By the time I was fifteen, I’d had two poems published in a national volume of poetry (both volumes sit collecting dust on my mother’s entertainment center now). If you’d asked me then what I wanted to be when I was older, I’d proudly proclaim that I wanted to be a writer, and list of several goals I had in pursuing this. Senior year apathy closed in eventually, however, and instead of applying for the University of Evansville’s College of Arts and Sciences, like I’d always wanted, I wasted time chasing boys, relaxing in bed when I should have been in class, and generally slacking off.
I ended up at Rock Valley, where a Creative Writing instructor told me my stories were over-done, hard to read, and very convoluted. Suddenly, the girl who had scored high marks in English, Literature, and Writing classes her entire school career had received a C in the class she most wanted to take. I was devastated, to say the least, but I also didn’t exactly believe the teach (who’s experience was in poetry, not fiction). I continued writing for enjoyment, moved on to other dreams and goals, and got to a place where I was once again comfortable with my chosen art form. I got a few compliments from fellow fan-fiction and “just write for the love of it” writers and was very pleased with myself.
The last time I wrote anything was probably six months ago, however. And before that, another six months stretched between stories. Lately I’ve been thinking of getting back into it, but I just have no inspiration, even if I’m brimming with ideas. I manage to talk myself into the notion that everything I can come up with has been done before, and no one would really care to read what I’ve written anyway. But today I realized that I have forgotten why I’ve been writing these past twelve years:
To please myself.
So, I’m going to try this again. My friend Lisa (www.lireda.com) is having much the same trouble that I am with this, so we’ve decided to challenge each other. Once a month, we’ll take turns coming up with guidelines for a short story, and make a deadline to turn it in to the other. This way, we’re held accountable and someone else is helping us come up with ideas. It was my turn the first time, and the challenge is thus:
1. Pick an activity you do every day.
2. Imagine something out of the ordinary (anything from something mundane to something supernatural) happening while you’re doing this activity.
3. Write a short story, 1 to 2 pages long, about your made up experience.
The deadline is September 20, 2011. I hope this will help get my creative juices flowing again, because I really did have such a passionate love affair with the written word, and I’d love to remember what that feels like. In the mean time, I’m revisiting my old stories for inspiration, and I’d very much like to share one with you.
This story was written for another challenge back a few years ago, where you had to pick a mundane activity and write about it in detail. This is probably one of my most favorite stories to date, and I hope you enjoy it, too: The Opening Act