It’s Wednesday’s Word, and you know what that means: write something – an essay, poem, or flash fiction – based on Wordsmith.org’s word of the day and post it by midnight. Past pieces from this fun writing exercise can be found under Wednesday’s Word on the sidebar to the right.
A New Year generally brings a fresh start, a positive outlook, a host of promises to do better, be better, feel better. But, for me, just days after the festivities ended, I hit a wall.
It wasn’t writer’s block as much as it was the feeling of writer’s plateau.
This thing isn’t really going anywhere, I thought. “This thing” being that one story still sitting in someone’s slushpile, that novel I’m trying to write, and bla bla bla. I bet you know the drill.
No writer should sit in that place too long. As writers, we often hear we should write for our readers. But some days, we have to write for ourselves. Thankfully, it’s Wednesday and time for my biweekly tête-à-tête with Wordsmith.org. If I didn’t commit to do this thing every other week (for my own darn good), I’d still be sitting in that cesspool of doubt, trusting a shiny quarter to decide my fate:
Heads I quit, tails I don’t quit.
Three out of five.
Okay, five out of seven.
Fine, seven out of ten.
Never trust a quarter. Besides, I don’t really want to quit. I just want to move forward. And, the best way to do that is to write.
primrose path. noun. A path of least resistance, especially one that ends in disaster.
As they say on Twitter, #amwriting now.
Peter poured the coffee and handed a cup to his wife, Sharon. “Quitting would be easy,” he said, “but then what would you do?”
“I’d go back to knitting dishrags and Yoga every morning and reasonable bedtimes,” Sharon said with a huff.
“Okay. But, you’d be depressed within the month.” Peter kissed her forehead and picked up his briefcase for work.
“I’m already depressed,” she said.
“Nothing worthwhile is ever easy,” he told her, and he promised to check in on her at lunch. Then, he shut the door. Sharon shuffled back to where her laptop waited in sleep mode.
She drummed her fingers on the desk.
She jiggled her mouse. The screen lit up, but her muse didn’t.
She studied the pattern of the glaze on her coffee cup, the one she bought from that little pottery shop in Pueblo years ago.
“My new mojo!” She’d told the Potter, as she handed him twenty dollars.
“Big enough to hold three cups of coffee in one, and sturdy enough to work you through a dozen bestsellers,” he’d said when he’d given her the change.
She’d read more than a dozen bestsellers since then, but she hadn’t written one. She stared out the window next to her desk and watched a brown spider weave a whole web in the corner — one short length of silk at a time.
If only it were that easy, Sharon thought, to start at the beginning, jump to the end, and then fill in the middle. “Spiders never get writer’s block,” she mumbled, and she tapped on the window. The spider scurried to the side of the pane. It bobbed and then folded into a small hole in the wood.
Sharon sighed and wrapped her hand around her cup. As she tipped it to take a drink, she noticed a line across the rim. She held the cup away from her to get a better look.
Yes, she thought, a crack. A hairline fracture, really, but still!
“Ha!” She told the spider, who had ventured back out of the hole but had not yet crossed her web. “No wonder!”
She poured out the coffee and tossed the cup into the recycling. She rifled through the cabinet for a clean cup – a plain one without the distraction of glazing or a logo. She put on a fresh pot of coffee. Her mind whirled, her fingers tingled.
Something was definitely brewing. *
* I’m not sure what this story has to do with primrose path, so much, but there you are, anyway. And, I think I feel better.