Wednesday, January 28, 2009

YAY! Burghley School!

So I did it! My second day of my writer's class was a hit! Wahoo! i love that class! It's soo awesome, and there are so many neat and interesting people to get to know. I was so impressed with their writing as well. We all had to read out loud our short story that we'd come up with from our assignment during the last class. I'm happy to say that my version of Burghley House's servant from Elizabethan time went over really well. Everyone was so nice! Which is a good thing, since these are some serious professional writers. I'm just in awe of them. If you're interested, here's my little story, that i read a little too fast (LOL!) but i wanted to make sure I got it all out before my 3 minutes were up! hahah!

Fire Boy


“Coming, sir,” mumbled the tall fifteen year old lad. He knew Mr. Hodson would be upset—he knew it. With a sigh, he quickly unloaded the pile of fresh cut logs near the back entrance of the large kitchen to the main house. He wiped his hands on his muddied tan colored breeches and wondered for the tenth time that morning why his axe had to break today of all days. The one day he knew he—

“Are you coming or not, boy?” came the sharp reprimand from across the large busy room.

“I’m here, Sir!” Jake called unnecessarily as he stepped across the threshold and then quickly amended, “I’ll go get ‘em started right now.”

“See that you’re quick boy—and this time no messing about. We’ve got a lot of company today and you know you’re needed—every bedroom and all. Even the extended family rooms will need to be lit today.”

“Yes, sir. I’ll be quick as I can.”

The clatter and hustle of the kitchen was extra busy that morning with twice as many servants moving their way around the large room. Three times Jake almost ran into someone as they scurried across his maze-like path to the large fire pit in the corner. He was determined to collect the embers as quickly as possible to get the rest of the house warm before the master and his guests awoke.

“Well aren’t we late t’day?” asked the pretty scullery maid who’d been recruited to boil the water that morning. Patsy was always giving him a hard time.

Jake just grinned and collected three of the strongest embers he could from the fire—flirting with Patsy would have to wait until work was through. After he stored them into their heavy carrying shovels, he paused and threw a small, thick, woven rug over his shoulder. It was something he had to carry with him, everywhere, thanks to Tim nearly destroying the master’s imported carpet. It was a pain to always carry the rug in case a fire were to break out. With a grunt he slipped it up his shoulder again and hefted the lidded embers to be carried through the house and light the hearths.


Jake groaned and stopped his hazel eyes just short of roaming toward the ceiling; instead he plastered a smile on his face and turned around. Mr. Hodson stood at the end of the kitchen that led to the servants’ hall.

“Yes sir?” He managed to keep respect in his tone--just barely--as he dodged the workers and approached the uppity butler.

“Why aren’t you there yet?” came the snooty retort. “They’ll be ringing the bells any minute and I refuse to have cold rooms for the family and their guests to wake in. Hurry. And mind you don’t scorch the carpet or you’ll see lashings like Tim.”

“Yes, Sir—I know, Sir,” Jake mumbled as he passed into the hall and began his long trip up the stairs.

There were three maids and an upper servant all clambering down--that he had to avoid. Everyone was in a dither this morning. There hadn’t been this much excitement in Stamford’s Burghley House since Queen Elizabeth had promised to come—nigh on six or seven years ago. Who knew the Lord’s young niece and her family would wreak this sort of havoc? You’d think she was a princess for crying out loud.

As he approached the master’s chambers and pushed open the door, he was grateful to see the maid had already laid out the fresh wood. Deep heavy snores came from within the cocoon of the large bed in the corner. The thick curtain surrounding the bed guaranteed Jake wasn’t too late. Quickly he knelt down and carefully balanced the other two lidded embers against him and uncovered the shortest one.

Jake was the only one of the fire boys who had been strong enough to carry and balance three embers at once. It was a bit risky he knew, but it was sure easier than making so many trips back and forth from the long halls to the kitchen. Everyone knows that if an ember burned out in one the halls, there was no going back to the families’ rooms to relight it, he would have to traverse all they way down to the kitchen again to revive the thing. Carrying three just made sense. And it would be a whole lot easier if he didn’t have this blasted rug to contend with.

He made short work of lighting the fire and within a matter of moments the room was greeted with a cheerful blaze. The heat instantly warmed Jake’s hands. The hands he didn’t even know until then, were chilled. With a soft grunt he lugged the slipping rug back onto his shoulder again and hauled himself to his feet. There were no less than seven bedrooms and five of the family rooms to be lit within the next twenty minutes. He had better get a move on.

Gingerly he recovered the shorter ember and balanced it amongst the rest. With a slight twist he turned around, and as he glanced up to check the embers were well covered, he felt the rug slip from his shoulder again. And then it happened, in the blink of an eye. Jake stepped forward to shift his weight and counteract the rug as it tilted precariously unto his elbow, except his feet weren’t quite prepared to meet with the new carpet in the Master’s room. It was new and much thicker than the old one had been. In his haste to correct the rug, he tripped. Just like that. Everything fell around him in a series of swift, short clunks and one loud groan.

Before he could even completely comprehend what had happened, his eyes blinked back the raging truth. With a sharp gasp and heedless panic, the word he never thought to utter in the Master’s room rang loud enough to shake the house,



  1. Brilliant as ever, Miss James. I loved it. I'm so glad you're enjoying school.

  2. Awesome! I can tell why you have an agent--you pack detail and action and emotions so well into each sentence!

  3. Glad you're having fun with your writing class.

    Love that photo. That place is monstrous.

    Morgan Mandel

  4. Great job!! I cannot write short stories. I've tried, but I just can't. But you are obviously multi-talented! I'm glad you're enjoying your school so much.

  5. Kasie--Thanks! I am enjoying school, it's just great to get out there and learn again!

    Teri--Wow, Terri! High praise indeed, coming from you! Thank you!

    Morgan--Yeah, it's super huge and wonderful! I love it!

    Candi--LOL! I never, ever thought i could write a novel! LOL!` Never say never! hahah!

  6. ooh he's in trouble! That is cool! Do we get to hear more? LOL