View from the lower rungs

This write a novel in a month promise…
like climbing a twenty foot ladder to the sky.

an excerpt:

May 2003

Let me not propagate words. It’s not what I do best.

I am, rather, a breeder of children, the keeper of remembrances.

My success is measured in a flip book of time, hinting at a future.  I have raised up five children. Mine don’t die.  The last child, a pudgy boy, starts first grade and rounds the years until now, as a new teenager, we find a hint of hair upon his upper lip.  School pictures, arranged all on one page, are glued, acid free, in a circle like the numbers on a clock. They tick off the moments, the years. This boy still has four blank circles.

The lady in charge of scrapbooking parties insists we do not be afraid to trim.  Snip out the refuse with zigzag scissors! Crop! Discard the unimportant!

That is a blessing. I think it’s why I took to scrapbooking.

I take horrible pictures.

A woman with her eyes half-closed.
A child with her new eyes fixed.
I always catch the mouths agape.

Grimaces. Laughter bubbling over into rapture.

A teenage girl, head tilted back, mouth thrown open so wide it looks as if she’s biting the universe. Only I remember the joke that caught her so overcome.  I snap a moment too early. Maybe too late.

Babies caught in the intake of breath become a tempest. Scowling infants. Toddlers with tears streaking their cheeks. Not cute sadness. Wretched sadness. Sadness with a conical birthday hat to top it all off.

A boy with his eyes half-closed.

So I crop. I save shoes. Food. Hands. Necks. Elbows. Eyes. Mouths. Noses usually turn out fine. Knees are pretty good.

I know who wore brown and black cowboy boots on Christmas Eve 1979. I don’t need to see his face.

It matters a lot, what I can remember. My lawyer tells me this.

So help me God, I’ll try to tell you what really happened.


Writing is the first step. Editing is more like what happens at the top of the ladder where the steps are narrow and far from the ground. The only thing worse than ascending air is having no one to keep your foundation from wobbling.  For now I’m getting strong support from 300,000 others at NaNoWriMo.

With steady gaze,
~ Catherine

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