FranklyWrite

Practice Writing

Blogisode I

Lottie Writes

Hi, I’m Lottie. That’s short for Charlotte. Like Charlotte’s Web. I know that was a dumb thing to say, but I don’t know how to start. You see, I want to be a writer.

<<Lottie’s third grade classroom is configured in an L-shape with twenty desks in two rows of ten along the windows so the student’s backs are to them because the radiator to ceiling windows looking onto a woods encourages day dreaming. Ten desks in two rows of five face the chalk board and form the small part of the L. These students can turn their heads and stare out the windows, but it is too easy for the teacher to catch them.>>

Lottie Writes

I like to tell stories and my friends say I’m really good at it. I want to be a writer like John Boy Walton and up until yesterday, I thought you had to be 18 to be a writer, but there was a story on the news about a kid my age, 8, who wrote a book and got it published.

Don’t think I make a habit of watching the news because I don’t. It’s the only thing my Dad likes to watch beside all the channels at once, not really at once, but I don’t feel like writing about that now.

<<The class works like this, the teacher gives a brief explanation of the day’s work, all assignments are made and the class has the rest of the morning to complete the work however they choose. After lunch, they go over the work and have a few lessons for the next day’s work. Students who finish morning work early have free time until lunch. There is a games corner separated from the classroom by a wood shelf full of fun. Lottie’s desk is in the second row of the small part of the L next to the shelf of fun. The boxes of dominos sit at eye level with her, Lottie loves the school dominos and usually stares at them between questions, but not today. Lottie is hunched over her desk writing. She does not spare the dominos a glance.>>

Lottie Writes

The year is 1973 and I am in the 3rd grade. It’s May. I want to move to Kentucky and raise horses. Race horses. I’m going to write stories and raise horses. I was in the school library and they don’t have any books about race horse care. I checked out a book called Man O’ War.

<<Lottie opens her desk top and searches for her ruler. She finds it in the pencil tray; a clear plastic blue one with white markings. She grabs Man O’ War and sets it on her desk. She puts the ruler to the spine.>>

Lottie Writes

It is the widest book in the library! It is an inch and half and a bit more. Man O’ War was the greatest race horse ever. Secretariat is a great, great, great grandson of Man O’ War. Secretariat just won the Kentucky Derby.

Lottie Writes

I live in Michigan. There is nothing special about Michigan. We don’t have a grass like Kentucky Blue grass or horse racing or they don’t make movies here like in California. It’s a boring place. It’s shaped like a mitten. Big deal. Who’s going to know that unless they are in a plane?

<<The teacher approaches.>>

Teacher
Lottie, what is that book?

Lottie
My library book.

Teacher
You’re going to read that whole book?

Lottie
Yes.

Teacher
It’s very long.

Lottie
It’s about Man O’ War.

Teacher
Okay, but I think it would be better if you chose something else. You’re behind and need to read two books before the end of the year.

Lottie
I want to read this one.

<<The teacher walks away shaking her head.  She sighs.>>

Lottie Writes

My teacher doesn’t like me. It started the first day of school.

<<Lottie stares at her paper and then looks around the classroom at her classmates. Diane is soliciting signatures for Carol to win a war with Linda and Scott and Brian are playing desktop hockey. No one is looking at her.>>

Lottie Writes

Okay, my name really isn’t Charlotte. It is Wadyslaw. I was given a dumb Polish name because my Grandma P, who lives with us, has a dumb Polish name. On the first day of third grade all the kids laughed at Mrs. Goggler when she tried to say it.  They all know it. She’s hated me ever since. I hate when we have a sub. I know the long pause is always for me. Okay, so I told the truth. Funny, I don’t feel any better. Grandma P always says the truth will make you feel better.

It is not easy spelling all these words right. I’ll have Diane and my sister, Debby, help me with the spelling. I copied

<<Lottie opens her desk and rummages. She takes out a crinked envelope with a single word on it. She copies the word on to her paper. She crosses out a word in the paragraph above and writes in the word above it.>>

Lottie Writes

Secretariat off the TV because no one knew how to spell it the last time I wanted to write about him. I hate looking up words in the dictionary. If I don’t know how to spell a word, how am I supposed to find it in a dictionary?

<<The teacher rings the bell on her desk.>>

Mrs. Goggler
Okay, clean up and get your lunches.

<<Lottie freezes. She still has math and spelling to do. She spent the morning writing something that was not part of her work. The topic on the board for creative writing is, “If I were George Washington….”

<<Lottie takes her math and spelling to lunch with her. She rushes through them and spills milk on her spelling.>>

<<After lunch>>

Teacher
Take out your creative writing.

<<Jerry Cody, Bill Gipson, Jeff Bunch and Lottie don’t open their desks.>>

Teacher
Lottie, where is your creative writing?

Lottie
I didn’t finish it.

Teacher
Take out what you have.

Lottie
I don’t have any of it.

Teacher
I saw you working on it.  Did you turn it into the basket?

Lottie
Maybe.

<<Lottie walks to the basket and slowly pages through the stack of papers one by one as the teacher questions the boys.  Lottie sits down.>>

Teacher
Did you find it?

Lottie
No.

Teacher
(Yells) I am tired of this! This is the third week in a row you have not done it. I saw you writing. What were you writing?

<<Lottie fixes her eyes on the desktop and says nothing.>>

Teacher
Answer me! Look at me!

<<Lottie looks at her.>>

Teacher
I want to see what you were writing and I want to see it now.

Lottie
I wasn’t writing anything.

Teacher
I have had it with you! If you do not have your creative writing when you walk in here tomorrow morning I am calling your parents. Do you understand me?

<<Lottie is silent>>

Teacher
Do you understand me?

Lottie
Yes.

<<Mrs. Goggler picks three people to read their compositions in front of the class. Lottie slides her notebook out from under her spelling book.>>

Lottie Writes

I got yelled again by Goggly Eyes, that’s what I call my teacher, Mrs. Goggler. I didn’t do my creative writing again. I can’t help it. She gives us the stupidest topics.  “If I were George Washington I’d….” How am I supposed to do all the research for that? I don’t know if he even used a pencil? Did they have a shower? It’s impossible to write that in one day. Maybe if I had 3 days I could do it. I wrote this instead.

<<Keith walks to the front of the class holding his paper in front of him like a shield.>>

Keith
I’d chop down a weeping cherry tree. I’d swim across the Detroit River. I’d wear wooden teeth. Then I would president in the US. The End.

Teacher
Good. But it’s not really a story. Remember what I talked about? A story has a beginning, middle and end. In a good story there’s a person, they do something and something in their life changes. That’s a story. Okay. Next.

Keith
But I have five sentences.

Mrs. Goggler
You have four. The End doesn’t count.

Keith
I thought it did.

<<Keith takes his seat and Lisa walks to the front of the room flitting her paper at her side and smiling. Both sides are full.>>

Lottie Writes

I guess this isn’t a story. It doesn’t have a middle and an end. I’m the only character and I’ve never done anything. I don’t ever do anything according to my parents. It’s  just about me and I’m a person even though I’m a kid. I said my name, my age and… the boy my age who published a story said he wrote about his deepest, darkest secret. I told my one secret, but I guess that’s not really a secret because everyone at school knows my name. My parents don’t know I tell people my name is Charlotte. I don’t want them to feel bad. They gave me the name and it is my Grandma’s name and I don’t want her to feel bad either. But I guess that’s not my deepest, darkest secret.

I suck my thumb. I’ve tried to stop and I can go all day at school without sucking it, but as soon as I get home it’s in my mouth. No one at school knows I suck my thumb. Sometimes I sneak when the teacher has us put our heads down. I can’t seem to kick the habit. Grandma P tried over Christmas vacation to break me of it by putting this awful tasting stuff on it. I learned that if you keep sucking, the bad tasting stuff isn’t so bad and starts to taste like a green Jolly Rancher. They keep trying to scare me with buck teeth if I don’t stop. They don’t understand I want to stop, I just can’t.  My greatest fear is that some one at school will find out I still suck my thumb. I’d never live it down.

<<Lottie doesn’t hear Lisa finish.>>

Lisa
…And I would give a puppy to each member of my family and all my friends. If I were George Washington. The End. Mrs. Goggler, Lottie’s writing.

<<Mrs. Goggler snatches the notebook off Lottie’s desk. Lottie jumps. The class laughs. Mrs. Goggler reads.>>

Mrs. Goggler
Hi, I’m Lottie. That’s short for Charlotte. Like Charlotte’s Web. I know that was a dumb thing to say, but I don’t know how to start. You see, I want to be a writer. I like to tell stories and my friends say I’m really good at it. I want to be a writer like John Boy Walton

<<The class laughs.>>

Mrs. Goggler
and up until yesterday, I thought you had to be 18 to be a writer, but there was a story on the news about a kid my age, 8, who wrote a book and got it published.

<<A long pause. Mrs. Goggler’s eyes move over the page but she stops reading out loud.  She gets to the end and looks at Lottie.

Mrs. Goggler
I’m glad you found your creative writing.

<<Lottie reaches for her notebook, but Mrs. Goggler puts it on her desk. Lottie’s bottom lip quivers and her throat locks.>>

Mrs. Goggler
Very good, Lisa. That was a story. The dog became the main character instead, but that was okay…

<<Lottie doesn’t hear anything. She stares at her paper trying to levitate using telepathy.>>

<<Later in the evening.>>

<<Lottie sits on her bed with her notebook. A clean sheet of notebook paper on top.>>

Lottie Writes

The scariest thing happened as I was writing at school. I’m now writing in my room. Mrs. Goggler snuck-up on me and snatched my notebook away. She started to read it to the class because she thought I was writing a note. I wanted to run out of the classroom when she read the John Boy Walton part. The whole class laughed. I wanted to run because I knew I wrote about my thumb. Then she stopped. And she paused like subs do when they come to my name. And she said,

“I thought you didn’t do your creative writing?”

I stayed silent. She set my notebook on her desk and went on talking about Lisa’s story like nothing happened. All I could do was stare at my paper and will it back to me. My thumb was on there for anyone to read! Why did I start a new paragraph with it!   I had bad writing. Maybe no one could read it. Then after school something even stranger happened.

<<After school. Lottie puts on her jacket.  The other students are gone.>>

Mrs. Goggler
Lottie, come here.

Lottie Writes

She handed me my notebook with an A+ on my paper.

Mrs. Goggler
This is good. Why don’t you do your creative writing?

Lottie
I don’t like writing on topics.

Lottie Writes

I couldn’t tell her her topics were stupid.

Mrs. Goggler
Okay. Whenever you don’t like the topic, you may write about whatever you like.

Lottie
Really?

Lottie Writes

I stared at her for a whole minute. She laughed. I never saw her laugh before.

Mrs. Goggler
Really. I’m a writer, too. I write short stories.

Lottie Writes

What??? You think a teacher is just a teacher and is only there to make you do stuff you don’t want to do, and then you learn she is a writer! Is that even possible?

Mrs. Goggler
I’m sorry for yelling at you.

Lottie
That’s okay.

<<Lottie walks away then pauses at the door. She smiles at Mrs. Goggler who smiles back.>>

Lottie Writes

Just like a friend. I felt like I was on the tilt-a-whirl. It’d have to think about this for a long time. I hope Dad plays the stereo tonight. I need to think and spin with my horse.

 

© Secrets 2015 by Cynthia Franks

7 thoughts on “Secrets

  1. artseafartsea says:

    Enjoyed your story.

    Like

    1. Thank you for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. artseafartsea says:

        🙂

        Like

  2. Hey, I think I know that Gramma P. character!

    One of your best, really enjoyed reading it.

    Like

    1. It could be better. I’m working on Blogisode II. Then I go back and make some changes. I have a better feel for the format.

      Like

  3. Really enjoyed this! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Like

    1. Thank you for reading it.

      Liked by 1 person

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