#AtoZChallenge: D is for Dust

Day 4  of the A to Z Challenge is the letter “D”:

“D” is for Dust

As a child, one of my favorite distractions while doing my chores was to watch dust glitter in sunlight. I’d pretend the tiny motes were fairies, and I’d shake my dust cloth or pound the couch to wake them. Then, I made a wish that they’d do the work for me, or carry me away from the drudgery of my chores.

It was from this memory that I wrote the following scene. It takes place at Santa Anita Racetrack, the assembly center where Sachi and her family have been taken on the road to internment. Sachi has just awakened in the horse stall, where she sleeps next to her mother.

In the right light, even dust could sparkle.

Courtesy Densho.org

Courtesy Densho.org


Sachi liked being the first to wake. In those first quiet moments, she could look around and pretend the walls were painted white and the floors changed from dirt to gleaming wood. Dirt floors. Why did Mama waste her time sweeping them each morning?

Pulling the blanket over her arms, she wasn’t sure what was worse—shivery goose bumps from the chilly air or prickly ones from the itchy blanket. Nobu had patched most of the stall’s holes with mud or tin can lids, but now in the early morning, the sun bolted through cracks and holes he’d missed, leaving bright lines and dots on the dark floor and letting in the brisk morning air. But she liked to watch dust drift and float in the shafts of sunlight that came into the dark room. In the right light, even dust could sparkle.

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11 Responses to #AtoZChallenge: D is for Dust

  1. mel says:

    I really like this little excerpt…and what a lovely way to look at dust. I used to imagine raindrops were fairies 😉

  2. Anonymous says:

    Lovely, Jan. Very nice, indeed. Shows how those little details make a good tale wonderful.

  3. Joe Owens says:

    Is this an excerpt from your book? I love connecting with published authors since you have knowledge of the publishing process. How did you get an agent or publishing house interested in your books?

    • Jan Morrill says:

      Hi Joe. Yes, it is an excerpt from my book, The Red Kimono. I’d be happy to fill you in on the details by email. I’ll send it to the email address that came up when you started following my blog, which I thank you for! 🙂

  4. bronbloxham says:

    Loved the excerpt. I must admit I have a slightly jaded view of dust as I am allergic to dust mites but you’ve almost convinced me that dust can be beautiful! 😉

  5. Mustang.Koji says:

    Good for you, Jan, to write about your family’s past. Omedetou.

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