Stories are powerful.
A great reminder today from Geoff Le Pard over at Tangental with his post on the chemistry of storytelling. Be sure to visit and watch the Ted Talk with SJ Murray.
It’s Tuesday, so Carrot Ranch also has stories to share from the Rough Writers & Friends. This week we interrupted our own stories with Flash Photo Bombs. Even a 99-word story can be powerful.
Marketers, companies and entrepreneurs understand that people want more than facts and data to persuade them. As you are writing keep in mind the persuasive qualities of your story. After all, the idea of it persuaded you to write!
Thought for Day 18:
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ~Maya Angelou
And the only way to get it out is to write it out. It’s Day 18. Keep writing!
Word Count: 1,705
Excerpt From Rock Creek:
“You becoming a sharp clawed catamount is not helping this family any, Mary.” He kicked at his rucksack like a petulant toddler. Mary had a mind to give him a strapping.
“And you’re helping your family, how?” She folded her arms against the chill of the late January air, her breath puffing white with each word. She hoped he froze out there on the trail.
“I’ve explained this to you a dozen times.”
“You’ve explained a dozen different plans to me and all end with the same result. You’re leaving me.”
“Damn it, I’m not leaving you, I’m going west!”
“Going west with another woman who spat out your bastard and I’m supposed to believe that at some future point you will call for me to meet you in this undisclosed new home out west!”
“Yes! No! Yes, I’m going to send for you. No, I’m not going with her. I’ll escort her away from this place until she can manage on her own. We are not together.”
Mary shook her head. “That is the most ridiculous story. Oh, we’re leaving together, but we’re not really together.”
“Has she bore another bastard?” Cob’s jaw was clenched and Mary recognized the dangerous pulsing in his brow. He had never hit her, though he punched men regularly. He kept his temper in check in front of wife and family. But they had not fought so much as they had since after Christmas celebration when she caught him discussing the move west with his brother Leroy. Even James warned her to just leave it be and let him figure out his circumstances.
“No,” admitted Mary. No, she had listened to hear rumors of such. Listened to hear any tell of him traveling the trail to her cabin up the hill behind the Shull mill and everyone, including the worse gossip mongers, all declared that Cob was drinking hooch and betting on cock fights and horse races. The opposite direction. “But there’s plenty of nights you don’t come home.”
“I apologize for my drinking and gaming. I know better than to come home smelling like a still. Going west will be good for us Mary. A man can take charge of his economic destiny out west.”
“Not if he drinks or bets it away.”
Cob let out a ragged and frosty breath. “This is true. I’m frustrated with the limitations of this place.”
“So gold seeking?”
“Just let them think that, Mary.”
“Them? Them, who?”
“Mary I’m in debt to Weath.”
“Oh, like I don’t know? My father has gloated over such, and…”
“He’s a scam artist.”
“He’s a scam artist who pays silver for souls. You’ve known this how long and…”
“I was trying to get ahead. For investments that never materialized. This place won’t ever progress. And I bet on some crappy roosters.”
Mary began to bubble a laugh. She tried to suppress it, but soon she was full out laughing. Cob came over and hugged her to him, chuckling, too. “I’ll make this up to you, I promise. I’ve made mistakes, Mary, but I’m not leaving you. I’m going to secure us a better future.”
“And she’s just along for the getting out?”
“I promise you, she just needs to get out of here desperately.”
Mary laid her head against the rough material of Cob’s coat. “This is an awful day to leave, you know. You do know that?” She looked up at him and saw the pain in his eyes. He knew.
“Didn’t mean for it to be tonight but that’s how it all fell out. Weath’s man caught up with me today, Mary and if I didn’t follow through he would have called in his note on the property.”
“What if he calls it in once you’re gone?”
“It’ll be too late. I sold it to Leroy who sold it to Horton who sold it to Coffey.”
“Exactly. By the time Weath chases down the trail of the property, I’m long gone with its value. Coffey owns it, although for the first it will seem like Jack Horton does. We collected on some other properties, too.”
“Did you steal, Cob?” Mary pushed away from him, but he held on to her.
“No, Wife. I did nothing criminal.”
“But you have silver?”
“The value of our property. And the owner will have the land in exchange. A fair exchange.”
“But not for the Frenchman.”
“No, Mary. All we did was scam a scammer.” He grinned as if it was a good thing, but Mary felt like she had a stone in her belly. What if the scammer didn’t like being scammed?
“What will they say about you leaving your post?”
“I’m not absconding as sheriff. I’ve past my post down to my deputy, to Jack Horton. He always wanted to be sheriff. Now he gets to finish my term.”
“What of the war that’s coming?”
“We’ll all be gone by then, wife. This is a rich man’s war. I just want the chance to make my way. And west is where I’ll do that. I’ll make my family proud. We’ll build something lasting Mary.”
“You want us to say you’ve gone after gold?”
“Let them think I have gold fever. This summer, you’ll leave with Leroy and Sally and bring my family to our new beginning.”
“I don’t know, Cob.”
“It’ll work, Mary.”
“Don’t you dare leave me.”
“I’m not leaving you.” Cob leaned down and kissed Mary full on the mouth and then hugged her close. “I love you Mary of the mountains. You are my red, red rose. You are my love.”
Cob opened the stall and led Captain out. “Hold?” He handed Mary the reins while he fetched the second horse, one she recognized from James’ barn. He tied down the rucksack on the horse. “Would you ask Monroe to come out. I want to give him something before I ride.”
Mary stared at him, as if she could keep his image before her always. Then she nodded. January 26, 1859. It was Monroe’s tenth birthday. Inside the house Julius and Cling were sitting on the floor with Lizzie. Monroe was seated at a kitchen chair with his elbows on his knees and chin resting on his hands. “Monroe, your Da wants to see you.”
Monroe’s eyes widened and he hustled out the door before Mary could shout, “Your coat!”
Throughout dinner, Mary kept the desire to cry at bay. Monroe helped her clear the dishes and she said, “You needn’t help. I’ve got it.”
“Da says I’m to look after you and help you, even daily chores.”
“Well, it’s your birthday. You can rest tonight.”
Monroe reached into his trousers and pulled out a pocket knife. Mary recognized it as the one that Cob received when he became general of musters at academy. He used to whittle wood with it at the barn dances and crow about his service. “Da gave this to me for my tenth year. He says I’m to study hard and when we go out west I’ll continue with an education.”
Mary smiled. “That’s a fine gift. It’s special to your father and represents his own achievements in school.”
“Did you go to school, Ma?”
“I read to you at night, don’t I?”
“Yes. It’s just that you never talk about academy.”
“I didn’t go to an academy. There are ones for girls but parents had to pay more money than my father thought was sensible. Your Grandfather James was my teacher for a few years here in Watauga, before he became magistrate.”
“Monroe smiled. Maybe I can be a teacher or a magistrate.”
Julius walked into the kitchen. “I want to be a fiddler. Cling says he wants to raise chickens.”
“Chickens?” Monroe and Mary asked at the same time and Julius nodded vigorously. “He likes looking for eggs.”
“Da says the west is a place where we can have economic advantages.”
Julius scrunched his face and asked, “Does that mean I can fiddle?”