I love vignettes. I think they are amazing. I love how they are so easy to write, and flow so nicely out of your soul onto the paper.
Do any of you have a favorite writing style? I know that you all have a writing voice, that I love to read and I enjoy hearing your voices through the words you place on your blogs.
Here are some vignettes I’ve written. You don’t have to read them. I just enjoy knowing that it’s part of my memories somewhere where future generations can look back and laugh at me.
It Used to Be Pink
Once you taste the bricks of the house, and scuff your feet across the gritty sidewalk, you want to sink your teeth in and stay in the cold grass forever.
My grandma’s house smells of zucchini permanently. Occasionally it smelt like tomato soup, and other times it smells like carpet, but most of the time it smells like zucchini. I suppose this is because every single year she plants an armada of seeds, which then turn into a formidable army of green tubers. She never knows what to do with them all, so that’s why they are on the porch, the counter, the floor, and the stove in a big bubbling pot. That’s why it always smells like zucchini.
My grandma’s house was built by my grandpa. He was a big contractor for a long time. I don’t know how long, but the point is, he built grandma’s house.
The siding on the house was pink for most of my life. It was quite controversial when the siding was torn down by the prying fingers of the wind, and grandma and grandpa had to get some guy with a five-o-clock shadow to fix it. The new siding was brown, new. And everyone knows, something new at a grandma’s house is almost a sin. I was shocked. It was the first time that anything had ever changed at that immovable rock that is my grandma’s house.
The pink siding was the first thing that changed. Then came the roof, the TV Antenna, and then that great ig walnut tree in the back. I cried over that tree. After that, The weather vane came down, and then the huge pine tree. I was frightened. This shouldn’t have been happening. Grandma’s house was forever! It couldn’t change. Yet it was. I wanted to crawl under my grandma’s afgan on her hard floral couch and force time to stop, and smell the zucchini and carpet forever.
But nothing works like that.
So, I’ll have to be content with the small time allotted to me in which I can enjoy my grandparents, their house, and their new brown siding that used to be pink.
Electricity, Bears, and First Grade
The man in the cloud-dark clothes, with the long hair that smelled of electricity, and his spotted salt-and-pepper beard, was the best friend I never had.
I don’t remember his name. I think it was Mr. Eric. He kinda reminds me of my Uncle Eric, now that I think back on him. He had the same easy, loitering attitude, with baggy faded jeans and the smile that made his eyes look bright and stupid at the same time.
He smelled of cats, paint, and something tangy. Electricity, maybe. That’s what I always thought. He had scary light plugs that would always spark at whoever dared jab something into their frowning faces, which he always braved when we little first-graders would scream and scramble to the bean bags. But he always braved them, and smiled at us, telling us that he would tell us a story about a bear who liked electricity.
I always liked him. He wasn’t mine, he belonged to twenty-nine other kids. I had Mrs. Rakos, instead. I liked her well enough, but he was the dynamic face of fantasy in my childhood. He was the one who was the “good cop.”
In my memory, he was a towering guy with a ponytail forty feet long. But, in reality, he was probably only six feet tall, with hair down to his shoulders. That’s still pretty long though, for a man. He also had a long neck, which enhanced his gangly limbs, and made his large scarecrow hands seem that much more skilled for being coordinated.
Mr. Eric, the crazy “good cop” guy who constantly read about bears and braved the frowning faces of electric plugs, has often danced along the edges of my imagination. I’ve noticed that whenever I make a character, or describe friendly oddballs, he is the one I describe. He is the one who has almost haunted me my whole life.
He was my part-time first-grade teacher.
The most fantastic man in the world.
Loud Spiders and Mummys
Of all the disjointed thoughts and images that resurface in my mind when I think back to childhood, the happiest one is probably the one with the spiders.
I was walking hand in hand with my mother. My mom had less wrinkles on her hands back then, and her wedding ring still fit. But from then till now I still remember how smooth her hands are and how they sound like wind shuffling across sand. My tiny hand was probably four times smaller than hers at the time, and I remember pointing my other pudgy hand at a sign with a man and a woman running away from some huge spiders. I wasn’t necessarily frightened, but I was curious. I asked my mom, That’s a bad movie, huh? Mom looked at the sign distractedly, and said, Yes, that’s a bad movie. When you grow up you shouldn’t watch movies like that. I nodded vigorously. I won’t mom, I said. Then we got on the bus.
The buses in Alaska are much nicer than the ones in Utah. That is, of course, if you can get over the weather to get to the bus stop, and then the bus was always an hour late. You just had to plan for that, because it was going to happen regardless of your schedule. But what made those buses great was the books. As soon as you stepped on the bus and started to defrost, the first thing to assail your eyes was a plastic rack of childrens books hanging over the railing. I remember unbundling my three different pairs of hand gear (two gloves, then some mittens as the top layer) and reaching out to read those books for the thirty minutes it took to get to the movie theater.
Once my mom, my sister and I had all gotten in the theater, mom would rifle through her purse, and produce some ear plugs that we wore to dampen the blasting noise of the commercials before the films. The commercial that I remember most was a Rugrats preview trailer, with mummies and pyramids and something like that. I sat on one side of mom, my sister on the other, and we would watch the movie.
The happiest memory of my childhood is unclear, foggy somehow. I guess as I’ve gotten older, my head has gotten more crowded and forced out all of the details of that lovely day. The thing that made me the most happy though, the thing that I remember fondly and still smile back on today, was my mom.