*Looking for the January Subject Swap? Scroll down. I posted twice today. This is what happens when you forget to schedule things on a calendar.
I was invited to participate in Fiction Friday by Molly Field. I haven’t written fiction in several decades. I know, I can’t believe I am this old either! Anyway, I accepted the invitation because I want to stretch my creative powers and grow new grey matter. I mean, I want to be smart. Super smart. Other people want to be rich or beautiful. I want to be smart. It’s a life long dream of mine. I keep doing my best to become a genius. It’s not working out so well. One might say I have a little in common with the character in my story. Again, I am not a fiction writer so read this at your own risk!
Here is my untitled FICTION piece:
My writing is like my relationships, she thought. I can never seem to finish anything I start. This book. This marriage.
She looked around the room at the bulletin boards pinned with ideas. So many ideas. So much paper pinned to those boards. So much paper. She could no longer see any one piece of paper as separate from any other piece of paper. Just a bunch of ideas stuck to the wall like the aftermath of a small disaster. As if her mind had exploded and landed with a splat across the room, arranged in a way that would make little sense to anyone who came upon it.
There was no rhyme or reason to any of this, she thought.
Just scraps of brittle, yellowed paper floating to the floor and crumpled behind the open door. So much potential, squandered. So much paper. So much paper….
Where did it all come from? How did it all get tacked onto this wall. How did I ever think this would help me finish my book? She wondered.
Her life was always filled with so much chaos and indecisiveness. At what point should she just stop writing? At what point should she just give up on relationships and marriage? People were always softly suggesting she seek out other career opportunities. Writing was not a field you got into if you wanted stability. Nobody ever said anything like that about marriage. Marriage hadn’t proved to be a stable force in her life either, but nobody ever suggested she give up on that. They always focused on her writing.
What if she never had children? This is what she kept coming back to. This is what made her hold her breath as she sat in her office alone.
This could happen. She knew it now as she sat at her desk staring at the paper covered wall. People who can’t finish things don’t have children. People who can’t stay married don’t have children. She would likely be childless. She would just have to bear it. What else could she do? She was getting older. Time was running out.
The sunlight came in through the window and danced across her desk. As she moved her coffee cup she made the sunlight reflect off of her coffee and shimmer onto the ceiling. This was a hobby she had. A trick. A way to collect her thoughts. A ritual for her writing. The light rippled over the ceiling and reminded her of rocks skipped across the pond in her parents back yard decades ago. The water would shimmer in a tiny circular wave where the rock had struck the previously calm water. As a young girl she imagined she was the center of that circular wave. That she could be the center of the universe. That she could be the creator of movement and all things. As an adult this memory soothed her. As a writer, this memory got her mind ready for fantasy and images. For writing. It got her ready for writing.
It wasn’t working today, she thought. It wasn’t working. She was distracted.
She sat quietly for a moment. She scrolled through the pages of the book she had up on her computer screen. The book that she now wondered if she would ever finish. She wanted to cry.
This was her second attempt at writing a book and her second attempt at marriage. She was failing at both. Everything seemed to begin with excitement and passion, only to end with vague disappointment and numbness. She wasn’t good at finishing things. She never had been. Her need for perfection ruined everything. She knew this, but couldn’t help herself. She still wanted things to be perfect. She wanted life to be perfect.
She knew her marriage was over. She knew she couldn’t stop it from ending. Her marriage was suffering a slow, quiet death, much like her writing was. Much like this book in front of her was. The words on her computer screen seemed so empty. She was bored. She was bored with the middle of things.
Mostly she was just tired.
She was tired of being herself. She was tired of failure. She wanted to be a character in one of her books so she could write in a happy, story-book ending. She had the power to do that here. In her book she was the center of the universe. She was the creator of all things. She could decide who would be happy or sad, broken or triumphant. She could decide if people stayed in love forever or if they met bitter, angry ends.
Unfortunately, life couldn’t be controlled in that manner. She knew this. Characters in books really couldn’t be either. They had lives of their own too. She knew this. She also knew her characters would not be given happy, story-book endings. She didn’t write like that. She was a realist. She new heartbreak and pain were what most people experienced. Even people who stayed married. Even people who finished books. The world was full of suffering.
Perhaps my real problem is my desire to control things, she thought, what could she do about that?
Where could she begin.
Beginnings. I’m good at beginnings, she thought, I’m just not good at endings.
She put her coffee cup down on her desk. The shimmer on the ceiling moved. Another paper scrap dropped from her old bulletin board. The marriage was over, but the book could be saved. She could still finish it. She could still finish something. This was the only thing she had control over. This book. This was her chance to change. It was her only hope. What else could she do? If she failed she would start over. She would begin again. After all, writing was the only thing she had.
The prompt was: Your character thinks he/she is good at something, but he/she isn’t. Something happens that makes your character realize this. What? What does your character do about it? Write the story