The End and The Beginning

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Many years ago, when I was a child, my mother and I watched a movie (or perhaps it was a short drama program) on television. The story was about a woman who loved a man from afar. She existed on the edges of his life, witnessing the important events of his life, but she was never introduced to him and never did she have a relationship with him, except for in her own mind. At the end of the show, she died, an old woman. In her last hours, the man read a letter she had written to him, but when he arrived at her home she had died. As the credits rolled, the screen showed “The Beginning” instead of the expected “The End.”

I have been thinking lately how things do indeed come to an end, whether we expect them to or not, and that endings are sometimes filled with dismay, but may also be filled with hope for the future or even dread of what may come next.

All of this is leading up to something, I promise.

When one reads a short story or a novel, the ending should be memorable. That’s not to say that we, as writers, must kill our characters or make them suffer at the end. The end, though, should resolve our characters’ dilemmas and problems. I love a happy ending, but I rarely write them, at least so far. My characters won’t have it! Not yet. It well may be that as I develop as a writer, these unruly persons will fall into line and agree to become happy at last. I can only hope. There. I have ended with an upbeat note!

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Written by A Character

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So….what does everyone think of this idea? A blog post that is “written” by a character from the author’s writing. I think it’s a great suggestion. (Thanks Facebook pages).

Character from a novel in progress:

I hate the way my former schoolmate has got famous. Okay, so not famous like across the country famous. But popular, let’s say, in my hometown. She’s got Followers for godsakes. On Facebook. She has a band, a country and oldies rock band. And she’s the lead female singer. She’s the only female in the band. Like she’s always wanted the attention and now she’s soaking it up, while I work in an automotive shop as the general clerk and gofer.

If I was less sure of myself, I’d probably be jealous. I’m not though. Jealous I mean. I am proud of the way I got out of my depression, when I was bullied in high school and got enough confidence to find a job where I have to meet the public every day.

We ran into each other one day, and that meeting made me stop and think. I wanted to improve myself so that she won’t ever be able to feel all superior again. I will do it. I’ll lose weight and fix my hair and buy new clothes and then I’ll feel better about myself.

Let the changes begin!

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Another Tool For Writers

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I mentioned a software program in a previous post, which I recommended for easy editing of a writer’s work.

I nearly forgot to mention Hemingway which is also a great tool for editing. It has an online version as well as a desktop app for both Mac and PC.

Check it out and compare it with ProWriting Aid

If you are in need of some assistance to edit those pesky adverbs and so on, one of these programs may be just the ticket.

Again, my disclaimer: I do not receive any remuneration when I suggest sites/software.

 

The Heavy Foots – Conclusion

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Mr. Heavyfoot busied himself with the telescope until the doorbell rang. It was the police officer who had been there the last time.
Mrs. Heavyfoot noted the frown on the police officer’s face as she entered the room.
“I need to speak to your husband,” she said.
Mrs. Heavyfoot said, “He’s just out on the balcony. I’ll get him.”
“No, that’s fine. I’ll come to him.” Having said that, the officer strode across the room and stepped onto the balcony.
Mr. Heavyfoot was caught.
The officer told him, “There have been complaints of your invading the neighbors’ privacy, with your telescope.”
“Oh, my,” said Mr. Heavyfoot. There wasn’t much else for him to say.
Mrs. Heavyfoot listened and watched these goings on, with a sad heart. She was disappointed in her husband and she felt a fool for not noticing his behavior.
The officer read him his rights, and handcuffed him. He was taken away, much to the consternation of his wife.
He was home again by the next day. He had to pay a fine, and was prohibited from spying on the neighbors.
As Mrs. Heavyfoot confronted him about his snooping, she sobbed and refused to let him comfort her.
“You are the cause of my upset,” was all she would say to him.
Mr. Heavyfoot hung his head and apologized, but it didn’t help.
“I want us to go home. Back to the homestead,” she said. After the visit from the neighbors Mrs. Heavyfoot had felt out of place and she realized now that her true home was in the bush. Her heart belonged to the wild.

Mr. Heavyfoot was already walking towards the balcony, where the telescope was, and he said over his shoulder, “No, I want to stay here.”
Mrs. Heavyfoot picked up the heavy lamp that sat on the coffee table. She struck Mr. Heavyfoot with its base.
He dropped to the floor. She hit him again, and then once more, just because she could.
Having done that, she muttered over his body, “You won’t be looking at that woman again.”
There were blood spatters on her hands and on her shirt. She wiped her fingerprints from the lamp, and cleaned herself up.
She packed her things. She took the telescope as an afterthought. She took a cab to the service station where the tractor was stored. She settled up with Ernie Watts and piled her belongings in the wagon. She drove to town and picked up some supplies. The town gossip, Alex Handle, was in the store. He asked where Mr. Heavyfoot was and Mrs. Heavyfoot told him that her husband had stayed in the city.
“So you’re back and he’s not?”
“Looks that way,” said Mrs. Heavyfoot shortly. Then she went out to the tractor and drove to the homestead.
She would be happy, she thought, without her spying spouse. And best of all, she could stomp around the old wooden shack as much as she wished, with no one to complain. That was freedom. That was joy.

Of course, she was the prime suspect in the death of Mr. Heavyfoot. and the local sheriff arrived to question her soon after she got home. He was a kindly old man, and he didn’t care to delve too deeply into her actions prior to coming back to the homestead. He wrote a report, suggesting that Mr. Heavyfoot was dead due to an altercation with some unknown person, and that was that. In the city, the police had other matters to attend to, since there was a gang war going on. That took precedence over the death of Mr. Heavyfoot.
Mrs. Heavyfoot sold the apartment to a couple who planned to rent it out through AirBnB. She got a nice tidy sum that would supply her needs for a very long while.
And so, Mrs. Heavyfoot got away with it. At night, she would sometimes go outside, bundled in her coat and look up at the stars. For here, unlike in the city, she could see them. She rather liked the telescope for star gazing.
Mr. Enders, from the next homestead over, had been coming for dinner for a time, and he helped her with some of the heavy work. She thought that he might be husband material. On the whole, her life was good.

The End

The Heavy Foots – In the City – Part Two

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It wasn’t easy for the Heavyfoots to adjust to their new way of life. For instance, Mr. Heavyfoot liked to shoot turkeys and partridge for his supper. Now, he had only pigeons and crows around the apartment building. When his habits got the best of him, and he loaded up the rifle and fired at the pigeons, a police car arrived and an officer had a long talk with him about firing off a gun in the city limits.
The officer’s day was off to a fine start. That morning, she was told by the captain that she’d be promoted soon, and because the officer was happy, she let Mr. Heavyfoot off with a warning.
Mrs. Heavyfoot scolded her husband after the officer drove away.
“What were you thinking?” she exclaimed. Mr. Heavyfoot poured a coffee and gazed at his wife.
“I guess I just had a hankering for fresh roasted bird,” he said.
Mrs. Heavyfoot flounced to the sofa and sat down with a thump. It was an old sofa. She turned on the television and ignored Mr. Heavyfoot. He went out to the balcony. He wondered if the lady across the way was home yet.

Mrs. Heavyfoot didn’t know about his spying. She spent her time either watching television, cleaning the apartment (for she liked the newness of it all and the way the rooms looked when they were neat and tidy – so different from the home they’d left. For it was bare wood boards on the walls and no amount of cleaning could make the place as appealing as this place.)
Still, Mrs. Heavyfoot wasn’t happy. She missed gathering eggs from the henhouse every morning, and she missed the garden. She was homesick.
Mr. Heavyfoot continued at his post on the balcony, except when it rained. Then, he brought the telescope indoors and took it apart and cleaned it. He knew that his gazing at the woman over the way was wrong, and he knew that he might even warrant another visit from a police officer, but he was hooked, as surely as the fish he loved to catch.

The neighbors downstairs came up one afternoon, while Mrs. Heavyfoot was watching General Hospital. They knocked and she answered the door.
“Hello, how can I help you?” she asked, hoping they would leave before the soap was over.
“It’s about the noise,” said the tall, thin woman. She looked at the man who stood beside her.
He nodded his bald and shiny head.
“You need to keep the noise down, okay?” he said.
Mrs. Heavyfoot blushed. She wasn’t used to confrontations like this.
“Oh, I didn’t know we made noise. I’m sorry.”
The couple looked at each other.
“Well, the continual stomping across the floor, right above our heads is annoying. Please stop that.”
“I’ll be more careful,” said Mrs. Heavyfoot.
“Good. It would be appreciated. Have a nice day.” With that, the tall woman turned and walked down the hall, followed by the chubby man.
“Who was that?” asked Mr. Heavyfoot, poking his head into the room from the balcony door.
Mrs. Heavyfoot explained.
“Oh, my. One of the minuses of living in an apartment, I guess.”
“Yes, and I’ll be tiptoeing after this, for fear I’m stomping as they called it.”
Mr. Heavyfoot returned to the telescope and Mrs. Heavyfoot returned to the soap which was nearly over for the day.
It went on for some time, the telescope and the television.
Then the police arrived.

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The Heavy Foots – Moving In – Part One

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Mr. and Mrs. Heavyfoot lived far out in the “boonies” as it was called by their urban acquaintances. They lived off the land for the most part. They hunted and fished and made use of fur pelts for winter clothing. They bought only the necessities when they came into town. Things like sugar and salt and flour, although Mr. Heavyfoot told his wife he thought she should try making homemade flour. Mrs. Heavyfoot pursed her lips and snorted at Mr. Heavyfoot. She didn’t mind their lifestyle, except when it came to things like flour making. She told her husband that if he wanted flour, he could build a mill, something she knew he would not do. Most of their time was taken up with looking after the cows and chickens, hunting and fishing, and gardening.
Mr. Heavyfoot had a bushy grey beard, and Mrs. Heavyfoot wore her long brown hair in a long braid. Neither took to the current styles of hair or clothing.
It was just before planting time when Mr. and Mrs. Heavyfoot came into town for supplies. They made their usual stop at the post office, and the couple was surprised to receive a letter. It was a large envelope, brown in color. Mr. Heavyfoot ripped it open and took out the sheet of paper it contained while they were in the post office. It was unlike any mail they received, for they mostly got garden catalogs and catalogs from LLBean.
Mr. Heavyfoot read the page, then handed it to his wife. She read it and then she threw her arms around her husband and yelled in his ear.
“Yay! We’re rich!”
The other three people in the post office along with Mrs. Onaway, the postmistress, looked at them in surprise and curiosity.
“We’ve been left some property in the city!” said Mrs. Heavyfoot.
“It was my cousin Jeff. He passed away and I’m the only remaining relative,” said Mr. Heavyfoot.
“You going to move, Hank?” asked Mr. Thomson.
“Darn right. It’s always been a dream of mine to live in the city. Maybe not forever, but we gotta try it out anyway.”
The others in the post office nodded in agreement.
“Just be sure and come back if it don’t work out,” said Jennie Cleland. She offered to look after the homestead and the animals for a while, “just in case you decide to come back.”
“Oh we will,” said Mrs. Heavyfoot. She wasn’t certain she would like living in the city after so many years on the homestead.

Mr. Heavyfoot traveled into the city and met with the lawyer at his office. He was given a tour of the apartment, which was on the fourth floor and required an elevator ride. Mr. Heavyfoot was excited when he saw the view from the apartment windows.
“I can dang near see the whole city!” he exclaimed. He grinned at the lawyer and the lawyer smiled back. The man said little, but let Mr. Heavyfoot examine the place.
Mr. Heavyfoot went back to the homestead joyful and excited. He could hardly wait to show Mrs. Heavyfoot their windfall.

And so it was that Mr. and Mrs. Heavyfoot gathered their meager belongings and brought them into the city later that month. They managed this by bringing a wagon attached to the garden tractor. Mr. Heavyfoot arranged to leave the tractor at the gas station, and told Ernie Watts that he’d pay him a storage fee every six months, until the couple knew whether or not they wanted to stay or head back to the homestead.

Mrs. Heavyfoot unpacked their clothing, such as it was, and hung it up in the closet in one of the two spacious bedrooms. Mr. Heavyfoot busied himself in looking through the telescope that was perched on the balcony. It was apparent, Mr. Heavyfoot stated to his wife, that the cousin had been interested in stargazing. When he attempted to look at the sky that first evening, though, he was disappointed to learn that the lights of the town ruined the sky and made it impossible to view the heavens.

Mrs. Heavyfoot suggested that he try and view the streets instead. Ah, but that was a mistake. For Mr. Heavyfoot, upon turning and adjusting the telescope found that he had a great view of not a star nor a street, but the lady in the apartment across the way. In fact, he didn’t mention it to Mrs. Heavyfoot, but he found the lady over there did not shut her curtains when she changed her clothes, nor when she came into the bedroom after a bath or shower. While Mr. Heavyfoot gazed in awe at this well endowed lady, Mrs. Heavyfoot tried to watch television. She found it boring. The only show she enjoyed was about the far north and the people who battled the elements in their everyday life. It so reminded her of her own existence, before the windfall, that she was brought to tears. She looked about for Mr. Heavyfoot, hoping for some sympathy and hugs, but he was again out on the balcony with the danged telescope.

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