Writer’s Wisdom: Practice Your Craft

“To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it. ” Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

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Writers’ Wisdom ~ The Story to Write

“Borges said there are only four stories to tell: a love story between two people, a love story between three people, the struggle for power and the voyage. All of us writers rewrite these same stories ad infinitum.” 
― Paolo Coelho

Writer’s Wisdom: 10 Steps to Becoming a Better Writer

10 Steps to Becoming a Better Writer

Write.
Write more.
Write even more.
Write even more than that.
Write when you don’t want to.
Write when you do.
Write when you have something to say.
Write when you don’t.
Write every day.
Keep writing.” 
― Brian Clark

“I Demand A Recount,” says Vinnie’s Teacher

33

Lunch time at Kennedy Elementary School. Doctor Cashman sits behind her desk. Mrs. Mavis Mavis, Lori Swift, the counselor, and Mark Doolittle, the assistant principal sit in a semi-circle in front of her desk. Doctor Cashman ordered sandwiches from Ponti’s Deli for the meeting.

Doctor Cashman says, “Mrs. Mavis, I can’t arbitrarily say Vinnie didn’t get elected fair and square.”

“You have to. He’ll destroy the school. He doesn’t deserve to be president. He’s the worse student in the school,” argues Mrs. Mavis.

Lori Swift says, “I know you and Vinnie don’t get along, Mavis. But he’s far from the worse student in school. He’s polite. His achievement scores are in the upper one percent.”

Mrs. Mavis huffs and puffs like the big bad wolf in the Little Red Riding Hood story and says, “Vincent has you fooled. Oh, he can be charming and sweet, but underneath he’s out to get us.”

“Mark Doolittle says, “It’s been a stressful year for you Mavis. Everything alright at home?”

Before Mrs. Mavis explodes at Mark Doolittle, Doctor Cashman steps in, “What was the final vote for President of the third grade when you count the ballots from the three third grade classrooms?”

Mrs. Mavis says, “Vincent barely won if you only count the legitimate ballots.”

Lori Swift jumps in, “I did the recount for all the grades and Vinnie had 67 votes, Tommy had no votes, and Megan had two votes. I think Tommy voted for her.”

Mrs. Mavis says, “That’s reason enough to make Megan 4th grade president because Tommy is a gentleman and he always raises his hand. Tommy would know who would make a good class president.”

“Mavis, 3rd grade is always difficult, even for the best teachers, like you. May I suggest switching to another grade next year. The computer will assign you a random class and one that does not have third graders,” says Doctor Cashman.

Mrs. Mavis puts her hand to her chin and ponders the suggestion. She says, “Change might be good. I don’t want to have that Vincent creature in my class next year.”

Mark Doolittle blurts, “There’s only a very slim to none chance that is going to happen. There is only a 6.67 chance of you having Vinnie in class again. Great odds.

“How do you do that, Mark?” asks Lori.

“I got an A in third grade in math,” says Mark proudly.

“Okay. I’ll do it. When will we know the class assignments and rosters, Mark?” asks Mrs. Mavis.

Mark Doolittle glances toward Dr. Cashman who nods. He says, “We’ll have it all worked out by the first of August.”

Doctor Cashman checks the time and says, “Mavis, after lunch I’m going to announce the results of the elections for grades four and five. Let’s all brace ourselves. We know how Vinnie will react. Let him get his energy out. Please don’t send him to the office for being excited.”

“Can I put him in timeout for the rest of the day?” asks Mrs. Mavis.

“Mavis, try to enjoy Vinnie’s excitement,” says Lori Swift

“If he’s ever elected president of the US, it’s your fault for not stopping it now. At least I won’t have to worry about him next year.”

Vinnie’s mom stands on the sidewalk in front of the Johnson’s house holding Rupert against her chest. Dexter is sniffing around on the Johnson’s grass. The three women are standing twenty feet in front of Vinnie’s mom all talking at the same time and occasionally turning back toward her.

Vinnie’s mom strokes Rupert’s head, “Rupert, what if Vinnie lost? He’ll be heartbroken.”

Vinnie’s mom puts Rupert between her two hands and stretches her arms with Rupert facing her. She uses her falsetto voice for Rupert, “No chance, Mom. Vinnie’s going to win.”

“What if Mrs. Mavis takes it away from him.”

Rupert says, “Tell Dad to threaten a lawsuit.”

“You are so smart, Rupert. Here comes the bus. Keep your finger’s crossed. I mean your paw crossed.”

“How about my front legs, Mom?”

The school bus flashes it’s orange lights and comes to a stop switching to flashing red lights. The bus door opens. Vinnie leaps out. He screams, “I won. I won. I won.”

The kids on the bus start chanting, “Vinnie! Vinnie! Vinnie!”

Vinnie turns back toward the bus and bows. He hollers, “Thanks, it’s gonna be the best fourth grade ever.”

The three mothers are shaking their heads. They involuntarily move closer to curb not know where Vinnie is going to run on his way up the street. 

Vinnie turns toward home, gets down in the set stance of an Olympic 100 meter champion and hollers, “On your mark, get set, go!” He races forward, arms flailing, fists pumping, heading straight toward the three women. Their amusement turns to terror as Vinnie heads on a collision course straight toward them. At the last second he veers to his left leaps over the small picket fence onto old Mrs. Crandall’s lawn. 

Mrs. Crandall is standing on her porch holding onto a walker for support. Vinnie yells, “Mrs. Crandall I won. I’m 4th grade president.”

“Atta boy, Vinnie. Watch out for my rose bush.”

Vinnie hurdles the rose bush with ease. He crosses the Johnson’s lawn and dives head first toward Dexter who patiently knows all this is coming. As long as the backpack makes it, Dexter is cool.

Vinnie’s outstretched arms wrap around Dexter’s neck. He says, “Safe at home, Dexter. Maybe next time.” He glance up, “Mom, I won.”

She says, “I heard.”

VINNIE RETURNS MONDAY, JULY 30