Monthly Archives: October 2018

Loving A Writer

 

A letter to those that love a writer…

 

Many of the posts on this page are geared towards other bloggers and a few are just to the general public.  This post is directed towards a different particular group, anyone in the support system of a writer.  It doesn’t need to be a wife, husband, girlfriend or boyfriend, it could be a mother, father, brother, sister or just a close friend.  Anyone who has ever been faced with someone that you love looking into your eyes, asking you to read something they have written with the innocence of a child and a raw, nakedness in their eyes.  Whether it’s a one line story or a full manuscript, they are handing you a product of what goes in their head.  They are entrusting you with the most intimate part of themselves, their thoughts.  The one place that no one can ever go without your permission is into your head, they are giving you unfettered access to that place.  They are giving you the power to support or destroy them.

 

Some of you may think this is a dramatic and over the top description.  If so, then you’ve either forgotten what it was like in the beginning or maybe you’ve never been there.  Picture yourself sitting in front of a computer either at a desk or at the dining room table.  The person you love has handed you a piece to review for them.  Fill your heart with love and pride, because no matter what words are on that paper you can see the path that brought them to this point.  You have watched as they have grown, stumbled and kept going just to get to the point of putting those words on paper.  It could be gibberish, but you’d still be proud because this point is already a success.  Now as you begin to read, you can feel their eyes on you and your own anxiety spike.  Making sure to keep your breathing even and face expressionless for fear a stray thought causing a frown, no matter how completely unrelated, could cause a moment of doubt in their mind.  A doubt that could destroy the potentially fragile foundation there are standing upon.

 

Then there’s the inevitable constructive criticism.  While I am blessed with a writer that is open to such ideas, others may not.  Mine truly wants to know my opinion and thoughts.  We are able to have an open conversation about the piece and any ideas I have.  This is a truly remarkable place to be with mutual respect and love being the cornerstones of this conversation.  I still struggle with pointing out any typing errors or plot holes because my goal is always to protect those that I love.  I have to rationalize this process as a comparison to telling someone you love that they have food in their teeth or that black pants do not go with brown shoes.  I’d rather be the one to bring it to his attention.  It’s much worse to have a complete stranger point out a flaw from a place of ridicule instead of loved one from a place of compassion.

 

This confrontation and critique of their passion and ramblings into written word isn’t the only struggle in loving a writer.  There are the days when I feel guilty because I know he is choosing spending time with me over writing despite a deadline approaching.  There are also days when I feel like there an entire separate world that he is a part of that I can’t be.  I don’t know a thing about blogging, about SEO or affiliate programs.  I can’t help when he’s struggling with a new line of code or trying to reformat a picture.  There are people he can go to for help, a community of bloggers, and a world that I don’t fit into.  I’ve tried to learn enough to intelligently nod while he patiently explains once again how google analytics works and of course I do my best to not be jealous that some unknown to me female was able to solve all of his issues.  He knows these people, in the way that you know anyone on the internet, but more than I will ever know them.  They are a part of his writing world.  There’s also another part of his world that I can’t access.  It’s the one in his head, the one where these stories are created.  He has stories and characters that are constantly being built, walking around in his mind, growing and changing.  I wait in anticipation of the accesses granted when I’m asked to read a piece of his work.  I love to see how his mind works and the worlds he has created.

 

So to the point of this rambling.  First it is to tell the world how proud I am of my writer, how thankful I am be a part of his writing and how blessed I feel to be building this life we are building together.  While I have known him for many years, this is a new relationship and a new adventure.  There have been struggles and blessings and that’s before you add writing into it.  I enjoy being a part of his process and seeing his words become immortal for we all know that things on the internet are forever.

 

There’s also another purpose.  If I have learned nothing from my many years of being addicted to the internet, it’s that no matter how random your opinion on things is there will be someone, somewhere that will understand what you are going through.  Perhaps this will reach one of those people or perhaps it will only reach the trolls that will tell me how insecure we both are and we should probably seek counseling.  Either way, whether it reaches someone that needed to know they weren’t alone in these feelings, or whether it will reach someone that can give me advice on ways to better support my writer or just the trolls… this writing has served the main purpose.  To tell my writer that I will always support him in every way possible.

A Tale Never Told

A Tale Never Told

I entered a flash fiction contest a few months ago. The contest gives you the genre, a location for the story to take place in, and an item that must appear in the story, after which you have 48 hours to write your entry of no more than 1000 words. I got historical fiction in a book store with a flood light.

This is my entry.

 

 

This is my first time meeting the gruff old man I’m interviewing. He walks into my hotel room without knocking, with little fanfare and no introduction. He drops rigidly into a chair opposite a camera, fold his arms over his chest and acknowledges me with the curt nod. He immediately reminds me of what you would get if Clint Eastwood played R. Lee Ermey in a movie, or vise versa.

“So, how does this work?”

“Well, I’m going to try to keep my mouth shut and let you tell your story. I will try to save any questions I have until you are finished. Just be yourself. You don’t have to stare into the camera or anything, try to relax. If you need to take a break, or if you get uncomfortable just stand up and step outside. We can always edit the video later, but I prefer to not stop the camera once it has started. Is that all acceptable to you?”

“Sounds fine to me. I’m not gonna tell you how to do your job.”

“Cameras are rolling, you can start whenever you are ready.”

“My mother worked at a bookstore next to the commissary called ‘The Library’.”

“Was it a bookstore or library?”

“What happened to keeping your mouth shut? It was a bookstore. The sailors called it the library because if they didn’t damage the books they could return them for full price. That rarely happened though.

I went to work with my mother so I wouldn’t be home alone on my birthday. It was common to see kids at work with their parents back then, even more so on a military base. I had my own chair next to the register, right under a lamp that mother brought in so I didn’t hurt my eyes reading. The shop only had one window, and the overhead lighting wasn’t great so it was always kinda dark. Mother said sunlight was bad for the books, I thought it was because it was an old building.

I was just starting “My Friend Flicka” when we heard the planes. It was one long thunderous rumble getting steadily louder and closer. The sky dimmed as the rumble grew. Mother went to the door, when she looked out she paled. It was right then that explosions rattled the walls. People started screaming. The streets were immediately flooded with, then devoid of, people as everyone ran to their homes.

That’s what they were told to do you know. Just go home. Everyone watched from windows. Machine gun fire tearing up streets in front of their homes. They weren’t allowed to evacuate while the bombs were dropping, so they just waited.

Mother made me get under the counter. She shoved the lamp, and a stack of comic books into my hands and told me to hide. Then she started pacing. I didn’t really know what was happening. She wouldn’t let me near the door or window, she said we’re being attacked, but I wasn’t scared. My father was Senior Chief on the Arizona, he would beat them. What did I know, I was only just turning 9.

I started to worry after I had read 3 comic books and the explosions were still happening. Just as I was picking up another comic… It was…I need a minute.”

His face started to crack, then he immediately steeled his resolve to finish the story. My heart turned to mush right then. I looked away out of respect, and so he didn’t see me tear up. This is a man who told his story with all of the feeling of a technician saying you needed an oil change, not because he didn’t hurt, but because he hurt so deeply that this is the most he can muster without breaking down completely.

After a couple of minutes he started again. “You can read about people watching the PX get hit, but that doesn’t accurately depict it. A Japanese plane was shot down, and crashed into the PX. ‘The Library’ was attached to the PX.

I was lifted by the original impact then thrown back down. The sound was, still is, indescribable. There was screaming. Non-stop screaming, which turned out to be me. I was trapped behind the counter. The wall fell in but the counter held. The front of the counter had splintered enough that I could see through. It took a few minutes for the dust to settle before I could see anything. I could hear my mother saying my name, almost whispering it.

After a few minutes I heard the high pitched whine of the floodlight kicking on, then I saw her. I could only see her shoulders and head. The front door was blocked by something and the power was out, so the only light was from the whiny battery powered floodlight over the front door that shined directly on her.

She kept whispering my name. I told her I was ok, but she didn’t hear. I watched her for hours. She only laid there and whispered, occasionally turning her head looking for me. I could hear people trying to get in. The explosions stopped a while ago. Then I saw the blood, slowly forming a halo around her head. She couldn’t hear me. I kept screaming at her to be ok. I told her I was ok. She had to get up. They were looking for us, they were coming. The next time she tried to whisper she coughed blood. Her eyes closed. I watched her drift away.

I was trapped in the rubble for almost 24 hours before they got me out. I was all cried out by then. I didn’t have any tears left when they told me that the U.S.S Arizona was sunk and almost everyone aboard died. I never got to cry for my father. I have never cried since.”

Then, just like that, he stood said thank you turned and left with even less fanfare than he arrived.