So, as emphasized in my last post, my creative writing teacher was big on the phrase “In medias res,” which means in the middle of things. She encouraged us with various prompts to start out our stories in the middle of the action and let the exposition flow through in the narrative.
I loved those prompts, so I thought I’d share one of my stories from that 15 minute exercise. I wrote all of it in that 15 minute journal session, and very little is changed from the original with the exception of added commas, and a few extra adjectives here and there. I’ve always meant to add more to the story, but it always seemed so neat leaving it the way it is.
I believe the prompt was something along the lines of “write a prompt of a family situation, made up or real and include a body part or some catastrophe. Start the narrative in the middle of the drama. Go!”
***(FYI, this is completely made up. Although I do have an uncle named Donald.)
Chicken and Rice Soup
So Uncle Donald dropped his teeth in the chicken and rice soup, and there they were grinning stupidly up at us, like they were about to start yammering about how maybe too salty the soup was or start shivering – chattering back and forth – yak, yak, yak, yak, yak.
We all stood around the pot of soup in silence, staring down at it. Me, Aunt Josie, Uncle Donald and Daryl, my brother. Uncle Donald’s toothless mouth wore a grim expression.
I thought that if we broke the silence that would be it, and the teeth would start talking back up at us. I felt a smile tug at the corner of my mouth, felt it want to yank up to one side and let out a large gurgley sort of laugh. Daryl caught my expression and coughed into his rough callused hand. He wore a black t-shirt, his jeans baggy like always. Aunt Josie went and got the tongs.
“Oh dear, oh dear,” she fretted and scooped the teeth out and set them down on a paper towel.
Uncle Donald cleared his throat. “Might want to want to wash them off, Josephine,” He said. He only used her full name when he was being real serious.
She had wandered into the kitchen and set the tongs in the sink. “The tongs?” she asked him.
“Not just the tongs,” coughed Daryl into his hand. Aunt Josie returned to the Dining room.
“Now, now,” she chided, although she wasn’t scolding. “These things happen.”
Uncle Donald got up with a grunt and took his teeth into the bathroom.
“Yeah, only in our family,” I said when Uncle Donald’s back had disappeared behind the bathroom door.
Daryl and I started laughing.
(In which it ends, and I’ve tried to add more but just can’t seem to get the same innocent frankness of the narrator. Who is a young girl about twelve or so named Charlie. Leave some thoughts below if you want to!)