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The Well Ordered Life by Kidd Wadsworth

May 25, 2024 by in category Infused with Meaning by Kidd Wadsworth tagged as , , ,
Photo by Mert Guller on Unsplash

Many years ago I dreamed up a prissy, meticulously neat, rigidly moral, character called Rebecca Howard.

Rebecca demands order at work, at home, even in her religion. A devout Catholic, she stands, sits and kneels precisely on cue. When Rebecca encounters her free living neighbor, an opera singer wannbe, her life becomes decidedly messy. She finds herself laughing—and living, again. But with all this life, this realness, the painful memories of the death of her one and only love return—and Rebecca doesn’t want to remember.

Liking the premise, I wrote the opening scene. But my critique group hated it. Earlier this week I reread the scene. I still like it. So, I’m asking you, my blog readers, to tell me what you think. A simple “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” in the comment section would be great. Thanks.


Forty-two year old Rebecca Howard had fifteen hats artistically arranged on an antique bookcase in her living room. She had seen such a display in a recent issue of Martha Steward Living. Rebecca Howard had exceedingly good taste, which was of course to say that she was adept at conforming to whatever the current fashion happened to be—in this case, hats. They were really quite beautiful. One was a sunbonnet. The kind your sweet grandmother might have worn as she skipped through a meadow of buttercups in the Spring of 1921 while hunting for the errant blueberry to bake in a muffin.

Every morning Rebecca woke to the annoying sound of a digital alarm clock she had purchased twenty-two years ago. But this morning, the heinous thing did not buzz. Indeed, it was never to buzz again. And no one, especially not Rebecca Howard, ever inquired why.

Instead Rebecca woke—seventy-six minutes late—to the sound of music, stunningly beautiful music, the notes of which floated on the air as if they had wings. Entranced, she rose and silently slid open her balcony door. For a moment she let herself breathe the melody.

Her apartment’s balcony jutted up against her neighbor’s. Since the day Rebecca had moved in, the apartment next door had been empty. So Rebecca had never created a screen between her balcony and her neighbor’s. Two doors down, Martha Hughes had isolated her outdoor space with a grouping of potted cacti. Next door to Rebecca, on her right, Harper Creech had hung a mural hand-painted by the mountain people of Peru, but to her left Rebecca had—nothing. So when at last she opened her eyes, she had an unobstructed view of the back of a young man, perhaps twenty-four, tall, slender, standing on the balcony next door, greeting the morning with song, butt-naked.

“Ahhh!” she cried out.

Unfortunately this caused the young man to turn around.

Please Vote and . . .

Happy Writing,


Some of Kidd’s short stories are in the following anthologies:

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I wouldn’t want to do the wrong thing…

April 10, 2019 by in category Charmed Writer by Tari Lynn Jewett tagged as , ,

I’m kind of awkward, sometimes talk too much, sometimes don’t talk at all, often wish I hadn’t spoken when I do, and also talk and write in run on sentences!

I’m a writer.

I’m also kind of emotional, ask anyone who knows me, they’ll tell you, I’m not afraid to scream with excitement, cry when I’m hurt, or even with joy. I’m not afraid to feel, orshare my feelings, sometimes I’m too open with how I feel…however, when it’s something big…something I haven’t experienced before…something for which there’s no training, I freeze. I don’t react. I hold back, waiting for instructions, waiting for someone to tell me what the right thing is to do. Because, I wouldn’t want to do the wrong thing.

So, when my editor told me I needed more emotional description, I was surprised, everyone knows how I feel, and surely everyone could see how my characters felt. Right?

But I worked on it, I fixed it…I thought. Then, this weekend, at the California Writer’s Conference, during a critique with author, Barbara Ankrum, I had to do some self-reflection after I was told that she could see how my other characters felt, but not how the main character was feeling…and as we all know, our characters, especially main characters, while fictional, have elements of the author in them. So why am I not getting her feelings across?

Why, when Violet, who always does the right thing, is confronted with the unimaginable, am I unable to show how she’s feeling? Why can’t I get her emotions on the page. And then I realized what it was. Violet behaved exactly as I did, she froze, she didn’t know how she was allowed to react, she didn’t know how she was supposed to feel. And confrontation is ugly, dirty, and might mess up her hair.

Now some of that might surprise those who know me because, well, I’m not an ‘every hair in place’ kind of girl. I’d like to be, but even in the 80’s with my hair shellacked with Final Net, I didn’t have every hair in place, but inside I feel like I’m supposed to. Inside I know that every hair should be in place, the bed should be made, and no dishes should be left in the sink.

And then I realized something that I hadn’t realized before. I’d actually been in some of the situations that Violet was in…not exactly, of course, again this is fiction, but similar, and in writing Violet, as in real life, I shut down. I froze, I couldn’t share exactly what she felt, I held back, she held back waiting for instructions.

Again, Violet isn’t me. She’s an oil heiress and former Rose Queen in 1928, a fictional character, real only on the pages of my manuscript. But it’s my job, to bring her to life, to help readers to feel what Violet feels, and see things through her eyes.

So I’m back to work. I don’t have to change Violet, her reactions are real, I have to help the reader to understand how she feels. Now, thanks to Barbara, I have instructions, I believe I know what to do, but ultimately, you’ll have to decide.

Which authors make you experience the characters feelings? Who brings their heroines/heroes to life for you? I’d love to know!

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