I've done some things. Now I'm working on my writing, trying to get better at it. But mostly having fun creating stories.
Grandma's New Hobby
I am a beginning writer and a grandmother. When I found Vocal Media online, I was interested in writing stories to submit to the website, but I was also hesitant. Would I have any stories that others would want to read? What would I write about? Can I write well enough that I will avoid embarrassing myself? These were some of the questions that entered my thoughts when I considered whether to begin this journey.
The Briefcase (version 2)
Bonnie was on a plane, 36,000 feet in the air, nervous about the flight, seated next to a man in a black suit, thin black tie, and a white shirt. He looked nervous as he white-knuckled the briefcase that was sitting in his lap. Bonnie noticed that the man had immediately grabbed his briefcase from under the seat in front of him as soon as the plane was in the air, after they announced that it was ok to move about. Bonnie kept glancing over at his grip on the briefcase. She wondered if she should speak to him, given his state. She decided against it for now, and instead she opened her package of gum, put a piece into her mouth, and closed her eyes. She tried to put him and his briefcase out of her mind and focused on the deep breathing exercises she read about in an online article on how to deal with fear of flying.
Vocal has a new Challenge called Coming of Age. The Challenge asks for a true story which tells of a time, or an event, that caused a change in the writer’s life or viewpoint. A story about something “that changed everything”. For whatever reason, I’m having a hard time with finding a good story for this topic. Until this point, most of the stories I’ve written and submitted to Vocal have been on topics that I could write about without thinking too much with topics that have always been right there, showing up without a lot of effort on my part. It’s not that I don’t have stories to choose from for this most recent Challenge. I have many personal stories about events that changed my views, or shook up my life, changing everything after the experience but I’m not ready to share most of those stories with strangers on the Internet. So, I wrote a list. And I immediately scratched off some of the things on the list, deciding against those stories. Other stories didn’t make it to the list at all, remaining in my brain with a clear “nope” and one of those red circles with a line through it to signify that this story was not to be used under any circumstances. That left me with a short list of about four or five stories that don’t feel too personal but still have potential. Thinking about each topic, one by one, I’m working on how to make the story fit the Challenge, asking myself: how did I feel before the event? How did I feel after the event? How did my life, or my view of life change because of the event? This is the hard part. I can write a short story about significant or memorable events that happened in my life, easily enough. But thinking about how they changed me isn’t something I’ve done with most of the topics that made it through the final cut.
Bonnie was on a plane, 36,000 feet in the air, nervous about the flight, seated next to a man in a black suit, thin black tie, clutching a briefcase in his lap, which he immediately grabbed from under the seat in front of him as soon as the announcement was made that it was ok to do so. He looked nervous as he white-knuckled the briefcase. Bonnie noticed his nervousness the instant she took her seat. She kept glancing over at his grip on the briefcase, occasionally noticing the stressed look on his face through her peripheral vision. She wondered if she should speak to him, given his state. For now, she closed her eyes, tried to put him and his briefcase, out of her mind, and instead, focused on the relaxing breathing techniques that she read about in an online article on ways to deal with fear of flying.
The Pear Tree
Fiction but based on a true story. My name is Jack. I never really liked my name until after my great-grandfather came to live with us. See, I was named after my great-grandfather, but I didn’t really know much about his life until I was around eight years old, which was the summer I found the pear tree in a wooded area near a creek in our suburban neighborhood. I was out exploring the neighborhood, something I began doing a lot since Great-Grandpa Jack moved in. My great-grandfather was quiet and sat in a big chair my parents added to our living room when he moved in. He had an old person smell and since I hadn’t spent much time around him before he moved in, I didn’t know what to say to him, so I would leave the television to him and go outside as often as possible that summer.