Friday, June 17, 2011


When I received the email about this blog, I jumped on this opportunity right away.  I've been having a good time reading the previous posts--so much talent!! It's so intimidating! And I have tried to comment on others' writing, but blogger has been difficult for me lately.  In other words, don't hesitate to comment and critique since I like to do the same.
Introduction first.  I'm Michelle and I'm going into my senior year here at BYU.  English is my fourth and final major choice and I love love love it.  I grew up in the Portland, OR area.  Pleasure to meet you!

I decided to use the 5 words that were given to us from the reandom word generator.  First post, here we go!

Bleary-eyed, I struggled to open my clutch to find some quarters.  I used my sleeve to wipe my nose as I fed the parking meter.  I can be such an idiot, sometimes.  Must be those trust issues, or something.  I walked into my office building where I work as a copy girl for a Nike senior editor.  I’m surprised that I still have this job, with the hot mess look that I have adopted since moving to Portland.  Then again, I guess being a hot mess can get you a job if you worked your butt off in college and are willing to re-locate.
As I situated myself at my desk, I blew my nose, then immediately used hand sanitizer to appease the germaphobic weirdoes in my working space who love hygiene more than their mothers.   Opening a new browser, my senior-editor-boss-man-who-could-pass-as-a-greek-god popped up from behind my monitor the way he does and dropped a stack of documents on my desk.  He noticed my red eyes and un-make-upped face, and asked, “Lilly, what happened to you last night?”
To which I blubbered, “I got a phone call from…an ex.  But it doesn’t matter.  We have that meeting with the newsletter team at eleven and that’s more important.”
He shrugged those perfectly toned shoulders and gave me the “I just don’t understand women sometimes” look.  I guess even the offspring of Zeus can’t figure the emotionally unstable girls.  Suddenly embarrassed at how I must look, I pulled out a mirror and touched-up my blotchy face.  You need this job, Lilly, I reminded myself.  Don’t screw this up like you did with…This triggered fresh tears and so I set to work on the stack that my boss gave to me.
Eleven o’clock and meeting time rolled around.  As I dictated the minutes of the meeting, my mind drifted to the previous night.  I had received a call at about eight PM from a number that I vaguely recognized.  The instant I answered, I regretted my decision since he was on the other end.  Three months of overworking at my new job to keep my mind off of things and the progress of living in a different state were all erased at the sound of his voice.
“I don’t care if you couldn’t be the trophy wife.  I wanted you to be my wife.”
I was snapped back to the present by the transition of the meeting from design to advertising and I jotted some notes on my yellow notepad.  It still baffles me as to why he called after three months of being completely cut-off.  But what hurt the most was the apology.  
“I’m sorry if our relationship was a waste of your time.”
By that point in the conversation, I was sobbing and moaning like a cow. This wasn’t fair to my fragile self.  I had worked so hard to put all of the pieces together and with every minute that I stayed to listen to his voice, I crumbled.  I had made the decision and he was apologizing.  I knew he was too good for me from the start, but I hoped that maybe there was some flaw to him that would manifest itself as the relationship progressed.  I’m still looking for one.  But that was ultimately the thing that ended the engagement.  I would walk into a room full of people and the group of people he would be talking to would give such judgmental looks, that I would regret being his.   Looks of shock that he would even consider dating a girl like me.
“We can work this out.  I can talk to my family about how they treated you.”
Just don’t mention to them how I can’t cook, I snore like a bear, and have an opinion about everything that I will voice no matter how controversial the topic.  That’s not socially acceptable for a trophy wife.
Realizing that I was tearing up again, I tried to think of a mildly intelligent response to the question that the director of advertising had posed in case I was called on.  I attempted to look busy with the minutes and reviewed my notes.  I almost gasped aloud when I realized that I had written my first name with his last name in the margins, like I used to during class when we were engaged, just for practice.  I received a puzzled look from my boss sitting next to me when I started to vigorously scribble out the reminder of my heartbreaking conversation the night previous.
Again, my mind went back to the phone call.  After what felt like hours into the conversation, but was probably only 30 minutes, I composed myself to the point where I could form complete sentences:  “I can’t believe you never stood up for me in the first place.  We already discussed this.  Why did you call me?”
I thought about my response and final decision as the meeting adjourned. I gathered my things and followed my boss out.  Professionalism, Lilly, keep your dignity, you made your decision and you will stick with it.
When we reached my desk, my boss turned to me and said, “Listen, Lilly, it’s none of my business, but I can tell you’re having a harder time than usual today.  What can we do to help you out?”  I couldn’t stay composed, anymore, and I started to sob into my hands.  He awkwardly pulled me towards him and just held me, letting me sob into his sculpturesque chest.


  1. I like it, the set-up, the pacing (of the syntax), the images. With the set-up of being in the office while reflecting, reworking, wrestling the memory of last night's phone call, I felt like you balanced both moments well - between remembering the call and being in the moment in the office. And if it ever felt like you were tipping too far one way, it was always into the memory of the call, which is what's happening to the character. I like the hercules theme with the boss; it came out just enough and at good moments (particularly offsetting the drama of the final breakdown). I felt like the narrator herself, though, would have benefited from a similar theme. It wouldn't have to be something as open as the hercules bit, but I'm thinking more specificity in her voice. She often has this snide, controlled self-appraisal and a cracked emotional levy. The problem is that it sometimes feels like a one or the other scenario; like one voice slips away when the other walks into the room. In a way, it feels like two people - her remembering the call while at the office and her remembering herself in the office as she remembered the call.

    Thanks again for the piece and I can't wait to see what you write next

  2. I really liked it even with the odd flashback and flash forward. only thing i didn't like was the word sculpturesque at the end. kind of random and didn't fit with the mood. but overall i liked the plot.

  3. I enjoyed this introduction to a story. I'm assuming that there would be more seeing as how you set things up, but that's just my guess.

    I liked how that you took a normal story of 'girl meets boy' and made it with memorable characters and situations. But out of all of the situations and relationships that are adressed within this I find myself more focused on the failed relationship with her ex than I ever could care about Mr. Hunk-O-Meat at the office.

    That brings me to one problem that I did find with Lilly jumping back and forth between the two relationships that she is dealing with; neither of the guys have names. There were a few times where I had to re-read things just to figgure out which 'he' was being talked about. It's a small thing, but when I was trying to focus more on her history and who she was as a character, it was a noticable break in understanding the story.

    This brings me to my rant. I am sorry to bring it up with you on your first post, but it is a pet peeve of mine and I have to bring it up. Sorry, nothing personal, take from it what you will.

    What if the character's genders were reversed? What would you think about your quirky female lead that gets to work with the hunky piece of flesh that has a soft side for her, if it became a nerdy snot covered guy who got to work with a girl who wears size zero but has a chest that could only happen with lucky genetics or surgery, who also happens to have a soft side for IT guys who are profficient in C++? Just like you would argue that a real woman is much more interesting with all of her flaws and real life characteristics than a plastic dream, I would argue that real men with their real personalities make for much better drama than a chissled figure that should be wearing a fig leaf instead of underwear.

    There is a place for fantasy writing and trying to live the dream, but I just think that with such an interesting back story that comes with Lilly, someone as perfect both physically and emotionally as Mr. Hunk-O-Meat doesn't belong.

  4. I agree with a lot of the above comments. I really like Lily (lilly?)'s personality - you can tell she's a fireball of sorts, who's a little out of her element. I do see a few cliches in this - I'd like to know how your going to make this girl's story stand out from all the other girls. I really liked the above suggestion about trying to switch the genders - that sounds like it would be fun!

  5. Overall I enjoyed the piece, especially the pacing and the back-and-forth balance between memories and the present.

    But I think you might need to rework some of the sentences. A few of them felt sort of clumsy. Example: "Bleary-eyed, I struggled to open my clutch to find some quarters." It feels off-balance to me personally. It's totally up to you, of course, but if I were you I would change that to something like: "Bleary-eyed and looking for quarters, I struggled to open my clutch."

    I'm all for compound sentences, but try not to overuse them.

  6. But don't get me wrong! It's a fun story and I really like it! Really relatable.