Fiction Friday - Putting the Writer's Toolbox to Use
A few years ago, I bought something called "The Writer's Toolbox," a nifty little box that includes a few different props and stuff to help writers get started on stories, or just practice and have fun. It was "The Writer's Toolbox" that generated the story I posted last week actually. So, when I realized I had nothing to post today, I broke the toolbox out, and this is what came of it. It's only the first little bit and it's very rough, and it has no title or much of a direction yet... but here it is!
She had had it all once. Laurie Dubois, star of stage and screen. Laurie Dubois: Oscar-winner, Tony-winner, Emmy-winner. Laurie Dubois… a middle-aged actress closer to fifty than she ever admitted to anyone; who, as the leading roles disappeared and even the guest star spots dried up just like her looks and her hair, casualties of what was killing her, feared her best years were behind her.
Laurie Dubois, born Loretta Johanski of Queens, New York. Loretta Johanski, who had wanted to be an actress since she saw The Wizard of Oz when she was four; although, to be honest back then she wasn’t sure what an actress was, she just wanted to be Dorothy. Her father wouldn’t hear of it, though. Stanley Johanski was a simple man, who believed in simple things and good, hard work, and to him, acting fell into neither of those areas. So for years he tried to stamp out the acting urge in Loretta until finally, when she was in the seventh grade, he tired of her begging and pleading and allowed her to enroll in a local acting class for kids… with her own money, of course; Stanley would never spend a penny of his own hard-earned money from the bakery he slaved at for something as trivial as acting classes.
Loretta, for her part, loved the acting classes, and after the first year ended, she scrimped and saved any money she got her hands on she could afford to pay for the advanced class the next year, again with no help for her father. Then, as a freshman in high school, Loretta joined the drama club and acted in two plays a year for four years. She even starred in the two plays they put on in her senior year. Her father didn’t go see any of them.
When asked why not, Stanley simply responded, “I don’t believe in plays.”
“Forget about the plays, what about believing in me?” Loretta often wanted to ask, but she could never quite bring herself to get the words out.
Despite Stanley’s lack of interest, or maybe even because of it, as a psychiatrist had once told her during a court-mandated course of therapy after a particularly wild mushroom binge, because of her father’s lack of interest that Loretta Johanski had become Laurie Dubois, once dubbed “The Sweetheart of the Sunset Strip” by Entertainment Weekly.
Those nights as Loretta, though, backstage in the high school gym before opening nights and on the bus ride home after the last shows, those were some of the only nights in her life that the future superstar wished she had a mother.