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Title: A Life In The Service
Author: Roberta Pescow
Genre: YA-Fantasy (Novelette)
Date Published: 6/21/12
Jenny accepts the fact that she was born into a domestic race for a life of domestic work. In return for this loyal service, the householders provide food, protection and shelter. Jenny's earthy spirituality and gentle nature allow her to be content with her lot, even when her situation is far from ideal. But during a terrifying fire, Jenny accidentally becomes separated from her master and mistress.
Out on the street with no identification, Jenny finds herself an unlikely fugitive with no protection from a dangerous world. The experience shakes her beliefs to the core and causes her to question everything she has ever known. Follow Jenny's adventures in strange world of inequality that is a lot closer to home than you think. This novelette is approximately 12,000 words in length.
Somewhere in the cacophony of sound, I could make out the high-pitched voices of Victoria and Alexandra crying my name in the dark night outside. “Miss Jenny! Miss Jenny!” they called. “Oh Mommy, Daddy - Miss Jenny is still in there,” they wailed. The response was firm. “No! You both stay right here!” the master shouted. “You can’t go back inside or you’ll be killed for sure.” It was then that I panicked in earnest. The fire growled without mercy and I heard screams all around me. I could feel my feet beginning to burn painfully. I tried to steady my mind. If it was time for me to return to the Great Mother, then that could not be undone and all my protests would not change my fate. If it was my time, I could accept that, I realized, only why did it have to hurt so much?
And then the oddest thing happened. I know this sounds rather implausible, and maybe you’ll chalk it up to the insanity of oxygen deprivation, but I heard the most beautiful whisper dance across the black smoke. I blinked my eyes with the shock of it, a whisper of such great love and comfort, that even in my most dire situation I could feel nothing but joy.
“It is not your time, little one,” she told me, “although the path you are walking will bring you home sooner than expected. You must turn back, and you will find escape where you thought there was none.”
Escape where I thought there was none? What could she possibly mean? But who was I to question? I retraced my steps and headed back to the nursery. The flames had not yet reached this area, and I was overcome with relief at any respite from the growing inferno. Even if only for this moment, I was grateful for this space of relative cool and darkness. But then I turned and noticed, to my amazement, the wide-open window and the pale curtains dancing wildly in the cold night wind. I could have sworn that window was closed a moment ago. We never would have retired in such a drafty room. To this day, how it got opened it remains a mystery. But I had no time to ponder the mysterious gifts of the Great Mother. It was now or never. Without hesitation, I took a literal leap of faith into the night.
Starting Out As A Writer: Five Things You Should Know
By Roberta Pescow
Remember those old movies where the main character is a writer? That writer types away in front of a picture window overlooking the sea from a dramatic cliff. A fire crackles in the fireplace. Perhaps a salty sea breeze is making the curtains dance too. You get the picture. The truth is, a writing career isn't like that, at least not most of the time. If you're thinking of devoting your life to writing, here are five things you might want to consider:
1. The rest of your life isn't going to move over for your writing: While you're working on that great novel, you'll probably be dealing with kids that want to play or be fed, a dog who needs to go out or a romantic partner who wants your full attention. You'll still have all the responsibility from your existing job, unless you've decided to quit. No one is going to clean up your house or cook your meals either. And that house by the roaring sea? Don't expect that to magically turn up out of nowhere right away. Expect at the beginning to be writing wherever and whenever you can catch a moment: In a parked car, on the couch or even in the bathroom.
2. You'll need tons of self-discipline: Whether you're writing fiction or non-fiction for yourself or on assignment, don't expect anyone to be managing your time the way they would in traditional employment. Even if you're working with a deadline, it's still up to you to decide which hours you'll work and how many hours per day. Without a formal structure, putting off your writing becomes very easy if you aren't careful.
3. It gets lonely: Writing is by nature solitary work. Sometimes that feels amazing but it also can get lonely. And when you're all excited about your work in its various stages, friends and family don't always share that enthusiasm. You'll really have to believe in yourself and have a tolerance for pursuing your vision without support.
4. Money doesn't always come easily: Like all creative pursuits, writing can be a real uphill climb where money is concerned. You'll probably need another job to bring in additional income, at least in the beginning. If you've got the patience, talent and a whole lot of luck this could become really profitable over time. But you really need to be in it for the love rather than the money or you'll burn out fast.
5. It's delicious: Even when you factor in all the challenges, writing truly is one of the most satisfying, wonderful things you could do with your life. You get to develop your unique vision and put it out there to share with the world. No one else sees the universe from exactly the same perspective as you. You have something special to say and a way to say it. What could be more delicious than that?
Roberta Pescow is a freelance writer with articles featured on over 200 websites nationwide. She is also a jazz singer with Narrow Escape Duo, performing at venues in and around Northern New Jersey. Roberta is a proud mother of two, and holds a 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. As a long time vegetarian, she has a deep love and respect for all creatures. When she gets some free time, Roberta also enjoys sculpture, photography, reading, swimming and quiet time with family, friends and her beloved dog, Summer.