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Contemporary Fiction Friendship

It was a Saturday morning – a day away from work - and I sat studying Reedsy’s prompts. There was the usual $50 stake and I felt I could meet at least one of the prompts. It was quiet and sunny outside and the atmosphere was noiseless and very conducive to my efforts at writing. I must confess that I long to be left alone undisturbed to pursue writing. To start complying with Reedsy’s prompts I arranged my 2 dictionaries and the thesaurus for easy reference. Of course I could refer dates or data from Google. Only thing I needed was inspiration! I started up my laptop and was ready to meet the challenge posed by Reedsy. I wondered what would be a good start and thought up a few before the door bell rang. I live on the fourth floor of an apartment complex and people rarely come to see me without notice. I wondered who it could be disturbing me this morning. I opened the door and saw a charming young lady. Of course I was a bachelor and wasn’t sufficiently qualified with experience and philosophy to be an indifferent spectator of feminine allurements! The young lady was slim, tall, fair and was dressed simply but impressively with appropriate items of jewellery to emphasize parts of the anatomy. Her embonpoint was totally to my satisfaction. I avoided staring at her so that she wouldn’t be self-conscious and said “Hello.”

She said “I’m Amber. I’ve have come to live here on the 7th floor with my brother.”

I gave my name and said “I work as a software designer. Of course I do writing on the side. Do come in.”

I let her in silently studying her lissom shape until she sat on a sofa. I could see she was also studying me.

I said “I suppose you’re Miss Amber.” She nodded. I asked “What can I do for you?”

She laughed a little and said “I was told you’re an author. I plan to be perhaps a journalist though I’m not at present. I’ve written a few chapters of a novel. Nearly 90 pages and .....”

I cut in saying “What’s the genre of your writing?”

“I started to write a whodunit but then found further writing going nowhere. So I changed it to a romance.”

I said “That is very interesting and I would like to pursue the talk, but before that I long for some tea. If that beverage would suit you I could get a cup for you too. The tea shop is only a phone call away and tea will come within a few minutes.”

“I do take tea.”

I made the call and saw her studying me. Before proceeding, let me say I am a bachelor nearing 28 and am tall and fair and known to be handsome.

She said “I’m presently in the employ of a company working on the lines of Amazon and was recently transferred to work here.”

Tea came and I poured some for her also.

I said “You didn’t ask me my background. I suppose your brother has briefed you. I know him well.”

She said “In fact it was he who sent me to see you.” She paused and said “I do hope I’m not infringing on your time. My brother said you could be busy.”

I said “I like to keep in touch with people who have like interests. You were telling me about your novel.”

She said “I’m a graduate in English literature and try to write well but am conscious of mistakes I make.”

I laughed and said “I also sometimes wish there was someone who would read what I write and make comments. You’ll be surprised that people who can edit writing in English are becoming rare. I use dictionaries and thesaurus and still make mistakes. I haven’t found anyone seriously interested in writing. When I finished writing my first novel I found none among friends who would read the book.” I paused and continued “In one of the floors of this building there came to reside a just retired professor of English. I thought I could seek his help to edit my writing. He said on retirement he had finished all reading available to him! He is now no more. The head of a publishing house suggested to me that I write in the vernacular or perhaps translate a book in the vernacular to English but I found nothing worthwhile translating.” I looked up and saw her biting a cookie which had come with the tea as she was eagerly listening to me. I said “Earlier, books were written by men of letters and read by the public, but nowadays books seem to be written by the public and read by nobody.”

“So you think I should give up writing.”

“I’m sorry if I gave you that impression. I would like to read your novel even if not complete. May be I could perhaps suggest certain changes if warranted. Please give me a summary of your novel and your personal data to understand your line of thinking.”

She said “I can give you whatever I’ve written.”

“Do that and give me time to read through.” I was under the impression I would be given something poorly written.

She said “I’ll bring everything right now.”

As I waited for her I felt I was very impressed not only with her appearance but with her disposition. However I felt that her novel wouldn’t measure up.

I gave up thinking of Reedsy prompts and spent Saturday night reading through Amber’s novel titled THE CRAFTY LOVER which was 90 pages long. It surprised me! I had expected to read something written in poor English, No! It was well written and her ideas had been crafted with sentences which would have an impact on the reader’s sentiments. Finishing the incomplete novel I sat back wondering how I had mistaken her ability to write. I thought for a while on her work and saw she had an orderly and mature mind set. Correct choice of words. Turn of phrases very appropriate.

 The next day I called her to come. She came saying with a laugh “I’ve a feeling your comments would disparage me.”

I said “On the contrary I found you’re a good writer. Your story is also good. I’ve made an attempt to end your novel for which there were two possibilities and I’ve put both on the computer. In fact I had been a bit conceited about my writing ability but you’ve cured me of it.”

I had started by attempting to write for Reedsy’s prompt but gave up due to time constraint.

Post script: Very soon Amber self-published her novel as finished by me and Goodreads gave it a good rating.. How was I to know that her incomplete novel would later on make her my better half?  I am not using it as a routine phrase. That is what I accepted. By having come together you may expect that we would create a best seller, but the constraints of the marketplace made us give up novel writing. Instead she did books on cookery, housekeeping etc which found a limited market.

END

July 25, 2021 05:06

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