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  1. KMReifsnider's Avatar

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 6
    #1

    Help and Advice

    I am looking for someone to read my short story and let me know if it is any good. I have always wanted to write and am now in a position to spend some time on it. I don't, however, wish to put as much effort into it if I don't have the talent for it. I have been writing poetry for pleasure for many years. What I am interested in finding out is: Can I make any money doing this? If not, then I will toss that notion and just go back to writing for my own pleasure.

    Thank You.

    Lessons in Strength


    It was her first day of school. They had been worrying about it for months. Will she be able to keep up with the work? How will the rest of the kids accept her? Can she take it for half a day? The doctors said she needed to be able to follow as normal a life as possible. But they couldn’t help worrying.

    Beth was born extremely premature. They were lucky to have her at all. But it had been hard; such a long, arduous process. All the sleepless nights, the special care, the prayers offered by family, friends and even strangers; were they answered? She has so many health issues, and she will always have to be careful. Yes, the prayers had been answered. Beth was tireless in her efforts to be “normal”. She wore glasses with very thick lenses, a hearing aid in each ear and the asthma was a constant challenge. She could have an attack in a second without warning. Those were the scariest. If they didn’t get to the inhaler in time, a trip to the hospital was required. She was a trooper though, ever tolerating the breathing treatments and learning to read lips at such a young age.

    Those were the worries, the thoughts that kept them awake at night. Listening for the wheezing, afraid they would not wake if she needed them. What a difficult life, but it was all worth it. Just looking at that face and the angelic smile made their chests swell; sometimes her mother, Virginia, caught the tears streaming down her cheeks, not realizing she was crying until then. Not tears of sadness, but of sheer joy at some small accomplishment.

    So it was with this big day, Virginia wanted to drive her to school; but, Beth insisted that all the other kids would be riding the bus. She had her case with the inhaler to have it close at hand. The bus driver and the school nurse had had special training to cope with any emergency. That didn’t help with the fact that Virginia wouldn’t be there, that Beth would be out of her sight for several hours. She knew she would hardly breathe until Beth returned. And, as they stood and watched the bus approach, her grip tightened around the child’s frail hand. She didn’t want to let go. When the bus stopped and the door opened, her mother felt a huge open hole in her chest. Her vision blurred and she couldn’t see or hear the volunteer who acted as an aide to the special needs children comes down the stairs to greet Beth. When she did acknowledge the woman, she did so very absently until she saw the interaction between the two. The volunteer was wonderful with Beth. She felt a bit more at ease; just a bit
    Virginia did her best to keep busy while Beth was in school. She was a tense as a guitar string, though. Whatever she did was secondary to her thoughts. With her eyes on the clock, willing the hands to move, time seemed to stand still. Practically 45 minutes before it was time for the bus to come, she was in the yard, trying to make it look like she was working there. The neighbors all knew the story and the two closest came out to keep her company and occupy her mind.

    Finally, they heard the sound of the bus. The excitement was palpable. When the bus stopped, the door opened and the girl descended the stairs amid shouts of goodbye, see you tomorrow and have a great evening. Beth enthusiastically returned the parting words and waves. Once on the ground, she was enveloped with hugs, pats, and excited greetings from the small crowd now gathered there. The excitement was immediately hushed by Beth’s mother who, afraid of an asthma attack, discreetly swept her down the walk and into the house to rest.

    Well, if Virginia thought Beth would be able to nap she was sadly mistaken. She was way too excited to sleep. In order to keep Beth as calm as possible, they sat in the old rocker. Sitting on her mother’s lap, Beth visibly relaxed and leaned back. They began to quietly talk about her day. They should have waited for Beth’s Dad; Ben wouldn’t be home from work for quite a while. He so wanted to be here to share in the excitement, but he had to work so very hard. They had so many medical bills to pay. He missed so much. But, now that Beth would be at school for a few hours every day; maybe Virginia could get a part time job to help out. It would be a God send in more than one way, she thought; not only could they use the extra dollars she could bring in, but it would help pass the time while Beth was in school. As Virginia was lost in thought, Beth finally did dose off; and, in spite of herself, she also dosed off for a while.

    They both woke at the same time. They looked around and discovered evening had made the room dim. As Beth started to get down, Virginia realized she was quite stiff; but as she moved it was better. “Well,” Virginia said, “I bet you’re hungry, I know I am.”

    After their small meal and more talk, Virginia put Beth down for the night. Now Beth was thinking of tomorrow and the excitement rose in her again. She was looking forward to being with all the other kids. She loved her teacher who treated her just like everyone else. She had known the answers to some of the questions and had raised her hand each time. Even though she sat in the front row, so she could see, the teacher didn’t call on her every time. The lip reading was only an enhancement to her understanding what was being said. She could hear with her hearing aids pretty well. And, when she spoke, even though it was very softly due to the asthma, she could be clearly understood and sounded almost like everyone else. She had to settle down though, she knew that if she didn’t keep calm, the asthma would keep her from going to school and she didn’t want to miss even one day. So she kept her eyes closed and went to her calming place as the therapist taught her and soon she drifted off.

    In the kitchen, Virginia hummed as she cleared away the dishes from supper. As she covered a plate for Ben, she wondered when he would be home. She had so much to share with him. She turned to go to the refrigerator when the back door opened and her visibly exhausted husband walked in. She went to him and opened her arms, embracing tightly for a long time. She whispered in his ear, “The day went so well. She didn’t have any of the problems we worried so much about.” He leaned back and looked in her eyes with the biggest grin she had seen him wear in oh so long. He said, “You know I wanted to be here, but we are so swamped. They told me to go. You know how it is; it would have been more work to do tomorrow.” She touched his face, “I know; Beth will tell you all about it when you have breakfast together. She made me swear I wouldn’t tell you everything.” Virginia warmed the plate of food in the microwave and they sat together as he ate. She gave him a short run down of the whole day and he asked questions, made comments and laughed at the part when she pretended to work in the yard. She also brought up the part time job. He said they would talk about it again; he was too tired to even think right now. It did sound like a good idea, though.

    They sat together on the couch, just for a little while to wind down, him with his paper, her with her crochet, not talking. It was a real comfort, just to be near one another and let the tensions of the day just flow right on out. In a little while he took her hand and they walked to the bedroom to call it a day; and such a satisfying day it had been. They hoped the first of many to come; they had passed an important milestone. The future looked a bit brighter now, for right now anyway. They would take it.
    Last edited by KMReifsnider; 02-Oct-2010 at 17:35. Reason: entering paragraph separations

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    #2

    Re: Help and Advice

    In my opinion, this is writing of high quality and I congratulate you on it, KMReifsnider.

    I cannot comment on whether you could make money from your writing, though I have seen far worse in magazines and short story collections.

    Good luck,

    Rover

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      • Polish
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    #3

    Re: Help and Advice

    I find your writing very fluent. You certainly have the potential of becoming a good writer. That said, I want a story to have lots of action in it, which your story lacked. Nothing goes wrong at any point, there's no real conflict. Did you consider writing something having those things?

  2. KMReifsnider's Avatar

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
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    #4

    Re: Help and Advice

    Thank you for reading and commenting on my story. I will consider your suggestions.

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