Honesty, Writer’s Block

Ohmygod, writer’s block.

I’ve been sitting at my desk for twenty minutes, resting my chin on my coffee cup (back slumped in atrocious posture), breathing in the familiar roasty smell of java (taken black, always black), trying to find words to put out into the ether. This is my routine every morning.

Nothing comes. I eventually give up, go make my bed, and get on with my day.

Today I fight a little harder. I glance around my desk (as best as I can without moving my chin, because the warm steam from my coffee is comforting), trying to think. I used to have so many ideas! I used to be so full of cleverness and thoughtfulness and humor! Now I’m looking at my stapler wondering if I can simply describe it and call that good enough.

It’s black. And green. With a little silver. EVERYBODY GIVE IT UP FOR THE BEST BLOG POST EVER.

Ohmygod, writer’s block. It’s tragic.

It’s been months since I’ve had a thought that felt original. The world is a mess. The world is beautiful. And so many people are typing out their thoughts about this beautiful, messy world. I can’t seem to stitch three words together about it. I feel, to be sure. I feel sad, and awed, and frightened, and hopeful. We, as humanity, are lost; and yet, all hope is not lost.

I take a sip of my coffee. Ohmygod, writer’s block.

My kids are bustling downstairs, doing their chores and looking forward to their day. We’ll pop by and see their dad at work. We’ll deliver a freshly baked pecan pie to their papa. We’ll crash indoors through the hottest part of the day. We’ll go the pool in the late afternoon, and tonight we’ll celebrate the solstice by staying up as late as we want, reveling in the longest day under a full moon. We will be loud and wild and it will be a day to keep.

But in the back of my head, the whispers will be there: Writer’s block, writer’s block. I’m becoming paranoid.

Jesse’s story is nudging me away from the mesmerizing void of writer’s block (once you’ve encountered the block it will keep you in its thrall until your force your way back out), and I’m so grateful for her. But my confidence is shaken. Words have never come as easy to me as they do other writers I know (“The stories just tumble out of my brain!” they shout with glee. “If I don’t write it down the characters pester me until I do!”)–my stories require a lot of interior excavation, and even when I find what I’m looking for it doesn’t exactly cooperate. What if I don’t have what it takes anymore? What if I never did in the first place? What if I never catch up with my peers?

Well, hello there, fear. Nice to see you, pride. Blarg.

I just swallowed my last gulp of coffee. It’s time to get on with my day. Looks like I found words to put out into the ether after all, and although they maybe weren’t eloquent or original, at least they were honest.

Hm. Honesty. The cure for writer’s block? Maybe.

We shall see.

Loads of love,

teal

 

Still Kicking (+ an Excerpt)

It’s been awhile!

We moved into a new house. School let out for the summer. A garden was planted (don’t be too impressed–it’s super small, but I L<3VE it). A kitten was brought home. A bunny has passed away.

It’s been an eventful couple of months!

I’ve been spending time here and there working on story ideas, seeing which ones feel good.  Today I’m leaving you with a very unfinished (as in, the roughest of rough drafts) excerpt from a story that’s been churning in my brain for years. I think this might be the summer that Jesse’s story gets written.:)

If you dig visuals, check out the Pinterest board I’ve been pinning to for a very long time for this little tale (click here).

I hope you enjoy.

Loads of love

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•••   •••   •••  •••   •••

She had bracelets up to her elbows and so many beads and charms around her neck it was a wonder her back didn’t stoop. Her jet-black dreads were wrapped up in a white scarf that Jesse imagined was called something way more exotic than ‘scarf’. Something that required R’s that rolled the tongue and a secret knowledge of awesome hairstyles to use correctly.

She sat on a cushion of purple velvet by the Linstreet Park fountain, tarot cards spread out in a fan before her. A pink crystal ball sat by her side, resting on a perch of brass.

But it was her smile that caught Jesse’s attention. A flash of white in that dark face; a welcoming smile that was every bit mischievous as it was benevolent. Before Jesse knew what she was doing, she was making her way through the crowded farmer’s market to the fortune-teller, smoothing the skirt of her navy-blue and white polka-dotted dress. She was suddenly very aware of just how crisp and white her collar was.

“The lady has come to seek her fortune,” the woman said in such an ordinary voice that it took Jesse by surprise. She’d expected some kind of accent–Jamaican, maybe. Then she wondered if that was somehow racist and maybe she should feel badly for expecting it and–

A warm hand landed on hers, grasping gently.

“The lady is distracted. Perhaps she would like to find her focus?”

“Umm.” Jesse frowned. The fortune-teller smiled. “Yeah. I guess.”

“I am Matilda,” the woman said, letting go of Jessie’s hand and folding her own in her lap.

“Jesse,” Jessie said. “Jesse Townsend.”

“And Jesse is short for Jessica?”

Jesse snorted. “If only. But no. My given name is Jesse.” The story had been told and re-told only about a thousand times in Jesse’s life: Jesse’s dad wanted to name his baby after his favorite outlaw–regardless of whether or not said baby was a boy or a girl. Jesse’s mother hated the name (and still did), but acquiesced on the promise that Jesse’s dad would remodel her bathroom.

Myrtle got her bathroom–claw-foot tub and all–and Frank got a daughter named Jesse. Not Jessica.

“Do you have a middle name?”

Jesse ground her teeth. “Yep.” She did. It was almost worse than her first. As if felt compelled to make sure everybody knew what sex she was, her dad had given her a simple middle name:

Girl.

Jesse Girl Townsend.

Inevitably, Rick Springfield started singing in her head, just like it had for the past decade and a half since her evil older brother had introduced her to the song. She rubbed her ear on her shoulder, trying to make it go away. It didn’t–it always had to play the whole way through.

Deciding that following the impulse to talk to the fortune teller had been a mistake, Jesse grabbed her purse and started to stand up.

“Where are you going?” Matilda asked.

“This…isn’t exactly what I expected,” Jesse answered.

“Life never is. Stay put and give me your hand.”

“No, I don’t think-,”

“Precisely. Don’t think. Just let me look. Free of charge.” There was that smile again –that flash of mirth and mystery.

Reluctantly, Jessie let Matilda see her hand.

“Mmph,” Matilda said.

“What?” Jessie asked.

Matilda raised her eyes, locking them on Jessie’s. “You have a brother?”

“Yes.”

“And you are happy? In this moment?”

“Like, right now?”

“This moment in life. Things going well? Job? Love?”

“Yeah, I am.” She didn’t make a lot of money in the little bookstore she managed, but she loved her job and made enough to live. And she was almost certain that this would be the year that her boyfriend would propose. At least, she hoped it would be this year.

“What would you do, if your world fell apart, right now?”

Jessie leaned forward to look at the palm of her hand. “Why? What do you see there?”

“What would you do? Would you find a way to survive? Or would you be a victim?”

“I don’t–, I don’t know. What do you see?”

Matilda narrowed her eyes, and went back to Jesse’s palm. “You are brave. I think you will survive. No, not just survive. I think you will thrive. Are you an impulsive person, would you say?”

Jesse snorted. “No. Not at all.”

“But you came to see me today–did you plan that?”

“No. I never do things like this.”

“I think perhaps you are going to come into a time of forced impulsivity. Whether or not it will serve you well remains to be seen. You should know by the next new moon.”

“Forced impulsivity? What does that even mean?”

Matilda’s smile grew wide. She pressed Jesse’s hand back into her lap. “Go now. Your path is laid before you.”

Jesse dug into her purse in search of cash.

“No,” Matilda smiled. “This one was on the house. Next one won’t be so cheap.”

Fear is Terminal, but Love Conquers

Here’s the thing, America:

Responsible gun owners shouldn’t be blamed for acts of violence committed by criminals. Their right to responsibly own said gun shouldn’t be questioned because of potential future violent acts committed by criminals.

Responsible consumers of liquor shouldn’t be blamed for acts of violence or drunk driving committed by criminals. Their right to responsibly purchase and consume said liquor shouldn’t be questioned because of potential future violent acts or drunk driving committed by criminals.

Transgender people shouldn’t be blamed for acts of violence committed in bathrooms by criminals. Their right to use a bathroom appropriate for the gender they identify with shouldn’t be questioned because of potential future violent acts committed by criminals.

There will be crimes committed with firearms. There will be crimes committed by people under the influence of alcohol. There will be crimes committed against men and women and children in America’s bathrooms. God, it’s depressing to type that out and acknowledge it.

But.

BUT.

Those crimes are not the fault of good people. We shouldn’t punish good people for the crimes of bad people. We shouldn’t limit the liberties of good people because we’re afraid of how bad people might exploit those liberties. That kind of fear is terminal cancer to liberty.

Actually, you know what? Fear is terminal, period.

Don’t be afraid today, okay? Instead, be patient. Instead, be kind. Instead, forgive. Maybe lower your voice for a bit–you’ll still be heard, I promise. Don’t worry so much about the little things. Stop keeping track of all the ways you’ve been wronged. Be sad for the sad things in the world, but don’t let that sadness keep you from choosing to believe the best of people. Look for the good in the world–it’s there, it’s just not often the headline. And if, for some unlucky reason you can’t find any good, then be the good in the world.

Because in the end, that’s the only way we’re ever going to shine a light bright enough to chase fear away.

In the end, love will conquer all.

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