Writers on Writing: The Art of the Short Story

By Maurice A. Lee | Go to book overview

Mercury Blobs

Sylvia Petter

In my high-school chemistry class in Australia, I was fascinated by mercury. I would hold a blob of it in my hand and watch the substance I had been told was inert develop a life of its own as it tried to escape my cupped palm. Once it did. It fell on the lab floor and smaller and smaller bloblets rolled off in all directions. I was scolded. Mercury was a poison. I was told to leave it alone.

After dreams of becoming a veterinarian faded—delivering calves would be hard to reconcile with an innate wanderlust—I didn't know what to “become” and so studied German and French. Years later I became trilingual and lost any semblance of “mother tongue.” The bloblets were rolling all over the place, and I became a translator. Traduttore. Trattore.

I was living near Geneva in a French-speaking environment. I had studied German and French literature, but my knowledge of English literature was restricted to poetry devoured as an adolescent (to make sense of heartbreak and idealistic stirrings) and pre-exam recitations of Julius Caesar while standing on the kitchen table. Later followed a diet of airport novels, albeit the big themes of Uris and Michener. One day at London's Victoria station I picked up a writing magazine and saw the announcement of a short-story contest. At 42 years of age, I started to write my first piece of fiction. I could not stop. I wanted to find out how it would end. The story did not win a prize, but I was hooked on a sense of magic.

Yet I had to believe in my right to write fiction. Monthly, a writers' group met in Geneva. I joined in and soon claimed my right. Once a month, though, was not enough. There was so much to learn, and then I went online.

Almost 30 years after my chemistry class, the sergeant of an online writing group called Boot Camp (to which I stayed faithful for three whole years)

-202-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Writers on Writing: The Art of the Short Story
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 248

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.