Wednesday, November 9, 2011

People Tell You What You Need to Know About Them

I had a co-worker when I was in my 20's who was a decade older than me. She was wildly smart, insightful, and personable. She had epic taste in music and clothes. She was funnier than I was, with a quicker wit. She was one of those rare people who fill up every room they enter, and she radiated attractive qualities that inspired in me a sense of longing to be like her. I often found myself thinking that I hoped to be more like her when I was her age. We became friends right away, and I felt lucky to have such a compelling person making time for me.

One of the wise things she used to say was: "People tell you what you need to know about them. You just have to pay attention." The truth of the resonated deeply within me, as I was in a shitty romantic relationship at the time with a narcissist who held more than a fair share of my self-esteem. I thought this credo was her way of telling me that the writing was on the wall if I had the courage to acknowledge it. 

But two years later--after this friend had hurt me countless times, exploited our friendship for personal gain, and attempted to shame and intimidate me into staying in her life--I walked away from the friendship. I had always wondered why she didn't have more people in her life, friends her own age, long-term friends. Suddenly, I got it: People tell you everything you need to know about them. You just have to pay attention.

**This post was the result of a creative writing exercise prompt from Write On Edge's "RemeberRED" series.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


I am several thousand words behind on my NaNoWriMo novel. This has me distressed, slightly.

Also, I am over 5,000 words into my NaNoWriMo novel! Wow! That's more fiction than I've written in over ten years!

It's all about perspective.

Monday, October 31, 2011

FACT: I am going to write a novel

So, NaNoWriMo begins 12 hours and 2 minutes, to be anxiously exact.

I feel a nervous, giddy excitement. It's not that I think I'm going to "win" (make 50k words by 11/30) or birth some epic tome that will catapult me to literary heights. It's not that I expect to get my novel published. It's that I have a story inside me that I believes deserves a telling and I am finally going to let it out.  I'm exhaling after holding the breath of my own creativity for 15 years.


Friday, October 28, 2011

It Fits

I know I'm doing the right thing by putting several toes--maybe a whole foot?--in the water, even though I am afraid.

 I know this because even though I worked overnight and it's well past my bedtime, I can't settle into sleep. I'm full of character ideas, plot points, beautiful words, questions, fears, tasks, emotional discomfort and a familiar, electric thrill that always comes when I'm onto something.


1. I am so very tired.
2. I am onto something!

Three days until my first National Novel Writing Month. I am more than excited about the opportunity to dust off a whole part of me I'd stored away more than 15 years ago. I am joyful.

Write on Edge Prompt: Athleticism

Each stride landed like an anvil as Charlie plodded forward.  Thunk, thunk, thunk.  He wasn’t wearing appropriate footwear. No one in Charlie’s family was ever wearing appropriate footwear.  Mrs. Gilman thought he had forgotten his sneakers, which led Charlie to wonder briefly what the true extent of his invisibility at this school was.  Pretty significant, he concluded, given that she hadn’t noticed any of the glaring indicators of his poverty and neglect: same shirt every day, no lunch, loosely flapping sole on his left boot persisting for several weeks.
Thunk, thunk. He rounded the corner by the willow tree. Two and a half more laps to go. Jessica Pelkey from Spanish class and one of the Japanese exchange students shot past him. Charlie was pretty sure the Japanese kid had just lapped him. He turned his face to the shoulder of his too-small windbreaker and wiped his nose on his shoulder.
“Almost there , guys! C’mon. Let’s see you hustle it out!”
Hustle it out. Charlie seriously doubted that his heavy, soft body could possibly be manifesting anything  approximating  a “hustle,” but he appreciated his gym teacher’s effort to include even her most woeful students in her eruptions of universalized, generic encouragement.  He wondered if she had any sense of how torturous this was for him.  The burning in his lungs and sharp pain in his left knee was dwarfed by the emotional  free-fall generated by forced exercise in front of his already impenetrable  peer group.           
In Charlie’s world, Presidential Fitness Test Day functioned primarily as an annual day trip into hell. Mandatory Pull-ups, crunches, stretching, and a mile run around the dilapidated track—all in front of his classmates and recorded for posterity on Mrs. Gilman’s clipboard—would be topped off in short order by the granddaddy of fat kid humiliation: the body fat assessment.  Waiting for Charlie at the end of this “run” was a pair of plastic calipers with which his teacher would grab his love handles and report back a searing quantification of his loser quotient by way of body fat percentage. Last year she had done it student by student in front of the entire class.
Charlie tried to focus on something else.  There was a new pain—a dull ache of sorts—emerging in his lower back. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other, man, Charlie pep-talked himself. It’s not going to kill you. He looked ahead and set his sights on the visitor’s team bleachers about  30 yards ahead. Just get to the bleachers, he thought. Focus on the fucking bleachers. Another student—Cody Moffett?—brushed by. Charlie never took his eyes off the bleachers.

**this post is a creative writing exercise based on a "Red Writing Hood" prompt from Write on Edge