But sometimes words don’t flow the way I want them to
I remember where I was when I heard about the Columbine shooting. I remember the school I was attending, the class I was in, and the teacher who stopped the day’s lesson to take a call carrying the tragic news. In the following years there have been numerous mass shootings, in an elementary school, a movie theater, a concert, and so many other places. I remember where I was when I heard about some of them, but not most. That, as much as anything, is a sign of how common they’ve become.
I don’t know what mass shooting ‘inspired’ this First Sentence and it’s not something I’m choosing to Google at the moment. I’m a little more interested in a word that would be more appropriate than ‘inspired’, a word that is about the catalyst that leads to a creative idea but without the positive connotation. Not because such a word is more important than this life-shattering violence, but because the search for words is something I can control. There are online searches, dictionaries, thesauruses, friends to ask, but there are no easy solutions in a country that seems so unwilling to sit down and have civilized discourse about how to solve our problems.
Written on 2/1/2013 and updated today:
I’m on the floor when I come out of my trance, halfway between the refrigerator and the table. Cold moisture seeps through my sweater and the back of my
Today I’ve been reflecting on time and how, when you work 40+ hours a week, there never seems to be enough of it. I’m sure this is a common, maybe (probably?) universal, feeling for people in all situations, ‘working’ or not, but my situation is the one where I have experience born from something other than my imagination.
Here’s about how it breaks down:
Monday through Friday
5:30am – 8:30am – wake up, take care of pets, exercise, shower, breakfast, get to work
8:30am – 5:00/6:00pm – work
5:00/6:00pm – 6:30/7:30pm – go home, make and have dinner, watch an episode of a TV show, take care of pets
6:30/7:30pm – 9:00pm – do whatever I want, broken up by more taking care of pets
9:00pm – 10:00pm – wind down for bed and go to sleep
Sleep in, run errands, meal prep, take care of pets, laundry, cleaning, all before going to bed at 10:00pm
Of course there are fluctuations. Sometimes I work more overtime to get things done. Sometimes I leave work early to go to a concert, to go visit friends and/or family in Fresno or the Bay Area, or to hang out with a friend visiting me from Fresno. Sometimes I skip the TV show that usually serves as a mental reset after work in favor of having more time to read, write, listen to an audiobook, or whatever else I may feel like doing. Sometimes I stay up late to finish the scene I’m
Yesterday I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune disorder where the body attacks its own thyroid. I can’t help but think that it’s fitting given how frequently I’ve attacked myself with anxiety and criticism.
And so today, because I like to be dramatic, two First Sentences about the instants where life flips, the first from 2/12/2013 and the second from 2/17/2013.
It took me three minutes to make the decision, ten to implement it, and fifteen years to atone for it.
I’ve sat, in a thoughtless void, since getting the text. Ali got home thirty minutes ago and wanted to know why I was on the kitchen floor. I couldn’t explain so I showed her the phone. She swore loudly and immediately began making calls on her own cell.
All I can think as I hear her explaining in the background is that it really does take just a few seconds for the whole world to change.
Maybe I should post about why it’s been so long. Maybe I should know what to say about it. I could talk about feeling empty. About apathy. About the feeling that I’ll never make it as a writer and the part of me that thinks it’s not worth it to try. I could talk about work stress, and not having the energy to write after 8+ hours doing a job that isn’t about the flow of words. It’s all of those things. It’s more than those things. It’s about getting stuck in a loop where I know I would feel better if I worked on something creative, that I would manifest the energy to continue if I could only find the energy to start. About how hard starting feels.
Sometimes starting seems impossible. Yesterday I started, posting something that is as much a challenge to myself as it is anything else when I said I would post a First Sentence everyday. I’m going to amend that slightly today – I will post something of my writing everyday.
Today, it’s the very beginning of my novel, currently titled the Way of Attrition:
The scream is agonized. It cuts the cold air, the walls, the closed door, fierce like a siren, too loud and too close. It echoes in the chill that tickles my spine, in the shiver that embraces me.
You can see the first version of this here. It’s the same story, back before I knew it’d be
I’ve decided to post a short story on my long-neglected blog every month, as close to the 1st as possible, and to post a First Sentence every day. First Sentences being imagined first lines to stories that may or may not turn into more. The decision to return to this blog is partially because of my friend Emilee’s new blog, the Piano Has Been Drinking (which you should definitely check out, and not just because it has a way cooler name than mine), and partially because I’m reading (okay, fine, listening to) Amanda Palmer’s memoir the Art of Asking, which encourages artists to go for it (and, of course, to ask for help when they need it). I’d never heard of Amanda Palmer before purchasing this audiobook, and apparently she’s controversial among a lot of people. I’m not going to get into any of that, because I only know what she’s shared in her book so far and what a couple quick Google searches have revealed. Instead, I’m going to leave it at her inspiring me to try and really do something with my writing, and to stick with it this time. Incidentally, she’s married to Neil Gaiman, a fact I didn’t learn until she said it in her book, and one I can’t pretend didn’t intrigue me. Neil Gaiman! Neil. Gaiman.
Anyway. Moving on.
Blogging isn’t really my thing so far, which will surprise no one who looks back to see how long ago I