It’s funny how things come about sometime. Case in point: I was minding my own business this time last year when a friend of mine announced that he had been attending a flash fiction group. I had no idea what flash fiction was at the time, but when he shared a piece he had written for the most recent group meeting, I was hooked. I found out the group challenged themselves every week to write a 500-word story, give or take a few words. Continue reading “Me and Ricardo: A Novel”
“I don’t want to repeat my innocence. I want the pleasure of losing it again.” ~F. Scott Fitzgerald
Memory is a fickle thing. It used to be my constant companion. People often asked me for clarification when anything involved a shared memory because they knew I would know what had really happened. It was a gift I guess I took for granted, that I lorded over others like Excalibur newly freed from the stone.
But unbeknownst to me while I was in the middle of that blessed time, memory was also fickle. I imagine it had begun curving away from me, its ends a bit frayed by time, without my even recognizing the shift. As time went on I started to lose fragments of my massive memory. I used to joke about it, back then.
“I guess that memory had to leave to make room for this one, right now,” I would tell people, but inside my brain this niggling doubt began inching its way in. Continue reading “Losing It Again”
“The writer isn’t made in a vacuum. Writers are witnesses.” ~E.L. Doctorow
Truer words have ne’er been spoken. Seriously, though, writers don’t just write for the pleasure of it. So often we are compelled to speak, by time, and circumstance, and this endless need to fill a black hole inside of ourselves. What compels us are our everyday lives, though many of us don’t write specifically about those everyday lives.
We write science fiction, fantasy, horror, ways to escape that world for the amount of time it takes us to get our thoughts out. But we aren’t escaping as much as we are creatively chronicling those times, those experiences.
For every character who goes to Mars there is a little boy living with domestic abuse who needs to get away. For every post-apocalyptic love story, there is a woman who needs to escape the mundanity of her relationship. For every “Team Edward” there is someone hoping for change they can believe in. Continue reading “The Awesome Power of Writing”
I have always hated being one of the crowd. For as long as I can remember, it was always imperative to me to maintain some semblance of difference from the “unwashed masses” who listened to the same music, who read the same books, who did the same things in their spare time.
I fought hard against being the same as anyone else. If you told me everyone liked the color blue, I would have told you I hated it (even though I have no feelings whatsoever for the color blue). If you told me everyone was drinking white wine, I would have preferred red, for no other reason than that everyone was drinking white.
Of course, after a time, this default setting of mine to be different made me forget that sometimes I really did agree with the majority. Sometimes I found myself swaying to Britney Spears, reading and enjoying John Grisham novels whilst drinking white wine. Sometimes I found myself hating that I loved something, simply because everyone else loved it and that made me normal. Continue reading “One of the Crowd”
“That cloud looks like Mike Tyson,” Sheena said, poking me in the ribs.
She was always poking me in the ribs, but I had nowhere to go. We had been shoved together in the backseat for five hours straight, and if I thought she was annoying in a room, Sheena in the car was worse.
“That cloud does not look like Mike Tyson,” I responded without looking.
“You didn’t look!” she squealed. “Joey didn’t look!” she told my mom, who also didn’t look.
Honestly, I don’t even think my mom wanted to go on the trip in the first place, but Barry insisted on it. He and my mom had been together for two years, and I felt like he was pushing it a little bit, with those stupid family trips. Sheena was his kid, a little brat who never stopped talking.
“You missed the cloud that looked like Mike Tyson,” she said, pouting. Continue reading “No Silver Linings”
miracle: a highly improbable or extraordinary event.
I believe in miracles.
No, not the kind where angels show up and do magical things. Not the kind where the lilting sounds of strings betray a majestic happening. Not even the kind where a fairy tosses dust that makes everyone fly.
I believe in honest-to-goodness down home miracles. The kind where people who have been estranged for years reconnect. The kind where “Odds be damned! We made it happen!” The kind where the little people triumph over the big ones.
I believe in everyday miracles.
But miracles take work. No one just sat around and complained about something, did nothing to make a change, and things happened anyway. No one just wished upon a star and things magically changed. That’s not the way the world works, and I wouldn’t want it to anyway. Because when we get things that are not the substance of our efforts, we tend to take them for granted. Or lose them. Or both.
Miracles take work because life is work. I have a friend who often says, “I’m not a pessimist. I’m a realist.” And I appreciate her assessment of her situation, but I don’t think it’s true. Being a realist means having room in your mind for those inexplicable, improbable events that color life in the most spectacular of ways. Because that’s real.
Because everyday miracles happen all the time. We just have to be doing our part to make sure we don’t miss them.