Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Journal Entry

I am now journaling. I am sitting at the computer writing whatever comes into my head. No editing. I am giving myself about fifteen minutes to half an hour to complete this task.

Three men on horseback broke the treeline and thundered across the field. Amos, who had been mending the small stone wall that seperated his property from Abernathy's, stood up, bending first to the left, then to the right, to ease a knot developing in his low back. He took a bandana from around his neck and ran it over his forehead to wipe away the sweat and grime there.

He recognized the lead rider. Sam Sheperd. A traveler from the southern colonies who had stayed in Massachussets to court Wayne Salle's daughter, Ezzie. A hopeless courtship, that. Sallee was strict, religious, and a man of property. He would never consider Sam as a proper husband. Sam had nothing and most people felt it was only a matter of time before the no-account returned to his traveling ways.

"Amos!" Sam cried. He reared back on the reins, trotting up to the wall.

"Hello, Sam. Hello, Karl. Michael." Amos nodded greeting to the other two men as well. Karl was a slow, but gentle man who worked hard under Salle's skinflint management. Michael was a Quaker who spoke little, but who seemed to have many connections in the community.

"They've gone and done it," said Sam. "Yessir."

"Gone and done what?"

"The British. They fired on us. We were gathered over at Concorde. We stood our ground, but there looked to be a thousand of the lobster backs on the march."

Amos leaned back against the wall, his stomach jumping with nervous excitement. He couldn't believe what he was hearing. The militia had organizing for some time now, but no one took them seriously, not really. It was a way for the locals to feel better about themselves, a way to blow off steam. Yet, if Sam was to be believed, and Amos wasn't sure he could believe him, the British were firing on them, treating them as if they were foreign fighters and not citizens of King George.

"Who fired first?"asked Amos.

"The British set fire to the town. They were stopping, questioning people demanding to know where we were storing our weapons. Parker made us fall back because he didn't want no trouble, but when we saw the flames, we knew we had to do something."

Amos studied his farmland, thinking about the planting he had planned. He thought about the soil, thinking about what omens the winter had given him that this Spring would be mild. It hadn't been. Winter hadn't let go until March stubbornly pulled itself into April. He looked at the wall.

"Well?" asked Sam. "What do you think?"

"Did anyone die?"

Sam considered the words, looking uneasily from Karl to Michael.

"We don't know," answered Sam.

Amos considered the meaning of those words. It meant that when the shooting started that Sam and the others had lit out of there at a quick pace. No shame in that, thought Amos. The Redcoats weren't playing games like the militia. They were soldiers. The militia were farmboys.

"Grab some rocks and help me finish this wall," Amos responded. He nodded toward his house. "When we're done here, we'll go relax over an ale and decide what to do. I suspect by then there will be more to hear about what happened today."

"I thought we should ride and tell people," said Sam. Michael and Karl had already dismounted.

"Tell them what?" said Amos. "Let's finish this wall."


Lucas Pederson said...

Wow! For a journal entry that was really good! You plan on developing this into a full length story? That would be awesome!
Isn't it strange that when we just write for the sake of wrting something, anything, that it turns out to be some of the best work we ever did? I had a journal at one time, but decided to let it go. I'd forget to wrtie in it months upon end. This, however, is making me rethink the journal writing. I enjoyed the character Amos. to me he had a kind of grit necessary to the time peroid. Loved this post.
I've got a three part story, I started writing just for my blog. You should take a gander. Part 1 and 2 are posted. I just started writing and it developed itno something more.
Anyway, this was great work.

Helen said...

Oh, the British...(why am I one of the bad guys?!)
Anyway, good story. I like having a blog and writing outside of school because you are so restricted in school, writing essays all the time, and having not very much creative freedom.

Kate S said...

LOL - ole skinflint Sallee. He'll like that.

I've been trying to work you in as an evil villian per your request, but the right opportunity hasn't arisen. Maybe for the next assignment...

SQT said...

I love that you named a character Sam Sheperd-- but I love that you threw in Wayne Sallee even more.

etain_lavena said...

I remember that poem Mending wall...this reminded me of that in a way.....
Enjoyed it:)

Susan Miller said...

Is this how writer's journal? Well, damn.

I am amazed. Nothing against me or anything but mine is pure mindless blah, blah, blah.

This is fantastic, Stu. Of course, it is.

Stewart Sternberg said...

Thank you Sue...I should do this at least once a week here. Or more often. It's good to flex writer's muscles. I love writing about moments in history as seen from the perspective of the average joe.
Maybe I'll write something about a picnic at a civil war battle.

Etain, although I have said many negative things about poetry, I must confess "Mending Wall" is one of my favorites.

SQT I put a lot of people I know in my writing. I have Jon Zech in the novel I am writing as a crusty police lieutenant working with the gang squad. Of course, in the novel I hide his name like this: John Zeck.

You know, Helen, maybe I should write something from the perspective of a British soldier. Maybe one of the those poor commanding officers who had to deal with the Hessians. Or maybe I can write something about the French and Indian Wars.

Travis said...

I am a great fan of historical fiction if it's well done.

I like this story.

Stewart, you are making me examine my poor habits. I need to write every day. Or at least more often than I do now.