Son of a Pitch Team Ursula Entry 4: CUCKOO’S CRADLESONG

soap-FINALTitle: Cuckoo’s Cradlesong 

Category and Genre: Adult Memoir 

Word Count: 73,000

 

Query:

When you’re burned out and suicidal, moving to a tropical island seems like the perfect solution. But when I quit my job and dragged my husband off to live in the Canary Islands, reality was far from paradise. For one thing, we moved in with my in-laws, two teenage girls and a mother-in-law that hated my guts. For another, I got pregnant. Having a baby is stressful under the best of circumstances, but add in culture shock, diabetes, and an impenetrable language barrier and you get a combination that would test anyone’s sanity. To make matters worse, I was terrified of being a mother and had to reconcile with impending parenthood – and fast. Cuckoo’s Cradlesong is the memoir of a woman who tried to find serenity on a beach, overshot, and discovered self-acceptance in a pile of baby poop instead.    

 First 250 Words:

I finally lost my mind when Rosie died. Before then, I’d played peekaboo with my inner agoraphobe and had a brief affair with binge eating. But after Rosie dropped dead of a heart attack, I couldn’t hide the crazy anymore.

The last time I saw my friend alive, she wore a paper crown. The words “Princess Puke” were scrawled on it in glittery puff paint. Andy, one of our special ed students, had thrown up in class again. Rosie – my friend, coworker, and surrogate mom – braved the threat of inverted oatmeal to escort him to the nurse’s office and call his mother. It was a weekly occurrence. Rosie’s crown was in recognition of services rendered above and beyond the call of duty.

That afternoon, we sat in a middle school faculty room in Utah. It smelled like old Jell-O and sounded like a muted tidal wave, the roar of our students who waited on the other side of the wall. Linda and Margret, my fellow teachers, cheered as Rosie curtseyed and laughed, holding her crown on with one hand. “Speech!” we cried. “Speech!”

“Well, I don’t know what to say.” Rosie pressed her palm to her chest. The hand was wrinkly and liver spotted. Despite her youthful demeanor, she was nearing sixty. “This is so unexpected. It will go great on my resume when they really do fire me and I apply for that job as a Wal-Mart greeter. They always need someone to mop up there.”

 

5 thoughts on “Son of a Pitch Team Ursula Entry 4: CUCKOO’S CRADLESONG”

  1. Query:
    Oh man, this sounds great. I’d tighten just slightly: “…moved in with two teenage girls and a mother-in-law…” because we assume the girls are in-laws too. I think you can remove “To make matters worse,” because you show this.

    250:
    This is very well-written and engrossing – I really need to read on and find out what happened. I would change “It smelled like old Jell-O and sounded like a muted tidal wave, the roar of our students who waited on the other side of the wall,” to “It smelled like old Jell-O, and the roar of students on the other side of the wall sounded like a muted tidal wave.”

    I’m sorry for your loss, and I’m glad you’re still with us to write what sounds like an amazing memoir.

  2. Query:
    When you’re burned out and suicidal, moving to a tropical island seems like the perfect solution. (This is a great line) But when I quit my job and dragged my husband off to live in the Canary Islands, reality was far from paradise. For one thing, we moved in with my in-laws, two teenage girls and a mother-in-law that hated my guts.(echo in the sentence with in-laws – gotta be a work around cause I love the list. ) For another, I got pregnant. Having a baby is stressful under the best of circumstances, but add in culture shock, diabetes, and an impenetrable language barrier and you get a combination that would test anyone’s sanity. (great line) To make matters worse, I was terrified of being a mother and had to reconcile with impending parenthood – and fast.
    Cuckoo’s Cradlesong is the memoir of a woman who tried to find serenity on a beach, overshot, and discovered self-acceptance in a pile of baby poop instead. (This, this right here – golden close. I love it)

    Full of great phrasing and fabulous voice.

    First 250 Words:
    I finally lost my mind when Rosie died. Before then, I’d played peekaboo with my inner agoraphobe and had a brief affair with binge eating. But after Rosie dropped dead of a heart attack, I couldn’t hide the crazy anymore.
    The last time I saw my friend alive, she wore a paper crown. The words “Princess Puke” were scrawled on it in glittery puff paint. Andy, one of our special ed students, had thrown up in class again. Rosie – my friend, coworker, and surrogate mom – braved the threat of inverted oatmeal to escort him to the nurse’s office and call his mother. It was a weekly occurrence. Rosie’s crown was in recognition of services rendered above and beyond the call of duty.
    That afternoon, we sat in a middle school faculty room in Utah, (surrounded by the smell of old Jell-O and sounds reminiscent of a muted tidal wave thanks to) the roar of our students who waited on the other side of the wall. Linda and Margret, my fellow teachers, cheered as Rosie curtseyed and laughed, holding her crown on with one hand. “Speech!” we cried. “Speech!”
    “Well, I don’t know what to say.” Rosie pressed her palm to her chest. The hand was wrinkly and liver spotted. Despite her youthful demeanor, she was nearing sixty. “This is so unexpected. It will go great on my resume when they really do fire me and I apply for that job as a Wal-Mart greeter. They always need someone to mop up there.”

    You share your pain in a touching and humorous way and the voice here – your voice – is wonderful. Handling bittersweet can be tricky but you manage very well. Would have kept on reading!!

  3. Query:

    When you’re burned out and suicidal, moving to a tropical island seems like the perfect solution. But when I quit my job and dragged my husband off to live in the Canary Islands, reality was far from paradise. For one thing, we moved in with my in-laws, two teenage girls (the “two teenage girls” right after the in-laws kinda threw me) and a mother-in-law that hated my guts. For another, I got pregnant. Having a baby is stressful under the best of circumstances, but add in culture shock, diabetes, and an impenetrable language barrier and you get a combination that would test anyone’s sanity. To make matters worse, I was terrified of being a mother and had to reconcile with impending parenthood – and fast. Cuckoo’s Cradlesong is the memoir of a woman who tried to find serenity on a beach, overshot, and discovered self-acceptance in a pile of baby poop instead.

    Wow. A pile of baby poop. Sounds like quite a journey!

    First 250 Words:

    I finally lost my mind when Rosie died. Before then, I’d played peekaboo with my inner agoraphobe and had a brief affair with binge eating. But after Rosie dropped dead of a heart attack, I couldn’t hide the crazy anymore.

    The last time I saw my friend alive, she wore a paper crown. The words “Princess Puke” were scrawled on it in glittery puff paint. Andy, one of our special ed students, had thrown up in class again. Rosie – my friend, coworker, and surrogate mom – braved the threat of inverted oatmeal to escort him to the nurse’s office and call his mother. It was a weekly occurrence. Rosie’s crown was in recognition of services rendered above and beyond the call of duty.

    That afternoon, we sat in a middle school faculty room in Utah. It smelled like old Jell-O and sounded like a muted tidal wave, the roar of our students who waited on the other side of the wall (I’d switch these…”the roar of our students…of the wall, sounded like a muted tidal wave.”). Linda and Margret, my fellow teachers, cheered as Rosie curtseyed and laughed, holding her crown on with one hand. “Speech!” we cried. “Speech!”

    “Well, I don’t know what to say.” Rosie pressed her palm to her chest. The hand was wrinkly and liver spotted. Despite her youthful demeanor, she was nearing sixty. “This is so unexpected. It will go great on my resume when they really do fire me and I apply for that job as a Wal-Mart greeter. They always need someone to mop up there.”

    I have not much to say. Sharing a story like this is brave and marvelous. Your voice is beautiful and I would keep reading!

  4. REVISION:

    Query:
    When you’re suicidal, moving to a tropical island seems like the perfect solution. But when I quit my job and dragged my husband off to live in the Canary Islands, reality was far from the paradise I imagined. For one thing, we moved in with two teenage girls and a mother-in-law that hated my guts. For another, I got pregnant. Having a baby is stressful under the best of circumstances, but add in crazy morning sickness, diabetes, and an impenetrable language barrier and you get a combination that would test anyone’s sanity. I was terrified of being a mother and had to reconcile with impending parenthood – and fast. Cuckoo’s Cradlesong is the memoir of a woman who tried to find serenity on a beach, overshot, and discovered self-acceptance in a pile of baby poop instead.

    First 250 Words:
    I finally lost my mind when Rosie died. Before then, I’d played peekaboo with my inner agoraphobe and had a brief affair with binge eating. But after Rosie dropped dead of a heart attack, I couldn’t hide the crazy anymore.

    The last time I saw my friend alive, she wore a paper crown. The words “Princess Puke” were scrawled on in glittery puff paint. Andy, one of our seventh grade special ed students, had thrown up in class again. Rosie – my friend, fellow teacher, and surrogate mom – braved the threat of inverted oatmeal to escort him to the nurse’s office and call his mother. It was a weekly occurrence. I made Rosie’s crown in recognition of services rendered above and beyond the call of duty.

    That afternoon, we sat in the faculty room of Briar Meadows Middle School in northern Utah. It smelled like old Jell-O, and behind the wall our students roared like a muted tidal wave. My coworkers and I cheered as Rosie curtseyed and laughed, holding her crown on with one hand. “Speech!” we cried. “Speech!”

    “Well, I don’t know what to say.” Rosie pressed her palm to her chest. The hand was wrinkly and liver spotted. Despite her youthful demeanor, she was nearing sixty – my mother’s age. “This is so unexpected,” Rosie said. “It will go great on my resume when they fire me and I apply for that job as a Wal-Mart greeter. They always need someone to mop up there.”

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