Fiction Friday Second Person

This Fiction Friday I want to talk about Second-Person Point of View. I will include an author bio and a good explanation of Second-Person.

Today, I read a short story written in the second-person point of view.

It is from the 2018 Pushcart assortment of stories. When I see a story in second-person, my first thought is about the bravery and skill of the writer. Then I worry about the writer’s ability to carry it off.

If you are wondering about second-person, in real life, it happens during high emotion. During a news interview of something horrid or at least terribly unexpected. The speaker slips into it during the telling. She begins to tell the story as though it happened to me, the viewer, all viewers. It is a sort of projecting it onto someone else to make the telling easier.

An example might be –

I didn’t know what happened. First there was a bang and then stuff was flying all around and then you see a person in front of you and he is bleeding. I really need to sit down somewhere.

The switch to second-person in a re-telling generally happens mid-sentence and by the end of the conversation we are taken out of the situation because she slips back into First Person. Local and National News as well as crime stories provide living examples of Second Person as it slips into re-telling.

In fiction, the author selects second-person voluntarily. To me it is a brave choice because sustaining a story in second has a higher difficulty level. It is part of the art and craft of writing.

The story is Mentor by Mark Jude Poirier and it first appeared in Crazyhorse.

This writer took a huge chance on me, the reader, by taking me far far outside my experience.  Mark Jude Poirier made me participate in in the story as a gay teacher and for the length of the story I felt his lust for a student at his school. I will think about his motivation and the repercussions of his actions. More than that, I will think about what it was like to be this character.

Photo of Mark Jude PMark Jude Poirier is the author of two collections of short stories, Unsung Heroes of American Industry, and Naked Pueblo: Stories, as well as two novels, Goats, and Modern Ranch Living. His books have been New York Times Notable Books of the year, as well as Barnes and Noble Discover and Waterstone’s UK picks. In 2015, Scribner published Intro to Alien Invasion, a graphic novel he wrote with Owen King. He has published nearly thirty short stories that have appeared in Tin House, The Iowa Review, Conjunctions, Crazyhorse, BOMB, The Southern Review, The American Scholar, Epoch, and many other journals and anthologies. In addition, films he has written have played at Sundance, The Toronto International Film Festival, MoMA, and the American Film Festival in Deauville. Mark is a graduate of Georgetown, Stanford, Johns Hopkins, and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and currently holds a Briggs-Copeland Lectureship at Harvard.

I looked online for a good definition of Second-Person Point of View. Most of them missed the ‘point’ but I did find this one.

Second-person point of view is a form of writing in which the point of view of a narrative work is told in the voice of the “onlooker,” which is you, the reader. For instance, the text would read, “You went to school that morning.”

The second-person point of view is rarely used in fiction because of its difficulty level. It is hard to develop a set of characters and a story in which the second person is appropriate.

Thank you for visiting with me this Fiction Friday. Don’t touch anything sharp.

 

What is Your Shoe?

Welcome to a Fiction Friday Post.

an air jordan 360 shoeWhat is Your Shoe?

On Wednesday during chat at The Writer’s Chatroom I mentioned a short story I  read is following me around.

It is the mark of an excellent writer when long after reading a character, plot line or theme stays in the forward reaches of our minds. That place we access in idle moments, letting the dog out to hurry, mixing paint on a butcher’s tray or simply watching the shower curtain as we sit down to pee.

I love a poem or a short story. Both, when well done are art forms. I feel privileged to receive such gifts from writers. The story I want to share with you came up in The Writers Chat Room. I said it had to do with a shoe and it was following me around. But I did not have the title and I couldn’t reach the book without some physical gymnastics. But before I went to bed I climbed up on the edge of the trunk and fetched the book out of my canvas and watercolor bag.

I told the people in the chat room it was about a shoe. Saying it is about a shoe does not do it justice.

The reason Float follows me is because every family has a shoe. Something plain to see. Something that bothers everyone on some deep and hidden, yet, obvious level. If after reading Float you claim your family does not have a shoe.. then I suggest you look a little closer.

My families, foster and biological all had them. We might look at them askance as if they were a distant blur in a telescope eyepiece. A galaxy that disappears if you look at it directly.

Reginald McKnight is the author of He Sleeps(Picador, 2002), The Kind of Light That Shines on Texas (1996), and I Get on the Bus (1990), among others. He is a professor of creative writing and literature at the University of Georgia.

In 2016 his short story Float was published in The Georgia Review.  Float was awarded The Pushcart Prize and appeared in the 2018 Pushcart Prize publication from The Best of the Small Presses. This is where I found it.

The complete story is online for your reading pleasure. It is a short story, it won’t take much of your time but I am warning you, this shoe will follow you in days to come. How long? I’ll let you know. For now, I can picture it vividly.

 

Float

by Reginald McKnight

Walk into my room and come to find one of my Jordan Air Max 360s floating about five foot off the ground.

Read More Here

Welcome to this Fiction Friday Post.

Please feel free to read the entire story and come back. Hit the reply to post and leave a comment. You do not have to share anything about your own personal shoe.

If you have a short story or novel for that matter following you around, please share the Title and Author who made it so.

Fiction Friday – Dysfunctional Office Scene

A Really Dysfunctional Scene

Welcome to Fiction Friday.

I haven’t posted a Fiction Friday in ages. This week I have a scene with Greg, an easygoing office manager and his employee, Mack, a type A who is doing everything he can to undermine, demean and resist his boss’s efforts to complete a big project. It is an example of a dysfunctional relationship.

out to lunch sign

“Hello Mack, how are you doing, today?”
“Okay, still working on this project.” Mack closed his manila folder and looks up from his desk. “Did you need something?”
“I just wanted to tell you I have the article for the front page written.” Greg held out his file.
Mack took the file and flipped it open. After skimming or pretending to read it, he says, “I don’t think you understand. You should redo this.”
Greg is flabbergasted.

Okay, now what do I do? Pick my battles? Screw this. I’m tired of it.

Greg shifted his stance, stood as tall as he could and squared his shoulders. “Mack, you are doing a great job but you seem a bit confused.”
Mack shifted in his chair and shot a look toward his computer screen. “Confused?”
“Yes. I am the lead manager. I am the guy in charge of this project. When I give you a file it is not for your approval. I’m not asking for edits, opinions or permission to go ahead.” Greg waited.
Mack shifted in his chair again. He shifted his gaze from the computer to Greg. He raised his eyebrows and waited.
After an uncomfortable silence, Mack spoke, again. “Well, I’m going to have to disagree.”
“You do know this isn’t a democracy.”
As Greg turned to leave he heard Mack mumbling behind him.

He always has to have the last word.

Greg shrugged off the tension in his shoulders and headed down to the coffee shop.

Greg returned a half hour later.  He rounded the corner and stepped into his office.

He sat down behind his desk and leaned back in his office chair.  Greg looked up and saw his file had been stapled to the ceiling page by page.

He reached for the phone. Superglued. Drawers, superglued.  Anything that could be glued down was, well, glued down.

“MACK.”

“I always get the last word,” Mack said as the elevator swallowed him and his cardboard box.

“Who took down the sign?”

Elevator with an Out of Order Sign

Don’t touch anything sharp.

All Fiction Friday Posts are available at Fiction-Friday.com

Fiction Friday Short Short – Eraser

clip art of a pink eraserThe Department of Defense has perfected a new weapon, code named Eraser.

Much like Facbook’s Block Option, the US Government can find and make individual people disappear. Going beyond the limits of Facebook’s Block, this weapon makes the person vanish from everywhere. Poof. Without a trace. No records.

What are you writing about?

Fiction Friday – Cannibal Prompt

Fiction Friday a Writing Prompt

I am using a Prompt from A Year of Writing Prompts 365 Story Ideas for Honing Your Craft and Eliminating Writer’s Block by Brian A. Klems and Zachary Petit.  This is a Writer’s Digest book well worth $7.99.

clipart stew pot
Fiction Friday – Cannibal Prompt

From the e-book January 29 entry –

Fine Young Cannibals

You have been captured by cannibals. How do you convince them not to eat you? If that fails how do you attempt to get away?

(I only use one cannibal in my entry)

An ancient woman is stoking a fire in her hearth. She comes back to the counter and begins chopping root vegetables. “How much to you think you weigh, sweetie?”

“You aren’t thinking what I think you’re thinking?”

The old woman plunks a heavy iron pot up on the counter. “You look a bit scrawny, that’s okay though.”

“I am, really, you should try that hen I saw out in the side yard. If you un-truss me, I’ll go get it for you. I’ll even lop her head off with that ax.”

“Nah, I am in the mood for the other ‘white meat.’”

“Then I think in the interest of full self-disclosure I am not just scrawny, I am bitter. Really, I am a mean evil, bitter, bitter woman. You don’t want to eat me.”

“Bitter, you say. What kind of bitter?”

“My husband dumped me for a newer model, a real freaking model, blonde, vapid.”

“Go on.”

“My boss said I was out of date, he promoted a kid with pimples to be my supervisor.”

“And?”

“I was out for an afternoon hobble when you offered me tea and cookies. When I came inside you knocked me silly, trussed me up and now it looks like I’m going to be the main entrée at a dinner for one.”

The woman snatched up the knife she’d put down while I was pleading my case. She leaned over me.

“That’s it girlie, I’m cutting you lose.”

“What? Why?”
“Just go, and don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”

I almost ran back to my apartment. Sure I wasn’t dinner tonight, but now I know I am not even good enough to eat. There should be some comfort in this ending but all I want to do tonight is marinate in a bottle of red wine.

Then End…

Don’t touch anything sharp.

All Fiction Friday Posts 

Go down to the comment box if you’d like to add your own response to today’s prompt.

Hello World – Sally is in the Building!

A Sign Saying I'm BackI’m back.

I have renewed my Domains for Writerly Wednesday and Fiction Friday. I have my virus protection up-to-date and may be starting a job with another publisher, soon.

What? Someone asked where I have been?

No one would believe the stranger than fiction story behind my quiet spell. Let’s just say that when I am in a persistent vegetative state, a journal will surface.

I am going to put out a call for Writerly Wednesday Submissions and get back into my Fiction Friday Posts. I am even thinking about putting a toe into self-publishing my Spoon River of Houses anthology.

A few people have suggested I try my hand at some Writerly Workshops.

Hello World Name Tag

So, Hello World – Sally is in the Building!

 

If you have been a previous guest at Writerly Wednesday you are welcome to come back.  If you have a new book fiction, non-fiction or creative non-fiction that has a buy link, go ahead and shoot me an email. Full Info is here.. 

I Saw What You Did Last Spring

Potatoes al la Doris graphic of potatoes
Potatoes al la Doris

“I’m pleased to be here, today.

I’m a little nervous.

We are gathered here, today, to dedicate this garden to the Hirsham Community.”

Papers rustle to the ground.

“I’m sorry, I can’t do this.. I can’t.” Pepper’s hands tremble. She pauses and begins to recite the email she received just before appearing in front of the best gardeners in the community.

 

The letter won’t leave her mind.  She sees the words hanging over the group.  Thinking is impossible.

“Dear Pepper;
I saw what you did last spring.
You thought no one would ever find you out.”

Pepper can’t stop talking.  She is saying the words hanging over the gardener’s bright hats and tries to stop, talking, reading.

“What you didn’t know, was that I’d been there before you. I saw what was hidden at the back of the shed. Back behind the rake and hoe.

At this point it is becoming obvious to everyone there that something is terribly wrong. Some folks are looking around at each other as if to confirm the unfolding event. 

“When I first saw it, I thought it was an animal. Dead, but an animal. Brown, tangled. Dried leaves stuck in there.
Then I thought it was an old wig. What it was doing stuffed behind the garden tools, I couldn’t guess. But it wasn’t a wig.
When I nudged it away from the wall, it tumbled to face me with a hideous broken toothed grin.”

Now the crowd has gone completely silent.

 
“It was the gold rimmed tooth that gave it away.
I always thought the gold made her look old, trashy, even.
But that’s no reason to lop off Doris’s head and sweep it into the corner like that.

A lady in the back row gasps and claps her hands to her chest.
Why didn’t you put it with the rest of her? You know. The dried up body you buried at the edge of the garden? Right there with the potatoes.”

 

New Plant and Spade
Garden Party

Pepper paused to look at the potato patch, not ready for harvest but growing quite well. A lot of heads followed her gaze.
She continued her recitation.
“How long did it take to dry her up, like that?
Where were you keeping her?
I knew something was up when I saw you bent and sweaty with a wheelbarrow at your side.
I know what you did last spring.
Always watching,
Anita”

 

The crowd mumbles. Someone laughs. Mostly they’re gawking in stunned silence.
Pepper excuses herself and darts off toward her car.
Finally Mrs. Sims, the group organizer, steps up to the podium, crunching the dropped pages under her heels.

“Is Anita here?”

 

Fiction Friday – Cell Phones and Junk Drawers

Clip Art of a Cell Phone

Welcome to Fiction Friday…

Today I will talk about Cell Phones and Junk Drawers

Clip Art of a Cell Phone
Clip Art of a Cell Phone

I knew something was wrong when the two symbols at the bottom of my cell phone were the only things that lit.

How do we mortals fix our electronics?

We turn them off.  Then turn them on again.

When you call a cell phone support tech from someone else’s cell phone they always ask the annoying question.

“Did you try turning it off?”

When you go to the emergency room the nurses aide, nurse and the doctor on call will always ask…

Bedpan clip art
Did you try turning it off?

“When was your last bowel movement?”

Sorry, got off subject…

Okay, nothing on my phone was responding to my touch.  I did not know how to turn it completely off.  So I pried the protective covering off using my thumbnail and a pen.

I couldn’t figure out how to get the back off so I could pull the battery out.  I had never seen the phone out of its protective clothing and discovered some thin plastic around the silver edging to pull off.

Then I noticed I was leaving finger prints on the back and obsessed over getting those off.  A naked sound control and a naked power button cried out to be pressed.  This resulted in more fingerprints.

During my cleaning breakdown I thought of my Kindle.  To shut them down I always pressed and held the power button.

YES.  It worked.  I shut the phone all the way down and restarted it.

fingerprint clip art
Oh, no, I keep touching it everywhere!

Then set to work on the fingerprints, again.  While I was cleaning the back I bought something on Google.  I think it was a book but I can’t find it, now.  Hope it wasn’t a car.

I got everything shined up and put the protective gear back on my phone when a message popped up to remind me it is Fiction Friday.

 

Welcome to Fiction Friday

Junk Drawers…
 Drawers tell a lot about a person.  You really want to know your neighbor’s mind, just look in the junk drawer.

When you feel stuck with your WIP check out his or her junk drawer.  You never know what you might find…

The following is an excerpt of a NaNo Project from November 2008.. The point of NaNoWriMo is to write without editing.. and keep writing.  The excerpt below is in its very first seat of my pants draft..

What’s in your Junk Drawer?

            Back at the house, Elizabeth chopped up some veggies for a salad and loaded the dishwasher with the morning’s cup and plate.  She sat with her salad and tap water wondering what to do next.  Then after some thought a junk drawer caught her eye.

Drawers tell a lot about a person.  You really want to know your neighbor’s mind, just look in the junk drawer.  There were a few junk drawers in the house she had shared with Steve over the last two decades.  She started with the kitchen.

Rubberbands and paperclips.  Rubberbands have a sort of half life, a point at wich they stop stretching and stop snapping.  She pulled the small trash can from beneath the sink and dropped them in.  She didn’t really need the paper clips either, when was the last time anyone needed to clip paper?  Out they went.  A stray butter knife she tossed into the sink.  Ink pen, blue, two bic pens, black, out.

You know what, she thought out loud, I’m tossing it all.  The pulled the drawer free and tipped the contents into the round file.  The little rubber mat stuck fast so she sat the drawer back up on the counter and pried it loose at one corner with a finger nail.  She pulled it loose the rest of the way, rolling it as she went.  Beneath there was an envelope.  An old crusty thing, she poked the rubber mat into the trash and began lifting the dingy paper from the drawer bottom.  She was about to toss it out of hand when the return address caught her eye.

Come back next week to see another Fiction Friday Post..

Don’t touch anything sharp…

Fiction Friday – They Never Saw it Coming

Photo of Quaking Aspen Blooms

Welcome to Fiction Friday – They Never Saw it Coming

Photo of Quaking Aspen Blooms
Quaking Aspen Blooms

Winter is slow to release its icy grip on spring time.  Tulip and Iris bulbs sleep frozen earth.  But the Quaking Aspens defy Old Man Winter and sport some understated blooms.

Photo of a Doe and her Fawns
Family of Deer

Little by little the grass begins to green.  Bunnies play among the fawns and birds try to get to the bird feeders before the squirrels and deer empty them.

Some things you’ll never see coming.  It isn’t written in the stars.  It will come like a thief in the night.

Afterward all sorts of people, religious groups and network news analysts will lie and say they knew it all along.

The Tulips and Irises will wait.  It is going to be difficult for wild things but they will adapt.  Human kind?  Well… first ‘hearts will go out’ and slogans will pop up and different groups will try to help pick up the pieces and put them back.  But soon everyone will begin thinking of themselves.

Some people are survivors.  Some are great at coping.  Some will lay down and die.  It is going to be a difficult time and when they write the history books they’ll agree they never saw it coming.

 

 

Fiction Friday – Paved with Good Intentions

photo of a laptop printer and USB drives

Hello Readers and Welcome to Fiction Friday.

Fiction Friday – Paved with Good Intentions

 

Last week I posted a very short scene.  A Simple Scene.  I re-wrote the scene, yesterday and hid it in a reply.

I am a neglectful writer, filled with good intentions.  I’ve heard the road to hell is paved with good intentions.  I am not at all sure what that means. But I love to research… let me look it up..

Meaning

The intention to engage in good acts often fails. It points up the principle that there is no merit in good intentions unless they are acted on.

From The Phrase Finder

photo of a laptop printer and USB drives
My Jumble of Writerly Stuff

Okay, that is out of the way.  I am going to tell you what is holding me up on my not so current writing project.

  • It is an old project and the files are scattered between at least two laptops, my SkyDrive and probably 3 USB discs.
  • While reading and arranging scenes I get sidetracked by characters who may deserve their own books.

And —

  • The work involved in gathering files, sorting and copying scenes seems TOO complicated, like a hoarder’s home, I don’t really know where to start.

I would like to hear about your ‘writing process.’  Don’t be shy, leave a comment.

If I Should Die and Milk Carton People by Sally Franklin Christie are available at your favorite book-seller in print and e-formats for your favorite e-reader.

Thank you for visiting and don’t touch anything sharp.