Friday, April 15, 2011

all in a name

So, I have a more article-like, thought-provoking post in the works, but it's just that -- in the works. So I figured I'd throw out another excerpt while I'm still working on that. A "filler" post....but not really, because I probably would have posted this sometime anyway.

This excerpt is also from A Name Worth Carrying. It takes place just a little while after the last excerpt I posted, actually. This is a moment that I hope sets up a big story issue, being Abby and her struggle with her name and it's realtion to her father.

My goal is emotion, inner conflict, and history. I'd love any thoughts you might have on this - Could you feel Abby's confusion? Shock? And the inner conflict she has at the beginning and end? Those are what I'm going for, but are they really there?

Enjoy :)
(and let me know if you do!)


stock photo from

            My father is joy.
            My father is joy.
            The meaning pounds in my head.
            Why, Mom? Why did you give me such a name? Joy? My father? Ha. More like, my father is frightening me. My father is suspicious. My father is...not the man I once thought I knew.
            Joy. Sure. Right.
            I lie there {in bed} for hours, even after Katey has finally gone to bed, not able to sleep. My mind spins, reliving as many moments as I dare, all ever since the accident. Me, being awoken by the ringing of the phone early that morning. Stumbling in to the living room to see Dad sprawled on the couch, completely dressed, shoes and all, stoned from something. Not even the harsh tones of the phone would rouse him. They always did. Well, when he wasn't hungover. I picked up the phone, still bleary.
            "Hello, may I speak with James Garrett?"
            I turned to the couch and roll my eyes. "He's, uh, unavailable right now. Can I take a message?"
            "Who is this?"
            "I'm Abby. His daughter."
            "Oh, dear. Uh, are you sure he can't come to the phone?"
            I shook my head and my stomach started to flutter. "No, he really can't. Is something wrong? Who is this anyway?"
            "Ah...this is Officer Bryant from the city police department. And, well, I need to confirm a license plate number, along with...some other things. Eh, how old are you, sweetheart?"
            I was really scared now. "Fifteen. I, ah, I think I could remember the number," I had to stop and swallow. "If you read it to me?"
            The voice on the other end sighs. "I suppose. But, hon, I've some bad news."
            Something from the tone of his voice told me it was more than just a parking ticket or an arrested family member -- even if I didn't have any family close by. I cleared my throat. "Uh, okay. What is it?"
            "Well, let me make sure of the plate first. here, you ready?"
            He started reading off a combination of letters and numbers, which I immediately recognize as my mother's license number.
            "Y-yeah," I stammered. "That's my mom's car."
            He sighed again. "I was afraid of that. Abby, right?"
            "Y-yes." I didn't dare say anything else.
            "Abby, I'm sorry, but we got a call a little while ago. Someone found your mother's car on a back country road. It had been driven into an old fencerow and smashed into a tree and a couple of fence posts. The car is totaled. And..."
            My stomach dropped and I sank down to my knees on the kitchen floor.
            "There was a woman inside, in the driver's seat. She had suffered some fatal injuries. What we assume to be her purse was on the passenger side. The driver's license identified the woman as Nicole Garrett."
            "What? No. No, are you sure?" I yelped. "No, Mom...she's here, in her bed, asleep. That can't be her." I jumped to my feet and pounded down the hall to my parents' room, still clutching the phone. My hand flew to the wall and the light flashed on. The bed was empty. "Mom!" I screeched, yanking the bathroom door open. She wasn't there either. I dropped to the floor by the bathtub, eyes burning and chest heaving. "No, no!" I pressed the phone to my ear again, forcing the words out, "She...she's not here. But that can't be her. Can't be!"
          "Please, Abby, calm down. That's why I'm calling. I need your father to come down to the station..."
          But I didn't hear anymore. The phone slipped from my hand, clattering to the floor. "Dad," I whispered. "Daddy!" I launched forward, on my hands and knees, scrambling to get to my feet. Flying, I nearly crashed into my father, still sprawled on the couch. I shook his shoulders. "Daddy, wake up! Where's Mom?" I had to keep shaking, then finally screaming, before he blinked open wearily. I could smell the liquor on his breath.
          "What are you talking about, Abigail?" he mumbled, struggling to sit up.
          It was all I could do to keep from slapping him. "Where is Mom?" I yelled again. "Some guy from the police department called and said she was in an accident. That she wrecked her car and got killed!"
          A look of terror crossed his face, then shock. "No," he muttered, pushing me away from him and stumbling off the couch. He slapped his hand to his forehead, moaning. "Ohh, my head...where's the phone?"
          I couldn't remember what I'd done with it. "I don't know," I said, realizing that tears were streaming down my face. "I...I don't know!"
          He'd pulled me out of school that week in late September, and I stayed at home with him for two weeks. He grew distant, barely talking to me and flinching every time something unexpected happened, whether it be me closing a cabinet or Lexie knocking on the door. He never let me out of the house without him during that time. And when he left to go to some sort of legal thing about the accident, he locked me in the house. That's when he put up the grate over my window as well.
          Joy. Yeah, right.
          I roll over on my stomach and scrunch the pillow up in my arms. I rest my chin on it, staring at the blank wood of the head board. My throat tickles. My eyes burn. I want to let it out. But, instead, I glare into the darkness and refuse to let the tears come.
~ Chapter 3, A Name Worth Carrying
©2011 MacKenzie Pauline

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Hello, Sunshine...

...It's been too long since I
felt your beautiful warmth upon my face. :)
(Barlow Girl)

Ah, loveliness. It stormed like crazy yesterday, and I loved it.  Now, early this morning I sit here at my desk before the window with sun streaming in through the blinds, covering me in shadowy stripes, and I love it, too. Hopefully today will be beautiful. And if it's not...oh well. I have my daffodil in its glass of water also sitting before me. And that will be my sunshine for today.

I've always loved daffodils. I see them as a bright yellow sunbeam shining through the midst of the fickleness of spring weather. Whether it's dark and storming or bright and clear outside, they're still there, dancing in the breeze. A sign that more is coming, that beauty is on its way. Sunshine in the storm.

Not to mention that the fragrance is so can smell the daffodil on my desk as soon as you walk into my room. The character of it just rubs off in so many ways. 

I want to be like a daffodil. A joyful sunbeam, spreading the sweet fragrance of God's love wherever I am, and in whatever circumstances. Even in the midst of a storm.  


"The flowers appear on the earth, the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the [turtledove] is heard in our land."
Song of Solomon 2:12