Seedlings

I never mean for so much time to pass between posts. But each one comes after a number of false attempts. I click on “new post” and look at the big white void where I’m supposed to form coherent thoughts and…..I log out and do something else. Like catch up on Words with Friends.

Lately, my computer’s been hijacked by Red who is working on her magnum opus entitled Mr. Linden’s Library. She’s really quite talented. Not just for her age (almost ten) but for any age. I’ve read worse from college students. You probably have to. I’m thinking perhaps all her tv watching is paying off. That and her love of comic books – Archie, mainly. Her dialogue, while slightly cliché-ridden (which I’ll give her a pass on because, hey, she’s nine), is snappy; her characters vivid; and her descriptions quite lovely.

Here’s the first chapter. I have left her various errors as-is but have formatted the dialogue to make it easier to read.

One morning, a teenage girl named Betty wanted to get a book on chemistry to help her study for school. So, she got dressed, brushed her hair, brushed her teeth, and went down stairs for breakfast. Her older brother, Steve, came into the kitchen.

‘’Hey, sis, you wanna go shoot some hoops later?’’ Asked Steve, while getting a bowl from the cabinet.

‘’Sorry, but, I’m going to the library this afternoon to get a book on chemistry to help me study for the big test on Monday.’’ Betty said. ‘’Maybe some other time, Steve.’’

‘’Wait, which library?’’ Asked Steve, as he was getting a cup and filling it up with water.

‘’Mr. Linden’s Library, why?’’ Said Betty.

SPA-TOOIE! Steve spit out all the water in mouth, all over the floor.

’’Steve, is something bothering you?’’ Asked Betty, jumping out of her seat. ‘’I’ll get some paper towels to clean up this mess!’’

‘’Betty, you can’t go to that library!’’ Said Steve.

‘’Why not?’’ Asked Betty, while getting three paper towels from the paper towel roll.

‘’That Mr. Linden guy is really creepy!’’ Said Steve, with now wide eyes. ‘’I heard he turned a four year old into stone, just ‘cause he accidently broke one of his pencils!’’

‘’Ooooh, I’m so scared!’’ Betty said, while cleaning up the floor mess.

‘’Betty, I’m not kidding, that guy is bonkers!’’ Steve said, filling his bowl up with cereal.

‘’Sure, sure.’’ Said Betty, while throwing the paper towels away. ‘’I know your just trying to scare me, but, its really not going to work!’’

‘’Betty, you have to believe me, that guy is insane!’’ Said Steve, while tugging on Betty’s arm.

‘’Steve, I’m going to that library!’’ Said Betty, while getting her library card. Betty slammed the door.

‘’I warned her.’’ Said Steve. Betty got in her car and drove away. When she got to the library, she observed what the place looked like. There were faded red letters above the entry doors that said: Mr. Linden’s Library. There were creepy dead trees and crows on them. There were old vines with dead flowers growing on it, along the outside of the building. But Betty wasn’t scared at all. She pushed the entry doors open, they creaked and slammed shut behind her.

She walked in the halls. She looked at the creepy writings on the walls. One said: TURN AROUND AND RUN BACK HOME! Another one said: HE WARNED YOU! She looked and she saw a picture of a girl laying in a bed, with a book in her hand, with plants growing out of the book, and her book was dripping blood on the floor!

Betty paid no attention. She opened the door to where Mr. Linden was. Once again, the door creaked , and creepily shut behind her. She walked up to his desk, and asked ‘’Excuse me, but, do you have a book on chemistry?’’ Asked Betty.

‘’Well, hello, Betty!’’ Said Mr. Linden. ‘’I’ve been expecting you!’’

Gripping, no? She’s written 10 single-spaced pages so far (spoiler: Betty’s thrown in jail for unpaid speeding tickets) and has even more written in her notebooks. She’s slowly transcribing the story from paper to the computer which has meant that any free time I might allow myself to write has been given up to a greater talent. Plus, I can’t seem to get past the blank whiteness of the screen. The story I want to write is still percolating.

In the world beyond writing, I’m simply struggling to keep my bank account propped up. I’ve been forced by circumstances to order a lawn mower with my credit card, something I hate doing but the old mower I pulled out of the shed is dead and even if someone attempts to fix it again, there’s no guarantee it’ll work more than once. The one I’ll pick up tomorrow has an electric motor with a rechargeable battery and has gotten nothing but good reviews so fingers crossed I can have a yard (and there’s a LOT of yard here on the house side of the pasture fences) we can walk across without fear of ticks and snakes hiding in wait.

So, money issue aside, there are some good things on the horizon. Of the things I can talk about, the most important is that I should close on my mortgage refi in less than two weeks. My house appraised for more than expected, the lender is trusting me to make the payments all on my own, and by the end of this month, I’ll be a home owner. Just me. By myself. This is both good and a bit scary.

Another good thing: despite the frosts of the past couple mornings, it is spring. It might not seem like it elsewhere but here in my little Virginia oasis, it’s spring, dammit, and don’t tell me otherwise. I’ve planted seeds that are just beginning to sprout. I’ve extended the garden fencing out four feet to accommodate a row of tomato bags. The transplanted blueberry bushes are blooming and looked quite happy yesterday. I’ll go outside in a bit and make sure that’s still the case. I neglected to cover anything since the plant world is used to sinking or swimming and it’d be different if the lettuce was nearly ready to pick or I’d foolishly planted my summer vegetables. I think the seedlings will be okay.

I think the seedlings of my new life will too. I keep getting hit by frost but it’s gone by mid-day. I will have to be very careful going forward. I’ve paid most of the big things – the summer camps and Dusty’s stained glass class. All the school field trips are paid for and the fund raising sales are over. My car hasn’t had a fourth four-figure repair so, fingers crossed, I can winnow that debt down over the next couple months.

Oh, and there’s a yoga class I’m going to sign up for. Monday nights for two months. Squared it away with ex who will come out and have the kids to himself while I force my body to remember all those poses it used to do with more ease. I’ve been doing exercises for my injured feet and the next logical step is to make the rest of my body less stiff. It’s been way too long. It seems a fitting way to leave winter – this dreadful, long, anxiety-ridden winter – behind.

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