Friday, June 22, 2007

Free Write Friday

Well, I waited and waited and waited and still only got suggestions from two people this week...what's the dealy-o? Come on people!

I will be answering anonymous' question the first full weekend of the month, and subsequent questions will all be answered thusly the first weekend of each month. So, keep asking me questions, I'll log them all up and answer them first weekend of the month.

You'll get a Tuesday excerpt, and probably a Wednesday blurb, most likely another political rant because I've got one brewing, but that's all for next week because I'm going out of town for the weekend, and I'm taking off the week from the blog. So It'll be probably the following Wednesday before I return, but we don't have to worry about that just yet.

Alrighty, just a short one today probably. It's been a very long and ridiculous day, and I am tired and stressed. But here goes.

This week's suggestion comes from molly again;

Short story: Melba Wallace, a 13 y/o girl, hates her name but doesn't want to hurt her family's feelings as she's been named after her beloved (and sinfully rich) great aunt.

molly wins all kinds of electric appliances to plug in even though she has no electricity.


June 22, 2007

I like to make lists. Right now, I'm making lists about what names I'd rather have than Melba. I did an internet search on the name Melba and I made a list of what came up: wikipedia articles for Melba Toast, Ellie Melba, the Melba Idaho chamber of commerce website, the Ellie Melba website, the Melba Pattillo story. She was one of the Little Rock Nine, which I didn't know about until I made the list. I didn't stop and look right away, because I wanted to get thirteen things on my list. But afterwards, I went back to find out thirteen things about Melba Pattillo, along with thirteen things about Ellie Melba (the opera singer), Melba Idaho (the city hall looks like a trailer), and thirteen things about Melba Toast, which was really hard actually, because Melba Toast is just toasted crispy bread.

I did another search on Melba Wallace, so I could find thirteen other Melba Wallaces that weren't me or my great aunt. All I found were lists of charities aunt Melba had served on boards for or whatever, so instead I made a list of thirteen things Melba has done I didn't know about, which took almost no time.

But now, my list has twelve names. I can't come up with the thirteenth. I am just sometimes a little superstitious.

If I put the thirteenth name on the list, I might get my wish and have a different name, and then, who would I be? If I could guarantee that by changing my name from Melba Wallace I could still be Melba Wallace, then I'd write that thirteenth name. But if I write it, and become somebody else, but really became somebody else...

1) Kelly Watson
2) Rebecca Patterson
3) Emily Lane
4) Anne Tillmann
5) Melissa McGwire
6) Caitlyn Martin
7) Andrea James
8) Maria Madsen
9) Katherine Babbit
10) Monica Donovan
11) Karen Flaherty
12) Bridgette Monaghan

But I can't put that thirteenth one on there.

It's my own problem. A year ago, twelve would have been my limit. And there's nothing to worry about the number twelve. And in a year, I could write a fourteenth name and not have to feel unlucky.

And I am lucky, because I'm named after my Great Aunt Melba Wallace. My father's father's brother's widow. My grandfather's brother had made a fortune by working for 3M during a period when employees were paid only in stock, during the Great Depression. When the second world war broke out, he continued working, and became a division president afterward. He was one of a handful of employees that held onto his stock, became one of the richest men in St. Paul Minnesota. He bought a huge house on Summit that Aunt Melba still lives in.

But Melbas belong in grand houses on Summit. Melbas are supposed to be wise, and old, and wrinkled, with a pleasant laugh and a desperate need for the company of youth. I'm only as old as I can list to. Well, a year older than the names I can list. I live in a modest two bedroom with my mother for most of the month, but the first and third weekend I spend with my dad in his townhouse, with his wife, who's name I wish I could put on the list because I love it, but I can't say the same for her. I love their child, because even though my dad's wife is not my mother, their child is still my brother. Officially, my half brother, but he feels all brother when we hang out.

I'm definitely not wise. I was reading a book my mother had given me, by Jonathan Safran Foer, and he talked about the sixty-nine. I had no idea what he was talking about, so I did a search on it on Google. I was so embarassed, I erased all the history on the browser and emptied the cache, so that my mom had to reenter all of her passwords, which was a problem because she couldn't remember so many of them. When she asked what happened, I lied and told her the computer got a virus and I had to reload certain programs; my mother bought the lie because she's not so good with computers, not like my father's wife, who works for an internet company.

My mom had to call her bank, and her e-mail provider, and some other places to reset her passwords, and I told her to make a list this time. She did, and I saw only one password listed;


And that's why I can't change my name. Because my name and my birthday are her passwords.

If I did put that thirteenth name on my list, my mother would have to change her passwords all over again. Or worse, the would change along with me, and she'd have to call everybody again, and wonder what happened to her passwords, and to me.

The number one thing on my list of people I don't want to hurt is my mother. Then my father. Every year, I try to add one more. This year, I put my father's wife, because if it happens to be unlucky, I won't feel so bad about hurting her.

Number three is my Aunt Melba, who always treats me so nice. That's another reason I shouldn't change my name. Aunt Melba only treats me that way because we share a name. A huge check every birthday. If my name were Kelly Watson, Aunt Melba would regard me with a passing eye only.

It's not that I'm greedy, I'm just scared of being somebody else. And one thing my Aunt Melba told me, when I turned ten and added my new half-brother to my list. She said, "When you grow up, you'll look back on everything you used to do, and everything you used to be, and you'll wonder what became of that person. You'll be an entirely different person."

The only person I know who became somebody else was my father; he loved my mother, and then one day he came in with a list of his own, and read it to her...and their marriage ended.

But even though he became somebody else, I suppose he's happier now than he had been.

13) Melanie Gibson

...but I suppose superstitions are just that, and baseless. And any changing that happens will come when I've added some more people to my list of people never to hurt. Perhaps it will change when my list becomes a list of people I want to hurt. Or when I want to add more people to the list than my age will allow to fit. Maybe then.


Well, if there's one thing I know, it's 13 year old girls...?

Yeah, I know...well, whatever.

Alright. Until next time.

Write on.


the wife said...

Here you were saying it was awful- not that bad. You are definitely not a 13 year old girl though :) I still enjoyed reading it though.

marty/bridget said...

does anyone really know 13 year old girls? hell, does anyone really know 13 year old boys?!! and how 'bout those 14 year olds???

Becca said...

Sorry Elliot, I was a bit more busy than usual on Thursday (watched 3 movies at night... Definitely check out a movie called Water... It will blow your mind), so I forgot to check your blog. : ( I'll try to be more diligent in the future - however I see you will be taking a break as well, so I really don't feel too guilty... hehehe...

In the meantime, I'll be brainstorming new, fabulous, creative story ideas which you'll inevitably pass over in favor of someone else's idea (as usual). How's that for a guilt trip? Haha. Oh, and I especially love the fact that you are clearly pining away for MN even more than me. Thanks for that.

mGk said...

My question:

So, what came first, the spoon or the spork?

Molly said...

Wow... I'm a little creeped out that you do seem to get 13 year old girls. You got the OCD down pat. Did some research on that, didja?