The Arc of the Narrative — Small Town Reality

original photo by Valerie MacEwan

I’ve been reading some good immersive short fiction, the serial kind, here on Medium (damn if I didn’t lose the link) and it intrigues me. My 30+ stories seem to link to each other and maybe I need to make that a more intentional exercise. Seems I may be able to rewrite some of my fiction and create a story arc that incorporates all the characters into one nice bunch of short stories.

The point, to my writer friends, is that writing on Medium leads to broader, better writing.

original photo by Valerie MacEwan

I write about my neighbors and my small tiny rural Southern town. I dare not call it a “city” even though this town puts on airs, believes it’s larger than it is. Main characters include Vivian and Velma (twin sisters in the late 90s), Miss Patty (my octagenarian neighbor), Uncle Fred (another neighbor), Al, Scooter, and others. I don’t write much about my daughters; they deserve their privacy. The photos on here are my grandsons and all of my photos are original, most come from nearby state parks. Some of the photos on this page are from the Belhaven Museum, featuring fleas dressed as bride adn groom (Belhaven, NC)

That’s part of the Medium experience providing much joy — a place to post my photos.

My husband tells me I should write about the block we live on, taking one neighbor at a time and telling the story of their house and moving on to the next. Miss Patty’s house isn’t really hers any more, for instance, she’s dead and her daughter lives there. Her son lives across the street in a house he inherited from her that, when he moved in, was divided into three apartments. He kicked the folks living there out and made a home for himself and his kids. Big old Southern houses make for interesting divides (as they’re called). The historic district folks put the kibosh on any more divides and for that we are all grateful. Most people park on the street here and it gets damn annoying when six or seven cars belong to one house.

original photo by Valerie MacEwan

My new neighbors across the street, who for sure don’t read me on Medium, are young 40s couple into BOCO and tri-athalons. God bless them, they’re all shirred up in Spandex and headbands, athletic shoes and water bottles hanging from their hips. More power to them. I won’t write about them, they’re too kind and regular, ordinary people with regular living agendas — because I have yet to determine their secrets (they’ve only lived across the street for a short bit).

original photo by Valerie MacEwan

My story arcs include my previous Arkansas relatives. Their tales and my experiences with them over the last 40 years provide much fodder for entertaining reading (I hope). I’ve barely delved into the Deer Camp, the races (Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs) and Papaw’s eight decades spent wild-catting for oil. My ex-father-in-law busted broncs, quit school to ride the rodeo circuit. He owned thoroughbred horses and I always wondered about the link back to the rodeo.

original photo by Valerie MacEwan

Here in the ass end of the Great Dismal, not much new happens on a daily basis, it’s the sum of its parts that makes this town special.

One character? Bonner. A developmentally handicapped adult who’s ridden this three-wheeled bike through town for the last 30+ years. His Momma’s been dead a couple decades and his house is out in the county, so once he rides all the way into town, he needs a nearby place to eat lunch. When the Piggly Wiggly on River Road shut down its hot lunch counter, Bonner had to look elsewhere. The town provided. Bonner now rides his bike right through the front doors of the middle school, straight back to the cafeteria, where he is fed a hot meal before the students arrive.

Small towns take care of their own.

original photo by Valerie MacEwan

I appreciate yall reading this. It’s humbling to know people enjoy what I write. Thanks. I’m working on some more stories about my days with Sycophant Boy and Small Attorney. I think yall would enjoy hearing about Civil War re-enactors and why Small Attorney always got to be a general.

I don’t have a smart phone* (gasp) but I’ve downloaded Medium for my iPad and I hope and trust these photos turn out well on here. If they’re too big or not relevant or just plain annoy you, know that this is the only time I’ll load up a story with them. I had fun seeking them out for inclusion.

Take care. Yall have a good day.

*I do have a flip phone, courtesy of George Bush’s FCC Lifeline program.

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