Monday, January 10, 2011

New Beginning 822

It was one of those nights of the dreadful winter, after the celebrations of Christmas, after the singular toasts of New Years, about halfway through the month of January. A winter's night that no longer delighted with brisk cold and playful flurries but rather filled the chilled the heart and ached the body tired from shoveling. It was, coincidentally, my eighteenth birthday and my 15-year-old brother Dick stood in the great room at the foot of the stairs, singing at the top of his lungs.

"Oh come all ye faithful. Sing of Chad's ex-paul-shin from hi-is, Mo-ther's womb, womb, womb, womb..."

"Stop that caterwauling. I’m trying to write my column and I'm on deadline," our father yelled from his computer. Now normally, an order like that might have been accepted with dutiful silence. Not this day in frigid, disgusting January history. My other younger brother Steven, lacking the brains God gave a turnip, joined in, clanging an old school bell.

"Hear ye! Hear ye! Hear ye! Thomas Pynchon wears pantyhose..."

"That's it!" Our father said. "I warned you." With a flick of Father's wrist, Steven popped and fizzled out, like the bottles of champagne opened for New Year's only a couple weeks ago.

A moment later, Dick was likewise extinguished.

"Are you in the mood for caterwauling too?" Father asked me.

"No I'm fine," I squeaked from my computer.

Web conference birthdays. Not as good as the real thing.

Opening: Dave F......Continuation: Naomio


Evil Editor said...

Not sure how old Steven is, but in his town crier persona he'd be more likely calling the name of historical figure William Pynchon or one of the Pyncheons in The House of the Seven Gables than Thomas Pynchon.

"filled the" doesn't belong in sentence 2.

Dave F. said...

I'm having lots of trouble with this opening - three boys chased out of the house to go ice skating. It needs help.

On the ice they meet either aliens or zombies. I've tried to write either scenario without liking what I write.

vkw said...

I would leave out Christmas, keep New Year's.

I don't like "playful" flurries because they aren't from around here.

My first thought is the MC's thoughts and language are too old for him. Since 18 year olds tend to be rather sturdy and manly, unless comparing bumps and scrapes with one another, I doubt the MC would be complaining about shoveling snow - unless it was 12 feet deep - then he would and I would say the snow was 12 feet deep.

I would say, "dad yelled from the den."

I would leave out "January history" and leave it at January. But really it's repetitious because you already told the reader this in P.1.

I would leave out "Thomas Pynchon" and say, "Here ye! Here ye! Dick wears panythose" More appropriate to tease one's stupid brother.


Anonymous said...

Maybe you can skip this and cut to the ice scene.

Dave F. said...

Thanks. I'll give it all a try.

alaskaravenclaw said...

I also thought the voice was too old for the narrator, and also hard to place in a historic and geographic context. It's kind of all over the place.

Dave F. said...

I have a title and I have a scene in my head and it hasn't reached the word stage yet. I have thought about making the speaker years older and relating a tale from his childhood but that didn't appeal to me.

BTW - I think "Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie" might change opinions about what a kid says and doesn't say. Just a thought. Not a justification for too many references.

Naomio said...

I agree with changing it to 'from his den' and possibly leaving out the Christmas bit, we already get that its cold and mid January.

I like the 'lacking the brains God gave a turnip', can think of a few people that description applies to.

I'd read on.

And EE you made the ending so much better, you've done this before haven't you?

batgirl said...

I kind of like the literary references - it shows us what kind of family this is, and fits with the father being a writer. There's no need to have characters be stereotypical of their age or gender in order to be believable. My assumption would be that either the narrator or the father is a Pynchon fan and meant to be riled - but I would have liked a clue as to which. As it stands, it does seem to come from nowhere.
On the whole I liked this and would read on.