Friday, September 21, 2007
Bear With Me
We will just call this an experiment...for all involved. Especially me! I hope you like it....
I'm very new at this. I love it so far. It is a great outlet for me. However, I may be getting a bit tied up in the 'numbers.'
This is a new article of mine. A short story. It is very important to me, as I originally wrote it as a gift for my father. He's an artist, and I wanted to write a children's book so he could illustrate it. He chose to illustrate it with a wooden puzzle, so the project sort of ended there.
I recently pulled it out again. It's not doing too well in the ratings. Actually, it hasn't moved at all sense I posted it!
I was hoping you could give me some constructive criticism. So, what do you think? here it is:
A CURIOUS LITTLE TALE
I am George Osmond Tiswell III, and I know better. Better than any other 8 year old boy in my class what it means to be the third Tiswell. It means that I must hold up a certain standard of excellence. I am excellent. I can read, converse, and ponder well beyond my years. But, more important than that, I am a world class sourpuss, a top of the line grouch. I can frown bigger and longer than my father. I know I've timed it.
Of course, he knows absolutely nothing about this little competition. He would be absolutely put out if he knew that I had looked at him for that huge of an amount of time all at once. Three minutes and forty-five seconds to be exact. He was reading the paper grouching over the stock market, and I was sitting on the stairs refusing to put on my shoes. He only lasted for three minutes with his frowning before he guffawed over something wonderful some other suit had to say about the state of our blasted economy. I, meanwhile, went on frowning for forty-five more seconds before Martha came in and put the blasted shoes on for me.
Yes, he would be put out if he knew I was watching him. You see, we have rules, guidelines to follow in this household. I see my father for exactly two minutes and ten seconds a day. The ten seconds I sort of steel as he's walking out to the car in the morning. One minute I get as he asks me at 7 pm everyday if I'm being good, minding Martha, and studying hard. And, the other minute I get at 7 am everyday as he, my mother and I commune in the vestibule for our daily goodbyes. I'm convinced he's hoping for a publicity shot again. Boy that looked good for him! The loving family man, and top London corporate banker.
Anyhow, he knows nothing about it; the frowning contest. It is my little secret, and I'll never tell. Anyhow, no fears from you, I'm not raising myself. Martha does that, and I despise her the most. She has dubbed me Lord Sourpuss and Grouchy George. She makes me do many dreadful things, such as; homework, eat my beats, brush my teeth, wash behind my ears, and get up out from under the covers and into my blasted cold room every morning at 6 o'clock. She wakes me by marching in, turning on a light and saying, "Up Sourpuss, the sun has risen and so must you." She then snaps open my window shades as if to prove that the sun indeed continues to raise itself each morning. She truly is quite low minded. As if!
One Thursday morning I lay scrunched into my bed when one eye happened to pop open, and much to my dismay I noticed some light shining underneath my window shades. I was very put out. I was not at all ready to brave the cold of the world, nor another one of Martha's brilliant scientific experiments. So I scrunched my eyes up and tried to wish the light away. But of course, I know better. I'm brighter than that, I knew it was hopeless. So, I braced myself for the inevitable. I scrunched myself into a tight warm ball, and filled my whole self up with the anger of impending doom. The Sourpuss' day would begin. But, nothing happened.
Finally out of sheer curiosity I climbed out of bed to peep out the window. But of course, there were no clues for me out there. So, I hopped back in bed, expecting the worst. But, still nothing happened. I began to think that maybe the sun chose to rise at the wrong time, but of course, I know better. And then, low and behold, my father came into the room, and he wasn't frowning. I was really put out, and I wanted to throw a tantrum, but of course I didn't. I was too curious. If it had been Martha, instead of my father, I would have thrown the biggest tantrum of my life. But, it wasn't. So, I just stared at him in wonder. He said, "Good morning George, would you like to go out on an excursion with me today?" Well now I was dumbfounded and thoroughly confused, so I silently arose. Popped open the window shades myself. Dressed myself and went downstairs.
The house was strangely still, there were no servants anywhere. My father was waiting in the vestibule, so we just went on outside. He said he'd already packed the car. When I got outside, I noticed that there was no driver. I figured we'd have to wait for Reginald, and I was extremely put out. But, my father got in the driver's seat, and said I could get in beside him. Well, I had never ridden in the passenger seat before, so that was kind of cool. But, I didn't know if my father knew how to drive or not. I was a little concerned. But, he did. And, before I knew it, we were on the road heading towards the country. Yuck!
Finally we arrived at a sort of park, and my father got out of the car and unloaded a picnic lunch, a baseball and two gloves. We Tiswell's are really not very sporty. We attempted throwing the ball for awhile, but it really didn't work out. So, we sat down to eat. I wasn't very hungry, so I just picked at my food and practiced my frowning. It was cold chicken anyway, I hate cold meats.
And then, my father decided to talk. He said, "Son, I guess I need to tell you the story." I thought to myself, "What story?" But, I didn't object out loud. I just sat there scrunching up my face, but only on the left side. It's an exercise I do when I'm bored.
So, my father began, "Well, George, son, yesterday Byron came into the office after his lunch break smiling like a Cheshire cat as usual." Byron is my father's younger brother. My father employs him, even though they don't get along very well. Byron and his family are a bunch of sunny do-gooders. I despise them the most.
My father continued, "So, being Wednesday, Byron asked me if I wanted to go to the church service at 7 pm with him, Sharon and the children. And, well, I said, 'No, like everyday I intend to spend my time earning a living instead of wasting it over silly games like church services.' Well, Byron said, 'Okay big brother, I just have to ask. I'm hoping that one day you'll join me.' I just grunted and went back to work."
"Byron turned and headed out the door, but then he turned back and said, 'George, I was reading my Bible this morning, and I thought of you.' I grunted, and said, 'Of course you did, now scram.' But he continued, 'There was a verse in Revelation, it said, 'But I have somewhat against thee, because you have forgotten your first true love.' I retorted, 'No I haven't, Bridget is at home. Now, scram Byron. I have to work, to support her and George III.'"
"So he left. But, the verse was stuck in my head. I couldn't push aside the thought of my fist love. Try as I might, I just couldn't do it. I finally gave up hope on working for the day and headed home, with my first love still in my head. Not your mom, but Jesus."
"You see, I grew up very much like Byron. Our family loved God very much, and counted on Him for everything, even support for my father's business; the bank. When Father died, I was angry, and then, when Mother followed suit, I was furious. I quit believing in God. I was convinced that He didn't love me, because if He did, He wouldn't have taken my mother and father away from me."
"I began to work feverishly to keep the bank up and running, and it thrived on my own steam. I was convinced that I didn't need God's help. I was convinced that I could succeed, and even get richer by simply working hard. So, that's what I did. I worked day and night, and I quickly lost sight of the person I had been before. I forgot about the thing that is most important in the world; love."
"So, when I got home last night, I searched out my old Bible. When I finally found it, it seemed to open itself to a page in Jeremiah. There was a verse that I had underlined years ago, in my old life. I read it. It was Jeremiah 31:13. It said, 'The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.'"
"Well son, when I read that verse, I started crying. I remembered that love, and I wanted it back. The good news was that I knew I could get it back, but some things would have to change. Starting with you, well you and me. That's why I brought you here. I wanted to tell you about love, and to tell you that I love you son."
Well this whole time I was picking at the grass and staring at my father's face, and I really just didn't recognize him. I was very put out by this, and the fact that the sun was in my eyes forcing me to squint. I just sat there ripping up blades of grass. I thought of Martha, and how she would tell me to "quit terrorizing the blessed grass." As if the grass had feelings of its own. Martha and her scientific ideas!
Then I remembered she had not woken me up on time this morning and I was very put out. I despise her the most. My father interrupted my internal tirade with, "What are you thinking about son?" And well, I couldn't really tell him, so I just sat there. He said, "Well, would you like to play catch some more?" So, I did, even though I'm really no good at catching and am even worse at throwing. Some might say that I throw like a girl.
All of a sudden I dropped the ball and said, "Father, did you tell Mother about your story? She really should probably know that things are going to change." He said he had told her last night. I was kind of disappointed that he had told her first, so I didn't say anything.
After awhile of attempting to throw the ball around, he said, "Well son, would you like to go home now? We're all going to cook supper together tonight." We never do that. That's what the cooks are for. I was really confused, but I agreed to go home. The trip was still too long, but I was glad to be back in the city.
We did cook that night, but it took forever! We didn't know where to find the pots and pans nor the food. I really knew the most. If it wasn't for me, we all would have probably starved. Anyhow, by the time we sat down to eat I was exhausted, sweaty, and covered with flour and such. The food wasn't half bad. And well, Father kept laughing and telling jokes, and Mother could have lit up all of London with her beaming face. So, I just went with the flow.
Now, Mother wakes me up every morning. She comes into my room, sits on my bed, pats my head and says, "Good morning sunshine! Are you ready for a new day?" I smile and say, "Perhaps." After I'm dressed I go downstairs for breakfast. We did get the cooks back. My parents were hopeless at it themselves. Now, my father always says, "Good morning son, what's on the agenda for today?"
And well, things are just different around the Tiswell household. Completely different. We still do most of the same things, we just do them better. However, I must admit I don't know much about frowning anymore. My muscle memory has forgotten that lovely little novelty. I don't even throw tantrums anymore. Well, Martha's not around to grump to, but even if she was, I don't think I would do it. Sometimes I find myself missing this very special talent, and when I do, I laugh while squinting up at the sun. Then, I give myself a firm but gentle talking to.