Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Day #15 — Has Pie Jump the Shark?

OK, so I could not figure out to what Lisa Romeo's prompt of "Jump the Shark" referred. After thinking about just responding to it with a gut reaction, I opted instead to be distracted by the Internet and look up the definition. Seems it means when something stops getting better and starts getting worse, and it originally applied to television shows (specifically, Happy Days, when the Fonz jumped the shark on water skis; I must have missed that episode). So, now I know. I don't know if that makes it a better prompt, or a worse one.

In the meantime, the prompt that arrived in my inbox today is "pie". As Andie McDowell's character sang in the movie Michael: "Pie, pie, me oh my. I love pie." So again — which prompt do I choose? Being the control freak, methodical me that I am, I will take them in order and work on yesterday's prompt today.

Prompt: Jump the Shark

He knew his marriage had jumped the shark when he realized his fondest moments of the day were the 20 minutes or so he had alone in the apartment between the time she left for the train downtown and he left to sit in traffic on the highway during his commute.

From 7:00 a.m. until 7:20 a.m., six days a week, he felt truly at peace and comfortable in his own skin. He always waited until he heard the garage door close to jump out of the shower. Their master bedroom had been an addition over the garage, and the floor rumbled as the electric door rattled to a close under his feet. 

A sweet quiet would travel through his soles and up into his heart and he would slop out of the shower stall, leaving big wet footprints all through the bedroom and into the office/slash den down the hall. She hated when even a drop of water hit the floors and nagged him constantly that it would ruin the finish. He reveled in his wet footprints, squishing them from side to side to make them as big as possible, like a sneaky 10-year-old boy. Just before he banged out the light switch, he would wink at the shit-eating grin on his face staring back at him from the mirror over her pristine vanity table.

It wasn't that he was a slob, or that he didn't have respect for the quarter-sawn oak floors of their 140-year-old Victorian. He was the architect, for God's sake. But houses were meant for living in, not for housing museums. That's what she called the living room — the museum. She even had clear, plastic slipcovers made for the sofa, like his old Auntie May had when he was a little boy. It crackled and whooshed on the rare occasions he was allowed to sit on it, and last summer, in the heat of August when his best friends Paul and Evelyn visited, he was mortified when Evelyn's bare legs stuck to the sofa and pulled the cushion along with her when she stood.

But, this had been his house first, and he was damned if he would leave it, even if he left her. Every ounce of sweat equity that he had put into the restoration made it his. Let her take the damn plastic-covered furniture and go. All he wanted was the house. It had good bones. It could be redecorated.

Time:  11 minutes

I don't think I have ever tried to write in the first person from the POV of a male. The main character of my children's book manuscript is a nine-year-old boy, but it's written in third person. I've been toying with a rewrite in the first person, to see what that will bring out in my character and if I can get rid of some of the distance my readers (and a couple of agents) have mentioned.

I liked this prompt and the way it took me. So many gender stereotypes and role reversals to play around with (sorry for ending in a preposition; see, I couldn't do it; I had to add the parenthetical thought to avoid it).

1 comment:

Ciss B said...

I had totally forgotten the meaning of Jump the Shark! Interesting how the POV can change the story totally, isn't it?