HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT: Using dialogue, write a 5 minute (1 to 2 page) essay that begins with something true but quickly becomes fictional.
As we walked down the first fairway, I was pondering my tee shot. Had I left all my skills on the driving range? Was it pointless to practice beforehand? It seemed so. As I lugged my clubs along, I was noticeably quiet, or at least my husband thought so.
“How’s your cold?” he asked.
“About the same, and not to blame for that lousy drive off the tee” I responded without glancing over at him. His drive was straight down the middle of the fairway and hundreds of yards further out than my short and wonky shot.
My yellow neon ball was off in the knee-high weeds somewhere to our left, and as I approached the general vicinity, I veered off to take a look. Figuring it was likely unfindable, I’d already put a spare ball in my pocket ready to drop and hit if need be. I grabbed my 7 iron and used it to bat the growth out of my way, while leaning down towards ground level to get a better look. It was not only tough to see below all this stuff, it was also very damp. With each step I took, I could feel the moisture seeping around the soles of my golf shoes. I took a few more steps in, carefully placing my feet so that I could avoid anything that looked obviously muddy.
“Let me help look” I heard him say.
“It’s a goner, I think. I’ll just hit another one.” But instead I continued to use my 7 iron to push weeds from side to side, looking for that wildly belligerent golf ball. I hate losing golf balls more than recording a double digit on a hole.
As I worked my way along, I finally stepped back out onto the edge of the fairway. I dug the spare out of my pocket.
“Found it!” I looked around me to see where my husband was. “Over here!” he yelled.
I looked back behind me and there in the middle of the weeds, he was bending over to retrieve my ball. But instead of coming up with it, he stood back up and looked at me. “It’s hittable,” he said.
“Huh? Isn’t it out of bounds there?”
“Of course, but since you don’t keep score anyhow, it’s hittable. These are the kinds of shots that are fun to practice…if you get yourself in trouble when you ARE keeping score, you’ll be more confident hitting the trickier shots if you’ve practiced on weird ones like this.”
I stared at him for a moment. Okay, fine. I pulled my pitching wedge, my 9 iron and my 8 iron from my bag, and I hung onto the 7 iron too. Until I was literally standing over that ball, I wasn’t sure which club I’d want to use.
I picked my way over to where he was, noticing that my socks were now absorbing the mud that was already seeping over onto my shoes. There was really no way to avoid it, no matter how carefully I placed my feet.
He backed off as I approached. When I got to the ball, I studied it a moment. He was right…it was hittable. There was just enough space around it to get a club head in there…but it was also very muddy so I’d have to be careful not to drive it in further…or just pop it up and land it a few inches away, maybe to be lost forever.
“Hold these.” I said, as I gave him three of my clubs. I kept the 7.
“The 7 isn’t steep enough to clear the weeds,” he said. “Use your pitch. It has to pop out high”
“The pitch will pop it up, but it’s gonna leave it well short. I’ll just bury it again in a new crappy spot”. He gave me that expression…the one I know so well. The one that says ‘I’ve played this game my entire life. Don’t be stupid.’
I gave him my own look. The one he knows so well. The one that says ‘I hear you, but I’m doing it my way.’
I carefully got into position, placing each foot so that the ball lay squarely in the middle of my stance. I took hold of my 7 iron, and glanced at my husband. “Heads up,” I said calmly.
I gently placed the club head into position. Deciding I might need to blast it with a launch normally reserved for rocket ships, I bent my right knee ever so slightly to give me more leverage in my swing. Without further ado, I worked that club as I’d never done before, driving the ball like a bullet out of the mud with a ceremonious spray for my cheering squad.
“JESUS!” I heard.
“Where’d it go?” I asked. I couldn’t see it, but because it wasn’t still sitting where I’d last seen it, I assumed it’d gotten airborne. My husband ran to watch the landing, having first to clamber through the weeds to get out to the fairway. By the time I got back out there myself, my feet were soaked, my shoes ruined. I squinted to see how far my ball had gone. I couldn’t see it. “Where’d it go?” I asked.
He was just shaking his head, with that other look I know so well. The one that hates to admit that occasionally I can do things my way, and it all turns out okay.
Walking along side by side once again, I soon spotted my ball. It was not only out of the crap, it was well down the fairway, coming to rest in a sliver of sunshine…and just a few feet short of his own stellar drive off the tee.
“Where’s the scorecard?” I asked.
That was a fun writing assignment. And, yes…it was fictional (well, except for the golf and the hubby part. Good thing my hubby has a sense of humor!) Writing fiction is a good challenge for me and forces me to use my imagination. Even more challenging is to come up with a fictional story QUICKLY. Now there’s a skill that remains elusive. I’m participating in a new writing group that meets a few times each month…primary focus is fiction. This has been a good thing for me, but beginning in January I will be pushing even harder on my memoir project with the goal to have it COMPLETED (and COMPLETELY completed) by June 2014. I’m so excited to be working with Brooke Warner and Linda Joy Myers, who will be coaching me throughout the next six months. Finally, the HOME STRETCH! It may never see the light of day for publication, but quite honestly that’s never been my objective in the first place (for background, you’ll need to read my post titled ‘About being a writer‘). Simply having my memoir completed will finally put the past back into the past, where I’d kept it emotionally locked up for decades. Until something unexpected happened that blew the lock wide open…