Friday, September 09, 2005

It's Always Fun After Someone Loses an Eye

I have finished inputting all my info into the Day Sheet. Now the serious stuff starts. The cutting and slicing, the juggling and reworking. The meat of the revision, if you will. I'm cautiously optimistic that I can go through this and find a way to make it work, to make it a better story. I've made lots of notes as I was inputting the information, shaded in scenes that could be cut out entirely, others that could be blended, and yet more that were in the wrong spot in the story. Hopefully, by the time I go through and make those changes, I'll have a tighter plot and be able to tie up all the loose ends and story threads that were left dangling originally.

In her book First Draft in 30 Days, Karen Wiesner suggests taking scissors and cutting out areas of your manuscript and placing them with the appropriate scene capsules. I thought about doing that, but considered the Day Sheet a better option. I had visions of getting things laid out on the floor and then having the dog waltzing through and knocking them about. Or worse, forgetting they weren't nailed down and turning on the fan. Besides, I don't have that great a history with scissors.

You see, it all started back in junior high school Home Ec class. I was behind in my project - which this time around was to sew a jogging suit. I wasn't the only one, so they opened up the Home Ec room at lunch time for some of us to try and catch up. Maxx and I decided to take advantage. Mostly I was hoping there was someone in the room I could con into sewing it for me because (1) I hated Home Ec; and (2) I couldn't sew to save my life. The pattern confused me, the bobbles mocked me, it just wasn't a pretty sight.

But alas, there was no one worthy of being conned and I was left to deal with the jogging suit from Hell all on my own. The room was full by the time we got there, sewing machines buzzing with zeal as we walked through the door. Two sorrier misfits you never saw. Maxx had her face scrunched up in disgust at the trill of girly laughter that drifted up to meet us. Me - I wore my best Billy Idol sneer and scowled at the Stepford Wife Wannabes. Despite our Home Ec teacher's best attempts, I refused to be domesticated. I had no intentions of getting married and having kids. I could darn a sock and sew a button, beyond that, what was needed? Did she honestly think I was going to one day sit at home with 2.5 children running around and get a sudden urge to whip up a jogging suit?

But I had already failed the cooking portion of Home Ec after the green biscuit fiasco of '81 and this was my only hope to finish the year with a passing grade. We went inside, Maxx to one end of the room, me to the other, taking over the only two available machines. The teacher smiled at us as we walked in. I'm sure she thought it a sign of victory that I showed up at all. I growled in her general direction, my feminist sensibilities taking a hit at her smarmy expression. I sat down and convinced the girl next to me to thread the machine. I think my indignant frothing at the mouth might have helped convince her. She was probably afraid to say no.

With the machine ready, I went to work, stepping on the pedal with the same lead foot I would later use when I learned how to drive. The roar of the engine drew the attention of the crowd and someone had the audacity to suggest I might want to try a gentle touch. I revved the engine out of spite. Gentle touch indeed. A half hour passed when I heard Maxx's voice. Dammit, where are the scissors? Who's got my scissors! Hey Kelly, you got any scissors?

I stopped revving the engine of my machine and looked up to the far corner of the room. Scissors, you say? Why yes, I have a pair right here.

Well toss them over here will ya, I just screwed this thing up.

I shrugged. Sure thing.

The scissors went up into the air in a beautiful arc, over the heads of the Stepford Wife Wannabes. One of them squealed, drawing the attention of the teacher who happened to glance up in time to see the scissors on their downward glide. Maxx caught them just as easily as if I had handed them to her, snatching them out of the air. We both turned back to our work as if nothing untoward had happened. After all, it hadn't. Request granted, mission accomplished.

At least until the teacher's voice screeched through the room at a deafening decibal that set dogs on the other side of town howling. You'd think we had raffled off her first born to raise money for our nefarious underworld deeds. We were hauled out of the room and read the riot act, something about the dangers of throwing scissors across the room, impalement, someone losing an eye. I rolled mine, resulting in my expulsion from attending further Home Ec classes that year.

Sigh...great. I was, however, allowed to finish my project. I had managed to finish the top half of mine while revving my engine at 50 mph. I held it up for Maxx's inspection. She laughed so hard I thought she might cack up her lunch. I took a closer look. What's this? The arms are too short...and the nearly goes to my knees...oh no...oh crap...oh oh. I had sewn the body as the arms, and the arms as the body. Groan...

Maxx suggested it would be an easy enough fix, but there was no way I was doing that over again. In the end, I decided to leave it. I passed it off as an 'original' design. And as it turned out, I wasn't the only person to make that mistake, thereby enabling me to tell the teacher I had started my own fashion trend with said original design.

I managed to finish the year with a barely passing Home Ec grade, but ever since then, I can't look at a pair of scissors without thinking of that day.


Erin said...

I have absolutely no problem envisioning the scissors' story, none at all. In fact, I believe I've heard bits of it before.

However, this Green Bisquit fiasco of '81 sounds tell.

Nikki said...

HA! And you never know-- you may still get that urge to "whip up a jogging suit"....

This is useful information to have when I'm sitting next to you at the meeting... I will keep my scissors close.

Tess said...

Kelly - glad I didn't have any of my latte in my mouth while reading this!!! ROTFL. Great way to start a Friday :-)

Melissa Marsh said...

Oh WOW. That story was HILARIOUS. I didn't do so hot in the sewing section of home ec, either.

Lynn Daniels said...

Man, oh, man, you have a talent for spinning a yarn. I could see the whole thing like a movie. And I LMBO.

I agree with Erin, must hear more about the Green Biscuit Fiasco of '81.

Maxx said...

MY jogging suit/jammies turned out fabulous... with the exception of the elastic... which I decided the pattern measurement was wrong and I cut the elastic smaller then Simplicity suggested because although I was a new sewer I knew more than they did... thusly cutting off my bloodflow sometime during the night of the first wear causing me to wake up numb from the elbows down. "MOM! I'M PARALYZED!! AAAHHHH!!! HOW CAN I DO MY HAIR IF I'M PARALYZED?!? AHHHHHH!!!"

You didn't tell them your french fries were beautiful and I bet you still have them stashed somewhere.

Kelly said...

I do still have the french fries, but Mom sewed those, not me. That was the year we were allowed to take our projects home. Mom tried to show me how to sew but got so frustrated with my lack of talent she took over and did it herself.

Maxx said...

GASP!! How COULD you!
I don't even know who you are anymore. You disgust me.

Peggy said...

Funny story! I'm torn between wishing I went to school with you, to pretty sure you would have scared the crap out of me, LOL!

Michelle said...

OMG, you had me on the floor. Too funny!! I did a lousy job in home ec, too. (grin)