The rolling pin slammed into the right wall, the left wall, the right, punching holes in the drywall as I backpedaled. I had to attack. She was going to kick my ass. She knew how to fight for real and I didn’t. She followed me, crouching, hands ready, gauging my back and forth swings. Timing them, calculating the perfect moment to spring.
A little bitty excerpt from Down on the Farm, one of the stories in my upcoming Isolation and Other Stories collection.
It’s there because I’m reading through, doing some editing and proofreading. I finally have an ending for it I think. It’s been very stubborn, this story, resisting being finished.
When I wrote the passage, he was punching holes in plaster, not drywall. I read it, it sounded wrong, I changed it to drywall. Nobody would ever have noticed, except for this blog post. Nobody would have known it changed, known why it changed, or known why it was important that it be drywall instead of plaster. Nobody but me.
But it still matters.
Mood and setting are composed of the little assumptions, images, and associations that spring into peoples’ heads as they read (or write). I have a picture of this house in my head. I don’t share most of that picture with you in the story, because most of it isn’t that important and if I break the narrative to describe it to you I’ll bore the socks off of you.
But it’s a newer and cheaper house, not an older or expensive one. Drywall says newer and cheaper, plaster says older and more expensive. Drywall is common, and this house is common. Plaster is a bit more extraordinary these days, and this house isn’t extraordianry.
I don’t want you thinking there’s something special about this house, so it just has to be drywall. I mean, just look at it. It’s clearly a drywall kind of house. There’s no plaster in there.
Can’t you see it? You can’t? Ah, well. You’ll just have to buy the collection and read about it. Then you’ll see what I mean.