Writing

Getting It Out: Last Night’s Epiphany

[ Written on 10 NOVEMBER 2015 ]

The first few minutes upon getting into bed each night are reserved for my wife and I to have quick and often silly conversations.  Most of the time they are comical and nothing really worth remembering except for the laughter and odd sounds our daughters hear coming from our room that I’m certain have been mistaken for other activities.  But last night the conversation sparked a thought in my mind that I haven’t been able to shake.  The actual subject being discussed was simply the fact that she no longer has to carry the on-call work phone for the first time in over a month.  However, to her disappointment they did give her another work phone to carry with her so they can still reach her if needed (yes, she’s still somewhat “new” to her job at this point).  I made the comment that I have been carrying a work related phone for 10 years now and that it’s not such a bad thing.  I then went on to say that I hope I’ll be carrying one for the next . . . . and that’s when it hit me . . . . . 20 years.

My initial intent was to imply that I hope to be gainfully employed from now until retirement.  Instead I found myself thinking about the fact that I have at least another 20 years of work before I reach the age at which I can begin thinking about retiring.  My mind instantly began thinking about what it would be like to be doing what I am doing today for another 20 years.  I do love my job and what I get to do every day for a living – so that idea didn’t bother me so much as realizing that what I have been telling myself all year long about my dream of ever having a writing career has been completely wrong.

This year I turned 40.  I assumed that if I haven’t written anything or been published by now that it’s too late to switch gears and even make an attempt at it.  My career path has been set and I should just coast to retirement – right?  I mean . . . I’m FORTY for Christ’s sake!  But then thinking about having 20 more years of work before retirement made me realize that I have TWENTY YEARS left in which I could actually write something and maybe . . . just maybe . . . even see it published someday.

That realization has brought with it basically three emotions.  The first being embarrassment that I never realized it before and was just giving myself an excuse not to write.  The next was excitement at the prospect that I still have a real shot and having a modest writing career because I do still have plenty of time left.  The last was sheer fear and terror at the thought of not really having a project in mind and that the clock is ticking.

It seems every year at some point between January to December I reflect on writing and what it would be like if I could do it for a living.  Ever since I was a kid back in elementary school I recall telling teachers I wanted to be a writer.  I have always loved being in my own head and coming up with stories.  My problem with writing seems to be lack of discipline . . . and finding the end or dramatic conclusion to a story.  I’m GREAT at finding or creating the beginning of a story.  I love creating characters, worlds, friends, enemies and the things that get the ideas flowing to start a project.  But then once the cast is assembled and the world somewhat illuminated I struggle to find the end or know where I need to go in order to write the story.  I remember J.K. Rowling said once in an interview that she knew from the moment she started writing the Harry Potter series where it would lead and how it would end.

What a bitch, right?

I mean, shit – give me some hope that I’m not alone with my dilemma and am not the first person to have this issue.  I’d like to think there are at least a few successful writers out there who often times start a story with no ending and eventually find it.  And not just any ending . . . a brilliant one.  At this point I would settle for finding an ending to a story that was “decent” enough to get at least one writing project finished.

I know I’m creative.  I know I’m happy when I put words to page.  It’s therapeutic for me and though I have no idea why, but I sincerely do find pleasure in writing when I actually take the time to sit down and do it . . . like now.  Maybe that’s why I never truly give writing a fully dedicated attempt.  I mean really, what are the odds that something that I find to be fun and entertaining could be something that anyone else would care to read or find equally entertaining?  In my experience the world just doesn’t work that way.  Maybe at the end of the day all I really have is a lack of confidence and that I fear my writing simply isn’t good enough.  Maybe I’m just afraid to try so that at the end of it all I don’t have to see if I would succeed or fail.  It’s one thing to wonder if I can do it and believe for some reason that I can.  But it’s another thing to actually try and be told that I am not good enough.

Then again, maybe not trying is even more of a failure.

Maybe I am just trying to find a way to psyche myself into writing more to get back into the habit again.  To find a story and to write it.  After all – I do find that I say I “keep coming back to writing” at some point every year.  Maybe I should just quit walking away from it?  Maybe that is what I should do and see where that takes me.

I kind of like that thought better than the one I had last night and this morning.

-BK

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Writing Challenge from The Daily Post

Last week, The Daily Post offered up an interesting writing challenge that I decided to take part in.  The perfectionist in me has prevented me from posting my story until today.  You can read all about what the challenge is by clicking here.

I’m including the picture in my story as well for you to reference while you read.  Let me know what you think in the comments section below – good or bad, it’s all helpful.

Enjoy!

-BK

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Picture Worth 1k Words WP _ photo courtesy of Cheri Lucas_Jan 2013Time stood still.

That moment when I stepped out of the streetcar onto the cobblestones my heart sank and the world became a photograph that will forever be etched into my memory. I stood there incapable of drawing a single breath as the pure terror of what I saw shot through my body like electricity. In my head I heard his voice saying that one word again and finally understood what that word meant. That word now embodied my entire world and judging by the lecherous grin on his face he saw the impact his word had finally made on me too.

“Insurance.”

That one simple word and the sight of them together has me frozen in time not knowing what my next move will be. Even worse – I don’t know what he has planned for his. I’m trapped in this one moment of time reliving the last 16 hours in a fraction of a second and left to wonder what is in store once the clock begins again. To everyone in the world who has ever said “It will all be over in second” to somebody – go fuck yourselves! Seconds like the one I’m in now can last an eternity.

“What?”

It was all I could mutter. Sure, I was fishing for more information that I knew he wouldn’t give – but it also gave him the chance to speak. Evan loves to hear the sound of his own voice. Maybe once he started talking I could gauge from the tone of his voice how willing he is to resolve this whole thing amicably. It was all I could think of to say considering his brief time in my life. It was the only safe thing to say knowing all that he has done and likely will do again. Hopefully, just not to me.

“I’ve acquired some insurance should you decide not to show.”

Jesus fucking Christ! This guy just won’t let this end quietly. He is in complete control of me and he knows it – but he’s making sure that I know it too. Cocky bastard is probably grinning at me through that Goddamn cell phone of his that he thinks makes him look like some CIA spook. Who knew the official sponsor of pretentiousness would be Samsung.

“What are you talking about? I’ve done everything you’ve asked! I’m coming to meet you tomorrow – please . . . Can we just end this?”

“This never should have began, Kate. I’m just seeing it through to it’s rightful conclusion.”

I knew there was nothing more I could say to that. He was right. I did start this and everything that has happened since has been my fault. I never should have tested his resolve the way I did because now for the next few hours – he owns me. Thankfully up until now nobody has caught wind of what has been happening. If I played this right I may be able to pull this off. Then everyone who could have been hurt will be none the wiser. Their lives will go on and remain untouched by this lunatic. But that also meant I would have to face him alone. At least he let me pick where that would be. It has been the only gentlemanly gesture he has made since I have known him.

“I’ll be there, Evan. You remember where the trolley stops by the Red Door Cafe on Marcona Street, right?”

“Of course. How will I know you?”

He knew I’d pick some place public that had enough pedestrian traffic in an effort to keep him from doing something to draw attention to us – like say, shooting me in the head once I was within his range and he is able to confirm my identity. I have to say it like that, “…within his range…” to remind myself that for him there isn’t much that is ever out of range. It also serves as a reminder that up until then he has yet to put a face to my name. So far, that has been my only way to maneuver in his world undetected. That, to use his word, was my insurance.

“I’ll be wearing a black tank top, white pants and sunglasses in my hair. It’s blond by the way, not that you care – and long. Just past shoulder length. Think you can remember all that for the next 16 hours?”

SHIT! That slipped. I shouldn’t have said that and taunted him now when I’m so close to being finished with him. The only flaw in Evan’s character that I’ve ever been able to detect is the vanity he has when it comes to his intelligence. He prides himself on always having more knowledge than his opponent on everything they happen to be involved with together. And more often than not, knowing things outside of their business dealings that cross over to their personal lives and who they are when they are not dealing with him. Make no mistake about it, it’s not just you who’s in lieu with the devil once you make your deal – it’s everyone you have ever met or will meet from that day forward. No doubt he caught that snark and will make me pay for it.

“For your sake, Kate – you had better hope I can. You see, the insurance policy I took out to ensure your presence tomorrow is . . . Well, quite distracting. I may just decide to focus on them instead. That way I wouldn’t have to occupy my mind with such a remedial task as remembering your wardrobe selections or color of hair. Then again, I’m sure the family resemblance will be quite noticeable once you step off the trolley. Perhaps that will ease my burden.”

Assumptions get people killed in my line of work. I assumed he had on me the same thing I have on him when he made the reference to “family resemblance”. An old photograph of my parents wedding day. Maybe some video from a family vacation that my mother posted on YouTube a few years back. It wasn’t until now that the depth of what this man is truly capable of came to light for me.

Even from behind I knew he was holding my baby sister.