One thing I didn’t mention the other day is my progress on a novelette I’m calling Little Graveyard on the Prairie. I’ve had an open invitation to submit to the novelette line of a respected small press for a while now, and this idea has been bumping around in my head for years, so I’m finally putting it to paper. In the past few days I’ve done three chapters, or about 3,000 words. It’s a ghost story, with some gore. I have a couple of goals with this story. First, I want to write a longer story with the same tone as my Amazon Shorts story “One Night in Benevolence.” This time there won’t be any glowing ghost dogs, though. (Assuming there really was in the Amazon short.) Second, I want to write a story my older kids can read. There won’t be any sex, and there won’t be any violence (against the living). Of course, going with a psychological ghost story will probably bore them, but it’s still relatively short.
This is a story about Harley Shaw, an Oklahoma farmer who chose his family land over his family and now regrets it. Most of his land was ruined by oil drilling and he had to sell off a lot of it. What’s left is divided in two parts. One part is the little graveyard on the prairie. The other part is undergoing an innovative fertilization process. Harley may be experiencing the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Or maybe he’s really haunted by the ghost of his six-year-old daughter. Or maybe it’s something even worse.
In other news, I sent a kid to the office today. I felt bad about it later, but it had to be done. I graded some papers yesterday and the students were just doing horribly. It was obvious they were guessing and copying off each other. So today there was no music, no games, no candy. I treated them all like fourth graders; we read the story aloud in class and chose the best answers to the questions together. If the question was choosing the phrase with a simile, I made whoever guessed the right answer tell me what that phrase was a simile. Hopefully they got some comprehension skills out of the day. We did have more order in the classroom than usual. Oh, but the kid I sent to the office … he spends most of his time in the in-school restriction room. I didn’t want to have to send him back, but he wouldn’t shut up. One of the other disruptive guys got called to the office. A third (all in the same class) ended up sitting on the floor beside me after begging me to change my mind when I told him to go to the office. Imagine this. I’m making sure every student has the correct answer to the assignment, and this guy couldn’t even take out a sheet of paper and write A,B,C or D. Pathetic.
Amanda’s sixth birthday was yesterday. Hard to believe that. Six years ago I’d just gone to work for Conoco, making more money than I’d ever made before or since. She was born less than a month after I started that job. I remember going home from the hospital the night she was born and playing the 45 of Boston’s “Amanda” over and over. Yeah, that’s cheesy, but so what. For her birthday she wanted a Cinderella dress, costume jewelry, grapes and a flashlight. She’s still Daddy’s little girl.
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