Thursday, October 07, 2004


I was putting things away in the kitchen at about 9:15, when it happened. I looked back toward my bedroom door, and thought, "I'm going to go write now." I felt almost playful, like I didn't believe my own instinctual pull toward the computer. Really? Naw, can't be.

I sat down at the keys. As the computer warmed up and kicked into gear, I felt myself start to tense up. My stomach tightened into a knot. The fear came flooding back. The thoughts of "can't" and "why bother." I closed my eyes and prayed, "Father, help me not to overthink this. Help me to just relax and do it." And my Father reminded me of a verse in Psalms He gave me the other night. Ps. 45:1--"My heart is stirred by a noble theme, as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer."

So as soon as I pulled the program up (I had forgotten that I renamed the icon on my desktop, so that it said, "Word, yo..."), I closed my eyes and listened. I didn't try to come up with an idea, or formulate some brilliant plot. I listened.

And in my mind, I heard a front door slam, and the sound of letters fluttering to the floor. A man walked over and picked them up. Then he started clearing the dishes from dinner. There had been a fight, but I didn't yet know why. I wondered what had happened, as he conducted a few mundane chores. Then, as I listened to the rattle of the dishwasher, I began to find out what was the matter.

I listened to the conversation. A few times, I caught myself trying to direct it down one path or another, but I went back and deleted my unwelcome interdictions. It's rude to interrupt.

After two hours and 2200 words, it was finished. I completed a story.

This doesn't sound like a big deal to some, I'm sure. But understand that I have at least two dozen incomplete short stories in my computer and my paper files, and scores of undeveloped ideas and fragments. The very fact that I found the ending and stopped is exciting to me.

I went over it in red pen during my lunch break, catching inconsistencies, cutting hollow verbiage. I'm debating whether or not to cut the last ten lines off the story, because they're starting to ring false. I'm gonna show it to my friend Josh, and ask for some advice about how realistic certain parts of it are.

I know it's probably crap. This isn't self-deprecation; this is realism. I know it's crap, but I'm really okay with that. Because the very fact that it exists means that the writer within has not shuffled off his immortal coil or gone quietly into that dark night. It means that it's not too late to try this again.

It means that there's still a chance to be what I think I was made to be.

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