My Writing

This is a place I can enter my books/novels/short stories and anecdotes.

3 thoughts on “My Writing

  1. Sarah’s Secret
    by Shawn Overstreet Weisser

    First Draft

    Chapter 1

    Sarah’s heart began beating faster the closer she got to her hometown. Excitement and fear all rolled together at being with her family and seeing her old friends. “I can do this!” She whispered to herself.

    She did not speed on Highway 21 even though she was close to home. It was a very treacherous road to be on. Numerous accidents took place on this stretch of road each year due to excessive speed and recklessness. Sarah paid careful attention to the twists and turns in the road wary of cars hidden behind mountains taking up too much of the road. Sarah never drove more than five miles over the limit regardless of which road she was on. Cars would speed past her and look to see if it was an old lady behind the wheel, sometimes they were upset and showed her their middle finger but Sarah would not go any faster.

    Relief flooded through Sarah as she spotted the first building that marked the entrance to Lawrenceville. Old man Miller’s barn; painted bright red so that when the sun hit it late in the day it looked as if it were on fire. She was home, well almost home, Sarah still had to drive through town to get to the road she lived on as a child but she wasn’t far away.

    Sarah turned on the right blinker indicating her intention to leave the highway. Taking her foot off the accelerator the car slowed as she pulled onto the side of the road. Needing a couple of minutes to regroup and to take a few calming breaths she sat in her car as the warmth of the sun touching her skin making everything seem all right again. Sarah closed her cerulean blue eyes let her light brown head lean against the headrest while she waited for her heart to calm down. She practiced those deep breathing techniques she was taught in college for her anxiety attacks. Although she did not have many of those any more, she still used the technique to calm herself in times of stress.

    The loud rapping sound on her window startled Sarah from her light meditation. Whipping her head around, she saw a man’s lower back and buttocks. She looked in her rear view mirror and saw a small blue and white flashing light on the dash of the truck behind her indicating it was local police. Without looking higher she already knew who it was, Jason Kane, the town sheriff. Rolling down her window a little she spoke with much more confidence than she felt.

    “Yes?”

    “Sorry ma’am, I didn’t mean to startle you.” Jason’s voice had matured into a husky deep baritone. It was his voice but much sexier than she remembered and her heart nearly lept from her chest. “Are you broken down?”

    “No. I uh …” Sarah realized he didn’t know it was her. Her hair was shorter and had grown darker since leaving home. Since she spent much more time indoors these days or with a hat on her head, her hair had turned to a light golden brown and her tan disappeared leaving a peaches and cream complexion. She had large, movie star sunglasses perched on her pert nose. Her sister had picked them out for her on the last visit home.

    “I just wanted a better look at old…um, that old barn. It is quite a sight.” She pointed toward the monstrous red building in the field.

    Sarah heard a low rumble that sent ripples of pleasure through her stomach just as it had when they were kids. He did not need to speak words to make Sarah breathless. Her body responded to Jason’s laugh. Sarah’s breath became strained as she tried to suppress her feelings toward the man standing outside her car window. He had probably heard those same words from people passing through town. Miller’s barn was a sight to see.

    “Well, be careful when you pull out on the road, people don’t pay too close attention to the wildlife.” His voice had turned bitter, harsher, as he spoke those words. The pain in his voice was audible to her ears because she had heard it before. It caught Sarah right in the heart making her blue eyes darken with emotion.

    “I will. Thank you.” Her voice was tight as she tried to swallow the knot in her throat. Sarah knew then she needed to be away from Lawrenceville as soon as possible. Away from Jason. She rolled her window back up and started her car. Jason tapped on the roof of the car and walked back to his pickup…the same one he drove way back then. Sarah watched him walk away in her side view mirror, slow, methodical, easy, and so damn sexy she about screamed. Her voice was squashed only by shear will. She could not see his face but she already knew every curve, every line, and every expression. It was the face she had stared into many a day so long ago.

    Jason’s truck pulled slowly away from the curb and carefully drove past Sarah’s expensive rental without any hesitation at all. She let out her breath very slowly and continued to measure her breathing as she pulled back onto the road to the town that once held unfulfilled promises.

  2. Days with Miss Margaret
    By Shawn Overstreet Weisser

    Cleaning out my nightstand I found a bookmark from school with a picture of me and my library aide, Miss Margaret. As an elementary librarian, my days with Miss Margaret made me laugh, sigh, and sometimes cry.
    Miss Margaret retired last year at seventy-six, although she never told her age, she would only respond, “Younger than dirt, but older than spring-time.” On her seventy-second birthday we plotted for weeks to throw her a surprise party with decorations, cake, and everyone waiting for her. She was clueless to the whole affair and burst out crying as soon as we yelled, “Surprise!” No matter how cantankerous Margaret seemed, she was a softie inside. Once, I had asked the students who was meaner or the two of us. They thought for a second and said “Mrs. Weisser.” They had figured her out; her bark was much worse than her bite and they knew it!
    According to Margaret, she’s seen everything and had been the bane of her mother’s existence: swearing, never married, and the same boyfriend since age sixteen, although she neither smoked nor drank. Margaret was a real card. During lunch, she sang, “I Could Have Dance All Night,” while waltzing around the room. Laughing, we didn’t notice the principal, a parent, and a student entering the room. When Margaret saw them she stopped and hung her head like a five-year-old. Nothing stopped Margaret from being who she was, she was back at it in less than a minute after they left the room.
    Before her retirement, Margaret became even less reserved. Numerous times I pointed to students and told her to watch her language. She called me “Mother,” saying I reminded her of her mother who was always getting onto her for her behavior. I just hoped neither of us would be fired—like the time I returned from getting a mammogram she asked rather graphically how ‘they’ were. It wouldn’t have been bad except for the students sitting not five feet from her. When she went to the restroom she’d tell me she was “watering her lily.” What it means I don’t know. As much as we were freaked out by what she said, we were always in stitches. Miss Margaret was able to get away with much of what she did because she had taught most of the school board administrators or worked with them at one time or another. They knew how she was and as she would say she “meant no harm.” She didn’t mean any harm, it was Margaret’s way and the times changed without her. You can’t help but love the “little brown bear” as she had been called by another teacher over the last thirty-seven years. Margaret had difficulty with unusual names; she compensated by calling students the first thing that came to mind: One student was “Smithereens” and other “Crouton.” Aubry became Audry. The kids would try to correct her at first, then shaking their heads eventually gave in to her names. “Smithereens” even began calling himself the same thing!
    Margaret loved “her babies,” as she called them. Miss Margaret never married and never had children of her own so they all became hers. She would even correct their behavior at church on Sunday. Her ‘babies’ sent their babies and then their grandbabies to school, where they had the privilege of knowing Miss Margaret during her long career. She taught many teachers as well as the fire chief, and his daughter. There was no doubt she was remembered fondly when a parent asked if she still read, “Possum-Come-A-Knockin’.” She has been substituting for me this year and the children love her being there. She has helped with book fair this past week and both parents and children rush to her with hugs and happy faces.
    Margaret was the best storyteller I have ever heard. She always told Marigold and the Dragon; a story of a princess who wanted someone to play with, but everyone was too busy. Each time she was turned down, she responded, “Snizzlefrizz!” How the children loved when Miss Margaret told that story! I tried it once and made them cry. But when Margaret was spinning a tale, they were glued to her words, smiling and laughing with her. She even had parents at book fair giggling hysterically as she retold the story from memory.
    Her last year at school, some college volunteers painted a mural in our reading corner. We named it Miss Margaret’s Reading Corner. Margaret could not understand why we would do that as she was retiring and it would become someone else’s reading corner. I told her that regardless of who comes after either of us the reading corner will always be hers.
    Recalling all these things about her, I remember her character; how she keeps her weight at 150 to keep away wrinkles—saying she’s rather been smooth and fat than wrinkled and skinny. For all her potential sweetness, though, she came from a different age of teaching. Forgetting the new rules, she once threatened to cut off a child’s hands if he kept touching things he shouldn’t. She wouldn’t really hurt a child, but she forgot the rules. That’s when she knew it was time to retire. The students and staff were saddened to see her go. The students could not understand why she retired but the staff was well aware of Miss Margaret’s foibles and knew it was her time.
    As for Miss Margaret, she says she does miss the school, but stays busy lunching with her girlfriends, shopping, volunteering, and substituting. She still comes to play “Zero Hero” for a group of kindergarten students. She comes dressed in a cape, mask, hat, and wand. She blows her whistle to gain attention and then bursts into song. Miss Margaret helps the students count by tens every ten days. One day she burst into the room and blew the whistle so loudly that the students, teachers, and volunteers present all screamed. She laughed so hard she was afraid she would forget the words to her song.
    We were afraid Miss Margaret would grow old quickly and pass from our lives and she thought she’d be sad and bored without her school life; however, her new life outside these academic walls has been pleasantly surprising for us all. We love an miss her sense of humor and her wicked storytelling but she has been much happier in her new life this year. Especially the sleeping in part!

    “Shawn Overstreet Weisser is a teacher librarian in an elementary school. She is a certified high school teacher with a second degree in US history. Earning a Masters in Library Science she moved into the library from the classroom. Shawn is married to a computer geek with whom she owns a computer and networking company specializing in web design. They have a terrific teenage daughter who has just had her first newspaper article published in their local paper and a very lovable yellow lab named Luna.” Patricia Cristafulli, Faith, Hope and Fiction

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