

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Jean Parker Shepard knew that.  He sandpapered a ton of anecdotes from his childhood and artfully polished them into my favorite holiday flick, A Christmas Story. And my all-time favorite Christmas Broadway play of the same name.  I love it ~ a young boy’s longing for a Daisy Red Ryder 200 Shot Carbine Action BB Air Rifle…

You’ll poke your eye out, Ralphie!

Shepard combined fact and fiction with skill. The childhood friends in his stories were people he claimed to have invented, yet high school yearbooks show that many of them did exist. Shepherd always referred to his father as “my old man.” And, in the movie, the distinctive voice of the narrator — the grown-up Ralphie — is none other than the story’s author, Jean Shepherd.

Jane Yolen and Jean Shepard ~  stories just leak out of their fingertips.  I’m thinking the lesson here is to be on the lookout for that ordinary stuff that shows up while you lead your ordinary life.

What happens next, Bridesmaids?

If/when you help me answer that question, I might just find my story.

Toni  12/3/13

 

 

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