Friday, November 27, 2009

Chapter VI. Watering the Seeds

By Gracie Prior
(In our last story, Jimmy had just come up with a great new story idea for the Scribblers writing group.)
In her pink gingham bedroom with a matching bedspread and canopy, Mary sat on a Chintz covered chair and picked up her diary. She had kept one since about third grade when her teacher, Mrs. Wright, taught the class how to put thoughts and everyday occurrences on paper.
September 1958
Dear Louisa,
I am supposed to meet with Butch, Terry, and Jimmy today for our meeting of the Scribblers Society. When they asked me to join, it was so sudden, so unexpected. Here in front of me are three boys and they want me or at the very least something about me. Jimmy has written a one-act play about a heroine named Congruent, who is wild and free. She lives in the desert and has a secret mission. I think I'm going to like playing her. Her helper is a little Silly and not very smart. Jimmy will probably play the part. It seems like Jimmy. We are going over the script today and blocking our the action. This will be our fall play and then Jimmy wants to see if we can turn the play into a book. I like that idea. We're all getting along so far. Butch McNeil is cute. I think he has a thing for me. Terry Raymond is the cool one, and I don't think he likes girls yet. Too bad. Well, the boys are all friendly and they all love to write, so I am content. I'll sign off now. Your loving Mary.
* * *
Mary entered Butch's house from the back porch. The group sat around the couch. There was one spot left for Mary. Sitting in the corner was a chair and a television console, the only other furniture. Butch's Mom was irioning in the adjoining room. She had a huge pile of laundry and showed no signs of leaving.
Mary, always the bold one, noticed the lack of privacy and asked, "Can't we work in the basement?"
"It's a mess down there. Mom doesn't want us to go down. This is fine."
Mrs. McNeil smiled at them over a huge shirt she was holding up.
Terry began, "Jimmy, it's obvious that you and Mary are the leads in this play. I have typed the scripts for you on Dad's Royal, and you can read them over. I'll coach you, Mary, and Butch can coach Jimmy."
Terry passed out the scripts and Mary and Jimmy looked them over. "What's this about a yummy?" Mary asked. "I don't understand about that."
"I think it is pretty well explained," Jimmy said. "It is simply a fruit of which you are unfamiliar my dear Mary."
"Let's start." Terry said. "Jimmy, you are talking to the horse about your quest when he loses a shoe and you are forced to stop in the desert. Start with 'Aaron sits down and ponders what to do.'"
Jimmy sat down and started, "The sun is getting higher in the sky and we are stuck. (Jimmy started to cry as the script indicated.) "Why, oh why, was I ever chosen?" Jimmy lay against a pretend rock and slept.
Mary strode confidently over to Jimmy, looked down at him, put her hands on her hips and said, "Humph, what have we here?"
Mary and Jimmy read through the entire play, which was quite short, blocking out the movements as they went along.
"Good read through," Terry said. "I think there is real grit between you two. You guys did good."
"I like the idea of making this into a book," Mary said.
"What? Whose idea was that?" asked Terry.
"Jimmy's," Mary said. "I thought you all knew."
"Well, we didn't all knew." Butch said. "Jimmy, you're holding out on us."
Jimmy blushed and said, "I only just thought of it, really. Ideas kept coming to me and I wanted to do more with it. What do you think?"
"I think you're getting a little too big for your britches. That's what I think. You have so many ideas (Butch rolled his eyes and blinked his lashes.) This is a writing club. We all have ideas. That's what we're here for."
Terry caught Butch's eye and nodded at his mom. "Let's do the play the best we can," Terry said. "Then, if the crowd loves it, we'll put off plays for a bit and all try writing the book. O.K?"
Butch's Mom looked up from her ironing, wiped her brow and said, "Butchie, you need to go outside and play ball or ride your bike. I don't like to see you spend all your time indoors."
"Yeah, O.K., Mom. The group is leaving and then I'll ride my bike." He looked around. "You guys want to join me?"
"I do," Mary said. "Wait here and I'll go and get my bike." She left and ran down to her house at the end of the street. When she got there, an unknown car was in Mary Brewster's driveway and she went inside to investigate.
(Whose car is in Mary's driveway? Next time, here on Friday.)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Chapter V. Seeds Of a Story

C 2004 By Gracie Prior
(In our last installment, the Scribblers had just finished a dramatic scene from their new play.)
Jimmy sat in his bedroom, which was decorated with Earnest Shepherd's drawings of Winnie the Pooh on the walls. He meant to redecorate now that he was older, but Mom said he would have to get his own things. She certainly didn't have the money right now. His mom, Mrs. Falcon,was a freelance artist. She painted watercolors for magazines and sent them in. He could get some new ideas from her at least.
He went over and lay back on his bed on this lazy Saturday, and thought how well the play "Terry, the Pirates, and Ponce Virle De Polo," had gone. Mary was indeed needed in the group as she turned out to be an excellent salesperson. Her mom, Mrs. Brewster, had gotten some excitement going at the library where she worked. The staff there felt they should encourage budding playwrights. Also, Mary had walked up and down her street, getting to know the neighbors better in the process.
The big rescue scene had gone well and Terry (Ponce) remembered to drop the scarf, fight off all of the pirates, and escape their treachery. The proceeds were actually bigger than expenses. The group used old costumes, some worn scenery, and very little poster board. The audience laughed at some of the wrong places but that is show biz. At least there was a large measure of applause at the end.
He grabbed an old "Time" magazine with a desert picture and swirls of circles of sand getting ever bigger. That intrigued him. Into his mind came a beautiful girl on a white horse and as she rode across the sand, a funny idea popped into the scene. Why not put a little fraidycat guy with heart in there with her and take them on an adventure? We've done ships with water. Let's get into sand.
The phone rang and Jimmy answered. "Jimmy here." As he recognized the voice of Terry, Jimmy interrupted and added, "Head Scribbler at your service." Jimmy wrote a few notes on a paper and said, "Sure, Terry, we can get together. Get Butch and Mary, especially Mary. I want to talk to her about something. See you in a few minutes."
Jimmy scribbled down all the great ideas flowing in his head about the desert adventure. Often, the seeds of an idea came like a gift, right away in a flood. He just needed to catch them on paper. He knew the next phase, after the flood, would be hard going. It was still a gift, but one he had to work for. He grabbed his notes, his zipper jacket, and his thinking cap that looked very much like a fisherman's cap and hurried down the stairs and out the door.
Butch, Mary, and Terry were waiting for him on Terry's porch. He hadn't realized how long the flood had lasted.
"You're late, Martin," Butch said. "Better have a good excuse."
Jimmy smiled at the mention of his middle name, but said nothing. Butch often used silly nicknames.
We got here on time, Mary said."
Terry, who had known Jimmy the longest, looked at the fistful of notes in his hand and announced, "The man's been busy. Anybody can see that."
"God our next story?" Butch asked.
"Do I have a part," Mary asked, "or are you boys going back to your brother thing?"
"What I have," said Jimmy, "is the great American play. It has scenery and a hero (written just for me, he thought,) vicious villains, and of course, a damsel."
"In distress I suppose," Mary said.
"That's the great part," Jimmy said. "When I first saw her, she was not in distress. I really saw her, Mary. I don't think you have to worry."
(What's this new play Jimmy is working on? Will the others like it or will it cause trouble? Come back here next Friday and we'll continue. Nancy)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Chapter IV. The Rescue

C 2004 By Gracie Prior
(In our last installment, the Scribblers has just gotten Mary as a new member. We'll see how that plays out.)
At Terry's house, Terry, Butch, Mary, and Billy sat in an unfinished basement around a long rectangle table with papers spread all over. Rusty shelves with glass jars holding summer produce provided diversion to the drone of Jimmy's voice. He was reciting the outline of the latest play of the Scribbler's Society. Terry was very interested at first, when Jimmy talked about the pirates and how they would be collecting gold and jewels off ships on the high seas. Then Jimmy started reading about the prisoner and how he or she would be kidnapped, taken aboard and treated roughly if the report of treasure didn't come forth. Terry's mind drifted to his dad who had been sick the night before. He and his mom had been up all night nursing him so he could get some sleep, an occurrence that had been happening too frequently lately.
"'So you'll have to walk the plank,' Redbeard yelled, 'unless you tell us what we need to know.'" Jimmy's voice was threatening, as threatening as Jimmy could make it that is. "Um, right here, Terry. What do you think?"
"Huh?" Terry said.
"I mean, could Mary be the victim and walk the plank? Then, in a scene or two, just when all is lost, Ponce Virle will run from offstage, grab her and take her to the other side. The scene will end. The curtain will come down. There will be intermission. Only nobody will be able to eat, or talk. They will be so excited to see what happens. What do you think, Terry?"
Terry yanked his head away from the fruit jars and looked at Jimmy. "What? Oh, read that last line again for me, so I can get its full effect."
"I'm not asking about the line. I was telling you about the dramatic rescue of the victim and wondering if you think Mary can pull it off?"
Terry's mind had re-engaged. "Of course she can. Well, there's only one way to find out. Scribblers, take ten and let's all write the rescue scene where Mary walks the plank. Don't hold back guys. Put it all in the first time, as they say. O.K. It's 9:50. At l0:00, we'll see what everyone has down. Ready, you have paper and pencils; that's good. Start."
They all began writing. At ten o'clock, each Scribbler read their dialog. Butch had Mary yelling and screaming and fighting to the end, just before the rescue. Jimmy had Mary recite a sterling soliloquy about not forsaking her parents or her inheritance. Mary had her character walking bravely to the end of the plank and diving in, the cowards. Her hero would have to splash in to rescue her. Terry had Mary walk gloomily to the end of the plank, look at the sun coming up in the East and calling out, "O God, send a deliverer."
"At this point," Terry reads "Ponce rushes in from stage left, runs up the plank, grabs Mary, and throws down her scarf, a signal for the pirates to come in. Then, holding her in one arm, and swashbuckling with the other, he fights off two or three pirates at a time. He runs off stage yelling, "Deliverance!" Terry felt Mary's eyes on him as he delivered the lines.
Everyone agreed on Terry's script (though Jimmy was verbal about the merits of his.) "Everybody up," he said. "Jimmy, you and Butch are pirates. Mary, you stand here." He directed her up on a chair. "Now Ponce, (that's me) is coming. Mary, you look that way as if you were walking the plank. Say your line, the one I wrote and let's see how it works." Terry ran off stage, which was into a side room of the basement.
He pulled a blue tablecloth over his shoulders and tied it. He found some black chalk on a tray by a chalkboard and gave himself a moustache "Now, Mary, be bold and say your lines. Pirates, be ready to fight, over on the right. Now!"
"O God, send a deliverer!" Mary called with just the right stress in her voice. Terry ran into the room pulling Mary off the chair. He paused only a second, looking at her startled face (for she was looking away from him,) gave a hoist, and ran over to the left side of the room.
Terry put Mary down and looked at her. Her eyes were wide and looking directly at him. He felt some unknown emotion, but it didn't last. He heard a ruckus. Jimmy and Butch came at him like maniacs, swishing their arms back and forth, back and forth.
"What's gotten into you guys. That was great."
Butch glared at Terry. His hand gave one last thrust directly at Terry's midsection. "You didn't grab the scarf. You forgot the pirates. Take that and die, Ponce Virle De Polo."
(How will this play turn out? Will the Scribblers get it all together? Come back next Friday and we'll have a great time together. Nancy)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Chapter III. (Cont.) The Heroine

C 2004 By Gracie Prior
Chapter 3 (cont.) THE HEROINE
(When we left, Mary had just pulled Jimmy out of a jam at school.)
"Can you believe that? She's pushy, she doesn't even know us, but she stuck up for you, Jimmy. Imagine that."
"I told you I met her before. Her name is Mary. I don't need defending, do I?" Jimmy asked.
Terry looked at him askance. "It was getting a little warm in here with your 'slippery bottoms.'"
"What? I don't even know what happened."
Butch looked at Jimmy and said, "Let's just say, Mary saved your skin this morning. I, for one, think she's super. We do need a new member in our group. What do you say, guys?"
"What can I say?" Jimmy asked. "The damsel saved me. I shall be eternally grateful."
"Terry," Butch said. "What do you think?"
"Well, I do need a girl for my plank scene. She's prettier than you, Butch."
"O.K. guys," Butch said, "lets go tell "Lorna" she's in the club."
"Um, I think we better ask her, Jimmy said. I don't think she'd like being told what to do."
The boys found Mary sitting under a tree at the back of the playground, all alone, reading a book, Little Women to be exact.
"Excuse me."
Mary looked up.
"Hey, I'm Butch. I live on your street. I saw you move in the other day. I was sort of wondering, why did you come all the way over to the last row to sit down when you must be new, and not know anybody and all."
Mary gazed at the three boys in front of her. She didn't look surprised.
"I wanted to be by the window. Is there a problem with that?"
Butch looked sheepish. "No, not really."
"I like to hear the birds and see the trees, look outside if things get boring," Mary finished.
"Well, we have a club, a writing club. We do plays mostly. I do poems and songs," Butch said.
"I do outlines and plots," Jimmy said.
"And I'm the details man," Terry added.
"We need another member to help write and act in our plays," Butch tried to explain.
Butch saw Jimmy look all around slowly and then get down on one knee and nod to him and Terry. He was confused, but he and Terry followed Jimmy's lead.
"Mary, would you please consent to join our struggling writer's group, the Scribblers, and enjoy all the privileges thereof?" Jimmy asked with a flourish of his arm.
"He means the profits," Terry said.
"He means the applause and recognition," Butch said.
Mary looked from one to the other. She looked shocked. "Sure," she said. "Opposite poles attract. Right, Jimmy? By the way, I don't have any brothers." She looked right at Jimmy and then the others. "You sure?"
The boys got up and saw her fingering her book lovingly. "We know," Jimmy said.
"We're sure," Butch said. He noticed as Terry gave Mary a bit of a wink and said, "Welcome aboard, Lorna."
(What play will these Scribblers think of first? Come and see next Friday.)