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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Reading (01/25/07)

TITLE: The Reading Room
By c clemons


Caitlin enjoyed coming to the “Reading Room” every Tuesday noon. It provided a welcome escape from her “fiery trials” as she called them. The owner of the home, Mr. Bean had converted the old historical Maine home to a library of sorts. His parents loved travel and collecting books from all over the world. He believed although they had passed on, they would have loved to share not only their own adventures, but also others through the many books they had collected. It was hard to believe the volume of books they had collected over the years. Mr. Bean had remodeled the house so that certain rooms had a relating theme to the type of books contained there. For example, there was the “Polynesian Room” the “Alaskan Adventure Room” and “Going Down the Nile Room.” All the rooms provided quiet nooks to sit and enjoy your reading.

Today Caitlin thought she would try the “Going for the Gold Room” something light and carefree. Stories about California and the Gold Rush. After all that is where Frank was set on taking them to. Her marriage of ten years to Frank was beginning to be more of a heavy burden than the place of refuge she felt when she first married him. Frank had been her rescuer from an abusive home and teen years of no friends. He was ten years older and at the time wiser, she thought. Lately some of his decision-making had made her question his sanity. He wanted the family to pick up and move across country to a city that she did not know anyone. It was bad enough that he was making this decision for them, but their two children were involved, one of who was physically handicapped. Their daughter Anise was no bother, she loved school, and she had tons of friends and play dates. Little Frankie on the other hand was born with cerebral palsy. He was eight now, but still could not walk without aid. Frankie was a lot of work, with doctor visits and hospital stays, but she took it all in stride. It seemed to her that just as things were getting routine with the kids, Frank had announced this move.

Caitlin craved normalcy ever since she was a little girl. She always wanted things “just to be normal”. She had wanted a normal mother that did not cry all the time, a normal father that did not drink, yell or hit. A normal home, just like normal people had. Caitlin admitted that she did not love Frank the way he deserved. What she felt for him was closer to gratitude, thankful that he had come along when he did. Her life up until now had been tolerable, she was sort of happy. It was not what she called normal because she still believed in the storybook version of what normal was. But it had been bearable until Frank started having these grand ideas of leaving his good job and leaving the only place she had ever known.

The book title caught Caitlin’s attention immediately “Going Crazy in Southern California”. “Exactly” thought Caitlin. She already felt crazy; to even begin such a monumental move there was so much to do. A new house, new school, new pediatrician, “aaggh”!” she just could not think about it. As she sat down, she pushed back the feeling of being overwhelmed. She began reading the story about Carrie who lived in the 1800’s and how she had first came to America by ship from England. Carrie was a mail order bride and the day she met Ben she also married him. Ben had wanted a wife or someone to cook and clean for him, at first Carrie was not sure which. Ben also wanted to strike it rich by being a prospector in California. So, three months after becoming a wife, Carrie found herself going West on the longest journey of her life. Caitlin felt that she was not reading about Carrie’s life but hers. Caitlin read how Carrie endured many hardships, the lost of a child, the lost of the fortune that Ben acquired, and in the end she lost Ben to cholera. The story ended with Carrie admitting that she nearly slipped into crazy, but came to realize that this had been her life assignment and it might have parts she did not like but she was glad she had showed up.

Thinking of her children faces, Caitlin reflected, “Me too”.

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Member Comments
Member Date
terri tiffany02/04/07
You gave a lot of information here:) And have a great story line. Something that might help the story would be to start with a shorter more strinking opening paragraph - then go into the details. Also abit of dialogue would break it up some and show more than tell - finally, try giving your ending abit more punch too:) You have a lot of talent for telling a story rich in detail - you only need to do some work in a few places to make a richer story:)