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Jo's Monday Morning Warm-Up

Close your eyes and take some slow, deep breaths. Keeping your eyes closed, try to think back to the first time you remember feeling true fear. Now open your eyes and, writing in present-tense, take us through your fear. What do you see? hear? smell? Try to establish the feeling of fear without revealing too much about what you're actually afraid of. Harness those raw feelings and write them down. If you feel brave after, share here or on your own journal. :-)

Don’t even need to close my eyes for this one. It’s always there, just waiting for someone to open the door.

“Stay in the kitchen with Grandma and Auntie.”

But I don’t want to stay in the kitchen.

There’s yelling in the living room. Daddy is yelling at Mommy and I don’t remember his voice so loud before and I can’t stay in the kitchen!

Mommy’s face was so scared. I need to see her.

Grandma is holding the baby and Auntie is trying to make me get on her lap. But I don’t want to sit on Auntie’s lap … I want to go see Mommy and make sure she’s okay.

I pull away from Auntie and stand in the doorway. I take two steps into the living room, even though Daddy is really loud now and I don’t want to make him mad at me.

I stand there and watch Daddy’s hands go around Mommy’s neck.

Mommy squeaks out, “J!” and twists her head in my direction so Daddy will look at me.

I understand that she doesn’t want him to hurt her in front of me. Has Daddy done this before?

I’m scared.

I’m standing very still.

Daddy takes his hands away from her neck. He starts to say something to me.

Mommy runs to the front door and opens it and tries to run out. Yes. Run, Mommy!

But Daddy is right behind her closing the door. He’s going to close it on her head! Daddy, don’t!

Mommy is yelling “Help!” out the door.

I’m standing very still. I am frozen in time.

Daddy slams the door and now I’m back in the kitchen.

Auntie must have picked me up.

I’m crying and I want to see Mommy. I want to see Mommy.

Del lives across the street. He has a boat in his driveway. I see him walking around on his boat all the time even though it’s in his driveway, and that’s funny.

Del is in the living room. He’s talking to Daddy in a loud voice now. A different kind of loud. A good loud. I’m standing in the living room again and I know that Daddy can’t hurt Mommy while Del is here.

Del is leaving and I don’t want him to leave. He says the word “police.”

I am in the kitchen again. I feel the fear and the tears so deep inside me and so thick in the house.

When I get away from Auntie again I see big men in dark blue clothes and hats. They are leading Daddy out the door. I know they are the police.


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Feb. 6th, 2006 08:51 pm (UTC)
I'm so sorry! What a powerful memory. My tissue box is empty - have to grab a new one.
Feb. 6th, 2006 11:10 pm (UTC)
I'm really proud of my mom for leaving him. She became a single mother with two small girls at age 26. I'm happy to report that she married my wonderful adoptive father when she was 32.
Feb. 6th, 2006 11:18 pm (UTC)
WOW. I am almost speechless after reading that. Stunned.

And I am SO GLAD to read this part about her having the courage to leave him and then marrying your "wonderful adoptive father."

Feb. 6th, 2006 09:21 pm (UTC)

I'm so sorry.

This is so powerful, I don't even feel comfortable telling you how powerful it is.

Feb. 6th, 2006 11:11 pm (UTC)
That must mean I WENT DEEP.

Thanks, Jo.

If there's no published book in my future, I think I could survive happily on your writing exercises.
Feb. 7th, 2006 12:18 am (UTC)
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind whatsoever that there is a published book in your future. Just keep writing.
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 6th, 2006 11:13 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Sara.

I was happy to find those two words hooking up in my head.
Feb. 6th, 2006 10:27 pm (UTC)
What kind of writer are you? The kind that pulls the reader along. The kind that places the reader right next to that little girl, trying to comfort her, trying not to cry, trying to tell her she'll grow up and everything will be okay....

What kind of writer are you? Stunning.
Feb. 6th, 2006 11:16 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Kelsey.

That means a lot to me.

Feb. 6th, 2006 11:36 pm (UTC)
Wow. I have tears burning my eyes! I am so sorry, and incredibly impressed that you're able to tell it so vividly, pulling your reader inside the little girl's heart! mb
Feb. 7th, 2006 02:34 am (UTC)
Thank you, new LJ-friend.

It hurts to remember, but I know that little girl grew up without any more violence. It hurts so much more to think of all the little kids living with violence on a regular basis.
Feb. 7th, 2006 12:47 am (UTC)
Wonderful, wonderful writing, and YAY for your strong mother!
Feb. 7th, 2006 02:34 am (UTC)
Thank you. Yes, I'm very proud of her.
Feb. 7th, 2006 04:49 am (UTC)
She obviously has a strong daughter too!
Feb. 7th, 2006 01:32 pm (UTC)
Wow. I can't find the words to tell you how that made me feel.

It's amazing how protective we feel toward our mothers, even at such a young age, isn't it?

Your mother was so very brave! I'm so thankful your story had a happy ending.

I'm a sucker for happy endings . . .

Feb. 7th, 2006 01:55 pm (UTC)
When a writer can't find the words ... I take that as a compliment!
Feb. 7th, 2006 11:56 pm (UTC)
Really powerful stuff. It was brave of you to share it.
Feb. 8th, 2006 02:00 pm (UTC)
Thanks, L.A.V.

Feb. 9th, 2006 05:40 pm (UTC)
loved it
And I want to see this somewhere, somehow in a piece on TG!

--Pam (who is afraid to get a LiveJournal account because then you KNOW what I'd spend my writing time doing...)
Mar. 21st, 2006 08:46 pm (UTC)

Yes. Run, Mommy!

I see from your comments that she did, and good for her. But what of the aunt and grandmother? What the heck was wrong with them?

And go Del! There's a real man.

I'm a little breathless, now.
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