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Letter From The Other Side: Writing Has Some Peculiar Outcomeas

It is possible to become an unexpected expense for your friends when you are a writer, says Cynthia (Liz Thompson) in another must-read letter to her friend Del.

To read more of Cynthia's letters please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/letter_from_the_other_side/

And do visit Liz's blog spot

Dear Del,

As you know I have my stories read on a few radio stations as well as your own. It has unexpected results which until I received a telephone call from a friend last week I have never dreamt would be possible.

The phone bleeped for attention and as soon as I answered it her voice bellowed out at me, ‘You cost me a fine yesterday!’

Rapidly my mind went through my actions of the day before and nothing leapt from my short term memory bank which I considered could have caused anyone a problem, especially a fine. I hadn’t left the house or even spoken to anyone except Teddy all day.

Taking a deep breath I answered, ‘I’m at a loss Fiona, how on earth could I have had you fined yesterday?’

‘Well,’ she continued in full flight as only she is capable of doing. ‘I was on my way home from work and turned the radio on in the car. There was a woman’s voice speaking and I thought ‘I know that voice, that’s Cynthia speaking. What on earth is she doing on the radio?

I turned up the volume and began to listen. You were reading the Christmas story they play every year on the local station. I hadn’t heard it before.

I must say it really got me in and I became very interested wanting to know how it was going to end.

When it was almost at the end, something attracted my attention in my rear vision mirror. To my dismay, there behind me was a big four wheel drive police car with lights going like a Myer’s window display and then of course the siren frightened the life out of me. I glanced down at my speed and to my horror I was fifteen kilometres over the speed limit. I pulled over to the side of the road all of a dither which increased when I saw the giant of a policeman getting out of the vehicle. He looked the size of a walking wheat silo. My palms became all sweaty as I lowered the window. Thinking I could maybe talk him around, I explained to the big impassive face peering in at me that I had been listening to my friend on the radio and hadn’t realized I was going quite so quickly.

You see I thought maybe mentioning you being on the radio might impress him and make him think I had friends with some sort of influence. Well it didn’t. He wasn’t the least bit impressed and gave me quite a lecture about concentrating on my driving and not on the radio etc, etc. He made me feel about seven years old to be truthful.

Then he fined me two hundred and forty dollars and took three demerit points off my licence.

After turning me into a quivering lump, he rolled back to his car to drive off waving with his great cottage loaf hand in such a friendly way one would have thought he had just successfully saved a damsel in distress.

I sat where I had pulled over for a little while until I stopped feeling shaky and as though my third grade teacher had just chastised me in front of my friends. I can tell you Cynthia my weakness for men in uniform took quite a pounding and to make matters worse I now have to watch for the postman like a hawk in order to stop Tom (her husband) from getting to the notice of the fine in the mail before I do. He’d never let me forget it and I’d have no ammunition left in my arguments when I want him to slow down when he is driving.

By the time I had started the car again and turned the radio back on you had finished telling the story.’

I held the phone having listened to her tale of woe and wondered what on earth I was supposed to say. Although it was silly of me, I felt guilty and stumbled out an apology.

‘Oh don’t apologize’ she said ‘It wasn’t your fault. It was mine I should have pulled over to listen.’

Relieved I laughed and thanked her for not being cross.

‘Oh I’m cross, but not with you, I’m cross with myself.’

I understood her feelings but what did she expect me to do, pay half her fine?

I suggested this because the guilt lingered on. After all it had been my story which caused the problem.

‘Don’t be daft you silly woman’ she yelled loudly. ‘Just tell me how it ends or else I’ll have to listen again next Christmas and maybe get another fine!’

Writing has some peculiar outcomes doesn’t it Del?

Our parish market is on next week. I had thought of selling a few of my C.D’s with narrations of my stories but I think I’ll make dog biscuits instead.

Hopefully they won’t cause problems. If the dogs don’t like them they will just bury them and won’t ring me up to complain.

Cheers from your expensive ‘flower child friend’



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