Sunday, November 16, 2008

Where ya been, Tim?

Working. "Like a rented mule," as my Darling Wife likes to say.

Not only that, I'm afraid there's just not been much to write about lately. We're happily settling in to our new home, paying bills and taking in some of the pleasures of living in New Orleans. Nothing wrong with that, but it's just not the sort of stuff I think makes for good blogging.

But here is something: our Precious Daughter recently completed a writing short course at NOCCA. The students each wrote a story based on a life experience. Some were true stories, others fiction. My girl's story is fictional, although it takes place at our pre-K house in Gentilly. Like any parent I'm proud of what she wrote and I asked her if she would let me put it up on my blog.

"Really?" she said.

Yes, really, I replied.

And here it is, my 12-year-old's creative writing. Enjoy!


When I was seven years old, my father built me a play set in our backyard. It wasn’t fancy, made of wood with swings, a sandbox, a slide, and monkey bars. But to me, it was my castle. I suppose it was 8 or 9 feet tall, and I had just discovered a way to climb on top of it. I would weave myself up the panels and beams until I got to the very top, where there was just one beam left, suspended above the ground. It was exhilarating to be up there, with just a beam between you and the grass. It felt like I was a bird on a telephone wire, or a coyote howling on the very edge of a cliff. I went up there often to tight-rope walk around and smell the woodsy scent of the outdoors. My parents weren’t thrilled about my discovery for no parent likes their child to be in any sort of dangerous situation. They told me to stop, but the exhilaration overwhelmed me and I continued to walk on that beam of wood, held above the world, and look into my neighbor’s yard.

One day, I was walking around on the beam like normal when my foot slipped off the side. I felt my balance falter. All of the exhilaration drained away like some one had pulled the plug in a bathtub. Suddenly, I fell from the beam, face forward, the grass coming closer and closer towards me. Then, just as suddenly as it had started it stopped. I hung upside down, and it was as if someone had paused my life. The next emotions that washed over me were relief and panic. I twisted up, and found by luck, my shoelace had caught on a nail, preventing my fall. I breathed a sigh and then cut it off when I saw that my shoelace would not last long since the nail was splitting it in half slowly. I knew that the next time I fell I would hit the ground. What could I do? I shrieked and cried, twisting farther up to see just how long I would have to wait before my shoelace snapped. Then, my last hope failed me and the final string of my shoelace broke. I felt the air whoosh past me as I fell for the second time.

I hated the feeling of falling, because I couldn’t control it and I was afraid that gravity would suck me in and I would never come back out again. But, to my surprise, the first thing I felt after a small moment of falling was not the hard, sharp feel of our St. Augustine grass, but of my father. I was suddenly very aware of my father’s arms that were wrapped around me, and how he smelled like bacon and cologne, and how he had saved me. I started sobbing again, and he started humming to me a soft lullaby, and when I had cried all of my tears he carried me inside and told me that I should have listened to him in the first place. Even though he was scolding me, it did not seem that way to me, for with every word he held me closer and didn’t let me go for a very long time.