Saturday, 28 January 2012

Katie and Mohammad - The Last Dance - Romantic Friday Writers Challenge No 30



Welcome to the Romantic Friday Writers' fortnightly writing challenge, started and hosted by , where participants share their own 300-400-word text - story or poem - on a given theme. This week's theme for Friday, 27th January, Challenge No. 29, is 'The Last Dance'. My text is written directly for this REW-challenge.



Here is my text : (Scroll down to read the corrected text in ORANGE with the name Joseph changed to Mohammad)

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Katie Norris, 63, sitting near the refreshments table at the Williamspost Senior Prom, was one of two music teachers on duty as chaperones that evening.

Maybe I can make myself invisible, thought Katie, sipping the alchohol-free fruit juice and Seven-up mixed punch from a plastic mug, Isn't that's what wallflowers are supposed to do? Disappear?

At least she did not have to play the piano. They flipped a coin and her colleague Bertha 'won' that assignment.

Katie day-dreamed about her late husband, Kevin Norris. What a wonderful man he was! How I loved dancing with him. Then Katie's thoughts wandered forward to retirement. Maybe I could travel. She saw herself seated on the deck of a cruise ship headed for Burmuda or some beautiful tropical island. Sipping a mint julip reading a paperback novel she meets a distingished-looking man in his sixties, wearing a dark grey suit, who asks: Haven't we meet before?

'Mrs Norris?' said a young man with dewy, dreamy, dark eyes, taking her out of her reverie. It was Joseph, eighteen years old and always very polite and well-groomed. His family came from somewhere in the Middle East. When the drama classes, put on the musical Oliver, he was chosen to play the part of Fagin, and did it well. He ignored the type-casting of being force to play a Jew, when he himself was of Arab-extraction, and took it in stride and with a sense of humour. He even imitated Alec Guinness' role from studying David Lean's 1948 film version of Oliver Twist and did a passable Yiddish accent for the part. He has a beautiful singing voice too. 'May I have this dance?'

'Oh, hello Joseph. Yes, I would be delighted!' It was a slow dance too, but Joseph didn't mind. Nor did Mrs Norris.

'Are your plans for next year all set, Joseph? How did your college applications go?

'Oh, better than I expected. I've been accepted to three different colleges, so I can choose.'

'I'm so glad to hear that, Joe. You'll be just fine, I think.'

Yes, and I'll be just fine too, thought Katie and let her handsome young partner twirl her around on the dance floor. Yes! It will be divine!



[Text copyright 2012 Christina Wigren]



Word count according to WordCalc: 375;' NCCO'; No Critque, Comments Only.




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Best wishes,
Anna



P.S.

This is a purely fictional story. I have gone out on a limb, because I am writing about a character who is very much older than I am. I am guessing about how she may think and feel. My idea is that love is eternal and something for all ages. She is not too old to love someone if the right man should come along. In the mean time she can enjoy life for what it is. I don't mean that she should run off with this boy, Joseph (Mohammad). I mean she is ready to meet different kinds of people. And if she is open to new aquaintances, one day she may very well meet someone who really suits her.

Sorry about the linguistic inconsistencies. I've set this story in an American high school, but am still writing with mostly British spelling. I don't plan to do anything with this text later on. It's just an exercise for RFW.

Mrs Norris? I'm inspired by the the cat named Mrs Norris in the Harry Potter books and films. Mrs Norris, the cat, is owned by the caretaker at Hogwarth, Mr Filch.

Kevin and Kate Norris would have made a great pair. I'll have to write a prequel about them.

The dark, young, handsome man, Joseph, is modelled after a very sweet 18-year-old-boy who lives in my apartment building. I don't know that much about him. I don't even know what exactly his backgound is. I've only met him in the hall or just outside of my building. But he is very nice and always polite and helpful. He always opens the door for me! So this one's for you, Josef!

Another source of inspiration is a former collegue named Mohammad, from Iraq. His mother-tongue was a kind of Persian language, Farsi, and not Arabic. He belonged to a minority group, the Kurds, and probably came to Sweden as a refugee (but I never asked). He was of the muslim faith. He was very kind, thoughtful and helpful. His wife was from Finland, but I never saw them outside of work, so I never met her.

Between shop-talk at work, I often asked Mohammad about Persian poetry. There are some amazing story-tellers in the Persian literary tradition. There is for example an interesting Swedish translation of many Persian poets by a man named Eric Hermelin (1860-1944). He wrote his translations in 18th-century Swedish (which feels a lot more archaic than 18th-century English, because the Swedish language has changed more rapidly than English), which is not easy to do. He did not think that modern Swedish was the right vehicle for these rich and mystical poetical works.
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Here's the same text with the name Joseph changed to Mohammad (or Muhammad; I don't know which spelling is more correct.):

Katie Norris, 63, sitting near the refreshments table at the Williamspost Senior Prom, was one of two music teachers on duty as chaperones that evening.

Maybe I can make myself invisible, thought Katie, sipping the alchohol-free fruit juice and Seven-up mixed punch from a plastic mug, Isn't that's what wallflowers are supposed to do? Disappear?

At least she did not have to play the piano. They flipped a coin and her colleague Bertha 'won' that assignment.

Katie day-dreamed about her late husband, Kevin Norris. What a wonderful man he was! How I loved dancing with him. Then Katie's thoughts wandered forward to retirement. Maybe I could travel. She saw herself seated on the deck of a cruise ship headed for Burmuda or some beautiful tropic islands. Sipping a mint julip reading a paperback novel she meets a distingished-looking man in his sixties, wearing a dark grey suit, who asks: Haven't we meet before?

'Mrs Norris?' said a young man with dewy, dreamy, dark eyes, taking her out of her reverie. It was Mohammad, eighteen years old and always very polite and well-groomed. His family came from somewhere in the Middle East. When the drama classes, put on the musical Oliver, he was chosen to play the part of Fagin, and did it well. He ignored the type-casting of being force to play a Jew, when he himself was of Arab-extraction, and took it in stride and with a sense of humour. He even imitated Alec Guinness' role from studying David Lean's 1948 film version of Oliver Twist and did a passable Yiddish accent for the part. He has a beautiful singing voice too. 'May I have this dance?'

'Oh, hello Mohammad. Yes, I would be delighted!' It was a slow dance too, but Mohammad didn't mind. Nor did Mrs Norris.

'Are your plans for next year all set, Mohammad? How did your college applications go?

'Oh, better than I expected. I've been accepted to three different colleges, so I can choose.'

'I'm so glad to hear that, Mohammad. You'll be just fine, I think.'

Yes, and I'll be just fine too, thought Katie and let her handsome young partner twirl her around on the dance floor. Yes! It will be divine!



First Commenter:

Adura Ojo



To read other texts for Romantic Friday Writers Challenge No. 30, with the theme 'The Last Dance', please visit this site or click on the image below:



9 comments:

Adura Ojo said...

Loved it, Anna. And I got it even without your explanation. Your writing just gets better and better. Nice flow and I love the positive tone too. We should all do our best to enjoy life in spite of what it might throw at us.

Laura said...

Very nice story and Like the first comment said... No need for the explanation. I really enjoyed it. Lx

Kiru Taye said...

Hi Anna,

This is really an endearing sweet piece. I enjoyed reading it. I have to agree with everyone else you're writing has developed so much in a little time. Well done.

Anna said...

Thank you so much ladies! It means a lot to me that you three think I am improving. You are all three really excellent writers!

Just a thought: Maybe I should change the 18-year old boy's name from Joseph to Muhammad to make it clearer what his background is. Joseph is perhaps more of a Hebrew name. I don't know if Arabian boys are named Joseph. Maybe they are.

I would be grateful and happy if anyone could comment about this.

Thanks for visiting!

Anna

Andy said...

Hello Anna.
As one who exists in the image of love, I would have to agree that love is indeed eternal. Love knows no time, distance or age.

I really enjoyed this delightful piece of writing. You should be very proud of yourself for how far you have come with your writing.
Keep it up!

Thanks for sharing & visiting. Your kind comments are always appreciated.

Like A Harlot

DeniseCovey_L'Aussie said...

Hello dear Anna. Sorry I was so long getting to your story but I've been in a plane, then had jet lag, then so much to catch up with.

As the other commenters have said, your English writing is so much improved. I like your little explanations though. Like you, I believe love is eternal, not just for the youngsters!

Yes, names are important. An Arab would probably not be called Joseph unless the parents wanted to make a statement. Just that he was thinking it was ironic that he was to play a Jew means he thinks it's significant, so changing his name to Mohammad would be a good thing. Names of characters are just so important and tell us so much about them.

Thanks for writing a piece especially for RFWer!

Denise

Scheherazade said...

Hi Anna,
I like this piece very much, but I want to say dig deeper because I think when you do you'll find a much more complex and interesting character.

The dialog at the end sounds like real dialog and I think it detracts from the piece somewhat. Dialog is the illusion of conversation and it conveys a certain tension or mystery. I believe if you reconsider the motives that bring these two people together, the dialog will resolve itself and make this a fascinating piece. You have a good story idea here.

Scheherazade said...

Hi Anna,
I liked this piece very much. It is a very good idea for a story. I think you should dig a little deeper. I think you will find a much more complex and intriguing character.

The last few lines read like actual dialog. Written dialog is more the illusion of conversation and conveys a tension, mystery. I think if you reevaluate the motives of these two characters, the last lines of dialog will resolve themselves into something that will better define them.

DeniseCovey_L_Aussie said...

Hi Anna. Nice new site. I'm here for my second reading. You indeed have improved so much!

Denise

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