Ink Slinger Merit Badge, Part I

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 5,091 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—6,887 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! MJ

Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life

For this week’s Stitching and Crafting/Ink Slinger Merit Badge, I finished the last page of Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style, with a satisfied sound and prepared to … wait for it …

Write the Great American Novel.

Well, eventually.

In the meantime, for practice and to earn my Beginning Level Badge, all I have to do is write a short story. I wrote short stories as a kid, and I even took a Creative Writing course in college, so how hard can it be, right? Well, I always start out thinking that way and it comes back to kick me in the tushie, so today, I’m prepared. After all, if it was easy, everyone would be writing, wouldn’t they?

First, I closed the laptop and got out my notebook and favorite pencil. There’s nothing like the feeling of crisp white paper, and the feel of a nubby pencil in your hand, am I right, girls? Feet propped up on my footstool, a glass of iced tea at the ready, and I was good to go.


The crisp, white paper stared up at me. Was it my imagination, or was there the faint outline of a mocking face looking at me? Nah, just a shadow. I shifted slightly to the left. There, that’s better. Crisp and white again.

So crisp …

So very white …

Still so very, very blank.

I doodled a bit in the corner as I thought about what my story should be about. An intrepid girl reporter with a dashing lawyer father who goes about solving crimes in a blue convertible? A set of siblings living in a boxcar? A spunky, redhead orphan who gets into scrapes with her best friend? Wait. These all sounded too familiar. Was there nothing new under the sun?

I settled on a spunky, blue, crime solving convertible. Think Herbie, but with feminine edges. This was getting good!

I wrote feverishly, hardly even coming up for air. My pencil whittled down to a stub (of course, I was chewing on one end, so I guess that could explain some of it), the sun went down in the evening sky, my iced tea was no longer iced, and I could barely lift my exhausted noggin when I penned the immortal and infamous words, The End.

Too tired and emotionally drained from my work, I stumbled to bed. In the morning, I read over what I had written. It took three cups of coffee to keep my eyes wide enough to actually count my handwritten words (the Badge needs 500). At about 432, I realized the benefits of a word-counting computer, but no matter!

I had done it! Was it the Great American Novel? Was it even The Great American Short Story?

Find out soon.

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