Aug 17, 2009 by

Read OLAF 1 here

ROUND 2: Write the opening paragraph of your novella. It should be no more than 300 words, not including your opening sentence, and should be about interactions that take place over the web.

She was Finnish. Olga. Olga Kuuhimo. Almost four decades had passed but it may as well have been four weeks. True, a half-century of drinking had done his memory in. True, he told his deckhands the same jokes and could forget entire conversations from the night before. But when it came to Olga, he remembered everything. Everything, down to the turquoise bra she wore when he first saw her behind the bar, bending for ice at The Thirsty Whale. She had come by sea with her cousin, who later drowned off Georges Bank during the storm of ’71. He courted her for six weeks. Two months later, she moved in. He’d never been happier. Then one day he decided that to be the best fisherman in the Gulf he had to go it alone. That’s what his 19-year-old mind thought. So he told her they were done. She moved out. Five months later she returned to Finland. His other relationships never went anywhere. “Compromises,” he called them. “No spark.” And then one dark and stormy night, during the easterly that blew half the shingles off Cody’s shed, he Googled “Olga Kuuhimo.” He found her halfway down the page: Olga Kuuhimo Haveri – Finland | Facebook. He could have quit right there. Pretended it was another Olga. But he clicked on the link. There she was, her arm around some blonde yuppie asshole. You could see the strap of her blue bra. The next morning he woke, face down on the keyboard. Broken glass everywhere. He was still drunk when he set off for Cox’s Ledge. Only five days later, when he returned and checked his emails, did he realize what he’d done that night. The title of the latest email read “Olga Kuuhimo Haveri confirmed you as a friend on Facebook.”

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  1. I bow to you Olaf.
    I just went from skeptical to fan in 1.5 minutes.
    Can’t believe I have to wait 7 more days until the next paragraph!

    • So you’ve got romantic blood in you, after all.
      I can’t believe I have to wait 7 more days until your next 3000 words.

  2. You know how to gather fans to your wake Olaf. I’m with Anna … I want to, have to know more!

    I loved the turquoise bra embellishment – I had a teacher at high school who wore one of those underneath a cheese cloth shirt. It was the raciest thing any of us had seen at our single sex Catholic girls school. Thanks for the memories!!

    Am I right this makes your MC around 59 years of age???

    • Main Character or MC Hammer? I’d say 59 is about right, Jodi, give or take a couple of decades.
      Your teacher, she wasn’t Finnish was she?

  3. Main Character Olaf – unless you see your dude busting out some raps in the near future to give Fido a run for his money.

    My teacher wasn’t Finnish -unless her family changed their name after migration to something less cumbersome -like O’Mara. I imagine she was from good Irish stock. I look back and wonder about her. She really was a nut and it was so obvious in a straight laced girls school.

    And periwinkle (which apparently was the closest my friends could get to turquoise!) was the first coloured bra I ever had – compliments of some friends of mine as a parting gift. But that is a whole other story.

    Are you familiar with the old fairy tale known at “Skeleton Woman” – about a fisherman who hooks and brings to life the skeleton woman. My books says “Skeleton Woman is a hunting story about love” – though it fitted you and your story to a “T”.

    I have it in an anthology of fairy tales called “Women Who Run With Wolves” by Dr Clarissa Estes Pinkola and I just found an online version of it here – without all the commentary http://spiritualemergency.blogspot.com/2006/01/skeleton-woman-lifedeathlife-nature.html May it be of use to you in your travels.

    Hope I’m allowed to share this!!

  4. Never heard of “Women Who Run with Wolves.” Sounds like the sequel to “Dancing with Wolves.” Or I should say “Men Who Dance with Wolves.” Thanks for the link to Skeleton Woman. I’m a sucker for fishing fable love stories. That’s quite the opening there. It makes Fyor’s first paragraph looks tame…

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