Tuesday, March 3, 2009

PROMPTuesday

For this week’s PROMPTuesday, let’s assume your book is getting published. And that you need a dedication page.

What is your book about, who will you dedicate your book to and what will you say?

Write a story based on this prompt.

"Mine is but a simple tale of a young but plucky girl from obscurity who, with a deep longing and passion within her, managed to rise to prominence, to bring her story to the masses. Many's the night I tossed without sleep, wondering when..."

"Yes, Mrs. Savoy," I said, "and readers are going to love this story. But while we want to draw them into the book, let's not give it away at the beginning. The dedication pages is where you acknowledge those who helped you along the journey, to thank them."

She raised her eyebrows at me. "But, dear, my whole story, my entire oeuvre is of my own making - that's what makes my autobiography so compelling - surely you agree?" She waved a hand around the room.

We were in her morning sitting room in the house at the top of Mandeville Canyon. The massive coffee table was too far away from the overstuffed couch I was perched on, so I balanced the laptop on my knees. Mrs. Savoy sat in a Victorian armchair, tufted and dripping with fringe, cocked at right angles to the couch. This morning she wore a caftan embroidered with gold thread and sequins. It was lavender, matching the freesias in a crystal vase on the table beneath the Venetian mirror.

"Absolutely, of course," I said. "But is there someone you'd like to mention? Mr. Savoy, perhaps?"

"Well, of course," she said. "I was devastated by his loss! It was heart-wringing! Perhaps the dedication is the proper place for me to let the world know how deeply I grieved." She settled back on her cushion and looked appropriately somber for a moment, holding the pose.

"Yes," I agreed, and typed a few lines thanking Morris Savoy, the man who'd brought her, young Arlene, from that chill mid western town to Los Angeles. The real estate mogul who'd toiled and amassed millions, only to die young, choking on a forkful of New York Strip steak - well-done, as he liked it - at the Pacific Dining Car. If only, I often mused while ghostwriting her autobiography, if only he had taken it rare, he might have lasted longer.

"You've been so active in philanthropy and the arts," I prompted. She had given millions to efforts such as the new Savoy Clinic of Cosmetic Surgery, and, more recently the Savoy School of Etiquette. "Are there people you'd like to remember? Perhaps students who've inspired you with their stories?"

"Why, surely, I've been the role model to shape their success, darling?" She tossed her head lightly. Her hair - maroon-red since last week - bobbed up as she raised her brows, so tightly drawn was her forehead. "I mean - who else would have thought to organize classes to teach the poorest among us proper business etiquette - children from poor homes will never be able to rise in this world without the proper grounding, you see."

Mrs. Savoy had involved herself in the arts and education as well. Her Ballet-to-the-Bario program, which donated pointe shoes and tulle to school P.E. programs in the inner city, had resulted in the acceptance of one student to the top college athletic dance team - they'd performed at this year's Super Bowl - and, the Read-a-bonics efforts with the school district had generated enough controversy for national news.

"The girls?"

She sipped her tea, and then hesitated, the delicate bone-china held just inches beneath her nose. "Well, if I mentioned Jillian, at least perhaps she'd pick up the phone and speak to me," she snapped. "And I suppose I should mention Valerie - though she's never thanked me for all I did, raising her for Morrie, without a shred of gratitude."

"Well," I said, closing the laptop, "I think the dedication should be brief and to the point. We've worked together so closely I'm sure I can put together something you'll approve of. After all, we want the readers to turn the page and get right into the story, right?"

"Of course, my dear." Mrs. Savoy plucked a little silver bell from the end-table by her elbow. In seconds a woman in a starched uniform entered the room, and wordlessly took my plate and saucer. I smiled at her, but her dark gaze went somewhere past my shoulder, though I tried to catch her eye.

"We're done, Graciela," said Mrs. Savoy. "Would you take mine, too, while I show Miss Harrison out?"

"She's such a treasure," said Mrs. Savoy, watching the maid disappear silently through the swinging door to the kitchen. "She's been with me for so many years. I just don't know how to thank her... the language difficulty, don't you see."

"Good- day, dear," Mrs. Savoy air-kissed my cheek from the steps beneath the massive front portal. As the door closed behind me, I walked down the curved flagstone drive, encircling a central fountain, then took the stepping- stone path around the side. My Honda was parked down the hill, where the kitchen deliveries went.

8 comments:

Tristan Robin Blakeman said...

this was such a delightful way to start the day! :-)

Kate said...

Oh my but I'm impressed. This is gorgeous; you capture so much in so few words. When are you going to write your novel? Or have you many to your name already? You are a fabulous fountain of creativity!!!

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

You do that so brilliantly.

I can see the Impatiens gracing the edge of a Mandeville canyon road as that Honda drives away.

KBeau said...

Well done. Now I'd like to know "the rest of the story."

blognut said...

You are SO good at putting a reader right where you want them.

San Diego Momma said...

"Mrs. Savoy sat in a Victorian armchair, tufted and dripping with fringe, cocked at right angles to the couch"

" She had given millions to efforts such as the new Savoy Clinic of Cosmetic Surgery, and, more recently the Savoy School of Etiquette."

"Her Ballet-to-the-Bario program, which donated pointe shoes and tulle to school P.E. programs in the inner city, had resulted in the acceptance of one student to the top college athletic dance team - they'd performed at this year's Super Bowl - and, the Read-a-bonics efforts with the school district had generated enough controversy for national news."


I am TOTALLY having a prosegasm this was all so freaking good.

GREAT character and setting and just love, love, love!

Shayla said...

Oh, I liked that! Great character. More!

San Diego Hermit said...

That was a bit too good and now I'm jealous of you ... sigh, I'll try to get over it.

I loved the way you started and ended it with her inability to connect the contributions of loved ones or efforts of her publicist or house staff without prompting ... her inability to see beyond herself. Truly great writing :)