The Weary Writer

She lies on the pages of a dozen books, a dozen stacks of references for a work she had hoped to finish two weeks ago. She wanted to write a story that consisted of 10,000 words of knowledge and fine points on the cycle of life and death. Or rather, a little kid watching his favorite pet die. It would have been brilliant, eloquent, subtle in form and nostalgic in tone. The mood was to be heart wrenching. That was her goal.

Instead, her head lies on her favorite sky-blue notebook as the morning sun streams into her window. The large window before her small writing desk she’s used since age ten where she had found so much inspiration is the center of her musings. Of course, she never wrote a single one down. All of the musings were safely tucked away in her mind’s pocket, waiting to be pulled out and put onto the magnificence that was the white page. The stories want to be written.

Each story is waiting for her to sharpen her pencil, to open her laptop or her tablet, and write it down with such loving care you’d bite into it like a piece of chocolate. The good kind. Godiva or Hersey’s kiss kind. They’ve been waiting for her to think of the next line and not just the synopsis.

It’s okay because she will work on it. The pages of her newest work will fill the air, feeding her desire to produce stories, filling pages of white paper, and scroll down the screens of infinite documents on Microsoft word. Or in her case OpenOffice.

That beam of sunlight coming through her window rises. It gradually shifts away from the sky blue notebook, sitting at the farthest corner of her small beige desk, up to her sleeve. It slowly travels up to her face, warming her up. The melanin in her skin reacts to the sun, soaking up the rays—accumulating, darkening her skin as she dreams of a woman who can burn like the sun. She becomes a sun to save a world that worships her.

The sleeping writer grumbles. This isn’t what she was writing about.

The story changes. She dreams of writing. The words flow endlessly onto the page. Not just any page, but the sky-blue notebook her ex-boyfriend gave to her before he dumped her. He had always encouraged her work. What he didn’t encourage was her lack of determination. Because she lacks momentum. The ability to make moves and talk about the work she loves so dearly in public.

For her, however, the stories look and feel much better inside of her head. They play like sequences of unfinished cuts from a movie in production. Scenes half developed cut off at words to describe the next fraction in a simple synopsis, followed by an epic action sequence and words of mystery. The colors and characters are life-like, they are under the control of her imagination and they are spectacular. She sleeps because the images are vibrant, pulsating. She loves the stories, but is just a little too afraid to show them.

She tries, though. She made an attempt last night and managed to write twenty pages, a compilation of three or four short stories that weren’t as short as she’d have liked. She didn’t know if they were any good, doubting herself with every word, and she won’t be able to ask anyone to read them because…who wants to read an incomplete story? And who could she ask? Andre isn’t there anymore and she doesn’t know any other writers.

Her lips part slightly and a bubble of saliva escapes down the corner of her dark pink lips. All she uses is chapstick.

Her skin slowly darkens. The watch on her wrist from the dollar store is slowly etched onto her skin. Her eyebrows arch as the suns heat touches them. She hasn’t bothered in a while to pluck them, so they cast the tiniest shadow over her eyes. She looks tired.

Beneath her eyelids her eyes move quickly. She wants to write, but liking the new puppy on her friends Facebook page last night was so much more fulfilling. But when she finally sat down to write and she sharpened her pencil, her heart raced. Inspiration didn’t come at first. She wrote nothing, drew pictures and thought of old stories she’d “written.” But then she started writing. Once she started, she couldn’t stop. There was an almost trance-like feeling.

No stopping now, she thinks and smiles in her sleep. But brief thoughts of doubt slip in again and the sleepy smile fades.

What if it doesn’t come out right? What if I can’t write anything?

Oh, look. Spongebob is on.

She had watched the first season in seven hours on Netflix last night. The only reason why she stopped was because her phone alarm went off to remind her to walk her moms dog. She then unplugged the TV, turned off the radio and threw her phone, laptop and tablet across the room. All the lights were turned off except the lamp by her head. The lamp her brunette hair is practically stuffed into as she sleeps. And after several more hours, her eyes grew heavy and her face fell nose first onto her new page. She didn’t get a chance to write a fifth story. Possibilities swirled in her head as she wrote. Alternate endings of versions of the same stories swam behind her eyes until exhaustion filled them. The last thing she saw was the dark night sky filled with honking cars and the sounds of obnoxious kids setting firecrackers ablaze.

The bright yellow sunbeam so focused on her small but thick eyebrows treks upward to her forehead. She frowns and her dream, her story, changes again. The sun darkens her brow, her mind boiling with numerous images of an unknown world filled with heat.

Why is it so hot?

Her eyes open to see the window that stirs her soul, but never can trigger her motivation. She slowly, painstakingly, lifts her head as she glares in retaliation at the sun. She snarls and rubs the mucus out of her eyes, the sky-blue notebook—only a hand reach away. She picks up the blank paper with her drool all over it. Not one word is written, her dreams just dreams still waiting to be set down on the page.

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A short While (In The MFA part 1)

I’ve been away for a while again and I’ve got to say it’s weird writing when I could be watching TV. Just kidding! Maybe…

I have had the pleasure of going to a new University! I got accepted to a new school, Graduate school as I’m sure I mentioned applying in a post long, long ago. Now, I am here–have been here–for about a month, and I’ve got to tell you, the first few weeks were hell. I absolutely abhor the transportation system here in the city. I still hate it. For the first month, I had anxiety attacks while getting ready to go to classes. I commute because a writer just starting is broke and there are some things a loan just can’t give you. Especially, when it’s not large enough. HAHA!

Anyway, I’ve found some peace after going back upstate and visiting some people from my old school. (God, just saying that is depressing). I miss them all! But we have to move on sometimes. I still call/text of course. Thank you technology! I will say that while I have been here I have met some interesting people. I managed to find a “job” and I take classes only twice a week. Sweet, right? Ehh….that train main, it’s stealing my soul…I’ll live for now. The school I go to (Don’t you wish you knew!) is pretty darn cool. It’s huge and I have to walk up a hill that threatens to burn my lungs every time I come and go. At any rate, I find that things aren’t as bad as my nerves made them out to be. I found myself extremely frightened of the idea that I would be alone, in a new place with no friends. But that’s life. We gain new experiences, go new places and find new things we like, we hate and all that good stuff. I came here because I wanted a new experience. (And it was supposed to be cheaper; shhh!!!)

The MFA is exactly like my undergraduate program, only less homework, more insane teachers and frankly a lot more work. And you know what?

I LOVE EVERY MINUTE OF IT!

I can’t tell anyone that MFA is not for them, or it is, or whatever. It’s your decision and that’s okay. But for me, I knew I needed it. And that degree. My goal is to be a writer, but I also want to teach writing. And the personalities of those I encounter everyday are incredible. There are so many ideas and so many voices that it’s insane. I have one class that is solely dedicated to workshops. Every week we take a manuscript (short fiction or long fiction) that adds up to a maximum of 20 pages and we critique. We discuss and we critique. We laugh and breath and bathe in critiques. I love critiques. (I’m going to probably keep using the world love, just so you know).

I know of so many writers who hate hearing criticism and I want to know…

WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?!??!

How can you not love a critique? I have an intimate fondness  (a.k.a. LOVE) for  critiques. I want to hear what people see in my writing. I want to know what you thought of a specific part–if it actually made sense and if you genuinely enjoyed my story. During the session, we’re not allowed to talk. And while it’s difficult because we want to defend our work or explain a part, it’s good to just put our heads down and listen. Eventually, we can see what it is that our work has conveyed–whether or not what we wanted was actually happened. You have to remember that often times what you want to convey may not be clearly seen to the reader and critiques are the step to seeing what your reader sees. I want to know what it is that you get from my work. If you as the reader see something that doesn’t add up step up and say it. I need it because if I don’t listen to my reader even a little bit, then why am I writing?

My other class is weird. The teacher is just so chill and lay-back and it’s strange because you’d never expect that from anyone, especially a professor. I think my expectations have been thrown off the roof of some really high building. I will not say that I like this class as much as my workshop class because that’s just impossible. It’s more of a discussion based course than a production of actual work, so I barely am completely there, if you know what I mean. (In case you don’t, my brain wanders…a lot). I will say this, however. The concept of the course is, itself, interesting and sometimes something does catch my attention, but I just wish it was more hands on. That’s just the kind of person I am, though. I need to do something otherwise you’ve lost me. That’s why I love (again) writing!

I think this experience has done a lot of good for me because I’ve actually written a lot more. I’ve currently written four completed stories which are in the editing process and three are in progress which I hope to have finished by this Tuesday or the next and I even started writing the first few pages of a novel idea inspired by this post. And I’m actually working on a new series of short stories based in the same world. (I was really happy with the response from my fellow writers and I hope to make this an on-going project posted here).

I feel like I’ve had a lot more inspiration being in the MFA and I think it’s important to have a place where you can sit down and work. Scratch that. It’s not inspiration because apparently that doesn’t always work here, and that’s true. I think we take from what we’ve experienced, what people have said and what we’ve taken from it and write about it in a new way. Our minds make connections that we don’t always consciously realize, and sometimes it just comes out of nowhere; but writers write. I think I’m finding that I have a lot more to say, a lot more to write about.

I hope to continue writing and eventually share many more of my stories here with you. For now, however, I’m working on a lot of projects and making new memories. I hope you can understand that. In the meantime, I will keep you as updated as possible and maybe take time to share what I’ve learned.

Hoping to write for you soon,

D.Arlene