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Date Posted: 10:46:46 01/15/11 Sat
Author: Debi
Subject: My first draft
In reply to: Debi 's message, "Hi everyone!" on 06:26:30 01/12/11 Wed

Okay, this was harder than I thought it would be, but it's further proof to me that, if you just write, it'll come to you. I didn't know some things about this person until I just started to write.
************

My daughter wants a dog. The thought of one in my beautiful home makes my skin crawl. I’ve tried to explain how filthy they are, why we don’t have time for one, why it’s a bad idea. But she refuses to listen. I hope distracting her with some shopping will put it out of her mind.

Of course there has to be a pet shop right outside the department store. The staff should be more responsible with their merchandise. Instead of the creatures shut away safely behind bars or glass, they have them in some open pit arrangement where children can reach right in. Oh my dear God, she has one and she’s coming toward me with it. The management of the pet store will getting a call from me, let me assure you of that.

Why won’t she put that disgusting animal down? She’s begging, holding it up to her face, trying to demonstrate to me how cute it is. It’s not cute; it’s horrible. Dogs seethe with disease and parasites, they bite, they foul the environment with their excrement and pass infection. I absolutely refuse to allow that into my home. I have worked too long and too hard to come up from my childhood circumstances to allow contagion to enter and infect my life. Oh God, she’s letting it lick her on the face…

My father had dogs, hounds that he hunted with. Whatever he brought home, we ate; there was no letting food go to waste, if you could call it food, in our house. Mother cooked it and we ate it. If one of us complained or refused to eat it we got a beating and sent to bed hungry. I was hungry and sore most of my childhood.

My father hated me. He said he couldn’t understand why I wanted a radio to listen to the news. Everything I needed to know was around me: the sun, the soil, the cotton and tobacco growing there. Mother would just sigh and ask why I had to antagonize my father. Didn’t he work hard to provide for us, didn’t he keep us fed and in clothes and shoes? I should be grateful for that. But I wasn’t. I wanted more.

I had a favorite place to hide and read. An ancient oak bent its branches to the ground, low enough for a skinny girl to scramble up and hide in the foliage, to escape the narrow confines of the farm in the pages of a book. I spent hours there, ignoring the calls from my mother and threats from my father.

My brothers were as narrow-minded and apathetic as my father. They had no further ambitions than to grow cash crops for someone else, get married and produce another generation of destitute share-croppers. My oldest brother shared my father’s passion for the hounds and hunting and delighted in torturing me. I was sitting in my tree one day, reading, when he came back from a disappointing hunting excursion. His usual surly disposition was downright vicious. He must have seen my feet or heard the rustle of a page and he set the hounds on me, pointing up in the tree and shouting, “She-coon! Git ‘er!” They howled and barked, hurling themselves against the trunk, some even climbing to the first branch. One jumped up and caught the hem of my dress, pulling me out. The pack engulfed me, slobbering and snarling, a few taking bites before their dim senses understood I was not the quarry they expected. I left that farm and never went back.

She’s standing right in front of me with the puppy, holding it up, wanting me to touch it. It squirms, flailing and thrashing, licking her face and whining, that awful, high pitch making the hair on my neck stand upright. My daughter is crying and begging, convinced if touch it, my heart will melt and we will take it home.

Not a chance.

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Replies:

[> [> Wow Debi, this is a tough one. >>> -- Esther, 10:01:45 01/21/11 Fri

On my first read, all I could think was that this is one bitter woman. On the second read, I thought that perhaps she wasn't so much bitter, but more concentrated in her efforts to rise up from her upbringing and provide better for her family. The fact that she tried to explain why not to her daughter rather than just say no kinda points in that direction for me, and reading farther, she prolly had real reasons for hating dogs in the first place, considering what happens. But in a few short paragraphs, you have given me a good foundation to understand why she is the way she is. Awesome!

I don't know if I'm up for the fun part of this challenge, but I'm working on it. But geez, talk about flexing my mental muscles...*G*

Hugs

Esther

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[> [> [> Things have changed further since this post -- Debi, 20:35:59 01/21/11 Fri

>On my first read, all I could think was that this is
>one bitter woman. On the second read, I thought that
>perhaps she wasn't so much bitter, but more
>concentrated in her efforts to rise up from her
>upbringing and provide better for her family. The
>fact that she tried to explain why not to her daughter
>rather than just say no kinda points in that direction
>for me, and reading farther, she prolly had real
>reasons for hating dogs in the first place,
>considering what happens. But in a few short
>paragraphs, you have given me a good foundation to
>understand why she is the way she is. Awesome!
>
>I don't know if I'm up for the fun part of this
>challenge, but I'm working on it. But geez, talk
>about flexing my mental muscles...*G*
>
>Hugs
>
>Esther

I ended up making this person male, since it was supposed to be our opposite and I was giving it a try. It was well-received in class and I got some good comments, one of which was the germophobia was usually a very feminine trait (not if they'd every met my husband...). There are some good writers in that class, and we haven't heard from everyone yet. God, I love that class!

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