I promised fellow bloggers Maggie at Fly Away Home and Aubrey at Write Aubrey Write that I would participate in the author tagging game called the Look Challenge. The game’s for bloggers who are also writers and is a way to let others sneak a peek at your work.

Here’s how it works: Search your manuscript for the word “look” and copy the surrounding paragraphs into a post to let other bloggers read. Then you tag five blogger/writers to invite them to the challenge.

Thank you Maggie and Aubrey for tagging Hot Pink Underwear. I am very grateful, and I’m sorry I’ve been so stupidly slow to respond.

But look! I’m doing it! Here’s my story excerpt:

Blue’s my favorite color—the bright blue of a first-place ribbon, not the secretive blue of the ocean. I’ve never trusted water in such large amounts. I made it to ten without having to dip myself in any more water than would fit in our bathtub or wading pool (though I never put my head under).

The idea of swimming terrified me, but Mom said we lived too close to the river for any of us not to know how to swim.

“You’re Aunt Lois drowned in a river,” said Mom. “Horrible. She had her whole life ahead of her. You and Maddy would’ve just adored her.”

When Mom finally signed me up for lessons, I begged her not to make me go. She said I had to.

The night before the first lesson I cried so hard my eyes puffed near shut by the morning. Maddy said I looked like someone’d smacked both sides of my face.

“Geez, Tria,” Mom huffed. “Everybody’ll think I beat you.” She canceled the lesson and even let me stay home from school.

That evening she made me take a bath. She forced my head under water.

I fought her, tried to push her hands off my head. But the second my palms un-suctioned from the tub’s smooth pink floor, I lost my balance and slid down under. I bucked and flapped my arms, splashing water around our tiled bathroom like I was a lawn sprinkler.

“Settle down, Tria! You’re not gonna die. I’m trying to help you.”  Mom stopped shoving my head down and grabbed at my arms.

I pushed her hands away and shot my head out as fast as I could. The water burned in my lungs. I was coughing and making little hiccup-ing sounds. I almost cracked my head on the side of our tub as I flopped my naked body up and over the tub’s edge sliding like a baby walrus onto the bathmat.

“You’re impossible,” said Mom.

I think she was surprised how strong I was. After I dried off and put on my night shirt and sweats, Mom made me scrub the tile with Borax and a bristle brush until bed. I didn’t care. Lots of people are afraid of the water. Probably my Aunt Lois was.

And now, here are the bloggers I am tagging…

(I tagged two extra for good measure.)

Did I do this right, Aubrey?