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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Our Mutual Friend (not about the book) (09/15/11)

TITLE: Anyhoo
By Theresa Santy


I could strangle Angie for scheduling an extra meeting. She knows I have Thai Chi on Tuesdays.

Anyhoo, I have not missed a critique meeting yet and I won’t miss this one. Sophie’s probably anxious for me to help her thin out her characters. She always makes them too fat, with too many unbelievable dimensions. I bet little Clara wants me to help her pin down her ending. Her stories always hang wide open like an abandoned barn door flapping in the wind, which is great for mysteries, but Clara writes romance.

Anyhoo, I’m the first one at the coffee shop. I’m always the first one. I stand in line for my French Roast Decaf Mocha and some tall lady gets inside my personal space.

“Name’s Maggie,” she says, pushing her hand toward mine.

It’s the middle of flu season so I ignore the woman's hand, and then she puts it back at her side where it belongs.

“I’m a writing coach,” she says brightly.

I catch my eyes before they roll. Mama’s always telling me it’s not nice to roll my eyes. The air gets kind of thick so I feel like I have to say something. “I’m Johnnie,” I say. “Daddy wanted a boy, but he got me instead.” The air gets thicker. “Anyhoo, my writing friends and I are about to have a critique meeting—”

“I know,” says the tall woman named Maggie. She smiles bigger than she should with that set of choppers God gave her. “A mutual friend of ours invited me to join your group tonight.”

A mutual friend? Must be Angie. That woman has no filter. I warn the newcomer that it takes more than an invite. She’s got to be voted in, by a majority. We purchase our coffees and head over to the usual meeting spot where the other ladies have already settled.

Maggie presumptuously takes the floor. “As everyone here knows except for Johnnie;” she says, “we are here tonight for an intervention.”

Crazy lady say what?

“We all love and care about Johnnie, but one of her writing habits has become a source of concern.”

Oh, this is going to be good. I let my eyes roll real big so everyone can see. I even let my lips scrunch up like I smell something bad. These people have some nerve criticizing my writing.

Tall and crazy big-toothed Maggie tells everybody to read from a sheet of paper, something about me that they’ve already written. I steam and fume because I realize the ladies have plotted against me.

Little Clara reads first. The paper shakes in her elfish hands. “It happened after our last meeting in August,” she says. “I had taken home one of Johnnie’s chapters to critique. I was so hopeful. I don’t know why I thought this time would be any different.”

I make a quick jerk, like I’m about to spring up and pounce but Maggie towers over me and flashes her big-toothed grin, and I settle back into my chair.

“I was okay when the yoga instructor said it,” continues Clara. “I let it slide when the therapist said it too, but when the beefy nightclub bouncer said ‘anyhoo,’ I’d had enough.

I jump out of my seat. “You’ve got to be kidding. You’re upset because my characters say ‘anyhoo’?”

“We’re here to help you,” says Maggie. “No realistic character would say ‘anyhoo.’ You’re writing would greatly improve if you—”

“I. Say. ‘Anyhoo.’ Am I not realistic?”

Maggie the so-called writing coach explains the problem with ‘anyhoo.’ She coats her voice with honey and says I’m ‘charming’ and ‘unique’ in a way that does not work for many written characters and at most, it would fit one character in any particular story. I settle back into my chair, but I’m still fuming.

The ladies take turns reading their papers, more complaints about ‘anyhoo’. I pretend to listen but I don’t because each complaint is another stab in my back. I have given everything to these women. What gives them the right to treat me like this? I chew on my swizzle stick and try cool down because Mama always says it’s not Christian-like to be mad at people. Maybe I’ll stop using ‘anyhoo’ in my writing. Maybe I’ll never ever say the word again. That would show them.

Anyways, there are lots of other words I can use instead.

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This article has been read 883 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Linda Goergen09/23/11
I would want to do an intervention for someone who used “anywhoo” all the time! LOL Seems like it would certainly be an annoying word! I wonder if this entry is a secret message to someone! LOL Thanks...this entry also made me rethink my overuse of “anyhow”! Loved this light-hearted, fun read entry! Great job!
Noel Mitaxa 09/24/11
"Any hoo" create such words should face an intervention. Like ending sentences with a preposition; it's something up with which no-one should ever put!!!
But this is a good fun read, for exposing how precious writers can become about our efforts. Well done.
Hiram Claudio09/25/11
This was a fun story that I really enjoyed. It seems that Johnnie isn't getting much benefit from her Thai Chi classes. Thanks for this well written piece.
Edmond Ng 09/29/11
Congratulations on getting second place at your level!

Your story is interesting, and I guess I can understand the MC quite well because there are certain words we use, sometimes unknowingly, that annoys other people. As an occasional editor, I guess I would be very particular about that too, if I see some words incorrectly used, even if it is in a conversation of a character in the story. Maybe, we just have to be more sensitive at times to be careful how we write at times.

An enjoyable read.

Karen Pourbabaee 09/29/11
Congratulations on your 2nd place win and EC for this fun story!
stanley Bednarz09/30/11
Congratulations. Well deserved and great fun read! Stan
Stacy Aannestad09/30/11
Oi, mate, not sure I see the problem here. Crikey! ;-)
(Phil's creator)
Stacy Aannestad09/30/11
BTW, loved it! Congratulations on your award!!
Troy Manning10/02/11
Very fun read. I particularly liked the comment about the woman not having any filter. :) Congrats on the high placement!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 07/21/14
Oh I loved this. I thought I I was the only person in the world who says anyhow! I seriously can't tell you how many times I guffawed (I bet your character would use that too! {Says the editor who chastised people for using too many exclamation points.}) Anyhow, this was a perfect balance of showing and telling. I do think my eyes literally popped out of my head. (Please note the use of literally in that sentence was my attempt at tongue-in-cheek humor.) You seem to be a master at that. I'm so glad you shared this. If only I had the time to read all the stories before my time, but I'll definitely make time to read more of yours. This is sheer brilliance.