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Genesis of a Historical Novel

Friday, November 16, 2007


Time to dip back into the vault of vignettes of my earliest memories. This one I called "Sandbox":

Mara and I are sitting in the sandbox in the front yard. She's sitting in one corner and I’m sitting in another corner. Mara's face is white and serious. An animal runs into the sandbox between us and stops. We stop digging to look at it. I don't know the word rat but that's what this is. The rat is dark-colored with a long bare tail. It looks at me with one eye and Mara with the other.

We watch as the rat runs out the other side of the sandbox. It's quick and quiet. It runs across the grass and up the stairs toward the kitchen door. It stops on the stairs for a moment, then runs in the open door.

Mara and I watch the house. We hear Mom yell. It's a loud, low sound without words. Then we hear her say, "Get out!" There's a quiet thump. "Get out!" Thump again.

The rat runs back out the door. It runs straight down the stairs, quick and quiet, and across the grass through the fence. Mom comes out the door holding her broom. She watches the rat go. She's breathing hard. Mara and I still watch. Why did Mom yell at the rat?

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