A word about categories and this blog

I’m not writing enough.

There, I said it. Admitting that you aren’t writing enough when you’d like to honestly be able to call yourself “a writer” is a bit embarrassing for as my friend Sal once told me “It doesn’t matter if you get paid. Writers write. Period.” I try not to argue with Sal when she explicitly vocalizes punctuation. I like having all my fingers and toes.

Point is, I’ve been trying to find ways to write more, to take Julia Cameron’s advice and not make writing such a big deal. It’s a hard thing to do when you function well (OK, when you function highly efficiently…could someone please throw some hand grenades at me for the rest of my life? Thanks.) under deadline pressure. It’s one of the reasons why I find the structure of NaNoWriMo so comforting: there’s a schedule and a deadline and it’s clear and measurable.

And since my problem is finding time – this is what happens when you get involved in community politics – and since Cameron’s advice is to fit the writing in where it fits, I’ve started with a book called Fast Fiction: Creating Fiction In Five Minutes.

If I can’t find five minutes a day to write I figure I’m not a writer.

What appears in the Fast Fiction category are the results of those five minute stints (mostly) unedited. Some of them are better than others, and they are all rough. But hey, they’re writing.

I’ve created this new blog for my fiction because it just didn’t seem right to me to mix fiction with my regular blog. Perhaps that was a mistake. Time will tell.

Other categories and entries will appear here as I get the chance to back fill the stories that are currently living other places on the web.

…about losing

Dan Metzinger lost the ability to speak one fine May morning. He noticed during breakfast when he tried to say good morning to the cat and all that came out was a squeak. Dan simply shrugged and scratched the cat behind the ears. She purred and bumped his leg in that way that meant she was satisfied and went off to have a bath in a sunbeam.

His job wouldn’t be a problem Dan thought as he smiled and flashed his monthly pass that the bus driver. Being a “live help” support technician meant he spent his days typing anyway. The self-service coffee bar at the local deli got him a shot of caffeine wordlessly and the cashier never said anything to him anyway so he wouldn’t be failing to reply.

Since there was no pain in his throat, Dan decided to wait to see what happened. After a few weeks he felt his larynx get thick and stiff with disuse. Dan didn’t start to worry until the bright Sunday morning that looked like late twilight.

…about something worthless

The item in the gutter had no intrinsic value. In its current condition – dirtied from hours of bus and car exhaust, wet from the residue of someone’s spilled coffee half a block up – it wouldn’t even be accepted by the most desperate child or charity. Yet, for most who saw it as they went by it pricked at something deep inside them, something that those who thought about it at all thought they had control over and that most had simply buried unde rthe armor of $1,500 suits and $300 high heels. The sound of it drowned out by the ring of cell phones and the tweedle of incoming e-mails.

It made them stop, focus, and forget for a minute where they were and who they were pushing, shoving, and striving so hard to become. The ragged ear and the matted fur stripped off the veneer of civility and took those who actually looked back to a time when life was simple, when you could punch your friend in the arm in anger and then five minutes later be hugging that same friend because he’d hurt his knee on the monkey bars. Yes, the lopsided face of the discarded teddy bear was worth materially nothing but it had value greater than the rarest gem for those who actually saw it.

…about a symbol

No one thought the little box would mean much. It was just a place to leave lost and found objects. The random glove, a hat, a paperback book that had been left on a bench in the quad. And it didn’t mean much until the girl with the blonde hair left the note.

Red construction paper, neatly printed in “missing dog” style: Lost my will to live. Reward for some reason to go on.

From that first note the box took on new meaning. Sure, the blackberry people, their thumbs tapping furiously ignored the box. So did the iPod people as they bobbed along to rhythms only they could hear. But for many the box became their focus, the center solid in a world that had gone runny, a world where nothing was sure. In the end the box became the reason to live. That’s why the fire was so devastating.