Exerpts from “The First Thanksgiving — The REAL Story”

March 16, 2008

 I must have gone over 100 different plot possibilities in my head over the last week for this fourth composition homework assignment.  A couple of times I was so consumed with my own brilliance I screamed for John to “Put down ‘that cooking’/’your exercising’/’your work’ and come here right away and read this!”  and murmured to myself, “I’m soooo clever, heehee.”  I’d giggle, tickled pink with myself….  only to have John come over, read it and scrunch up his nose in a “huh?” fashion.  “…..  okkkeeeyyy….  and this has to do with the homework how….?”

So…..  for inquiring minds, here’s the final result — my assignment in two parts, 250 words each.  For anyone who makes it all the way through, I hope you enjoy.  I’ll call it…. oh, how about…  Exerpts from The First Thanksgiving — The Real Story

Assignment Part One:   The first 250 words needs to be a scene just after Thanksgiving dinner, complete with the dirty dishes.

The cacophony and hustle and bustle of the feast is over.  Through the dusk, at the far end of a large field, a group of about fifty adults and children can be seen at play.

In the center of the field three long pine tables with benches on each side surround a fire in a U shape.  The opening of the U faces a house which is out of sight about 50 yards into the woods on the left.  Hot mulled wine in a kettle over the fire infuses a group of about fifteen Pilgrim and Indian men with warmth and hilarity as they lounge on pine benches facing the fire. 

An Indian woman stands by the nearest table with a colorful woven shawl wrapped around her stooped shoulders.  The few strands of thin white hair on her head stick out behind her as though being energized with static electricity.  Her wrinkled, leathery face wears a smile of satisfaction. At her feet is a medium-sized black and white dog that is devouring something, his tail high in the air.  A thin strand of drool hangs from the open mouth of a snoring comatose figure whose face lies on the tabletop facing the old woman.  Balanced on the side of the head is a black and brown pilgrim’s hat.

A small group of Pilgrim women, some carrying dirty dishes, stands at the forest edge on the left.  They stare wide-eyed at the old woman and dog, pointing.

Part Two: The first 250 words of a story involving the scene in part One — an excerpt which will pull the reader in and guide the reader into the body of the piece

“You want us to spend the next three days traveling just for a lousy dinner with a bunch of pale faces?” The tone in Abequa’s voice tells Inetus that his request is not going to go smoothly. “What about your mother? Who’s going to take care of her for the week that we’re gone? You know that no one in the tribe will agree to watch her after the last fiasco when we went away.”

“She’s coming with us…”

“You’ve got to be kidding! Oh great,” Abequa throws her hands out, “I can just see it now.” She draws up her leather jacket and hunches her shoulders. “How do you Pilgrim women keep your hair up like that?” she says in a shaky false soprano voice, peering at Inetus’ head in mock fascination and poking at it with her finger.

Inetus grunts, frowning, and swats her off, taking a small jump away.

She shuffles after him and continues. “…and your dresses. Why do they have that weird upside-down bowl shape?” She inspects an invisible skirt on him and pretends to lift it and look under. “We’re never going to hear the end of this one,” she says, shaking her head as she straightens up and adjusts her jacket back on her shoulders. She picks up a bag and heads towards the teepee entrance.

“What are you doing with Fido’s doggy boots?” he asks.

“I’m taking my dog.”

“They said no dogs.”

“I’m not going anywhere without my dog.”

7 Responses to “Exerpts from “The First Thanksgiving — The REAL Story””

  1. damyantig said

    I enjoyed the second part, really grabbed my attention, and I would of course, love to read more:)


  2. Jane said

    Thank you for your comment and link to your blog, dmyantig. Fascinating blog! I have it on my list now.

    I was thinking I should put this someplace safe and complete it some day….. The final story might be a fun Thanksgiving story! 😀

  3. lirone said

    It seems a very restricting assignment, rather than an inspiring, opening-up one. The struggles to write this assignment which you described in earlier posts now make sense to me – I don’t think you should be hard on yourself!

    Having said that, I’m not saying I don’t like what you’ve written – the second bit has a real humour and drama that definitely makes me want to read more!

  4. Jane said

    Yes, all these assignments seem restrictive. It’s an interesting experience, though, to try to figure out how to convey an assigned idea in 250 words. It’s very very hard work. I think the exercise is very educational though, because with each lesson there is a specific focus. I could have used another couple of weekends on this one assignment — the process of kneeding and creating and then trying to refine within a specific scope is back breaking, but also the variations in stories that come out are fascinating and fun (or could be fun with more time :))

  5. Jane said

    Thanks to people who commented on this. I should have posted all of my homeworks here. I’m not getting much feedback from the critiquing process in the class and this is helping me a great deal to see how you’re reading this.

  6. Ned said

    An interesting take on the original thanksgiving… not what I was expecting from your last post. I suck at narrative, so I’m in no place to critique.

    I agree with the other comments here. It’s quite restrictive… especially considering how you write outside of this class (like the bunny hill, for example).
    And that isn’t to say I didn’t like this either.

    I hope you do put up more of your homework…

  7. Jane said

    Ned, thank you for the comment on this and the last one. I know… it was completely different from where I originally was going. I re-themed it about 100 times.

    Sorry I haven’t been able to catch up on your blog. Been swamped with work and homeworks and self-discovery (about which I hope to write about, hopefully with next homework this weekend).

    I hope the new job is going well.

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