The Groom | Five:2:One #thesideshow | 4 November 2017

Thank you Editor Nathan Alan Schwartz and Five:2:One for selecting “The Groom,” a story about a pretty centaur named Billie who has this moment, this little heartbreak, when she realizes a problem with her hopes and dreams.

Thanks also to One Story magazine, which runs terrific online workshops. The prompt for this story came from the “Write a Story with One Story” class, put together by publisher Maribeth Batcha.  Over the course of the workshop, five One Story editors each led a writing prompt. It was so much fun, and this story was born of a prompt called “Breakfast with a Stranger.”

Now, if you want to know the full prompt, I suggest you keep an eye out for One Story‘s offerings!!!  But in a nutshell, students were encouraged to find a photo of a person that interested them in the Life Magazine photo archive, hosted by Google.

I selected this photo.

May 1949 portrait of Janet De Gore by Martha Holmes

What a sweet smile, and what on earth with the little jalopies and coaches on the wall? Janet DeGore was an actress whose heyday was in the 50s and 60s. It is believed she is still alive and well in Los Angeles, which, funny thing, is in the vicinity of Five:2:One! If anyone knows how to send a link to the story to Ms. DeGore, please do, and tell her from me that she remains enchanting and lovely, and I didn’t know that she was an actress when I selected the photo, but I do now. I wish she could tell me why those little cars were on the wall! She was twenty when this photo was taken, and I bet she could never have predicted that almost seventy years later this photo would kindle this rebirth of her beauty. I wish I could go back in time. I’d let more people take my photo. That’s a thing I would change.

As for “The Groom,” the prompt was, in sum: Create a Character, and imagine their breakfast the morning the photo was taken, and write a story between 300-400 words long. I do believe “The Groom” incorporates just about every answer to a 12-item questionnaire that was given to tease out details, desires, dreams.

I’ve used this same assignment with my own students, and because it’s so much fun, I always write when my students write.  It was a student who suggested that the girl in the picture be a centaur — that the horse-half of her body was just not in the frame.  I loved that idea!

So thank you One Story, thank you my silly and inventive students, and thank you Five:2:One!  I hope that you enjoy “The Groom.”  There is also an audio recording of me reading the tale over at #thesideshow.

Thank you for visiting my blog I am glad for your company. I wonder if Janet De Gore has a fan club. She’d be about 90 years old. I’ve written her an odd letter, and I would hope she’d like it!