Monday, June 8, 2009

Build a Story Around This! (A True Story)




When my bathroom was under renovation, I paid a lot of attention to fixture commercials. One in particular caught my attention, not because of what it advertised, but for what it said. In the scene, a wealthy couple sat in front of a man who was obviously a high-priced architect. They plopped a Kohler product on his desk and demanded that he “build a house around this.” A whole house around a faucet and two knobs? A whole of anything built around an object, a picture or a sound?

How about a sentence? The last sentence in this excerpt popped into my mind on a day when in one split second I understood the frustration of people caught between the law and the deep blue sea. I could have said the devil and the deep blue sea. In this case, they were the same.

Here’s my unedited Work in Progress: Let me know what you think.


Mikey met the woman’s gaze with a cooler one of her own. Barbie-que, she laughed to herself. The blonde’s skin was the color and texture of cheap cracked leather. A hooked nose jutted a mile from her face. She had been eyeing Mikey since she walked through the doors of the obscenely opulent suite. You should be circling the skies hunting road kill instead of staring down your beak at me. She probably had local law enforcement on speed dial. If Mikey raised her voice (as she was tempted to do), one press of the button with a red-tipped claw would bring the entire five-man force crashing through the double mahagony doors.

Next to her, three smug men in casual-Friday attire sat around the conference table. Mikey had heard enough of their “pursuant to” and “therefore” mumbo-jumbo. She stood. “Gentlemen, I’ve heard enough.”

One of them let out a dismissive chuckle. “That may be true, Miss Lofton, but it doesn’t change the outcome.”

Mikey was already at the door with her hand on the knob. She tossed a short laugh over her shoulder. “So be it.” But I’ll burn it to the ground before I let you have it.

16 comments:

Linda Chavis said...

More?

Niambi Brown Davis said...

Hey, Linda: It's coming... :)

'Cilla said...

Sounds good Sis.. now like Linda, Where is the rest?

Lynn Emery said...

Intriguing! Now let's hope lightening doesn't strike whatever "it" is cause sista is the prime suspect :)

Yasmin said...

@ Lynn...LOL and agreeing with you sis! Nice job Niambi!

JC Martin said...

Whoo! That be some harsh words. But at least we know Mickey is a fighter. Can't wait to read more.

Dera Williams said...

Wow, it ended too soon. Don't keep us waiting too long.

Miriam Pace said...

Niambi, I had to laugh. When my husband and I were building an addition onto our house, I looked at fixtures before I thought about what I wanted my bathroom to look like. I wanted a Jacuzzi tub and the bathroom had to be built around it, literally. Essentially, I did the same thing.

I loved your excerpt. Last night I taught a class on writing your memoirs and afterword one of the participants made a comment about wanting to write. He had this story running around in his head and he didn't know how to corral it. We spent the next hour brainstorming and working out the plot and the characters. I gave him the core elements of his story and sent him on his way to build something.

When Jackie and I are working we often have scenes that play out in our heads that are intriguing in some way and then we start working a story around that particular scene. I think many writers work that way.

Good job, I'm hoping to read more.

Niambi Brown Davis said...

Cilla: It's coming as fast as I can write :)

Lynne: Believe me, the plot definitely thickens; if sista thinks she's got problems coming out of that office, wait until the boatload of ish arrives (lol)

Niambi Brown Davis said...

Yas & JC: Thanks; Miss Mikey can give as good as she gets :)

Niambi Brown Davis said...

Dera, I'm glad you enjoyed it - thanks!

Miriam: I did the exact opposite with my bathroom, but my stories are another matter. Like you and Jackie, mine usually are born from a scene, and more often, something I've seen on the subway, on the bus (fertile ground) or on the street. I'm so glad you liked the excerpt - more is coming :)

Lisa said...

W
Can't wait to read the beginning, middle and end!

Niambi Brown Davis said...

Hi, Lisa: Glad you like it - it's coming - soon and very soon :)

Michelle Monkou said...

Love the excerpt. Vivid character who pulls you into the story. Keep working it.

Niambi Brown Davis said...

Hey, Michelle! Thanks for stopping in and thanks very much for the encouragement. You know that it's very much appreciated.

Ladysilver said...

Love it. I am with Linda, but I know we must wait. (sigh) I love Barbique. I know a few of those....