Thursday, March 29, 2007

New Beginning 249


1929

As far as Maevis Daily was concerned, the Crash certainly did cause the Depression. Whenever she heard the phrase "the Crash" and thought back to that sunny, Saturday afternoon, she flipped through the mental images of falling bodies, flying $20 bills landing on the dusty road and the echos of drunken giggles floating out of the cool dimness of a huge Cadillac, she knew most people were referring to a different event, something that happened in New York City. But Maevis thought her Crash had affected her life more than the other one and substituting "Bailey Market Crash" for "Stock Market Crash" had only led to minimal confusion throughout her life. And as for the Depression, Maevis would be first to say that she struggled with it long after the 1930s. In fact, significant episodes of depression and mania pestered her life long.

“Mrs. Daily?”

Her hands were mottled with liver spots. Her hair was completely white now, not the stunning auburn that had had all the sons of farmers panting on dance night. She shed a tear for those forgotten foxtrots. Outside the window, the modern world went by: children playing on the sidewalk, young lovers arm in arm, the latest fashions in the shop window across the road. Not that she could see so clearly any more; her eyes were so sensitive to the light.

“The light, Mrs. Daily. It's green.”

A car horn tooted and she glanced behind. Bastard. She threw the Caddy into reverse and slammed into the little Chevrolet, showering the sidewalk with glass.

Jesus!”

She started to giggle as she pulled her hip flask out of her purse. It was almost as exhilarating as ramming the Bailey Market in ’29, or that Mercury in ’42, or that fruit stand in ’54 . . . Hell, what else was a driving license good for at her age?


Opening: ME.....Continuation: ril

17 comments:

Dave said...

One question I have is did Maevis Daily crash her dar or was she one of the victims of the crash?

stick and move said...

The continuation was brilliant, love it!

McKoala said...

I was torn. I liked the start, it's so nicely written, but...I think it just goes on a little bit too long in telling mode for my taste.

Lovely continuation!

Anonymous said...

I got lost trying to parse the second sentence.

I think the idea is interesting and the opening suggests some questions for reading on, but it needs a technical cleanup.

AmyB said...

I was confused by this opening. I've tried over and over to parse that second sentence, for example, and I still can't make sense of it. "...pestered her life long" was also awkward. I am, at least, curious to find out what the "Bailey Market Crash" is.

BuffySquirrel said...

That second sentence is a run-on. It should probably end at Cadillac.

Robin S. said...

I like this, but the second sentence causes me to pause, though I could see what you meant.

I just cut and pasted this in Word, cut the second sentence out, and it reads very well.

Just a thought.

Dave said...

The second sentence is excellent.

It represents her thoughts as thoughts. It's a stream on consciousness. And, it reveals the accident - not all of the accident but enough of it to intrigue the reader.

As for "telling" - Sure, it's backstory but it is short (65 words) and it tells us so much about the character and her state of mind that it can be forgiven.

Look at what it doesn't say:
What Maevis driving?
Was she a victim?
Who died? Who lived?
What about the $20 bills?
And where is the market on a dusty road?

BuffySquirrel said...

The bit up to Cadillac may be stream of consciousness, but after Cadillac it changes to redaction.

Whenever she heard the phrase "the Crash" and thought back to that sunny, Saturday afternoon, she flipped through the mental images of falling bodies, flying $20 bills landing on the dusty road and the echos of drunken giggles floating out of the cool dimness of a huge Cadillac. She knew most people were referring to a different event, something that happened in New York City, but Maevis thought her Crash had affected her life more than the other one, and substituting "Bailey Market Crash" for "Stock Market Crash" had only led to minimal confusion throughout her life.

Nothing is lost, but the sentences become easier to parse.

ME said...

Thanks Dave. It's been two years since anyone's called me excellent. And you were excellent yourself in the o'stream interpretation; but I'm pretty sure it holds grammatical water as well. Too much Faulker and not enuf Hemmingway in my youth, I guess. For those who can't "parse" that sentence, maybe you should try reading it instead. Most sentences thereafter are short and to the point. I AM SO HAPPY that most of you want to read on.
I would place three gold stars atop the continuation.
Att: Evil One: what happens now? Do I send you my query letter? Do I respond (here) with more of the plot? I do appreciate (duly and most truly)ALL the comments.

Evil Editor said...

Query letters are always welcome.

ME said...

OK already. Considering Bsquirrel's advice. Or
"Whenever...(insert"as") she flipped through etc. Or (insert "and" she knew.Because,
when she heard the phrase, she not only thought back,(via flipping) she also "knew" etc.
And now I know how it feels to be "pinned and wriggling on the wall." Clearly there are questions as to how I should begin.

BuffySquirrel said...

For those who can't "parse" that sentence, maybe you should try reading it instead.

This kind of comment makes me wish I hadn't bothered.

ME said...

I'm here for the comments. I want to improve. In a moment of euphoria my tone became flippant.
Bsqu - Now, I wish you didn't wish you didn't bother.
It is a rather long sentence. My previous comment references the reason why I thought it should be one, singular sentence.
I will wait at least one hour before responding to any comments.
I will wait at least one hour before responding to any comments.
I will wait at least one hour before responding to any comments.
etc.

Anonymous said...

For those who can't "parse" that sentence, maybe you should try reading it instead. Most sentences thereafter are short and to the point.

I tried reading. Didn't get it. Doesn't hold grammatical water for me.

Tried parsing. Still tricky. I think it's punctuation, I wonder if what you're going after is:

Whenever she heard the phrase "the Crash" and thought back to that sunny, Saturday afternoon -- she flipped through the mental images of falling bodies, flying $20 bills landing on the dusty road and the echos of drunken giggles floating out of the cool dimness of a huge Cadillac -- she knew most people were referring to a different event, something that happened in New York City.

But that's still tricky, because I, as the reader, have to keep track of the primary idea while reading through the secondary.

By the way, I also wonder if in:

...substituting "Bailey Market Crash" for "Stock Market Crash" had only led to minimal confusion throughout her life.

"only" should be modifying minimal rather than "led" as it is now written?

ME said...

Gotta fix that 2nd sentence or no one will ever turn the page. Thanks for the suggestion.

I think I was trying to limit the action of "substituting". When I put in "in the final outcome" (4th def) in place of only, it keeps the meaning I was trying to convey. I didn't mean to say that the confusion was "merely" minimal. It wasn't. Her mental gymnastics were often clumsy and annoying to others, but she meant no real harm. Thanks again.

BuffySquirrel said...

That's a good resolution, me. I had to make mine "Never argue with critiquers". An hour just wasn't enough....