Voice Week 2011: Monday

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Voice Week is underway! As you can see below, I’ll be the first to break the 100 words rule – just to prove I won’t fault anyone else for doing the same. But I promise my other entries  are all under limit. Except that other one…

The thing about my mom – she’s sick a lot. Not the kind of sick you get from germs and stuff, but the kind you get from life. I mean, I don’t know that much about her past, because she doesn’t talk about it much, but you don’t live with somebody for fifteen years and not pick up some details.
Like, she hates men. You don’t get that way without being slapped around by a few creeps. And unless she’s passed out, I can’t go out anywhere except school, ‘cause she’ll freak out. She acts like she’s afraid something will happen to me, but really I think she’s afraid I’ll just decide not to come back. And she’s got scars on her arms, but like a lot of other things, I don’t ask about them.
Yeah, she’s been sick a long time. The booze? That’s just medication.


From the prompt “alcoholic mother.” Read the other versions: Day 2Day 3Day 4Day 5

Who does the character feel like to you? How old, what gender? Where did you think the voice was strong or weak? Let me know!

About Stephanie Orges

Stephanie is an award-winning copywriter, aspiring novelist, and barely passable ukulele player. Here, she offers writing prompts, tips, and moderate-to-deep philosophical discussions. You can also find her on and Pinterest.
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  1. If I hadn’t read “fifteen years,” I still would have pegged this person as a teenager. The voice sounds male. It sounded weak to me when it talked about being sick from life and not knowing anything about her past. These are thoughtful, good things to say, but they sound more thoughtful than this character usually gets. It sounded strong to me everywhere else. The “attytood” is strong and consistent throughout. The character isn’t world weary, yet, but it does have a lot of street smarts already.

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  3. Oh, this is great! You’ve really captured that teenager vibe (having raised a couple myself, I recognized it immediately! LOL) Looking forward to hearing more about MOM.

  4. This definitely sounded like a relatable, authentic teen voice. The narrator comes off as a bit snarky, and his/her thoughts on the mother’s “illness” are simply gorgeous. Love this.
    And I can’t wait to see things through the mother’s POV!

    • Yay! Thank you. Actually, I’m not going to do the mom’s POV – I’m going to describe the same mom from different “kids” POVs…but now that you say that, I wish I had done the mom!

  5. Love it! can’t wait to read more!

  6. I get a teenager vibe but a more mature one, perhaps because life made them that way or because they are an older teen. I read it as a female, perhaps because of the empathy for what her mother is like. Nice understanding of the teen voice!

  7. I could just repeat the same things everyone else had said – because I totally agree. Except that the voice sounded male to me.

    The mystery of where these pieces are going is my favourite part so far!

  8. When I first read it, the voice was female in my head. Young adult without a doubt. Now that I’ve read the comments and reread the piece, I see it could be male, especially from the line “she’s afraid I’ll just decide not to come back.” I imagine this woman has a history of men leaving her and is afraid her son will, too.

  9. Great start.
    Seems to be a difference of opinion above – I’m coming down on the side of the vice being a teenage girl. You get the feeling that she is still young enough and not yet worldly wise, to see her mum’s problems as ‘sickness’ and the booze being ‘medication’. Here is a youngster who knows quite a bit but doesn’t want to put any blame on her mum.
    Looking forward to Tuesday.

  10. I got male…largely because he didn’t identify with her sickness. Interesting comments! Robin

  11. I certainly get the feeling this is a teenage girl with the weight of the whole world on her shoulders and she’s learnt to adapt and understand her -sensible and cautious yet still child-like in parts. It’s delicately written, I thoroughly enjoyed it. 🙂

  12. OK feeling really stupid … Are we supposed to write something like this using the prompt “alcoholic mother”??? :-S

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  14. I agree with the girl vote. I raised two girls, and that’s a definite girl vibe!

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  16. Hehehe… let me weigh in.
    I say definitely teenage girl. She is able to articulate!!! And she spends a lot of time and energy defending her mother’s position. Young men would do neither. I really like the last lines. It shows an intuitive knowledge that it is not the booze causing the ailments, but that her mother has a history in life.
    You have created a very strong voice, in my opinion, in that I can clearly see the young girl who is speaking here.

  17. I wasn’t sure of gender. At first I thought it might be male, but the statement, “She acts like she’s afraid something will happen to me…,” makes me lean toward female.

  18. That last line seems like a lyric from a rap song 😛 somehow has that ring to it and makes the idea seem less horrible…which in this case, is good!

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