Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Today the first page, tomorrow the world!

Have you ever had something pop into your head and you just can't get it out? That happened to me today. The opening scene for book 2, What She Didn't Know. I promised myself to start this book in January. But between 4 online classes, helping hubby run our businesses, and life with kids...I'd put it off for Jan 31st. Or so I thought. Suddenly, 2 hours later I have over a 1000 words in between business calls, hubby needing to talk business, and my secretary chatting on her way out.

Has that ever happened to you? Something just rumbles around in there until it drives you nuts! So I took a little time today to get it down. I started. Remember it's the rough draft, it will morph as it grows, and this is purely the gist of the story so far.

Kitrin is a flight attendant who ran from an unliveable situation at 18. She's now 38 and about to find out she can't keep running. God has a way of allowing circumstances to bring you back when you least expect it.

Oh, it's a fictionalized version of what happened to me. For those non-writers out there, when you write a rough, you just write. No worrying over grammer or punctution. So if you're curious how a writer gets ideas or starts a project...It goes like this...

“What are you talking about?” She stared at the captain and winced at the bright glare through the cockpit windshield.

“That’s all the tower said.” He repeated the message again, “alert Kitrin Holmstead she’s being replaced by a reserve when we get to L.A. due to unknown circumstances.”

“What unknown circumstances?” She looked at the co-pilot, who shrugged himself out of the conversation.

“Kitty, if I knew they wouldn’t be unknown. Maybe it’s some rescheduling issue or could it be a family emergency?”

“Jack, you know I wouldn’t have a family emergency, I haven’t heard from my brother in eight years.”

“Well, let me know when I get back from the layover in Hawaii or if you want, you can leave a message at the hotel if you need anything. The reserve is supposed to have the message in an envelope when we get to the gate. I guess you’ll just have to wait.”

“Thanks anyway, so much for a day on the beach. This flight block is my favorite part
of the whole bid. Something like this happened years ago when I first started. They said I didn’t do my annual requal.”

“Gotta be in compliance. So what happened?”

“It took me half an hour to figure out the mess with my inflight supervisor. In the meantime, I lost my flight block and ended up reassigned to Chicago. Instead of California, the block I’d packed for, I had to buy a jacket just to stand in line for a table at Old Chicago with the rest of the crew. I’ll bet I end up in New York or Chicago again right in the middle of a snowstorm.”
Kitrin closed the flight deck door and resumed her duties for landing. She picked up the p.a. and announced, “Flight attendants prepare your doors and cross check.”

The third responded back over the p.a. “Cross check complete.”

Mary, her Second, barely buckled in before the wheels hit the runway. “What’s going on?”

“I’m getting pulled off the block for some emergency.”

“You’re kidding. Is everything okay?” Mary tugged her blue uniform down under the strap of the seatbelt.

“I don’t get it, I don’t even have a cat that could get sick. Wish I did, but I don’t. I’m supposed to get a message when we land. Some lucky reserve gets to play First on the Honolulu leg. Sheesh, it took me eighteen years to get this bid. I don’t mean to be selfish, but I’ve kind of gotten used to Hawaii once a month over the last two years. It keeps me sane.” She laughed and briefly thought of her mother’s issue.

The gate agent drove the jetway up to the door. Kitrin peeked out the small window for the all clear sign and picked up the p.a. again. “Flight attendants disarm doors for deplaning. Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Los Angeles. The time is now eleven a.m. Please remember to check for your belongings and be careful opening the overhead bins. Thank you for flying American Airlines. We know you have a choice when you fly, we appreciate your choosing us.”

The reserve waited in the jetway by the ramp door. Kitrin jumped out of the plane ahead of the passengers as soon as she saw her. “You didn’t need to meet me here. I would have met you at the Hawaii gate.”

“That’s okay, the message seemed really important. Here.” She held out an official airline envelope. “I’ll help the others cross seatbelts. I hope everything’s all right.”

“Thanks.” Kitrin smiled and brushed a bang off her nose. She stepped outside onto the metal stairs away from the passengers. The envelope was sealed for privacy. Was she getting fired? She slipped a pink polished nail under the glue and split the seal.

Jack pushed open the door and walked into the sunshine with her. “How you doing?”

Kitrin looked up and smiled. “I guess I’m about to find out.”

“I’ve been saying some prayers for you.”

Wouldn’t hurt, her friend prayed for other things and they’d worked out. She took a deep breath and coughed at the smell of jet fuel. “Here we go,” she said finally.

She knew she should feel something. A normal person would, wouldn’t they? Jack watched her read the note. He’d expect some emotion. Kitrin didn’t raise her eyes from the paper. She’d locked that, and everything else about Denver, away twenty years ago when she left on her eighteenth birthday without a backward glance. What was she supposed to do now?

“Can I help?”

“I don’t know.” She cleared her throat. She still kept her eyes locked on the gleaming white formal letterhead. “My mother’s disappeared. I don’t know what I—“

Jack reached out and enveloped her in a fatherly embrace. “One step at a time, kiddo, that’s how you do what you need to do. One step at a time.”


He released her. “Yeah?”

“Have you ever wondered what things would be like if your mom had lived?”

“Sometimes,” he nodded.

Kitrin shook her head under the weight of her burden. “I wondered what it would’ve been like if I’d had a normal mom. Someone who didn’t think her refrigerator was tapped by the F.B.I. I don’t know whether to go to Denver or see if she shows up on her own.”

“Has she ever disappeared before?”

“No. I always find her on holidays. She’s either with friends or back in the basement of my grandma’s house.” At Jack’s inquisitive look Kitrin explained, “She could never hold a job so she bounced from friend to friend or grandma’s each time she got fired. This is from Nellie. She wants me to come look for my mother because she thinks mom’s become a street person.”


“Nellie says mom got scared when Andy came home from prison, Andy’s Nellie’s son. Mom threw all her stuff in her minivan and disappeared a week ago. No one has seen her since.”

“I think you should go. Take some of your personal days and see what you can do. Maybe she just needs to see you to calm her down and talk her back into a safe place.”

“Yeah, maybe.”
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