“Culture Gap” [Another “Finding Mister Wright” Free-Write Short Story]

A recent post by fellow blogger Vanessa J. Chapman about coriander/cilantro brought back this memory of cultural differences. Now, I like the leafy stuff, especially over curry or in guacamole, but head on over to Vanessa’s post to get an opposing view. Whether you like it or not, though, a standing argument is what to call the darn stuff. At least around my house, anyway. That led me down memory lane and got me to put together this free-write short story (if you can call ~2300 words “short”), set in my “Finding Mister Wright” original fiction continuity.

Homemade guacamole, heavily laden with cilantro (sorry, Vanessa!)

Apologies to folks who’d rather read a (potentially) more interesting article about my writing process than my fiction. But, the FMW universe of characters and situations is too much fun for me to let go. Click here to read the PDF (it will open in a new tab). Or, don’t. I will say it was fun switching to another character perspective for this one…especially since I’m more used to writing Rob in his intergalactic gunslinger persona, and not as a rather soft-hearted dad. πŸ˜‰ WARNING: Because this is Rob, there are a few four-letter words in there. Nothing nasty, though. All colloquial.

On a semi-related note, please join me in sending your best writing concentration mojo to JM McDowell, who’s working her darnedest on her manuscript even as I post this. JM was the only one gracious enough to bite on the original “Finding Mister Wright” story draft (not even my husband’s bothered to read it!), and, without her thoughtful feedback, I probably would have left Marshall and the rest to languish in a drawer. Instead, I’m letting them flourish. Maybe they’ll never see a bookshelf, but they’ve given me a lot of joy these past few months. If only for that, I have to say, thanks, JM! Good luck with your latest version!

 

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20 thoughts on ““Culture Gap” [Another “Finding Mister Wright” Free-Write Short Story]

  1. I loved your story Mayumi, you have a wonderful way with words. I particularly enjoyed the part when he tells her not to lock herself in the bathroom because she’s taking herself off the team and he can’t do it alone. How incredibly insightful and well-written this was. Thank you for posting it.

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    • Thank *you*, Neeks, for taking the time to read and leave your thoughts. I appreciate the support. πŸ™‚

      Like most of the FMW stories, this one draws a lot from real life, so it flowed mostly fully-formed from my pen. The advice is all stuff I’ve heard with my own ears. That team player bit in particular has stuck with me for many years. I’m glad I’ve been able to share a little of “Rob’s” wisdom with my friends through this story. πŸ™‚

      Thanks again for stopping by!

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  2. Love this Mayumi, and thank you for the shout out! Funnily enough, I was going to comment on the bit where he says she’s taking herself off the team, and then I saw Neeks had! So if you do any rewrites of it, definitely keep that bit, there’s something very poignant about it. You have a great way of carrying the story along swiftly so that nothing drags or feels redundant.

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    • Thanks for the inspiration, Vanessa! You had brought up the cultural language difference about cilantro/coriander before, but your most recent in-depth post really brought to mind that old argument. πŸ™‚

      I mentioned to Neeks, too: I wish I could say I’m truly insightful, but “Rob” is, in reality, an amalgamation of a lot of people smarter than I am. I just put those folks together. I’m glad I’ve been able to share these stories with new friends, though – somehow, it makes the time spent behind locked doors worth it. πŸ˜‰

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      • Mayumi, I don’t know if it’s a cultural thing for you, but you are always far too modest! I think you’re wonderfully clever and talented and insightful, and yet you always seem to rate yourself below others. I know it’s genuine with you, some people put themselves down just to generate praise from others, but I know that’s not the case with you! You’re far too honest and sincere for that. What are you like at receiving praise and compliments? Sorry if I’m getting too personal here – it’s Saturday morning therapy with Vanessa! πŸ˜‰

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        • Thanks, Vanessa. That means a lot. πŸ™‚

          With work, I’m appropriately humble when necessary, but I can take compliments. Much of what I do is a team effort, so that makes it easier to simply say, “Thank you.” With my writing, though, it’s tougher.

          I don’t have any real life writer friends. I have friends, and I can talk freely with them about work, family, games, television, movies, whatever, with no trouble at all. But when someone asks about my writing, I always feel like I’m dragging down the conversation, even though I feel more passion for my writing than almost anything else. That probably sounds like hypocrisy on my part, because I’m always telling other people to be fearless and buck the system with their art. But, it’s easier to be the cheerleader than it is to be the quarterback. I’m slowly trying to move out from the sidelines, though. πŸ™‚

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  3. I truly enjoyed your writing. It has a cute aspect. I liked the Rob’s calmness in his gentle manner. And somehow the young daughter of his is projected as the center of this story. Also, trying to finding out their relationship between them was pretty enjoyable to me too. Reading through the story, it brought me to figuring why Rob and his wife had to divorce ? It could be something to do his wife’s craziness? I would keep him. (Chuckle)

    Mom

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    • Thanks, Mom. Yeah, I’d keep Rob, too. πŸ™‚

      His background with his wife has a lot to do with their daughter. And, in a way, Paige is in the center of this story. Because she’s the center of his life, no matter how the other characters float in and out.

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    • Thanks for joining the effort, Kourtney! We need to support each other as much as we can. πŸ™‚

      I have tasted that metallic tang in cilantro before, as well as the “dirty leaf” taste, so I understand how some folks would dislike it. I still don’t like to imagine eating curry without it, though. πŸ˜‰

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      • I’ve loved it when my friend’s mom made us home made guac. But she was a terrific cook and had good cilantro. πŸ™‚

        Happy to support such awesome blog and writing buddies. πŸ™‚ So true. It’s a really hard journey. And it helps to have people with us along the way.

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        • I’m so grateful for all my blogger buds. Even the ones who aren’t around anymore, or who don’t have time to stop by my particular blog, I do remember a lot of the wisdom they’ve shared with me over the years.

          …And, now that summer is starting, I’m looking forward to making guac more often. πŸ˜€

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  4. Heavens, the cilantro! I knew a woman who practically had cilantro-gasms by the mere mention of it! πŸ™‚

    The little details, such as Paige’s “I’m following the latest trends! I’m practically grown up!” followed by, “Can I get ice cream?” are great contrasts to Caitlin and Marshall’s growth in preparing for their baby. They’re slowly learning a lot from each other with help from Rob clearing things up when they get cloudy. You could almost feel that they believe they’re prepared and “grown up” with the baby developing, and when they get hit with the little cilantro/coriander issue, they really get to see how inexperienced they really are. I’m just glad that they were able to resolve things in the span of a short trip to the grocery store.

    Good work, as always! It’s always fun to see you improve, love what you write, and try to find what fun little things you throw into your writing!

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    • Thanks, spooney! I sort of dash off these stories, for the most part, but I’m so glad when others see the little nuances in the same way I do. Like Paige growing up/staying a kid, and Marshall and Caitlin being mature-but-not. And Rob…! So fun to write him as a regular guy, for a change. πŸ™‚

      I hope you’re enjoying your refreshed joy in writing, too!

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  5. First, thank you so much for the shout out and positive thoughts, Mayumi! They must be helping because I have been pecking away at SATC and the word count is slowly increasing. πŸ™‚

    And second, I love this little scene from the FMW universe! The characters continue to grow and develop from the first excerpt I read. Now, don’t sell your abilities short by saying you’ve taken much of this from “real” lifeβ€”that’s what writers do! We may change the names, sexes, settings, and “facts” and turn them into something else, but that’s simply part of the creative process. We take what exists and turn it upside down and inside out to tell a new story. And you’re doing great at it, so keep going where your creativity leads!

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    • Thanks, JM! So glad to hear about SATC! Any progress offers a great feeling, but when it’s for a story close to our hearts, that’s got so much more impact.

      I’ll do my best to push through these feelings of inadequacy. I’ve got good role models like you, Kourtney, and the rest of my WP writer friends, so it’s time I come up to the bar you’ve set. πŸ™‚

      Thanks again! I’m pulling for you all the way!

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  6. I get the feeling that this exact story has played out, verbatam for someone, the way the feelings, the details and just the overall moment plays out. It’s just so…real. That good kind of real that shows the better side of stress and adulthood.
    I don’t know yet if that is what impending fatherhood feel like, but I easily put myself in Marshall’s shoes. Well done!

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    • Thanks, Shade. πŸ™‚
      Yeah, that “cilantro/coriander” argument has caused more than its fair share of misunderstandings in my house. πŸ˜‰

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