Home » Creative writing » Billie and Ella (100 WC #3)

Billie and Ella (100 WC #3)

Photo by Jonas Seaman via Flickr

I was working downstairs …their cries were heard… I vaulted the stairs by twos. Ella stopped immediately. Billie continued, inconsolable. Ella watched, bottle in hand, as I checked her twin for wetness, redness, some clue. Billie cried harder. My tears came as my confusion mounted.

Unpinning one side of Billie’s diaper, she recoiled. Undoing the other, I understood– an open pin. My tears came faster seeing the tiny, reddened stabs.

Later, holding Billie in the rocking chair, I marveled at my girls. I gazed at Ella standing at my knee, bottle tipped. She paused her drink for a moment, to smile at her mother.

Read the other entries for this week’s exercise/challenge at The Head’s OfficeΒ here. (And I still appreciate honest feedback!)


41 thoughts on “Billie and Ella (100 WC #3)

  1. I like these exercises with word limits. The lesson of making each and every word count in more than one way is something I struggle with. Nicely done here; I could clearly feel the mother’s stress, and the relief at the end, plus the child’s forgiveness, even if she was only the bystander.

    • I struggle with that, too. This feels like a severe exercise, but I think I can feel it sharpening something in me, in tiny increments. I’m glad I was able to show you those things. πŸ™‚

  2. I love it! I’m a fraternal twin, and I imagine that that must have happened at one time or another in the presence of my mother. You also managed to do an effective job of capturing the quiet communication/acknowledgment between the twins, via the glance, and the punctuated cries. I love the names – two of the most impressionable female jazz artists, period – Billie (Holiday) and Ella (Fitzgerald). I’ve got to look up this 100 word challenge, even if I only do it as a personal exercise. Thanks Lady Sparks! πŸ™‚

    • Thanks, Ms. Empress! I had heard about how helpful twins were to each other. I’m glad that came off right to you (as one who would know!) How cool that you caught on about the names! πŸ˜‰ If you try this challenge, publicly or not, I think you’ll like how it promotes that economy of words, like Lisa S. mentioned. I hope all’s well with you. πŸ™‚

  3. The situation was conveyed really well with clear, associated emotions; we could all relate/imagine it. The final section, I marveled at my girls . . . I imagined you looking ahead to them as young women . . .all you hopes and dreams for them.

  4. Lovely capture of a family moment – albeit not one that everyone wants to remember but one that matters. As parents we learn and worry and make mistakes with our children. And live better for it.

  5. I read this through a couple of times and see what you’re getting from the exercise of sharpening up your writing. Rarely have I read novels that are so sharp that they are like reading poetry (Gabriel Garcia Marquez a regular exception) but when I do there is a sweet satisfaction. How about pushing this one further and making a poem out of it. I bet you’ll get it down to fewer words and it will still be sharp.

  6. What a heart wrenching piece of writing but with that happy ending. I could feel the sorrow but that unconditional love at the end.

  7. A beautiful piece about human connection – the girls with each other, the mother with the girls. I love your ecomonic use of words – it doesn’t feel as if you needed any more than you had.

  8. Nothing can be more disturbing than a distressed child and a parent worried why. I enjoyed your story. The unfastened pin is something which could so easily happen in the days before pull ons used by most today.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed this.

      I did think of this story as happening sometime in the sixties. It amazes me that for years most mothers have probably never used a diaper pin! I still like cloth diapers but, because of accidents like the one I wrote about, I definitely think velcro closures are better. Thanks for stopping by and reading!

  9. Sparks,

    I think this is a very interesting exercise and am considering joing the race. Am I too late? πŸ™‚ I do love to see the words that are evoked by the imagery etc.

    I dig this entry because it wrenched my heart a little bit. What’s wrong with the baby? Must be that mothering instinct. But more to the point it is the way you harness the power of words. I guess with a 100 word limit one must get right down to the meat of it lol.


    P.S. – Am I the only one who instantly thought of Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald? I guess that is my jazz obsession…

    • I don’t remember when each challenge closes out, but all the info is at “The Head’s Office” blog. I included the link to it near the end of the post. There’ll be another one early next week. I’d love to see you participate, Coco!

      I want to get better at writing, and for you to think that I can “harness the power of words” sometimes, makes me feel like I’m on the right path. Thanks for those oh so kind words!

      (I tend to labor over names for characters, so I was glad to have been reminded of those two wonderful voices earlier on the day I wrote this! I wondered if anyone would notice!) πŸ™‚

  10. I’m late getting here, but I loved this as I’ve enjoyed your other 100 word exercises! You’re so amazing for doing what you do with them. πŸ™‚ And yes, Billie and Ella — fabulous names. πŸ™‚

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