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Saturday, May 15, 2010

What is a Reverie?

I learned something from Sarah today,that writers should know. I feel embarressed that I didn't.  It's part of the craft of writing a good story.

Wha's a reverie!
According to the American Heritage Dictionary, a reverie is a state of abstracted musing; daydreaming. It's like your remembering something, thinking about the past or the future, outside of the context of the time you might be in.  Here's an example of a reverie from my manuscript! (The reverie is in Italics)

She knelt before the simple gray marker identifying John and Ellen Polk. Just a few steps away rested Aunt Amy, stink-eye at ready, Emily supposed, that memory causing Emily to loosen a smile. She saw herself at six once more.

She had been crouched on the wooden pew, the skirt of her wide-bottomed dress hiked up over her head, unladylike. Aunt Amy was situated two pews behind her, across the aisle. Maureen hadn’t yet arrived with Darren, allowing Emily to walk to church with her older sister. Aunt Carol perched in the front pew cradling Paul in her lap. Ronnie Clouds sat behind the girls poking Emily in the back with his finger and popping pink bubble gum in her ear over the back of the pew.

The girl’s uncle, Pastor George Timmons, tapped on the pulpit to draw everyone’s attention to the first hymn, a rousing rendition of When We All Get to Heaven. Mrs. Campbell punched the piano keys with a gusto reserved for dance halls, while the congregation tapped their feet and smiled.

Aunt Amy wouldn’t take her eyes off the girl, who by now was standing on the seat of the pew, swinging her dress back and forth, up and down, her frilly white underwear eye level to Mr. and Mrs. King, who roosted two pews back. Every now and then Emily would jet her hand into her panties and rub her crotch, her face pinching in pain.

Stephanie tugged on her little sister’s arm, trying to settle Emily down. Emily’s little off-key voice got louder and louder as the music played on without end.

Parishioners were giggling and pointing. Pater Timmons was rolling his eyes and looking for some way to end the joyful child’s outburst. Ronnie stood and hauled out a tiny frog he’d been keeping inside of his shirt, intent on dropping it on Emily just to watch her scream.

He swung his head to the right, making sure no one saw what he was bent on doing. He twisted to the left in time to catch the old woman’s face, all scrunched up with anger, pointing her finger at him and then at Emily and signaling for him to sit down. His eyes widened. He knew of the elderly woman’s quick temper and fast hand. He pointed his finger at himself, waiting for an acknowledgment from the wrinkled old thing.

She shook her head side to side in quick succession, narrowed her eyes and pointed her crooked finger at the dancing girl in front of him. Emily. Relief washed over him as he stretched toward the girl, pulling hard on her upswept dress, his eyes never leaving Amy’s. Emily spun around, slapping down hard on Ronnie’s hand. Ronnie stuck his arm straight to his left, the wiggling legs of the tiny frog apparent to everyone around him. He pointed at the restless woman waiting in the pew across the aisle.

Emily stopped dead, her stare locked on that of her great aunt. She recognized the squinting gray eyes, slits that narrowed, squeezing tight with an anger that would swallow the little girl up. Stink-eye, her mother called it. A look that made even the wildest child tremble.

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