Describing Frightened

It’s worrying your fingers while you wait for the dentist to come back and give you Novocaine for a wisdom tooth withdrawal.

It’s being the last group to perform in a series of short plays, and realizing you can’t remember your first line the second you get on stage.

It’s walking down the hall to find your basement door open, and then it hits you: where did you last see the cat? Did it get out?!

It’s the ticking clock in the back of your mind, counting down the days to when you move out for good. It’s wondering if it’ll really be alright, or if you’re just opening the door for something waiting in the wings.

#ROW80:

I’m this close to finishing the prequel short story draft for my news friends, which I avoided all weekend because sad things are tough to write, and I wanted to get it right the first time. (I’ll be talking more about this, and some other changes I’m making, in the next news issue.)

Oh, and there’s also been progress with book edits. Somehow, they’re making it through all my efforts at procrastination.

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Also, from today through the end of the month, my book is only $0.99 on Amazon. <3

Describing Sarcasm, #ROW80

It’s the biting comment you make after someone in a position of power over you says something mind-bendingly stupid, and yet those in the room fall for it.

When you roll your eyes and plaster a fake smile on your face, just so you can get through the conversation without screaming.

It’s the laugh you emit when people try to convince you they’re interested in what you have to say, even though you’ve been bought this way before, and it didn’t end well for you.

When you play nice and agree to work with something that clearly isn’t right, so you make every act elaborate and unnecessary to make sure everyone knows what position you’ve taken.

#ROW80:

Forgot this part until about half an hour ago. 🙁

Handwriting the book 2 prequel short story. It’s either going to be longer than expected, or just the right length, with some changes I had no idea I’d have to make because what plays out in my head is different than how I planned it at the end of 2015. Go figure! Now, to choose which version to go with: the longer, or the more pre-planned…

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Describing Openness

It’s wanting to go out, until you actually get asked to do something, and then saying you’ll go anyway because didn’t you just want this?

When you’re out, it’s reminding yourself why you’re there, and not at home.

It’s reminding yourself that you wanted this, you whined about this, you longed for this.

It’s still not feeling fulfilled. It’s the voice in the back of your head whispering, “Let’s just get out, this was stupid, I hate doing this, and besides, this place is a dump.”

When you go to tell your friends you’re done, it’s the bright, excited smiles on their faces, and the bracing way they grab your arms to tell you how happy they are to see you, how much they missed you, and how it’s great to see you coming out with them.

It’s the soggy feeling of watching your plans to leave slip away, their foundations crumbling, no matter how hard your discomfort tries to hold them in place. It’s wondering what your words and fears would do to the happy smiles on your friends’ faces.

When you start to wonder, it’s the mean little voice in the back of your head whispering, “if they were really your friends, they wouldn’t have asked you to come out here in the first place. They’d know you better.”

As you start to look for your keys, it’s the heavy, leaden feeling you get when you realize you’re being a chump for walking away when you promised that young, sprightly part of yourself that you’d go out if you got asked. It’s the cotton-tongue feeling of knowing that sprightly version of yourself is probably ready to start crying in the bathroom, shutting the door behind itself and punishing you with silence for breaking its heart.

When you recognize this, it’s the slow way you put your keys back into your pocket. It’s the feeling you get where you know the sprightly version of yourself has lifted its head, daring to be hopeful. It’s the smile you plaster to your face as you join your group again, and focus on the conversation, instead of your own discomfort.

It’s the feeling you get when that plaster smile becomes real, and then grows into laughter, and then fades into tiredness. It’s the warmth you feel when, at the end of the day, you all get up, get your coats, and promise to do this again sometime.

When you walk out, it’s the resolve you feel that yes, you will do this again. This was fun.

Even when you know how much of a struggle it will be to motivate yourself out the door.

#ROW80 update: I’m back to writing 1,000 words a day. I was going to try for writing 2,000 words a day, to match my old NaNo schedule, but ouch. It’s been a while — a year and a half? — since I’ve done that.

A (big) part of this is the fact that I changed keyboards to reduce the pain in my wrists. Now, I’ve been working with this keyboard since last fall, and my hands don’t hurt nearly as much anymore, but I don’t use it at work. So whatever gains I make with practicing on it are tempered by 40 hours a day of not using it at all.

I’m getting way better, though. I can type about half my usual speed, which is improved from a quarter of my normal speed, and sometimes, if I’m not thinking about it, I can just get into the groove without slowing. I make plenty of mistakes, though. Slow and steady, and all that jazz.

The other part of not doing 2,000 words a day is that I’m more comfortable with the 1,000 words. If I have other ideas during the day, I’ll write more, but I’m not pushing it. Anything extra will get added in later. Those are my fun words. I think I can make some decent time on these stories at the pace I’m going.

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Describing Hesitant

When you enter a dirty bathroom, it’s the reluctance you have to touch the stall doors, or the sink knobs, or even use one of the toilets.

It’s the uncertain look you pass to your friends as you try to decide whether or not you need to use the bathroom that badly.

When you reconsider your plans, it’s the reminder that you won’t be at a bathroom again for another two hours while you drive back home.

It’s the way you cluster together, arms crossed, purses clenched to your side, as you rock on the balls of your feet and wait for someone to make a decision.

When your friend decides to brave it, it’s the hard click of her shoes across the grimy tiled floor. It’s the realization that her steps have to be loud, that they have to echo off these greenish walls, because otherwise, she won’t be brave enough to take care of what needs to be done.

It’s the slow peel of each friend from the cluster as you follow her lead, inching towards the other stalls, and poking the doors into place with the tips of your fingernails, all covered in toilet paper, so that you don’t catch whatever germs have been festering since the last time the place was cleaned — probably a year ago, at least. It’s the dance you do, laying toilet paper over the seat and trying not to sit even on that, while you try your best to hurry your bowels along.

When you’re done, it’s the mad scramble to leave the stall, regroup, and then shuffle out together, your hands reaching into purses for Wet Ones, and keys, and conversation about just how gross that was, and can you please never do that again? Can you just find another bathroom next time?

It’s not the relief that goes around your group on a single breath as you make your way back to the car, grateful to finally go home.

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Describing Inspiration

It is the flush of heat that comes over your cheeks in the middle of the day, probably during a boring class, or an overlong meeting, or a family reunion that couldn’t go more wrong.

It is the punch-drunk giggle you emit when a brilliant save arrives to pull you from possible disaster in a project.

It is the grinning little pixie that flops onto your shoulder to steer you down a new direction just when you can feel your whole grand plan coming together.

It is the Muse lounging in the corner of the room, reaching out to your work station and crumpling up all your ideas when you don’t think of something it likes.

It is the raunchy joke your otherwise uptight aunt lets slip at just the right time, and makes you think, “What else don’t I know about her?”

It is the trip to a dry-mouthed museum with the spot of brilliant, blisteringly hot and intense color at the back of the building, in one of the larger halls, that you just can’t tear your eyes away from.

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It is the thunderous song, the lilting song, the tender song, the tearful song, the hopeful song, that you just need to capture in some physical, tangible way, so that whenever someone sees your work, and hear the song alongside it, they’ll know the two have always belonged together.

It is the enormous dust bunny you uncovered a spider under a pile of junk you’ve been meaning to move, and now you just have to clean everything spotless before you can fall asleep.

It’s the frustration you feel when you know that something has to be done, but no one is doing anything about it, and you realize, as Ann Patchett did, “If I can form the sentence: ‘whose responsibility is it to…,’ then it must be my responsibility to do [insert whatever you think has to be done here].”

It is the first real plunge of your hands in the soil, on the first real day you chose to work outside, and the amazement you become overwhelmed with at the thought of how miraculous life is. It is the sudden, must-be-done-now desire to be a part of that–to flood your world with plants until the entire place is bright with sun-happy blooms.