Thursday, May 13, 2010

"Unwanted"...success for a story that was originally placed in the "bad" file

I thought I had posted my story "Unwanted" here before but I could not find it in the archives...so I guess not. A little background on why I was looking: I have undertaken the job of "being in charge" of a compilation book we are doing with several awesome authors who are part of Jillian Livingston's Aspiring Writers Group over at Mom Bloggers Club. We haven't set a date for the book release yet but I can tell you from the submissions I am receiving and the works of the paticipants that I have read...you won't want to miss it!!

Anyway....I was reminded (thank you, Shay) how sometimes I write something and have to shake my head and put it aside wondering how could I write something that bad! Well, I have a success story about one of those "bad" stories. My first published piece is a short story called "Unwanted" and it was originally placed in the never-gonna-be-seen-by-other-eyes file. It was very short and did not capture the emotion of what I was writing about (purely fictional, mind you). Several weeks later there was a contest and, as often happens to me since it is my only truly alone time thanks to 4 pets who want my attention when my children or husband are not around, while showering I got a "vision" of where that story should go for that contest. It was perfect! I reworked it and it won and was my first published piece.

So, don't throw it away...file it away. You never know where it will take you.

I'll post the story here so you may decide for yourself: thumbs up or thumbs down...

"Unwanted", a short story by Linda Boulanger

Betrayal. Is there a more justifiable reason to be angry? I had every reason in the world to be bitter but would never find backing or support from the scriptures. I was swallowed up in the deepest, darkest time of my life, but God wasn’t giving me any slack. And I had done nothing wrong! I was still seething as I looked down at the tiny bundle wrapped in soft pink. She returned my gaze, her eyes filled with trust. They were the bluest eyes I’d ever seen. Oh how sweet she looked.

I picked her up, feeling her tiny nose against my cheek, soft yet firm, like nothing I had ever felt before. She nestled against me as I held her in my arms. I breathed deeply, the aroma of baby lotion, powder, and her distinctive scent filled my head. She smelled like him, her father….my husband.

I didn’t want to love her, vowed I would not the day he told me about her and that he wanted to bring her home. To our home! His child with another woman…brought into this world by a chance encounter and I was supposed to take her in and love her as my own. Preposterous! I had resolved to harden my heart toward her. Bitterness had tried to creep in.

I’d already made my peace with my husband…with an awful lot of help from God. I had come to terms with the fact that, perhaps, it had even been my obsession with the need for a baby that had driven him away for a time. It had been difficult enough but we’d gotten through it. And then he’d learned of this child, his child, to be given away without a care from her real mother. And now, here she was, so small, so helpless. She was soft within my arms, looking to me to take care of her, to show her a world where someone cared.

“God, how could you do this to me? How can I do for her what is needed when my heart is hurting so?” I’d been denied my own child in life. Years of trying had left me with nothing but a hardened heart, wounded pride, and a taste of bitterness in my mouth. The barren woman…..and now this child.

She began to fuss. I laid her back and she looked at me again. I was touched by the total lack of judgment in her eyes. She had no idea how tormented I was or that I had planned not to love her, only that she needed someone to take care of her and that I seemed to be doing a pretty good job at that very moment. Her own mother didn’t care, didn’t love her; had not even loved my husband as I did. I brushed the palm of my hand across the soft down that covered the top of her head. She liked it. Her eyes took on that dreamy look and I smiled. The realization of how much she needed me washed over me with great cleansing waves.

I leaned down and kissed her forehead. Her eyes fluttered, and then shut. I could feel her breath. Soft sweet whispers caressed my face as I rubbed her cheek with my own. In her sleep, she smiled. It was an angel’s smile. I couldn’t hate her. My bitterness faded away. She was the answer to my prayer for a child. And, with a sigh and a thank you, I resolved to be her mother, to be that someone, who would love her.

7 comments:

  1. Linda, this is one of the stories I loved in your book, Becoming. Of course, there weren't any that I didn't love. :-)

    "I didn't want to love her, vowed I would not the day he told me about her and that he wanted to bring her home."

    It broke my heart.

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  2. Oh, wow. That's really all I have at the moment. Wow. (As tears fill my eyes.)

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  3. I love this Linda...and I guess it is a good thing that I am somewhat of a pack rat when it comes to things I write.

    Thanks for sharing this!

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  4. What a sweet story! I love it. :) That's a good reminder too. I have a little file of "in progress" stories - I'll have to add the one I mentioned to you to it!

    I'm a new follower too, by the way! :)

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  5. Vsry, very sweet Linda. You really captured the private moments mothers have with their children. (Even though your character was trying her best to be bitter). It took me back to my own babies.

    Cj

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  6. Great job! I can't believe this almost retired to the "bad" pile. Thank you for sharing this with us. :)

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  7. You are brilliant. Seriously.

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