Friday, April 24, 2009

Saturday Wordzzle Challenge, Week 60

This is week 60 of the Saturday Wordzzle challenge. Anyone new to the process can refer back here to find out how it works. I had a hard time getting anything to feel finished this week... even connecting them, they all just seemed to not quite finish except that I got all the words in. Next week's words are awful too. Anyone wanting to volunteer some words is welcome to do so.

The words for this week's ten word challenge were: preparation, tic-tac-toe, splurge, auction block, the bitter end, milk, papyrus, when the parade passes by, bill of lading, stone wall Mini Challenge: polar bear, 20 seconds, get it together, spasmodic, antiquity

Here's my ten world offering for this week:

Margaret Milk Morgenson loved history. She was obsessed with things historical and had been since childhood. When her classmates had spent time playing tic-tac-toe she had read history books. She had begged her parents to take her to museums and historical sites. When other children had bought themselves candy, she had splurged on replicas of papyrus scrolls and books about mummies and mummification. Now, a college history professor, it seemed her whole life had been a preparation for finding ways to bring history to life for her students and society at large. Her newly published book of poetry, "The Bitter End: Stone Walls and Auction Blocks," had received serious acclaim. It dealt with the history of slavery and racism from historic times right up to the present moment. Two poem which had received the most notice were an agonizingly stark piece entitled "Bill of Lading," which painted a mercilessly unblinking portrait of what it was to both be and traffic in human cargo and "When the Parade Passes By," a remarkably empathic expression (so she was told) of what it had been like to be a young black male in the 1900s in America. Trying to decide what to write next, she was torn such profoundly diverse subjects as a biography of her uncle Harvey and the gay rights movement in America or global warming.

This week's mini challenge:

"Get it together... Get it together," Margaret muttered to herself. It made no sense to fall to pieces every 20 seconds over things one could not change. These spasmodic outbursts of emotion about Uncle Harvey and polar bears and even the tragedies of antiquity make no sense to her. "It just isn't like me to act this way," she muttered to herself. "I've been absorbed by history for my whole life without going to pieces. What on earth is wrong with me?" Across the room, her mother smiled knowingly. "I think, Margaret, my dear, that you and Henry here are perhaps about to make a little history of your own. I was the same way when I was pregnant. You have all the signs."

And the mega challenge:


Margaret stared at her mother dumbfounded. "Pregnant?" She had been so busy with her classes and the publication of the book that she had not really stopped for breath. "Pregnant." It made sense. She looked around at the house in a panic. There was so much preparation to do. She and Henry would really need to get it together. At least the surprising success of her book, "The Bitter End: Stone Walls and Auction Blocks," meant that they would have a little extra money. They could splurge on baby things. There was so much to do. So much to buy. Pointing to the papyrus that hung on the wall and the other fragile antiquities that decorated their home she decreed with such urgency that you would have thought the baby was due any moment, "All this stuff has to go, Henry." 20 seconds later she was on to decorating the nursery, leaving her poor husband's head spinning with the change in his normally reasonable wife. "Margaret," he whispered, "maybe we should make sure we're really pregnant first." He was not quite sure how to deal with this new wife with her spasmodic fits of weeping and intense mood swings. He was not quite sure what to think about having a baby. It was not that he didn't want one. It had just not occurred to him that he and Margaret might become parents or that she would become this strange new person when it happened. He wanted to go on as they were. He was excited by her new found fame, traveling with her as talk show hosts from Oprah to Charlie Rose interviewed her about Bill of Lading and the book's other poems. He loved listening to her talk about history. Now suddenly she was a weepy baby mom who wanted to buy stuffed polar bears and decorate a nursery with a "when the parade passes by" theme of endangered animals painted onto the walls. At least that was a bit like the real Margaret. The new Margaret, meanwhile, had responded to his comment first with an angry. "Of COURSE I'm pregnant," which was followed shortly with tears and a wailing, "You don't want our baby," which was then followed by.... well, you get the idea. Once she was able to stop laughing, Gloria Milk, Margaret's mother, put a hand on her bewildered son-in-law's shoulder and whispered. "This will pass eventually, my boy, but you have a couple of rough months ahead of you, I'm afraid." To her daughter she said, "Henry is right, of course. Take a deep breath Margaret and come sit down. Tomorrow you can go to the doctor and make sure you really are pregnant... and then relax. As for me... I'm going to be a grandma." Saying which, she sat down, put her arms around her daughter and the two of them began weeping copiously. Henry, for his part, wasn't sure what was more frightening to him... the idea of being a father or 9 months of weeping, moody women. It's like tic-tac-toe, he thought to himself and then wondered what he meant by that. He felt a bit like crying himself, but that he feared would only encourage the women.


Next Week's Ten Word Challenge will be: translation, crunchy, cat’s paw, trunk, I love raspberry tarts, global warming, star struck, the midnight ride of Paul Revere, fragile, Spring fever

Mini Challenge: pancakes and syrup, flat tire, mongoose, this place looks like a bordello, first dance

Thanks for playing. For those who are new, here are some guidelines to make the process more fun.

Enjoy! See you next week.


18 comments: said...

The Mistress of the Wordzzle. I loved the way you told an entire story through all three challenges. It was wonderful. j

Anonymous said...

Wow so she could be pregnant. I loved the Mega and how it ended. And the Ten Word dealing with social issues that I know ate near and dear to you. Great how they all inter related.

Richard said...

Nicely done this week. I enjoyed the Margaret Milk stories. I will be on the road this Saturday but will post automatically at midnite.

MommyWizdom said...

Bravo!! I love the three stories in one deal!!

I will try to get something up for this week! You did a fantastic job though; I love the book titles and the interweaving! :-)


Akelamalu said...

You surpassed yourself this week m'dear - absolutely fantastic!

"The Bitter End: Stone Walls and Auction Blocks," was a stroke of genious and I love the way all three stories interlinked. You are the master!

Ordinarily Just Me said...

I am still laughing. I feel sorry for the husband. As Jay said, having a continuing story thru all 3 sets was awesome and inspiring. Will there be more of the weepy pregnant woman and her family?

Dr.John said...

I really like the linking of the stories. Three challenges with one result. The final result was a great story. I could see all that was happening.
I always said that I was glad we were married a year before Betty got pregnant because she was two different woman. The pregnant one cried a lot and was very moody. Just like your character. But the old Betty came back.

Dianne said...

I too think the flow of the story thru the 3 challenges is brilliant.

I love that her middle name is 'Milk' and something tells me so would he.

Wonderful Raven, just plain wonderful.

Batteson.Ind said...

lol!.. love your mega challenge, very beautifully and wittily written. I seem to remember a lot of crying, lol! You'll be pleased to know I managed to get my wordzzle up on time today!.. yay!

Raven said...

I will confess here where probably nobody will read it that part of the reason for the continuing story was that I was able to reuse the book title and wipe out a bunch of words without having to think again. I did try to think of new uses for them, but I couldn't, so I felt like I had cheated a bit in the mega. Glad everyone liked it anyway.

Thom - - Dr. John said...

Can you see me clapping? Cause I am ya know.

Great job Raven. I could see the titles being actual books so easily.

So glad you keep hosting this challenge. It has once again inspired me to get off my backside and write.

quilly said...

This is wonderful! I absolutely love the way it ended! I actually chuckled out loud.

bettygram said...

I liked linking the three stories. Like the name Milk. will we find out if she is indeed PG?

Stephen said...

I liked all the stories being connected, and making a book title out of three of the words/phrases. I also liked the references in the first story to past injustices. Hopefully, current injustices can also become a thing of the past. The other two stories took a lighter tone, and it looks like they have a bright future, at least after the next few months.

Stephen from Scottsdale, Arizona, USA

Stephen said...

By the way, I have my stories up now.

Stephen from Scottsdale, Arizona, USA

DawnTreader said...

I think you "got it together" very well indeed! *applause*
I had little time to work on my story this week but it's up now anyway. :)

gabrielle said...

Bill of Lading sounds fascinating. I’d love to read it. All of the topics under consideration are worthy of Margaret Milk’s attention. I love the thinly veiled allusion to her uncle.

Margaret and Henry will make wonderful parents. A “when the parade passed by mural” sounds like a wonderful legacy.

A wonderful triptych. Bravo!

Finding Pam said...

Raven, You have outdone yourself in this writing challenge. I totally enjoyed your stories as they flowed so nicely.