The Writer's Cramp 1-24-21 W/C 956
Abide and Endure
I have to write a wonderful award-winning short story or free verse poem. For a contest. I decide to do this at midnight the night before it’s due. This is sort of like cramming for an exam. The pressure is on.
My 19th birthday is tomorrow. What a great time to write an award-winning entry. So I begin.
HBO is on the TV. I watch a live broadcast, which is analyzing recent events in the world. I listen when I should be typing and thinking. Or is it thinking and typing. My mind is soaking up the words. Will I process what I am hearing and somehow rework it into my entry?
Here’s a thought, we are at least two generations past teaching anything in school. This was in reference to history. That is what I heard. Well now. That sounds like my husband; he thinks children are not being taught much of history anymore.
“…when we used to have days to go out in.” This was another part of a sentence. I have a birthday party tomorrow. Will anyone come? I have invited people to my party. Will my neighbors call the police and report a gathering at my house?
Now I am worried. I haven’t seen some of my friends in person for months. We’ve all been talking on the computer. Zoom. Skype. FaceTime. Messenger. I get a writing cramp some days as I go from app to app taking care of all the friends on all the platforms. Open one, close one, talk to Jane, type a message to John, open a Zoom to chat with Keith and Carrie. Enough!
I want all my friends to be here, at my house. I want them to enjoy each other’s company. I want them to eat my birthday cake. I made some wine over the winter. I’d like to open the bottle and share it with everyone. Laughter, hugs, gifts, stories. All that. I want the entire day with my friends.
Now the TV is tuned to a movie. This is a black and white on the classic movie channel. Robert Mitchum is playing an evil man. And he is evil. But then a good actor can play any part and make that character believable. And oh my, those eyes. I do believe that person is evil.
But any good story, be it a movie, a TV show, or in print has to be believable. You have to totally convince your audience that the characters are real, the setting is real, and the story you have created is real. You have to own the story. The characters have to be as alive as you are.
My live TV broadcast has been forgotten. This classic movie has captured my attention. This story is good. The characters are unforgettable. As I researched the title, it states this movie is #2 of the best movies of all time. ‘Citizen Kane’ is #1. ‘The Night of the Hunter’ truly is a classic.
Now my story-telling begins. How can one ever tell a tale with this much impact? “It’s a hard world for little things.”
Perhaps I will use the last line as a prompt. “They abide and they endure.” Where could one go with that sentence? Or maybe that would be a good title.
They - who are they? Abide - what is abide? Endure - what is endure?
So they, I think I won’t use this pronoun as in the movie. In the movie, it referred to children. Perhaps ‘they’ could be a village. A village on the edge. On the edge of civilization. Stories about people trying to survive hard times always seem to appeal. So there you go, I’ll use that scenario.
Abide means accepting a rule. You abide by a decision.
Endure means to suffer patiently.
So perhaps the people that live in this imaginary village will have to abide by the decisions they make. Perhaps they will endure those decisions. And as I think about this, those decisions will be painful ones for they will be made hurriedly. Why were they made in a hurry? I propose they were made as their world became more and more dangerous.
Ahh, so this is how it starts. You get the muse awakened and ideas start flowing. I want to call Irene, another friend. But she works nights. I can’t call her. Perhaps George. But he is flying to New York City tonight. No one is available to discuss this idea. Maybe tomorrow at my party.
The day dawns warm and bright. Perfect for a celebration. Everyone gathers and we start the party. The only ones missing are George, in NYC, and Missy who’s still sick. So I carry on the best I can with those who came.
But round about 4 o’clock in the afternoon, things went a little crazy. First, the lights went out. Then there was an explosion somewhere over the mountains. We tried to access the internet from our phones, but no one had service. Sirens started up, traffic increased. We sat around the table with candles and discussed.
Keith was sure he’d read about this situation in a sci-fi book just the other day. Missy started crying about her dog left in her apartment.
“Everyone settle down. This’ll all be resolved soon. Then we can all go home. Let’s have some of that wine Jill made.” John stepped to the table and found the corkscrew.
Carrie kept looking out the windows. She was worried about getting to work tomorrow.
But now I decide this is where I end the story. What happens next? I think the party is over. Maybe now I will use that line. “They abide and they endure.”