Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Invitation to Oregon Writers

Join Jane Kirkpatrick for Brunch at 10:00 AM on March 8 as she does a special presentation honoring Women in History at the Eugene Hilton 66 E. 6th Ave, Eugene, Oregon. For reservations, send a check made out to AAUW to Ardith Hinman, 236 Greenvale Dr., Springfield, OR 97477 by March 1. The cost is $18.00 and Jane will have books with her. This special event is sponsored by the Eugene-Lane Branch of the American Association of University Women.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Short Story;the ending

"I won't leave without Oscar!"

"Then you will never leave," I heard my abductor say. Then there was the sound of a pistol being cocked and realizing what was happening I jumped up to go to where Oscar was bound. Too late! The sound of the pistol firing completely took my will away. In the background I heard Albert shout.

"You fool!"

The next thing I knew Elsie was throwing me out of the way as the pistol was being turned toward me. There was the horrid sound of the pistols firing yet again, but I felt nothing.

Then there was another shot, and I saw my abductor falling. Struggling to my feet I saw that Elsie was lying next to where she had pushed me down.

"Ruth, I am so sorry. Please forgive me, you were my friend."

"Don't worry. You will always be my friend. We just had a difference of opinion. You will soon be better and we will laugh about this."

"Somehow I don't think so. Just bury me out away from everyone. They didn't think much f me so I don't think I would be happy near all of them."

Tears were streaming down my face as I held my friend. She smiled and then was gone.

Looking around I saw that I was the only one still alive. Gathering myself I went out and rode back to town.

I honored Elsie's wish and buried her out away from everything. I even left the name off of the headstone. I think she would approve. I stayed in Silver Cliff until the town started dying away after the railroad only came as far as WestCliff. I found out that Albert was trying to take over one of the mines and Oscar had found out about it. So much for so little.

Comment: This is how I put together a short story. The only difference is I usually get this first draft (which this is) done in a day or so. When I found I would be telling the story of Elsie and Ruth I looked up the time tables of Silver Cliff and Chicago. The Chicago Fire was 1871 and Silver Cliff came into being around 1879. I also read a bit about the Wet Mountain Valley and the town of Silver Cliff. There was a picture of an unmarked grave out away from everything. When I saw that picture I pretty much knew how the story would end, just not how I would get there.

Over the next couple of weeks I will just let this first draft percolate then I will start in on the rewrites, fixing dialogue, adding informations etc. I thank all of you for following along on this journey. I will let you know when the second draft is done if anyone would like to see it.

Thanks again and I hope this may help some of you write your own first draft. Unlike film the first draft can be fixed in post.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Short Story

Comments: In order to move the story forward and create tension I decided to have Ruth and Elsie part ways. Since the story is being told from Ruth's view point it is her feelings and observations the reader sees. Since this is just a first draft the goal is to get the story down then add the details and later.

Now for the continuations of the story.

That is just what I did. The thing I had learned when Elsie and I parted was that it did no good to fight against what was. The thing to do was be alert and act when the time arrived. Although Elsie had helped me throuth the fire in Chicago, those eight years ago, that had cost so many their lives and livelihoods, I realized at 19 it was time for me to grow up.

We traveled some distance from town and came upon a run down shack. My captor took me into the shack where I say Oscar, bound with blood around his lips.

"Oscar, what is going on? You beast why are you doing this?"

"Why did you bring her here?" Albert said.

"She was snooping around his place. I thought it would be best to find out what she knew."

"Well the damage is done now. Put her next to Oscar."

At that moment I would have given my chances as slim to none for getting out of this mess, but I felt slim was worth it. I made a dash for the door and had almost gotten to the horse when an arm grabbed me around the waist. I struggled and then felt the slam of a fist against my jaw and I lost track of everything.

Coming to I heard Elsie's voice berating Albert and everyone concerned. "You idiots, if you hurt her anymore I will kill all of you." I saw her face above mine and in a gentle voice Elsie said, "Ruth are you all right? I am so sorry this has happened to you."

Turning to the others she demanded, "I suppose you made sure no one followed or saw you."

"It all happened so quickly, but I didn't see anyone around," my former captor replied.

"Well, we will just have to let her go," Elsie said.

"I won't go without Oscar," I said.

"Don't be a fool, take this chance while you have it," replied Elsie.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Short Story

After checking into the hotel, Elsie and I wandered through the town. It seemed as if we had seen everything in less than an hour. The next day we set about finding work. I found a job at the store and Elsie started working at a cafe. I found I enjoyed meeting and helping people.

I saw less and less of Elsie over the next few days. She had started coming in later and later. I did not want to say anything, for she had done so much for me, but finally I felt I could not avoid the conversation any longer.

"Elsie, you know I wouldn't say anything, but people are saying some really bad things about you."

"So, why is that a problem?"

"Elsie, they say you are seeing Albert Carson, and he is a married man."

"Ruth, I am glad you have brought that up. Yes, I am seeing Albert and I need for you to move out of this room."

"What are you talking about. You can't afford the room on your own, and I can't afford one by my self either."

"I don't have to worry about affording anything. It is time you went out on your own and let me live my life without having to worry about you. Please be gone by the time I get back."

I was stunned. Here we had made all these plans together and now she just told me to leave. I gathered my few things while walking around in a daze. Then I became angry and as I left the room and passed the front desk I informed the clerk I was leaving.

"Do you want your money back, the room was paid a week in advance.?"

"No, Elsie is staying."

"Then I am afraid I won't be able to give you anything back."

"That's fine."

Now that I had left, I just stood there holding my bag and staring at the street. Finally I started moving and went to the store. Mr. Jensen looked at my bags and then at my face.

"So, you finally made the smart move and left. I didn't want to say anything, but if you had stayed there your reputation would have taken a turn for the worse."

"Yes, but I don't have much saved and now where shall I stay?"

"Matilda has an extra room in her place. Why don't you ask if you could rent it for awhile?"

I thought it over and decided that Matilda's might not be a bad idea. She was the school teacher and the school might like having a bit of extra money coming in.

After checking with the school board it was decided I could rent the room. It was a good move on my part. Soon Matilda and I had worked out the doing of things. I also started teaching music to the students one afternoon a week. That made my time pass very quickly.

I would see Elsie riding or walking with her 'friend' Albert, but she always avoided looking at me, let alone speaking. I guess she felt since she was spending time with one of the mine owners she had no time for common people. Still I missed her.

For myself, I had met Oscar. He was a gentle and funny man. He worked in one of the mines. On Sundays we would go for rides to explore the area. I found I not only loved the town, but the whole area. The mountains no longer oppressed me and the sky was so lovely. So my life went, until the Sunday Oscar did not show up as we had planned.

I waited for four hours, but he did not show up. I finally went to his shack. He was not there, but I noticed signs of a struggle. The next thing I knew I was being grabbed from behind and dragged off. I tried screaming, but the hand covering my mouth cut off any sound.

"Stop struggling, it will do you no good," the voice said.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Receiving the cover of a book is always exciting, but the act of creating that book has always been what I enjoy the most. To think that the words we write are read by the many or the few is by far the best part of being a writer. How strange that what we write may influence the readers we attract is scary too. How careful we must be to "get the words right." How important that becomes as we create our stories. Our heroes must truly be heroes and not some cut out paper figure. Each of them, as we put them on paper, must represent the best of us, or at least those who attempt to be the best. That is a frightening challenge we all face. May each of us be up to the task.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Short Story Continued

As we came into Silver Cliff I did look at those mountains. They were tall, taller than the buildings in Chicago. They looked so much more substantial than anything I had seen. They could be a guidepost to the future or crush you with their majesty. As for the town it was so small. I voiced my concern to Elsie, "How are we going to make living here?"

"We will just have to find work. You could put your music education to work and teach others how to play an instrument or sing."

"How do you know people would even want to spend money on a luxury when it looks like most people here are just getting by. Look at those houses and where are we going to stay?"

"Listen Ruth, we made the decision to come out here and now that we are here we will just make the best of it."

As usual Elsie was right, but I did have my misgivings. I really did wonder how we, two single women were going to make a go of it here. This town was so small, so new. What would people think of us.

"Well Ruth, get ready to take on a new adventure," Elsie said as she jumped from our coach.

The first glimpse I had was of men starring at Elsie, she did that to them, and she just smiled and turned to get her bags. I followed close behind and we went toward what appeared to be a hotel. As we entered an oriental gentleman was walking out and nodded a greeting.

"See everyone is friendly, you have nothing to worry about."

"You know Elsie, every time you say that I have the strangest feeling that I should be worrying and plenty."

Comments: As I have thought of these two during the last week or so I felt that I needed to continue the friendship but add the difference of opinion the two had about the experience they were having. At the same time, I am also working to try to add some forwarning of what may come. How indeed were they to make a go of it in this new town. Come back soon and I may have the answer.

Friday, February 01, 2008

WWW Member Book Announcement!

The Books Are Here!

Two hundred copies of my biography — Nancy Love and the Women Ferry Pilots of World War II — arrived at our house a week ago, just as I was packing to fly to Texas to give a paper on a related subject. I stuffed 10 in the suitcase and sold them all!

Now I begin six months of book programs and signings scheduled around the country — from Cleveland to San Diego, from Lakeland Florida to Oshkosh Wisconsin. All of the venues are aviation-related.

One of my well-connected aviation friends is planning a Book Launch for Valentine’s Day here in Dayton.

Nancy Love was born on February 14, 1914, and would be 94 this year, had she lived. My friend is planning a Birthday Party for Nancy — complete with cake — on the 14th to introduce the book to the Dayton Ohio aviation community. And another friend is planning a wine and cheese / book party for our friends and neighbors here in suburban Centerville in April. She did this for me when the WASP novel FLIGHT FROM FEAR came out 6 years ago.

Amazon is carrying the book as a PRE-ORDER item. My publisher the University of North Texas Press — — has it posted now. I have laid in a supply of purple signing pens and can accommodate anyone who wants a signed copy. The official release is scheduled for March.

I’m in the process of setting up a new website. We hope to have it up by Valentine’s Day, but we may not make it. For future reference: Give it a couple of weeks and then try visiting it.

Nancy Love was the founder and commander of the Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron — the first 28 women to fly airplanes for the U.S military in World War II. When the WAFS grew into the WASP, Nancy became the leader of the WASPs flying for the Army’s Ferrying Division. This book is a sequel to my first book, THE ORIGINALS, the history of the WAFS with mini-bios on each of the 28.

Needless to say, I’m excited. Finally I have the book — a six-year-long project — in my hands.

Sarah Byrn Rickman