birthday · chronic pain/fibromyalgia · parenting · writing

Creating a Scene

I’m writing so much my brain hurts. And it doesn’t seem like I’ve ever written enough. And then there are rewrites.

Some really cool chicks from my Personal Essay workshop on family have been helping me edit “Attack of the Mothers,” the piece I wrote about my fears of motherhood and my own past with my epic mom.

Here is a compare and contrast, a Before (Ugly) and After (Sexy) rewrite of a scene from “Attack of the Mothers.”

BEFORE:
Word Count: 78

I’ve been parenting since age three, when my sister B. was born. A born wild child, there was no way setting a good example was going to reform her. But hell, I tried. I threw my little body in-between B. and my mother’s rage all throughout my childhood. I had to, my mother wasn’t mean, she was cruel. She delighted in reminding me that at three years old, she had started to beat me with her bare hands.

AFTER:

Word Count: 190


I’ve been parenting since the age of three, when my sister B. was born. I had kept vigil by her crib knowing that I would be called to protect her. By her second birthday, B. had learned to cope with my mother by lying.

“Who broke it?! Who! Broke! It!” my mother screamed gathering together the pieces of the shattered porcelain trinket which had sat atop the glass coffee table.

Eyes wide, B. and I quietly steeled ourselves for a beating. B. had broken several of the porcelain pieces in the living just that week. Sometimes, on purpose. I pressed my hand into hers as my mother gave B. an accusatory look.

“I didn’t do it,” slipped petulantly from B.’s mouth. I gasped.

My mother’s face twisted from a scowl to a menacing grin as she dove for B.. I threw my little body in-between B. and my mother’s rage all throughout my childhood. I had to. My mother wasn’t mean, she was murderous. As we feared for our lives, she delighted in reminding me that at three years old, she had started to beat me with her bare hands.

 

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