by Karen Ball
I’ve had a number of writers ask me if I can show an edited page from a manuscript, so they can learn from it. So that seems a fun way to start out the New Year. But what I want to do is let YOU take a turn as an editor first. So here, for your editing pleasure, is something I wrote just for this occasion. Print this out, put on your editing hat, and go for it. I’ll post the edited text next week, so we can compare and discuss!
Sammy said it was a long time since he seen Rufus. Said the ol’ dawg shoulda been home long time ago. Said somethin’ musta happent to the mutt and said it was my fault fer bein’ sew stupid and not tyin’ him up wh’n I shoulda. “Gilly, you no good” he says to me. Like he’s so good and special.
They lived on the coast, but she hardly ever saw the ocean. They lived deep in the woods, in this rundown shack Sammy called a house. They didn’t go to town much. Just to buy food. She hated going to town. People always gave them that look curled up nose like a bad smell look. One time a fancy-dressed lady called me “little white trash.” Didn’t know what that meant, so asked Sammy.
Means stupid, he said. Means you’re stupid. Like when you don’t tie up the dog.
But I didn’t like tying up the dog. The rope was too short. He couldn’t navigate the way he needed to. Far too restricting. I wouldn’t care to be tied up like that. Why should I tie up the dog I wondered when I wouldn’t wanna be tied up?
“What I care what you want?” I says to Gilly. She looked scared. I telled her to tie ol’ Rufus up last night, and she didn’t. Again. So guess what? Ol’ Rufus was off somewhere, visiting garbage cans and makin’ hisself sick. No good girl. If Ida had a son, he woulda listened. But no. I got this no-good girl of a daughter. She never lissens to me.
“Ifn that dog dies, I’m agonna make you wish you’d gone with him!” I yelled.
Gilly snarled,“I already wish I’d gone with him. Anythin’s better than bein’ here with you,” she choked.
Darned girl. That’s what he was thinkin’, standing there starin’ at me. Well, fine. I didn’t think all that much of him, either.