I’ve been afraid to write lately. It started when a short time ago, I gave myself permission to be a writer. I read that if you write, you are a writer. It all sounded logical, except that when I really thought about it, I became paralyzed. If I write, it should be good. Of course being creative almost always erupts into a swirl of self-doubt and criticism in my mind.
If I’m not good, I should just keep a diary and not publish here on a blog for anyone to see. I suppose I am not so different than many others. In an effort to get myself unstuck, I did something terrifying – I entered a contest. You can find the link here. (http://www.cbc.ca/books/canadawrites/literaryprizes/shortstory/)
I don’t think I’ll win. I don’t think I’ll even come close, but this action has made me pay attention. It makes me try. Now I want to chase that dream until its exhausted and I can catch it. I’ve posted some of the story below. In order to qualify for the contest, the story must be unpublished, but I wanted to share a bit (it’s draft and not well edited at this point)…
Keep chasing down those dreams
Half way to the waking surface of another liquor induced sleep, she heard it. The mischievous sprite was already awake and before her eyes were open it was chirping. The ever present hum and whir of the endless tape started its loop for the day.
“When are we going to drink today,” it chided. “You know you don’t have any meetings after lunch so we can stop in for a martini and you can buzz away for the afternoon before you head home. No one will know.”
The tape was set. Rewind, play. Rewind, play.
“Fuck off. Just fuck off and leave me alone for one day,” her head hurting and exhausted before she even sat up and let her feet touch the floor.
Rachel recalled the basement of the farm house where she grew up. The cement half supported walls lined with canning and preserves her mother used to make her help with every summer. On the other half sat the wood stove on a dirt floor. It was always musty and damp and housed various varieties of spiders which terrified her.
Late fall and early winter would inevitably bring the sounds of a frog, pushing out its last breath in the form of a pathetic croak. The heat of the wood stove surely screwed up its hibernation schedule, and she surmised it was putting out its last call before its ultimate death by dehydration.
Rachel would sit on the bottom basement stair, patiently trying to determine which direction she should start her search. The noise drove her mother crazy and it was a good way for her to escape the non-stop chores and orders. After taking more time than needed to find the frog, she would eventually discover and unearth the dehydrated, dirt encrusted prune and bring it up to her mother in the kitchen.
Mother would patiently float it in the sink with a few inches of water until it puffed back into its original shape, hardly any worse for the wear. Rachel would then dutifully release it to the outhouse hole as there was always a layer of snow atop frozen ground by this time of year and its only chance at surviving the recent reincarnation would be down the shitter where it was a bit warmer.
“I’m that goddamn frog,” she murmured