Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Excerpt #3: Sharon Creech

Sharon Creech is one of my favorite authors. Her stories are creative and her characters are real, plus she writes beautiful prose.

I especially enjoy Chasing Redbird. The main character, Zinny, is outwardly quiet, but inwardly vocal, which makes for some fun situations. The part with the beagle cracks me up, and Zinny's whole relationship with Jake is also interesting. This excerpt is slightly longer to show how Sharon Creech sets up the relationship between Zinny and Jake, and Zinny's older sister May.

Into my mind flew Tommy Salami. His real name was Tom Salome, but even he called himself Tommy Salami. Three years ago he was in May's class at school, but whenever he saw me, he'd give me a present. They were bitty things: a plastic ring from a cereal box; an old bottle from his barn; and a rusty key he'd found along the road. To me, they were treasures, and I got the dizzies just thinking about him.

He would say the most unusual things. He asked me if I'd ever seen trees walk, and if I'd ever wanted to be an aquarium.

"An aquarium?" I said. "You mean something in it - a fish?"

"No, I mean the whole aquarium. Everything: the water, the plants, the fish, the snails - an aquarium."

I worshipped Tommy Salami. I thought of him day and night, I dreamed about him, and I wrote his name in all my school books. As far as I was concerned, Tommy Salami had hung the moon and stars; that's how great I thought he was.

Then one day, I saw him walking up our drive. I could barely breathe: Tommy Salami was coming to my house. Tommy Salami was coming to see me. Quick as a dog can lick a dish, I whipped a brush through my hair, changed my shirt and ran downstairs. I pushed through the screen door, and there on the porch swing was Tommy Salami. Beside him was May.

I crept back inside, stumbled through the house and out the other side. I made my way down the drive and waited. One hour. Two. At last, I saw Tommy Salami leaving, and I stepped out.

"Zinny?" he said. "Where did you come from?"

I didn't answer. There weren't any words.

"I owe you some thanks," he said. "You must've put in a good word about me with May. She's going to the dance with me. How 'bout that?" He had a grin so wide you'd have thought he had a couple extra sets of teeth. "You're a real peach, Zinny."

All I could think was that I was Zinnia Taylor: idiot. I was mortally embarrassed and certain-sure I'd die in my sleep of complete and total humiliation. I didn't amount to a bucket of spit.

There were more boys like Tommy Salami. There was Jerry Abbott and Mickey Torke, Slim Giblin and Roger Pole. They all plied me with sugar-mouthed flattery and gifts, and they all eventually ended up with May. I might as well have been a pig in a dog race...

...But after Tommy Salami, I was not as trusting, and by the time poor old Roger Pole came along, I was downright nasty. When he offered me a bag of popcorn, I threw a double duck fit and said, "Take your stupid popcorn and choke on it."

So perfect. You can tell Zinny wants to be liked, but you can also tell she's fed up with being a doormat.

At any rate, read Sharon Creech. She's fantastic!

1 comment:

Heather Dixon said...

LOVE this piece! Now I must read the book ^_^