“Working” On Vacation

Every year my family and l go away for the weekend after Thanksgiving. It just happened to become tradition a few years ago and it’s great to get away for a weekend in the middle of work and school. It’s a nice break.

I am not a light packer. Anyone who knows me personally in real life can tell you that. I would pack the entire house if l could. Example: l have three unread books on my Kindle. Before we left l bought a fourth one. Because you know there’s that .5% chance that l would happen to read and finish all three books in two days with time to spare and how tragic would it be if l ran out of something to read? Now, keep in mind that l brought my Kindle in an attempt to save space by not bringing physical novels. So it kind of balances out… l guess.

Anyway, l brought my Detective Florence 2 manuscript along with two notebooks (one blank, one with the outlined notes), the notes and outline for the first novel, blank index cards, blank post-it notes, and about five pens with four highlighters and two sharpies. Again, you need a plethora of pens because there’s that slight chance they will all run out of ink in two days.

Back to the point… l did some editing yesterday and l plan on editing today as well. Now that NaNo is over, l plan to finish editing the second novel, type up the next draft of both the first and second novels, outline the third, and then write the third. I’m in for a fun ride.

So l’m texting my friend yesterday and she asked how l was doing and such. I told her l was editing.

Her response: “Why are you writing while on vacation?”

Now let’s discuss…

I love writing. I am going to do it whenever and where ever l can. It relaxes me. I don’t see it as work. Sure, it would be nice to write full-time for a job, but whether that happens or not it will always be a passionate hobby of mine.

To be honest, l think vacation is the perfect time to write for a few reasons.

1. It’s a new environment. I tend to write at my desk at my house in my office/den l share with Kris. Sometimes, in the same room, l will write on the couch using the ottoman as a desk. Sometimes l go in my bedroom. When home alone, l’ll go in the kitchen or dining room. I even write while taking a bath. If l get a moment alone at work l’ll jot down notes. You can write anywhere you think of.

2. There are barely any distractions. When writing at home l have the Internet. There are many websites l am on that l can get to with a click of a button and before l know it, it’s time for bed. There’s also the cleaning. The dusty room around me just stares me down and it bothers me. There’s mail to get–l love getting the mail. I don’t know why, l never get anything good. If l’m not at work l usually keep an eye out for it. There’s also video games, friends to see, homework to do, etc.

3. There are no other responsibilities. Kind of like the previous point, there is no real cleaning to be done. As long as l clean up after myself before l go home, l’m good. I don’t have to worry about doing homework. I don’t have to worry about anything so my mind is cleared up for everything.

4. It’s relaxing. Why write next to the heating vent at my house when l can write next to the fireplace? There is no fireplace at my house; therefore, l cannot write to the soothing crackling sound. Well… l can, but those sounds are on websites. There’s no pretty flame or heat so it’s not the same effect.

I’m sure there are many more reasons, but this is what l can come up with for now.

My friend loves that l write and she supports me with it. She’s always asking how my novels are going, what they’re about, etc. However, she knows l want to write full-time which would be my career. Career is work. Therefore, she thinks writing is work. Technically yes, as it’s a lot of hard work and it’s a long process and such.

What she doesn’t realize is how much fun it is and how people need a certain passion for writing. Writers don’t see writing as work. Writing is just using the imagination and being creative.

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Short Story Sunday #32

STRANGERS IN A CAFE

            Two men entered Latte Caffeine. One wore a baseball cap announcing his favorite baseball team to the public with an oversized brown sweatshirt. His jeans were baggy with a few rips and tears down his legs. His sneakers were dirty, his left shoe missing a lace. His head was bent down as he looked at his smart phone, both thumbs dancing across the touch screen.

The other man wore a pressed baby blue button-down shirt that was tucked into what looked like brand new jeans. His black shoes shined brightly as though they were brand new. His hands were stuffed into his jeans pockets as he swayed in line looking at the back of the person’s head in front of him.

It was easy to guess which one cared more about what was going on.

“So my wife just texted me asking what I want for dinner tonight,” the disheveled man stated, “what do I want?”

The other man stood in front of him shrugging his shoulders. He didn’t bother to turn his head to look back.

“Josh, stop thinking. You know that’s just going to make you feel worse.” His friend put his phone into his sweatshirt pocket.

“I’m thinking about what drink I want to order.” Josh scoffed looking over his shoulder. “I am not nervous.”

“You seem pretty nervous to me; especially since you order the exact same drink every time we come here.”

“Maybe I want to switch things up this time.” Josh scratched the back of his ear. He took a step forward in the line once someone ordered their drink and stepped out of line.

“Randy…” Josh scowled.

“I’m just saying.” Randy smirked and chuckled.

They waited in line in silence after that. Randy looked all around the café with a smile on his face soaking in his surroundings. Josh was fixated on the menu studying it even though he knew what he was going to order.

When the lady in front of Josh started ordering her drink, Josh turned his head to look at all the people sitting in the café. An older couple was sitting on the couch by the fire sipping on their coffee while sharing a cupcake. A woman was sitting at a nearby table with a large coffee typing away on her Dell computer. Two women and a man were sitting at another table having breakfast and catching up with one another.

There were two empty tables one in front of the other that Josh eyed. He turned around and opened his mouth to say something to Randy, but a voice interrupted him.

“Excuse me?”

Josh turned around and gaped at the cashier in front of him.

“You’re next. What can I get for you?” he asked.

“Oh, uh,” Josh could hear Randy snickering behind him, but Josh did his best to ignore his friend. “I’ll just have a small peppermint mocha, please.”

He handed the cashier a five dollar bill, took his change and stepped out of line.

“Medium mocha frap, please,” Randy stated immediately once Josh stepped out of line.

Josh received his drink and waited for Randy to get his.

“Are you ready? You seem to be really distracted.” Randy questioned in all seriousness. He took his drink winking at the barista.

“I’m fine,” Josh sighed. “Where do you want to sit?”

Randy glanced back and forth between the two tables, both sitting next to a window. Each table had one chair at the ends seating two people to a table. He shrugged his shoulders and finally pointed to the left one.

Josh nodded and sat down at the table on their right. He sat in the chair facing the door of the café. Randy sat down at the left table facing Josh at the other table.

Without another word, Randy took out his phone and started playing a game. Josh held his coffee in both hands gazing out the window. His foot tapped nervously on the ground. After a few minutes, he heard the door to the café open. He straightened his back and stared at the door.

A blonde woman entered. She was petite, but tall with her black high-heeled boots on. Her jeans were dark with a bright yellow blouse. She clutched her handbag tightly as she looked around the café. She stepped in line and ordered her drink right away, as there was no one in line anymore.

“Small peppermint mocha, please,” she ordered.

Josh smiled.

She grabbed her drink and scanned the café with her eyes once more.

“Uh, Gabrielle?” Josh slowly stood up from his chair and raised his hand a little above his head.

“Joshua?” The woman walked towards him.

“Josh,” he nodded sticking out his hand.

“Gabby,” she smiled shaking his hand.

Randy looked up and put away his phone in his pocket. He smiled and gave Josh a thumb-up from behind Gabby’s back as she sat down at Josh’s table. Gabby was good looking and Randy approved so far. Josh tried not to look at him.

“It’s nice to meet you.” Gabby’s voice shook as she spoke.

“My pleasure,” Josh chuckled. He scratched the back of his head and glanced out the window.

“Are you as nervous as I am?” Gabby wondered.

“Is it that obvious?” Josh blushed.

“A little, but I think it’s cute.” Gabby took a sip of her coffee and tapped her fingers on the side of the cup.

“So,” Josh cleared his throat, “according to your profile you like to read?”

“Fantasy all the way.” Gabby nodded with a smile.

“I read a little bit of everything, but fantasy is my favorite too. What is your favorite book?” Josh leaned forward intrigued.

Gabby laughed out loud. “Ask me what my least favorite is. That is a much shorter list.”

Josh laughed at her joke while Randy rolled his eyes. He took another swig of his coffee and peeked inside it. He should have gotten a large.

Short Story Sunday #31

Start with: The hurricane neared…

            The hurricane neared and I was at the house all alone. Both of my parents were at their respective jobs, my older sister was at her boyfriend’s house, and my little brother was at his friend’s house. I didn’t know what to do or where to go. I didn’t want to be alone, but there was nothing I could do about it.

The news on the TV was telling everyone to stay inside no matter where they were. Both my parents worked third shift, so they weren’t due home until the morning, anyway. By then the hurricane would (hopefully) be over. My sister called and told me that she was just going to sleep over her boyfriend’s house because she didn’t want to drive in the rain. I asked her to try to come home since her boyfriend didn’t live far away and the rain was not yet bad enough for her to stay off the road. Of course, she told me no because mom and dad would never let her sleep over her boyfriend’s house. This was the perfect excuse to spend the night with him.

I called my little brother to make sure that he was still at his friend’s house or if his friend’s mother was going to try to drive him home. He too was going to spend the night with his friend because they were too afraid to go out in the rain. That was okay with me. He wouldn’t have been able to comfort me if I got nervous with the storm, anyway. As long as I knew where he was and who he was with, that was fine by me.

Now what was I going to do?

A flash of lightning shone through the blinds and a clap of thunder roared immediately after. I pulled back the curtain and gazed out the window. The rain was beating hard against the window pane. It was hard to see out the window with the water droplets covered the glass and the rain was coming down so heavy that it looked foggy outside. However, I was able to tell that the street was beginning to flood. As a pick-up truck drove by, he caused a large tidal wave into my yard and the house across the street; and he couldn’t have been driving more than two miles an hour.

I closed the blinds and draped the curtains closed in every window in the house as I turned on all the lights in the house. It was only six o’clock in the evening in the middle of July. Usually it looked as though it was only two in the afternoon, but between the rain and the dark clouds rolling overhead, it looked as though it was nine o’clock at night.

I sat on the floor in the middle of the living room next to my golden retriever. I brought my two cats into the room with us and they lay next to me and the dog. All three of them slept as I sat up staring at the windows. I could still see bits of lightning coming through the windows and I could hear the thunder and rain pouring down as thought it was right above my head inside the house.

I heard a sudden crack and the lights in the house turned off. The animals didn’t stir, but I jumped from freight. I took another peek out the window and noticed that it wasn’t just my house that lost power, but the entire street. Everything was dark; the houses, the streetlights, and all. I closed the curtain yet again, turning on the flashlight app on my phone.

I rummaged through some drawers in the cabinet in the living room. I grabbed all the candles I had in the house and lit them all. I placed three in the bathroom, a few in all the other rooms in the house, and about ten in the living room along with the flashlight on my phone.

With the dim candlelight in the house and the mixed scents of Christmas Cookie, Wedding Day, Autumn Leaves, and more, I sat back down in the middle of the floor in between my still sleeping pets and twiddled my thumbs. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I didn’t want to use any electronics since I wouldn’t be able to charge them again. There wasn’t enough light to read a book. I was just going to have to sit it out. It would all be over by the morning.

Hopefully.

Words: 758

Modified from “The Write-Brain Workbook” by Bonnie Neubauer

Short Story Sunday #30

Start with: I once asked…

            I once asked him if he was ever going to be happy in his relationship. From what I could tell, he didn’t seem to be very smitten with his current girlfriend. I had liked him for a while, but I was too slow in asking him out. Now he was dating some floozy for the past two years and every time he spoke of her, he was never too thrilled. He never seemed to be in a good mood after seeing her.

I wanted to ask him if he thought he and I would be a better match, but I could never get the words out. Despite him being happy or unhappy with his girlfriend, it was not fair of me to ask such a question. I didn’t want to be the reason for them breaking up. I didn’t want to be the “other woman.” Plus, if he didn’t like me back, I didn’t want my heart to break more than it already was. I didn’t want to lose the hope that we would maybe eventually get together.

They were always together. Of course, that was because his girlfriend planned everything out. She knew when they were going to see each other and for how long. Each day was written out in perfect detail except for the dates. That was where he could come in and she would put him in charge of planning those because he was “the boyfriend” and he was the one who “had to pay.” It made perfect sense in her eyes. It didn’t make any sense to me. I didn’t think it made any sense to him, either, but there was no telling what he thought. As I said, they were together for two years so I didn’t know if he was too afraid to break up with her or if he actually enjoyed their relationship.

So, I once asked him if he was ever going to be happy in his relationship. It took him a little while to respond as his blue eyes sparkled glancing up at the ceiling deep in thought. His chocolate brown hair shined in the florescent light, his cologne wafted through the air, and his soft thin thumbs twiddled together in his lap.

“I don’t know,” he finally replied with a long sigh and a shrug of his strong, broad shoulders.

They’re married now. I don’t know how he puts up with her and I’m not sure how she convinced him to propose. However, all hope of us getting together is gone. Now all I can hope for is a divorce.

Words: 431

Modified from “The Write-Brain Workbook” by Bonnie Neubauer

Short Story Sunday #29

Start with: If I could stop…

            If I could stop time, now would be the perfect time to do it.

I had been waiting for this moment for years. All of my hard work had finally paid off. From working at a dead-end part-time job to save money only for it to all disappear within the month due to bills and other things. It was extremely difficult to save money when your income was just about the same amount as your expenses.

I didn’t have to worry about that problem anymore, though. As I was sitting among the crowd I realized that this was one less expense that I was going to have to worry about. I was going to have more time so I would be able to get a full-time job; and a decent one, at that. I would be making more money without the biggest expense of all, so I would be able to pay my bills and still have money left over to do what I pleased.

I would be able to go out with my friends, go out to dinner if I didn’t feel like cooking… heck, I could buy regular food at the grocery store and cook healthy meals instead of having instant noodles all the time. I would have money to spare for gas for my car so I could visit my family more often. If I wanted to read a book for fun, I could go to the bookstore and have enough money to buy 50 books!

That was something else I was looking forward to: money aside, I was now going to have more free time to do whatever I wanted. I could read books for fun now, I could hang out with my friends, and I could even lie on the couch and watch TV all day long in my pajamas!

So when they called my name, I walked on stage—holding up my gown so I didn’t trip—and took my Master’s degree from the dean. My family and friends cheered in one section of the auditorium and I stood on stage waving and smiling.

All the attention was on me and I didn’t want to have it any other way. I had worked so hard to make it this far.

I had finally graduated.

Words: 380

Modified from “The Write-Brain Workbook” by Bonnie Neubauer