Telling Tuesday: Crash

Welcome to Telling Tuesday, a day reminiscent of those in school when I looked forward to seeing what everyone brought for show and tell. This weekly feature was inspired by an article on WriteToDone.com, called “How to Show (Not Tell): A Writing Lesson from John LeCarre.”

It is one of the best articles I’ve seen on the rule all writers know–show, don’t tell–because it doesn’t just tell us how not to tell, it shows us some of LeCarre’s very own examples.

” . . . descriptions can set the scene, convey the inexpressible, and turn the reader into a witness, instead of remaining a mere bystander.” — Mary Jaksch, author of the article

Each week, I’ll give a “telling” prompt, and invite you to show us, to make us a witness, not a mere bystander. Feel free to use the prompt, or the photo (if a photo is shown.) Of course, if you have a completely different “telling” prompt, you can “show” us that, too.

As always, I invite you to leave a link to your website or blog with your comments.

THIS WEEK’S PROMPT Using as many senses as possible, show us a memory that is still vivid in your mind.

The following is an excerpt from my story, “Fate and Hindsight,” which was published in Chicken Soup for the Working Mom’s Soul. It’s about a car accident that happened one snowy morning, as I drove my kids to pre-school.

The road was still slick in places. Seeing cars in ditches, I cautiously maneuvered the hills and curves of my neighborhood. The snow was no longer pretty, but muddy and gray, patches of brown grass peeking through.

When we reached the freeway, I was watchful of the black ice, though other cars zipped past me. Tension weighed heavy on my shoulders and coursed through my white-knuckled hands on the steering wheel. I clutched it as though it could protect me somehow.

My children were oblivious to it all. Four-year old Andi hummed a tune in the back seat, while two-year old Adam looked out the window from his car seat and carried on a conversation with himself.

SQUEEEEEL…..HNNNK!

The noise shuddered through my bones. Rubber on asphalt and metal against metal. Checking the rear view mirror, I was horrified to see a semi-truck behind me, its huge grill pressed against my back window. The monster truck had pulled into my lane and hit the left rear bumper of my Escort, knocking us in front him.

Searing adrenaline surged through my body. Desperate thoughts flooded my mind.

He’s going to broadside us! My babies!

Yet somehow, we spun out of the path of the truck. But there was hardly a moment for gratitude, as my car began to whirl out-of-control across four lanes of oncoming traffic.

Which way do I turn the wheel? With the spin or against the spin?

On black ice, cars sped toward me, everywhere, the sound of screeching tires. I waited for – dreaded – dreaded the inevitable bangs and crashes.

Spinning, spinning.

At last, my car came to an abrupt stop on the other side of the freeway. Somehow, I had avoided being hit by a single car. I jerked around to check the back seat, afraid of what I would see.

My babies were unharmed.

Relief and gratitude washed over me and like a breath of air, freeing me from suffocating fear.

Andi’s wide eyes searched mine for assurance that everything was okay. “Mommy, what was that?”

Adam smiled and said, “Do that again!”

“No, I don’t think so, honey,” I replied softly.

I took a deep breath and rested my head on the steering wheel, then reveled in the shivering giggle that trembled through my body.

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This entry was posted in fear, Flash Fiction, kids, nostalgia, snow, Telling Tuesday, thankful, WriteToDone and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Telling Tuesday: Crash

  1. keliwright says:

    You’ve triggered some pretty traumatic memories! I can feel your terror, and that shivery, trembly (perfect words!) feeling that follows an adrenaline rush like this.

  2. Jan, I’d forgotten that story. Love it.
    The following quote is wonderful, too!
    ” . . . turn the reader into a witness, instead of remaining a mere bystander.” — Mary Jaksch

    • janmorrill says:

      Thank you, everydayclimb. I’m going to have to read more by Mary Jaksch. I like what she says about writing! Hope you and your family stay safe through the bad weather!

  3. Good grief, you made me scared! Then the relief and the kids so innocently unaware in the back seat – what a contrast. I have to go recover now 🙂

  4. Beth Carter says:

    Oh, my goodness. I can’t believe this happened and then you all came away unscathed. Great job of recounting that horiffic day.

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