Thursday, June 9, 2011

Within A Wall

Red Writing Hood Prompt:
This week, we'd like you to write a scene that includes a happy ending - it doesn't have to be the actual END of your story, if you're working on continuations, but it should include at least one challenge for your hero to overcome.

A dark hidden place, the quiet conversation and faint music was perfect for her. No flashing lights or loud music to dance to this night. It was better this way. A solitaire setting, her hidden within the scene.

Lucinda pulled out the stool and settled in. He had noticed her when she walked in. A beauty that seemed haunted by shadows, a dark within that came through the eyes. Not all that new to him. He served many with the look, but the beauty was different. A frequent visitor, he came over with her preferred drink. He also knew there was no use in trying to engage in conversation beyond the, weather, and her drink temperature. He had felt drawn to her, wanted to dig deeper, and usually he could charm them after a few. Not her, a wall was up, no one would enter in. Her smile that came with the thanks was free of any meaning or connection.

Several drinks later, no change in emotion, no closer to a conversation, she slipped a tip on the counter and moved out to the streets. She thought to herself how she owed this to herself. Just a few nightly drinks. She worked hard. Never disappointed the boss, her work was usually flawless. She didn't get involved in the office gossip. She kept to herself, sold out to her work and made them plenty of money. So each evening a self-presented-reward.  A little more numbness to slip into. She smiled at her control. She slipped off her heels and reached in the bag to pull out her sandals. A little stumble, but she was fine. Always prepared, all together, in control.

As she reached her apartment she mechanically moved through the door, up the stairs and into her door. Inside she looked around. Reaching to pour another glass, she slouched into a chair. She picked up the phone and the sound on the other end told her a message awaited.  A recorded voice offering to clear her credit. Delete. No other messages. No friend to see what's up. No romance asking for a date. No mom checking in to see if she was ok. She needed no one. She raised the glass to her lips. Her empty voice mail, lack of personal email as she clicked the computer on, and no pictures scattered her walls or tables. A life uncomplicated by people.

She typed in the web address, and logged in. Her anonymous name. Her only connection to people, her blog. This was her secret world, her only outlet with communication. It was unobstructed, a place she smiled, where no one knew your name. She pulled out her notebook and skimmed it for an idea. Slipped a little more in her glass. Her creative juice she thought. Mind empty, no ideas.

She stood and went to add some ice to her glass. Her computer dinged. A new comment.

"I am new to blogging and I love some of your stuff. Would you please read some of mine...I could use some feedback."

She spoke to the computer, "No. Too personal. A bunch of mommies trying to fill their space and time."

She did need something for inspiration.

The words shook her.  Like dominoes each word created a reaction. Pieces of the wall came down. The anonymous author had set a mirror in front of her, and the reflection was real. The words she read, the story, sounded like her own.  Lost. Broken. Alone. And made more numb by a bottle.

There was no big change that night. Lucinda calmed that storm with more drinking. But the next days, weeks and months she spent reading. She would click links from one blog to another. And finally, one day she reached out. She stepped from the lonely world she created to ask for help. She looked for advice and began to talk. She found a group of anonymous authors, which eventually led her to real people, at real meetings. She began a daily walk toward a sober life. Lucinda began to fight for her life, and blogged about it, hoping she could reach into another dark world and shed some light.

Author's Note: I am dedicating this post to One Crafty Mother and Sober Julie who put their remarkable stories of hope out there. They have taught me things. I have only known this life from a different perspective. There are others as well, but I have been drawn to the writing of these two and their stories inspired me to write this fictional one.


  1. I love how you took me into Lucinda's life and made me want to help her, or hug her, or yell at her...something. I love her ending.

  2. Beautiful story. I have friends in recovery and I love a recovery story. One writing tip: try and vary the length of your sentences some. Look at your first couple of paragraphs. You tend to write your sentences about the same length. They're good, mind you. But the mind likes variation. Try to mix it up some. It will add more interest to a very interesting story and blog.

    Thanks for a nice happy ending today!

  3. @Apples and Autobots

    Thanks for the feedback. I try to create characters you want to interact with.

  4. @Honest Convo Gal

    Excellent, thanks for the specific comment, this is the kind of feedback I need. I will keep my sentence fluency in mind as I continue to write. Thanks!

  5. I think this was very well written, poetic, heartfelt, and sad but uplifting at the same time. I like how you phrased feelings and emotions with moving descriptive words - loved the, "slipped a little more in her glass."

  6. @Sarah
    Thanks Sarah. I appreciate the feedback. I wasn't sure if I missed the character some, I stepped out of my element.

  7. Wow! What I love is the character you've created in Lucinda and the way in which - as Sarah says - you've used description and action to define her. Oh, you are inspiring me to write, Terry!

  8. @Mardie
    You should join the Red Dress has been great to get involved in and get me writing.

  9. WOW. Gorgeous writing, and it rang so very true in my heart. Thank you for your words.



  10. @One Crafty Mother
    Thanks Ellie, your comment was important to me, glad I didn't miss the mark on this one.

  11. My heart is so heavy for this character...she is a mess you want to love. Good job describing her as an alcoholic without coming out and saying it -showing versus telling is so important in good story telling - I look forward to reading more.

  12. Thanks for stopping by my blog. You really are an amazing writer!

  13. My dad drank and he eventually died from it. I always saw this desperation/pain even isolation that the drinking brought upon him and that was his constant struggle. I think you portrayed that perfectly with the women in this story. Fabulous!

  14. Very lovely writing, her alcohol-induced numbness is palpable. I also really enjoyed your use of her voicemail to create her sense of isolation...

  15. @My Pajama Days
    Thanks so much for your positive and uplifting comment. She was a tough character to write about...I had to help her find her way!

  16. @Nicole Abdou
    Wow Nicole, thanks for your compliment...still lots to learn!

  17. @jen
    I wish I didn't have people to connect this to, but I do. Even in the midst of a family they can isolate themselves and disconnect. And they are not seeing what we are. Thank God for those in recovery who can help them see it when they are willing to take a look.

  18. @Eden E
    Thanks Eden, I appreciate you comment and for mentioning a specific detail that you liked.

  19. I like where you wrote, "the words shook her. Like dominos each word created a reaction." This conveys the shock someone might feel upon discovering another person's struggle with a habit or taboo. Or better yet, the shock of discovering you aren't alone. You truly conveyed the sense that she was finally seeing herself as others do.

    Now that I have a betger understanding about your sentence concrit too! Thanks, Terri.


I would love to have some feedback. Let me know what you love...and let me know what you don't.