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The Calliope Experiment #2

I was just about to go to bed when I saw Lisa had published another post on her blog. I didn’t recognize what she was talking about, so I settled in to read. *side note: It seems as if me and Lisa are on the same wavelength. The book I’m reading right now, The Wednesday Sisters, is about five women who form a writing group. The book is excellent so far and has made me want to form a writing group. end side note* Lo and behold Lisa’s post was about a blogger who ‘recently started a writing challenge called The Calliope Experiment in which she posts a picture on Saturdays, then asks people to write 500 words about it and post it before the following Saturday (read about it HERE).’ So I tried my hand at a little story…it’s not great, but it was fun. 😀 I think I’ll try this on a weekly basis…

Here’s the picture I was to use as inspiration for a story:

My story doesn’t have a title. Here it is:

It looked like rain, she thought, as she pushed her cart over the bumpy asphalt. Nights like this were nice for a girl like her because she didn’t need the streetlamps to see where she was going, and it sure was nice when it didn’t rain while she was out and about. She was pretty good about predicting the weather…being outside for so long had almost made her at one with nature.

She didn’t know where she was going, but she never did. She just always found herself somewhere, and that somewhere always seemed to be the perfect place. Sometimes she ended up at the recycling center, usually when her cart was so loaded down with cans (bottles were too heavy) that it was getting difficult to push. Sometimes she ended up walking past her brother’s house late at night, wondering what his life was like, wondering if he ever talked about the good times they’d had. They’d been close a long time ago, but he never could understand her need for an open sky when she slept and no responsibilities. She’d made it easy on both of them by cutting herself off from everyone. There was no way her brother could reach her (without a job to pay the bill, a cell phone was useless) which she thought was for the best. But lately she’d been thinking about him more and more, thinking that maybe she could handle life again.

It’s hard to start from scratch. She prided herself on only having the clothes on her back. This would be unacceptable to most people, but to Sarah, oh, to Sarah it just made her feel more secure. The way the clothes molded to her body, she knew that these were hers and hers alone. She was careful about washing up and she’d been especially careful this time. She wanted to look her best when she saw her brother.

She wasn’t far from her brother’s house, only a couple of blocks now. The moon was now completely covered, illuminating the tops of the clouds, giving them an ethereal look that made her doubt that today was the best day. She was extremely superstitious, but a full moon had always brought her good luck before, so hopefully tonight would be no different.

As she rounded the corner, she saw the light in the living room and bedroom was on. She suspected his wife wasn’t home, otherwise she’d only see one light, acting as a tribute to their ‘green’ lifestyle. As it was, there were at least two lights on, so it was probable her brother was home alone.

She knocked softly at the door, almost hoping he wouldn’t hear her. That was silly, she knew, but she didn’t know what she’d do if he rejected her, and him not being home was infinitely better than being rejected by him. She heard feet padding to the door as she tried to pull a lock of hair behind her ear. Her hair was haphazard today, but it was better than it was most of the time. In anticipation of seeing her brother, she’d cut her hair as best she could with some dull scissors she found at the homeless shelter. Some ideas don’t translate well into reality, and giving herself a haircut was just one of those ideas.

A middle-aged man opened the door and smiled wanly as he recognized Sarah. Before Sarah could say anything, he held up his hand and told her he’d already explained to her what she needed to do to come back. His voice seemed wary, almost as if he were defeated. He gave Sarah the lecture he’d given her many times before, and when he was done he quietly closed the door. Sarah’s mind whirred as she tried to piece everything together. It didn’t really matter right now, though. She’d make it work, one way or another. She stuck out her chin and started back the way she came, just as the raindrops started to fall.

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5 Responses to “The Calliope Experiment #2”

  1. Jacquie Reaville

    Hi Trish!

    I just read Lisa’s piece and realised that you’d posted one as well. I’m really pleased 2 people have decided to take up the challenge besides myself.

    I’ve read your story, thought it was a great piece of writing by the way, and my first reaction was “how sad” but then I thought about it and realised that it wasn’t sad it was full of hope. I’m assuming that’s what you were trying to get across.

    I liked the idea behind the story a lot, not something that I would have thought of writing about.

    I haven’t posted mine yet but I’ll let you know when I have.

    [Reply]

  2. lisamm

    OMG TRISH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    OMG!

    You are a writer! I am blown away. I had no idea. Wow, I am so impressed. Great job.

    [Reply]

  3. julia

    From Lisa to Jacquie to your site–WOW. Powerful story, powerful writing, in so few words. Loved it.

    [Reply]

  4. Jacquie Reaville

    http://jacbookishly.blogspot.com/2008/05/power-of-moonlight-calliope-experiment.html

    Here’s mine and next week’s picture is posted.

    [Reply]

  5. Petunia

    We’ve just had the same experience. I read about the Calliope Experiment tonight at Lisa’s and just posted my story. Then I followed the link here. Your story was emotional. I’m curious about what caused the riff between Sarah and her brother.

    I too am reading The Wednesday Sisters. Their writing group does sound great doesn’t it?

    [Reply]

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