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Are drugs good for your career?

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by devodian, Mar 1, 2007.

  1. devodian

    devodian New Member

    I tried a little different style for a recent column. Whether it was a good idea to write at 2:30 a.m. hopped up on Loratab? You be the judge. I don't know if the italics come through on this posting site, but hopefully you get the drift. Have any of you tried something like this, and if so, how did you technically execute it? Seems like with things like this, writers make up their own rules.

    Aaron Wade’s grandkids are already tired of hearing this story.
    He may only be a senior at Viewmont High, but you can already see the trials he and his fellow swim mates encountered this season (they were displaced from their home pool and required to practice in Rose Park) turning into a silver-haired tall tale.
    “You kids have it easy. Back in my day... We woke before the cock crew and drove 25 miles in the snow just so we could swim the length of the English Channel in the swampy waters of Rose Park, getting our flesh torn up from...”
    The shark’s teeth! We know Grandpa. You’ve already told us this a THOUSAND times!
    Well, those dad-gum ropes they had on them lanes felt like shrapnel in my arms. Did more damage than your mother’s baking.
    The only swimming I do, Grandpa, is in Hawaii, or on our house boat in Lake Havasu.
    That’s what’s wrong with kids these days! My senior year our numbers went from 55 to 23 once kids found out our home pool was being torn down and wouldn’t be rebuilt until the end of the season. They didn’t have the commitment, or the work ethic.
    I wouldn’t have done it. Wasn’t your season six months long, and you had practices before school at 4:30 a.m. and after class as well? Forget it. I only wake up that early if it’s Christmas.
    But those of us who stuck together; Now they are some of the greatest people I’ve known. Our 4x100 relay team still holds the school record. There was the Big Kahuna Nalu Meideros, Bubba Powers, and Andrew Arnold. What we did in that state meet was magical.
    But you didn’t even win Grandpa. How can that be cool?
    It wasn’t where we finished kids, but how far we came to get there that made it the crowning moment of our athletic lives. We walked into that meet ranked sixth in state, and we figured Bubba had a better shot at being prom king than we had of winning the thing.
    Once the gun sounded Arnold got us off to a good start and had us in fourth. Then I started my split. I still don’t what came over me, but I cut through the water like a hot knife through butter. I’d never felt stronger, never swam faster.
    Grandpa? Strong? Grandma says you were so skinny in high school that one time you stood next to a short, fat kid and the two of you looked like the number ten.
    If I was so weak then how was I able to vault us from fourth to second in the seventh lane as the outside smoker? Now the only outside smokers I knew couldn’t doggy paddle one lap, but this was a different type of smoking.
    Our team glided through the water with ease that day. Meideros improved his personal best time by almost two seconds, keeping the pace before Bubba brought us home, finishing ahead of the rest of the field by the length of his goggles.
    ...And second through sixth place was only separated by less than one second.
    Good to see you kids have been listening.
    Tell us about your coach again.
    Ah, yes. Old man Balling. He coached at Viewmont for another 30 years. The pool’s named after him down the road. He was so old by the time he retired that the workers at the pool used to ask if he was there to swim or part the waters.
    I’ll never forget him piling kids in that giant green van of his, driving them the 30 miles round-trip to practice looking like a youth corrections officer.
    Balling could be stern at times, but taught us the value of hard work. And to this day he’s the only man I’ve seen play the accordion at a hoe down.
    What’s an accordion?
    Never mind. That year proved to be the springboard for the rest of our lives, no pun intended. We’d never worked so hard, driven so much, and swam for so long. I’ll never forget the words of a text message Arnold sent me after that meet: “It was all worth it.”
  2. Angola!

    Angola! Guest

    I liked it. Good story and an interesting way to approach it.
    I'm just wondering if this is the proper phrasing, "cock crew." I had to reread that part a couple of times.
  3. devodian

    devodian New Member

    I'm not sure. I wrote it in past tense originally, but changed it.
  4. devodian

    devodian New Member

    A more specific question would be: when writing dialogue like this, is italicizing the kids answers the way to denote it? I didn't really know, so I just tried to my best to make it clear. It seemed over-kill to put quotation marks on every comment.
  5. dawgpounddiehard

    dawgpounddiehard Active Member

    Um, as if this didn't need to be said... Probably not a good idea to get into the habit of writing stories 2:30 a.m. "hopped up on Loratab."
  6. MartinEnigmatica

    MartinEnigmatica Active Member

    I was also confused by "cock crew"...and the italics works, if only because it separates it from the other text, which is all quotes do, anyway.
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