Saturday, August 14, 2010

Weather Blogfest

Nick over at A Little Slice of Nothing is having a Weather Blogfest today and in his honor, I am posting an excerpt from my work in progress, "Churches, Chickens and ChiChi's".

Sammy, the main character, just rode to the emergency room in the ambulance with her mother who had a heart attack. I hope you enjoy.
http://www.weatherpicturesweatherphotos.net/
Sammy wished she had her earphones so she could listen to some music on her iPhone. And she really wished she could have a beer.

She wasn’t in the mood for a magazine full of yesterday’s news, so she tried watching television. That held no interest, either.

Restless, she wandered to the emergency room door. The sky was darkening. A storm was brewing. Stepping outside, she leaned against the sturdy brick and watched the thunderheads sweep in from the east. It would rain soon.

The wind rose, thrashing the trees and their tender leaf buds. It was going to be a good one. Sammy’s heart thrilled in anticipation and she pulled her coat tighter around her. She was glad she had grabbed it before leaving the house. The temperature had dropped and the wind was bitter.

A jagged streak of lightning split the sky. One one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand, she counted before the boom and the rumble of thunder. The storm was close. A grin split her wind-whipped face. God, she’d missed this.

Another streak followed the first. One one thousand, two one thousand, boom crash roll. Sammy chuckled and opened her arms to the black clouded sky. Her cares fell away as the storm raced toward her. Its first raindrops, big and fat, splattered her face as the wind delivered the storm to her. Soon the sky would let loose in a deluge. She inhaled the bitter sweetness of lightning-induced ozone.

A purple streak of lightning cracked nearby, followed by an immediate boom and several rolls. Sammy ran back in to the hospital, wet and grinning, barely escaping the pelting raindrops. She leaned her forehead on the door to watch the fury of the storm break against the glass.

Feeling someone beside her she glanced over to see Barry Rakestraw. He stood looking at the storm, dressed in eggplant scrubs, his face as brooding as the sky.

She pounced on him. “Thank God you’re here. How’s Mama?”

“Come on, I will tell you both at the same time,” he said and reached for her hand.

Her hands fluttered to her mouth. Whatever it was, it wasn’t good. For an instant Barry’s solemn face was lit by a flash of lightning. Then a deafening clap of thunder rattled the door, startling them both. What if Mama was dead?

Her knees wobbled and she almost went in to the shelter of Barry's arms. The thunder rolled, deep and long. Instead she settled for warm fingers around hers, leading her across the hall to her father.
Be an angel and leave a comment to let me know what you think of my snippet, then click on over to Nick's and read the other entries. If you haven't already, maybe you could join us with a weather scene of your own.

~Olivia J. Herrell

26 comments:

Francine said...

Hi,

Wow, could feel that storm coming straight at me. I love thunder and lightning - it reminds me that I'm a fragile being against the power of the elements such as a electric storms. Lightning is the equivalent of a human clicking fingers and, a humam unable to kill by mere clicking of fingers: unless a mafia don, of course.

Very graphic piece of writing! ;)
best
F

Mr Lonely said...

nice blog.. have a view of my blog when free.. http://www.lonelyreload.blogspot.com .. do leave me some comment / guide if can.. if interested can follow my blog...

Elliot Grace said...

...I like opening chapters with a description of the weather. It's a way of setting the mood for the character. Blistering heat, an ominous bucket of cloud cover, that sorta thing...

Loved your piece, penning a storm is a blast:)

February Grace said...

Me too, Elliot! Nothing like setting the scene with some atmosphere!

Olivia, I loved this. I got to the end and wished there was more! I'm scrolling down saying out loud "No! No, tell me what happened to Mama!"

I loved this especially:

"She inhaled the bitter sweetness of lightning-induced ozone.

A purple streak of lightning cracked nearby, followed by an immediate boom and several rolls."

It reminded me so clearly of how differently I see colors now with no lenses in my eyes.

I see a much broader spectrum (especially on the left, the right is dulled especially lately :( and lightning never looks white to me anymore- always bright, electric, ultraviolet purple. I want to try to paint it someday- your story described it exactly as I see it.

Wonderful stuff. I'm totally loving the entries for this blogfest!

~bru

Mia said...

Aww, I was going to quote the Ozone part as well. I loved that line. You can just FEEL the storm rolling in.

Great piece!

Terry Stonecrop said...

I'm another one who loves opening scenes with weather. Great description, Olivia! And the counting, one one thousand... I relate, living in Florida:)

So many wonderful lines. I also liked the cliff-hanger at the end.

Great job! I have to follow more of this Blogfest this weekend.

Jules said...

Oh, I feel so unworthy of entering after reading yours. What a great job. :D

Now what happen to Mama?
Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Amalia T. said...

I love her enthusiasm for the storm, like it's a release of her own tension from the waiting. Great description of the lightning and the exultation she finds in the rain. I have a feeling it's short lived...

Raquel Byrnes said...

I CANNOT believe you left me with that cliff-hanger! Very dark and brooding, befitting the mood of the character and the story scene. Loved the mundane of the waiting room next to the fury of the weather. Great post!

jcmartinfighterwriter said...

Wow, what a fantastic atmosphere! I was so into this I didn't realise it was raining outside--I thought the thunder had jumped out from the computer!

Pop by my site: I have a blog award for you! ;)

http://jc-martin.com/fighterwriter/awards/

The Words Crafter said...

Where to start? I love the freedom your character has to go out and give herself to the storm, very descriptive. And, now there's one inside of her....very well done. And I agree with Raquel-you left us with a cliff hanger!!!!

The Words Crafter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Donna Hole said...

An impending storm always fills me with restlessness too. I've been know to go out and watch it build, to tempt it to draw closer. There's something thrilling about that first deluge; like a release.

Thats what this scene did for me, gave me that feeling of release. Like wordscrafter said; freedom.

Well done Olivia. You did so well using the storm to vent the pent up tension of you MC.

......dhole

Christine H said...

Really well done, Olivia. The characterization was bang-on.

I love thunderstorms myself, so this was quite a treat!

Jules said...

PS I tagged you for an award on my blog. It is for FUN!

Peace my sister
Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Eric W. Trant said...

Dear Rebel O:

I love your setting! Sometimes I spend a lot of time getting the setting down, going into detail, going into more detail, and I wonder if it gets boring or mundane or redundant.

Yours is exactly what I like. Setting setting SETTING!

- Eric

Amanda Sablan said...

Ooh, so much lightning! There were so many vibrant descriptions here. And I liked Sammy's enthusiasm.

Great job!

arlee bird said...

Such a dramatic build up and we're left hanging. You really know how to leave us wanting more. Good description. I couldn't help but recall the afternoon in September when my father passed away in a hospital room. I can recall as he was breathing his final breath seeing storm clouds in the distance and lightning flashing. I could really relate to this piece.

Lee
Tossing It Out

Olivia J. Herrell said...

Francine, I'm a big fan of thunderstorms, too. Thank you!

Mr. Lovely, Normally I would check you out just because you took the time to comment on my blog but, hmm, I noticed you didn't stick around long enough to follow me but, hmm, you asked me to come follow you. Not sure I get that.

Elliot, thank you! I love your phrases, an ominous bucket of clouds indeed!

Bru, while I still have most of my sight (I cannot imagine what you must go through) lightning oftentimes looks purple to me. And sometimes blue. I'm so glad you liked Sammmy's scene. What follows is life changing but mama survives.

Thank you guys so much for stopping by and commenting!

~Olivia

Olivia J. Herrell said...

Terry, my daddy taught us as kids to count like that to see how far off the storm was. Where in FL are you? I'm heading you way on the 28th for a week in New Smyrna Beach. Can't wait to be by the ocean. I've missed it so. Thank you!

Jules, your writing is wonderful. Did I see your piece yet? Hmm, I'll have to pop over and see. I'm so behind! Thank you!

Amalia, thank you! :)

Raquel, you noticed that. Thank you!

~Olivia

Olivia J. Herrell said...

Terry, my daddy taught us as kids to count like that to see how far off the storm was. Where in FL are you? I'm heading you way on the 28th for a week in New Smyrna Beach. Can't wait to be by the ocean. I've missed it so. Thank you!

Jules, your writing is wonderful. Did I see your piece yet? Hmm, I'll have to pop over and see. I'm so behind! Thank you!

Amalia, thank you! :)

Raquel, you noticed that. Thank you!

~Olivia

Olivia J. Herrell said...

JC, see what a powerful creator you are? :) Thank you for the blog award, I'll be posting it today.

Wordscrafter, two storms for the price of one. Dontcha just love writing? What power there is in the pen. Thank you so much.

Donna, I always learn something from your posts and your comments. I always look forward to and appreciate your review. I'm so glad it worked for you, thank you!

Christine, thank you so much!

Jules, you're a doll, thank you! I'll be posting that today.

~Olivia

Olivia J. Herrell said...

Eric, yeeehaaaa! I'm so glad you like it my setting!!

Amanda, thank you!

Lee, there you are, I've missed you. :) Thank you for stopping by. I'm so sorry about your dad. And for your loss. What a wonderful reminder, though. The day I received the call that my brother was dying and I raced to the hospital in Augusta, the sun rays refracted through the clouds right over where I imagined the hospital to be. I call them God's fingers. Every time I see this now (and it's one of the most breath taking sights to me) I think of Jon.

Thank you for being here.

~Olivia

Terry Stonecrop said...

Olivia, I learned it from my father as well:)

I'm in South Florida. So you'll be up near St. Augustine. It's so pretty up there. Love the history of the place.

Justin W. Parente said...

Hi there, Olivia.

Thanks for commenting on my entry and sorry it took forever to get back to you.

Anyway, what I particularly liked about this piece is the raw description. It reminded me very much like Jim Butcher's first Dresden novel, Storm Front. The way he describes Dresden sensing the storm in the clouds and every scientific, minute detail is awesome. I had that feeling in this.

I just felt it coming along. Storms are always the best to describe because all though they seem to have one facet (destruction), they're in fact versatile. They're beautiful, silent, deadly, and destructive.

Thanks for sharing!

Roland D. Yeomans said...

You certainly can feel the brewing storm as an actual character.

A thought : Is Sammy worried about her mother? What did Mark Twain say? Ask a hungry man how much 2 plus 2 is, and he will say four loaves.

If Sammy is worried about her mother, then I might think everything she sees in the storm would be colored by that anxiety.

"The wind rose, thrashing the trees, blowing away the tender leaf buds. Everything in nature seemed to die before its time. Maybe Mama would be like one of those buds torn from her roots while yet green."

"A jagged streak of lightning split the sky. One one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand, she counted before the boom and the rumble of thunder.

Life was like that : the flash of birth, followed by the wail of death.

"She leaned her forehead on the door to watch the fury of the storm break against the glass. At the same time, she felt the fury of her fear for her mother beat against her mind, her soul."

Just a thought. Your descriptions of the coming storm were dead-on. But her smiles jarred against the worry for her mother when she thought Barry might tell her she was dead.

This snippet, of course, is taken out of context and I'm still a little woozy from work. Bravo, great job, Roland

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