Taking A Break

I got a lot of writing, editing, reading, and blogging done this past summer. It was great! With no work and no school to tie me down, I was able to focus on what I hope to be a career someday (soon… in the near future… hopefully…).

I had plans to finish my rewrite of George Florence by July 31. That didn’t happen because the rewrite came out a lot longer than the original first draft. So I changed the deadline to August 31.

I still didn’t finish writing it.

I was writing it the other day and found two plot-holes. You know, because this is the second time I’m writing it so why would I have discovered a giant hole in the plot the first time around? Even after I’ve outlined it twice and everything.

I’m trying to figure out how to fix it. One problem is an easy fix; it’s just math (blech). The other problem might take a while. I know I need to go back and add in a few more things in order for everything to make sense and come full circle.

With that being said, I’ve decided to take a break from writing the novel.

I edited the first 20 or so pages of the story to the best of my ability (I keep a list of editing notes as I write to remember for the revision process). Now I’m going to send that to my writers group.

After a couple of months of them looking at the first half of the novel I’ll probably start writing it again. We meet once a month so I’ll probably start writing it again come January. So by that time they’ll have read roughly 100 pages (I’m including January’s meet).

I’ll pick up the writing again to bring in the new year because by then I should have figured out a way to end the novel and make everything full circle. Plus, I can incorporate any suggestions I get from my group.

Of course if I figure it out before January, then I’m not going to wait until January. I just want to give myself some time.

Does that sound like a good plan? I hope so.

In the meantime, I don’t want to stop writing completely.

There are a few contests I would love to try and a few literary magazines I would love to submit to. I have a couple short stories under my belt and a few more ideas for short stories. I’ll be working on those for the time being.

I will also be working on other novels… or novellas, however they turn out.

WattpadI recently joined Wattpad and have a few ideas to put on there. I have yet to write them so it might take a while before these stories are posted, but I’m working on it.

Feel free to follow me on there so you can get updates! I’ll most likely give updates on here, too. Let me know if you have an account on Wattpad. I’ll follow you… I need friends on there.

I want to get more of my original writing out there to share with you guys other than the Short Story Sunday and Time To Write features. Those are usually silly, quick things I write. Some turn out better than others. So I want to show you guys that I can actually come up with a plot and make it work.

I’ll probably post it once the whole story is written so I can update regularly.

I’ll let you know when the first story is up, which might be a little while.

In the meantime… Wish me luck!

Short Story Sunday #73

SSS Dancing and Dating

            “I guess that’s just the way the cookie crumbles.” Marie shrugged her shoulders. She took off her jacket and tossed it onto her bed. She sat down to take off her dancing shoe and stared up at me expecting a snarky reply.

I sighed laying down across the foot of her bed. I didn’t know what else to say to her. She wasn’t being very supportive, but she was right at the same time.

“If you really wanted to be something more with Dave, then you would have been. Instead, you decided to sit down at the bar the entire time.” Marie tossed her shoes into the closet and then began to get undressed.

“Just because I didn’t feel like dancing tonight doesn’t mean I don’t want to be something more with Dave.” I sat up in the bed glaring at her.

“Well, you made it seem like that. If you didn’t feel up to dancing then why did you go tonight?” Marie wondered slipping her nightgown over her head.

“I went because you really wanted me to go. You wanted to be a wing-woman for you in case Alex was there… remember?” I scoffed. “Dave just happened to be there, too. How was I going to know? He just showed up. I wasn’t in the mood to dance. I can’t help the way I feel.”

“You could have given him one dance. I mean, how long is the average song? Three minutes or so? You would have survived that.” Marie disappeared into the bathroom, but left the door open.

I walked over to the door and leaned in the doorway. I watched Marie lean inches away from the mirror as she rubbed the make-up off her face.

“This is all your fault, you know. I wouldn’t have gone tonight if you didn’t make me.” I muttered.

“No one made you, honey. You decided to come because you wanted to check Alex out. In your words, you wanted to make sure that he would be a good fit for me.” Marie countered.

“Right,” I agreed trying to think of a way to use that as an advantage, “so I was too busy watching you and Alex. How could I dance with Dave if I was watching you and Alex?”

Marie took the facecloth off her face and stared at me through the mirror. “Are you kidding me? You need to stop making up excuses. You blew it with Dave, let it go.”

“I didn’t blow it with him… he could still call me, you never know.” I sighed.

“Or you could call him.” Marie smirked at me.

I rolled my eyes. “Why do you always have to twist everything around? If I don’t call him, then we’re going to have this conversation all over again and I’m really going to blow it.”

“So call him.” Marie shrugged.

“But…”

“You can use my cell phone.”

“I have my own.” I glared at her.

“Perfect. He’ll recognize the number. Even better.” Marie shooed me away with a wave of her arm and looked at herself in the mirror again.

I left the bathroom not wanting to argue with her anymore. I entered her bedroom and sat down on the foot of her bed. My purse sat next to me and we stared at each other for a few moments. Finally, I opened it and took out my cell phone.

I had a missed called from Dave. I grunted. Did I really blow it? Was he calling to tell me that I was an idiot and he didn’t want to speak to me again?

I turned on the voicemail:

Hey, it’s Dave. I was just calling to make sure you were alright. You seemed kind of down tonight… or maybe you weren’t feeling well or something. Maybe I’m just being dumb. I don’t know.

            Anyway, I was just making you were okay and if you feel like talking, I’m here. Uh… maybe we should get together sometime? I don’t know. You can call me back if you want… or not. Up to you. Okay, I’m going to go now. Bye.

            …It’s Dave, by the way. Bye.

            I smiled listening to the message. I knew I didn’t blow it with him. I deleted the message and then dialed his number. I listened to the ringing anticipating the sound of his voice.

Time to Write: Try, Try Again

Last week’s prompt was a sentence starter, “The next big app…”

Here’s mine:

The next big app was a life saver. All you had to do was plug in everything about yourself as time went on and the app did the work for you.

“When you first buy the app,” I explained to my friend, “it asks for a lot of information about you. Physical appearance, emotions in certain situations, education, etc. It’s a little personal, but the more information you give, the better the app works for you.”

My friend blinked at me. She glanced down at her phone with a raised eyebrow tilting her head to the side. “Well, that’s a little odd. I think the app should buy me dinner first.”

I rolled my eyes. “It’s not like that, Stacey. The longer you use it, the better it gets to know you. For example, you can plug in the food you eat during the day. After a week or so, if you’re hungry, you can just ask what you should eat. The app will tell you.”

Stacey looked up at me with her upper lip curled in disgust. “Why in the world would I need an app to tell me what to eat?”

“It was just an example.”

“It’s stupid.”

“Stacey, you’re the only person I know who doesn’t have this app.” I grunted in exasperation. “People practically live off of this app.”

Stacey shook her head. She exited out of the app store and turned the screen off on her phone placing it in her back pocket. “I don’t need an app to tell me how to live my life, thank you very much.”

I sighed turning the other way. She didn’t know what she was missing. The app was constantly getting bigger, better, and more popular. Before we knew it, the app would most likely be running the world. How cool would that be?

I mean, it’s an app so it wouldn’t be biased against anyone or anything because it has no feelings. It would lie like more politicians did. It would be great for everyone. I didn’t know how Stacey was going to be able to get along in a world where she was the only one not using the app.

Stacey turned on the TV and the news came on breaking me out of my thoughts. I turned to the TV to watch.

“Want to watch a movie?” she asked. She always asked that when she wanted to change the subject.

I opened my mouth to respond when I realized what was going on the news. “Turn it up!” I patted her arm and pointed to the TV screen with my other hand.

Stacey obeyed upon seeing the headlines on the news.

“Today, a man turned himself into the police after killing his best friend. He expressed that he was guilty and felt horrible for taking his friend’s life.” the newscaster explained.

She looked over at her co-host sighing. “Apparently, this new app everyone is raving about told him to do it.”

Stacey and I glanced at each other with our mouths wide open in shock. I swallowed a lump in my throat and deleted the app.

Now onto this week’d prompt…

TTW Try Try Again

Sometimes we succeed the first time. Sometimes we fail and then have to try a few times before we succeed.

Write about a character who tries something new in his or her life. Will they fail? Succeed? How many times will they have to try in order to succeed?

It can be something as complicated as getting into college or as simple as learning to ride a bike.

If you choose to participate, post your work in the comments. I’d love to see what you come up with.

Next Friday, before revealing the next prompt, I’ll post my version of the prompt along with anyone else who participates with a link back to their blog.

Happy writing!

Six On The Sixth #5: Mom

Six on Sixth Mom

Chauffeur

Driving to activities and friends’ houses.

Teacher

Helping with homework late at night.

Therapist

Listening to problems and giving advice.

Nurse

Kissing every physical and emotional bruise.

Friend

Supporting me in everything I do.

Mother

That’s why my mom is best.

Short Story Sunday #52

Anonymous Tip Excerpt

I entered the kitchen, hoping to keep quiet enough so I wouldn’t wake Lilah in the other room. To be honest, I was surprised she was even still asleep at this time. Most of the time she would wake me as early as six in the morning just because she was bored and wanted someone to hang out with.

I turned on the kitchen light and took out a pan from a drawer under the oven. I thought of waiting to make breakfast for when Lilah woke up, but I was hungry and she was able to fend for herself when it came to cooking. I took out the eggs and butter from the refrigerator and placed them on the counter next to the sink. Then I rolled up my sleeves and turned on the water to wash my hands.

“ACK!” I shouted in surprise.

I immediately turned off the faucet and looked down at the giant wet spot covering most of the front of the shirt. Breathing heavily from shock, I looked at the faucet to make sure nothing was wrong with it.

That’s when I saw it: a rubber band tied around the squirt nozzle.

I grinded my teeth together and shook my head. I willed myself not to get frustrated; that’s exactly what she was going to expect from me.

“Good morning!” Lilah greeted in a sing-song voice. She entered the kitchen without bothering to look at me, but she had a wide grin on her face. She opened the refrigerator and put her head in.

“Let me guess,” I leaned against the sink glaring at her. “You’ve been awake this entire time and have been waiting for me to come into the kitchen to soak myself.”

Lilah stood up straighter and grinned looking me up and down. “Are you wet? I didn’t even notice.”

“Lilah,” I growled.

“Oh, you already took out the eggs and butter. Perfect.” Lilah muttered closing the refrigerator. She walked past me, still smiling, but not looking at me.

“I hate you.” I muttered as she walked by.

“Hate is such a strong word, George.” Lilah looked me in the eye right after putting a glob of butter on the pan. “Besides, it’s April Fool’s Day. You didn’t expect me to carry on like it’s a normal day, did you?”

She turned on the stove and watched the butter melt before she proceeded to crack a few eggs into a bowl.

I sighed watching her. No, I guess I couldn’t expect Lilah to treat a day dedicated to pranking people go by wasted.

Lilah Williams was my colleague for my private investigation business. She came walking unexpectedly into my house a few months ago giving me my first freelance case. When that case turned into a homicide and we figured out the real cause of death of her father, Lilah ended up staying a lot longer than intended. She even decided to move in with me.

It wasn’t bad having Lilah live with me. It was nice to have the company and she was a big help with my agency. She advertised a lot for my business through her blog, which was extremely popular on the Internet. If only her blog would start getting me regular cases, then we’d be all set.

“You want scrambled, right?” Lilah broke the silence. She had just finished mixing the eggs in the bowl and was pouring it onto the melted butter in the pan.

“I guess so.” I shrugged. She had already turned the eggs scrambled anyway.

“Good, because I forgot to ask before I started making these.” Lilah snickered.

“You were too busy laughing at my pain.” I said melodramatically.

“Oh, please. You got a little wet. You didn’t melt, did you?” Lilah looked over her shoulder and raised an eyebrow.

“I guess not,” I muttered and stood up straight once more. “I am going to get changed before breakfast, though.”

“Well, hurry up. It’s almost ready and eggs cool fast.” Lilah sprinkled some salt and pepper over the yellow puddle in the pan.

Once I finished getting dressed for the second time that morning, I went back to the kitchen and wrinkled my nose. Lilah sat at the kitchen table sipping on a cup of coffee, the scent taking up the entire kitchen.

I sat down at the table across from her and ate my eggs as quickly as I could.

“Slow down,” Lilah scolded. I noticed she had already finished eating her eggs.

“You know you’re not allowed to make coffee while I’m in the house.” I muffled with a mouth full of food.

“That’s never stopped me before. That’s a stupid rule, George. It’s a smell, get over it.” Lilah tipped her head back and gulped down the rest of her beverage. She placed the mug on the table and sighed with satisfaction.

“We should go for a walk this morning.” Lilah announced.

I finished eating my eggs and leaned back in my chair eyeing her.

“It’s supposed to get up to about 65 to 70 degrees today. Spring is officially here!” she cheered knowing she needed to convince me more.

“You are more than welcome to go for a walk, Lilah. In fact, I think it’s a great idea. Then I can have the house to myself for a little bit.” I bared my teeth in a smile.

“Don’t be such an old man.” Lilah smirked. “It’ll be fun. It’ll be good for us.”

“We walk enough.” I complained. “And I didn’t use to be an old man… you made me this way the moment you first knocked on my door.”

Lilah stared at me with a serious expression.

I sighed, “Fine, we can go for a walk. This isn’t going to turn into a daily thing though, is it?”

“It can,” Lilah perked up, “I think that would be a great idea! Walking is excellent exercise.”

I rested my head on the table pushing my empty plate to the middle.

Lilah grabbed my plate and put it in the sink for me. I sat up slowly watching her with a close eye. I expected her to rinse the dishes and then place them in dishwasher; she couldn’t stand any mess and dirty dishes in the sink was a huge pet peeve of hers.

I had to wonder, did she remember…?

“AHH!” Lilah shrieked the moment she turned on the faucet.

I grinned so wide my face began to hurt.

Lilah turned around with her arms held out as though she herself was contaminated. A huge wet spot stained her blouse. She narrowed her eyes at me. “Don’t you say a word.”

I began to laugh. “Karma!”

Short Story Sunday #51

TIME TRAVELER

            I didn’t think it would work. So, when I stepped through the portal and I realized that I was in an unfamiliar place, I was beyond astonished. I was amazed that the portal had succeeded. I was in awe at the place I ended up in. I was confused on how I was going to get back and what I was supposed to do from there. I didn’t know where I was or where I was supposed to go. I turned around to look behind me and the portal was gone.

He never told me how I was supposed to come back. Maybe he wasn’t very confident that it would work, either.

There wasn’t anyone around. However, if the portal worked as well as it I thought it did, then that meant I was well into the future. For all I knew, people didn’t exist anymore. I shivered. What a scary thought; being in the future when I was from the past and having no human life around me. I would be all alone in this unfamiliar place which looked nothing like my hometown anymore. What a difference 30 years made!

I noticed a red box sitting on the side of the side walk. It looked like one of those old-fashioned blue mailboxes, but it wasn’t a mailbox. I peered inside through the glass and saw a stack of newspapers. The date read November 22, 2044. Yes, I was certainly 30 years into the future. The portal had definitely worked.

I heard a loud bang coming from behind me. I jumped startled and hid behind the newspaper box. I didn’t know who was behind me, what the noise was, or how much trouble I was about to be in. Peering over the top of the newspapers, I saw a circle of blue electricity with white swirling around it. It whirred like a vacuum cleaner. I stood up taller and slowly inched my way towards it. It was the portal.

Should I go through it? Was this William trying to bring me back home? What if I stepped through it and it brought me someplace else? What if this was a completely different portal?

Before I could think any further, a man emerged out of the circle of light. It was William. The moment he came out of the portal, it disappeared.

I ran over to him with my arms stretched out wide. I wrapped my arms around his neck in a big hug and beamed at me.

“It worked, William! You’re portal worked!” I exclaimed.

“Yes it did,” William panted, “and I’m glad to see that you’re safe, Ariana.”

“Yes, I’m fine. Why did you follow me here?” I wondered.

“I wanted to make sure that it worked. I was afraid that if I accidentally brought you into some abyss dimension that you would be hurt or… dead. I came here looking for you.” William explained.

“If I was dead, then you would be dead too.” I glared at him. “What a stupid thing to do!”

“Well, we may as well be as good as dead.” William rubbed the back of his neck. He turned around and looked at the spot where the portal have been. “I have no idea how to get ourselves back. I don’t have my lab here so I don’t think there’s a way to get us back unless someone from the past is controlling the portal for us. We have no idea to get in touch with the past, though.”

I frowned looking down at the ground.

“We’ll figure something out, though.” William tried to reassure me.

“Let’s see if we can find your lab here. It might look different, but there might still be something there. We’re 30 years into the future, but you might still be living in the same place.” I suggested.

William shook his head, “If I am still living in the same place, we can’t just waltz up to my future self and explained what happened.”

“Why not? It’s the future; he might remember coming here and going back home.” I shrugged my shoulders.

“It’s not good for people who meddle with time, Ariana. We shouldn’t have done this in the first place.” William grumbled to himself. He was seriously regretting his invention now.

“It’s worth a shot. What plan do you have?” Ariana placed both hands on her hips glaring at him.

William finally nodded his head reluctantly agreeing.

Together, William and I wandered through the streets of our hometown. We were in awe at how much the place has changed. However, there were no cars or people around. It made us a bit nervous because we weren’t sure if we were the only people in town. If that was the case, where did everyone go and why?

As we continued walking down the road, we came across a cemetery. I glanced at a few of the headstones as we walked by. I wanted to see if I recognized any names. I knew my elderly neighbor wasn’t doing so well, so I assumed that he was most likely dead in 30 years. However, two names that I saw surprised me.

“William!” I shrieked.

William stopped like a deer in the headlights and looked at me nervously. “What? What is it?”

“Look,” I pointed to two headstones.

One was my grave and the one next to it was William’s grave.

William’s jaw dropped when he saw it. He was 25-years-old and I was 23-years old. Now that we were 30 years into the future, his future self should have been 55-years-old and my future self should have been 53-years-old. According to our graves, we had both died 10 years ago.

“I died at the age of 45 and you died at the age of 43… we were so young. What happened to us?” William looked at me.

“Look,” I pointed again, “we both died on the same day.”

William scratched the top of his head. “I guess we won’t be finding me at my lab….”

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

Via Goodreads
Via Goodreads

Summary (from Goodreads):

Bennie is an aging former punk rocker and record executive. Sasha is the passionate, troubled young woman he employs. Here Jennifer Egan brilliantly reveals their pasts, along with the inner lives of a host of other characters whose paths intersect with theirs. With music pulsing on every page, A Visit from the Goon Squad is a startling, exhilarating novel of self-destruction and redemption.

This book is amazingly popular and well-known. Of course, I had never heard of it before until I had to read it for school.

Despite the awards its won, I have to say that I was not impressed. It was a hard book to grasp. The parts I did understand were pretty good and it was uniquely written to say the least.

However, that’s where it went wrong–the writing style.

Out of 13 chapters, three are written in first person, one is written in second person, and the rest are written in third person limited. It doesn’t follow just two characters, though. Each chapter is a different character making it all the more confusing.

Plus, one chapter is written with a lot of dialogue, but no quotation marks. It was by far the most difficult chapter to read. That chapter was in first person and the name of the character wasn’t mentioned for a very long time so I had no idea who I was even reading as.

One chapter is over 70 pages long because each page is set up like a Power Point slide. You have to turn the book the long way to read it and each page has explanations or charts or webs. It was as though I was reading a school project, but it was still the story.

Another chapter was written as a newspaper article; footnotes included. The footnotes took up half the page making them their own mini chapter within the main chapter.

Sound confusing? Trust me, it was.

The worst part was the first chapter was absolutely amazing! It was written in third person limited and we followed a character at her therapy session because she’s a kleptomaniac. It was well written and intriguing. That chapter made me feel as though I would really enjoy the book. However, we never got to really read her story again because the rest of the chapters followed other characters. I call it the decoy chapter.

So, considering this “review” turned more into a rant, I guess you all know what rating this book is going to get from me.

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan gets 2 out of 5 stars.

Favorite Quote:

“I’m always happy. Sometimes I just forget.” –Jennifer Egan, A Visit from the Goon Squad

Be sure to check out my Goodreads page!

Six On The Sixth #3: Luck

Via Pinterest
Via Pinterest

Excitement
“Wear your lucky shirt,” they said.

Joy
I agreed, excited to wear it.

Courage
I stood before the slot machine.

Anticipation
I was confident. I was energized.

Hope
I pulled the lever and frowned.

Unlucky
I had run out of luck.

Short Story Sunday #45

MUSE

            It’s high time you stopped making up excuses and just write that novel! You have a wonderful idea with an intriguing plot, thorough characters, a developed fictional world, and everything else that is key in a novel. So you can’t tell me that your idea is crap because it’s not.

“I don’t have the time to write it, though.”

No, don’t give me that nonsense. You work every single morning until two o’clock in the afternoon. Then you stuff your face with food and watch TV. I think you can get a bit of writing done after work.

“I’m tired after work.”

Aren’t we all? All I’m asking is that you write just a little bit. It would be nice if you could write about five pages. Five pages isn’t that bad when it’s double-spaced. Maybe you could even write 1,000 words… that’s less than five pages, I think. Actually, just write one sentence.

Yes, that’s right. That’s all I’m asking you to do. Just write one sentence a day and if you write more than one, then that’s great! Eventually, you’ll end up getting into a writing routine and then we won’t have to have this problem anymore.

“I can’t get into a writing routine because I have writer’s block.”

How did we just start this conversation? I told you that you have a great idea in your head. You have some of the characters laid out, you know where you want them to go and what you want them to do. So what’s the problem?

“It’s a lot to remember. I’m going to forget some of it as I write.”

You’re exasperating, you know that? This is why you need to write. It. Down. What have I been teaching you all these years? What have I been trying to tell you for the past hour?

I can tell right off the bat that you are not a pantser, so I’m not even going to make you try.

“What’s a pantser?”

Don’t interrupt me.

You need to plan out your novel. You need to make an outline. I want you to make a list of all the characters that are running around in your head. I want you to describe the setting of the novel whether you just describe the beginning setting or a few scenes from the novel. That way you’ll already have the picture in your mind as you write it out.

Speaking of the scenes, I want you write down all the scenes you can think of that will happen in the book. Just write them down in any order. Then you can read through them and number them in whatever order you want. It’ll help you look at the big picture.

“That sounds like an awful lot of work…”

Are you kidding me? You’re being ridiculous right now. Do you want to write a novel?

“Yes.”

Then get started already!

What day is it today? It’s Saturday. What are you doing? You’re doing absolutely nothing. I think you need to sit down at your desk, turn on that laptop, and start writing. Or you should start outlining. I’ll leave that up to you even though I highly recommend that you do an outline first. If you don’t, I can only imagine all the frustration and procrastination that I’m going to have to deal with later.

Are you listening to me?

“I just don’t think I’m cut out to be a writer. My writing isn’t good enough.”

Now how do you know that? Can you suddenly predict the future? No! No one’s writing is good enough at first. Why do you think writers write drafts upon drafts upon drafts of one novel? It’s because the first draft is always crap. But I’ll tell you one thing: I can’t remember who said it first, but a person once said, “Every first draft is perfect because it is written.”

Do you understand?

“No.”

Of course not… it’s like I’m talking to a brick wall.

The point of first drafts is just to get the idea down on the paper. No one is looking for it to be a best-seller because the first draft is basically for your eyes only… unless you ask someone to edit it for you. That’s beside the point, though.

The point of the first draft is for you to flush out the characters, the plot, and the entire dynamic of the novel.

“Isn’t that what the outline is for?”

Now you’re getting it!

Yes, but the first draft is a more detailed outline, I guess you could say. You write the outline, then follow that outline to write the first draft. Then you edit the first draft and write the second draft. Editing is when the real writing begins.

“That doesn’t make any sense.”

It does, if you’ll just open your mind and understand. But I won’t discuss editing with you right now. Are you going to give it a shot or not?

“I just don’t have any motivation right now.”

No motivation?! What have I been trying to do the past 12 hours? I’ve been trying to pep talk you into writing… I’ve been motivating you!

“It has not been 12 hours. Stop being over-dramatic.”

Creative minds are over-dramatic. Get over it.

Sit down at your desk and get that outline done or start writing that first draft. I’ll leave that up to you. On your mark… get set…

“How am I supposed to start this idea when I don’t feel like it, though?”

A real writer doesn’t wait for inspiration. A real writer writes at anytime at anyplace because it needs to get written.

“I don’t have any support for this, though. No one else thinks I can write a novel. I don’t even have an imaginary muse to help me get through all this.”

I am your support system. Take everything I say into consideration. Take all the advice I give to you. Listen to me.

I am your muse.

Short Story Sunday #44

BLACKBOARD

            It was my first day of college. I kept telling people that I wasn’t nervous, but I kind of was. I didn’t know any of the people in my class, I didn’t know how nice the professor was going to be, and I certainly didn’t know how tough the class was going to be, either. People always warn you that college is harder than high school. I wasn’t too sure if I was going to be prepared for the amount of homework I was most likely going to get. Plus, I was taking four classes. So I had to go through all this three more times before the day was over.

I sat down at a small wooden desk way in the back of the class. I was the last seat in the first row. I wanted to be in the back so that no one could see me. I didn’t want the professor calling on me for answers whether I had my hand raised or not. Yet, I still sat in the first row because I wanted to be as close to the door as possible just in case I needed to make a quick getaway. Depending on how the class goes today, I was sure that I was going to end up bolting it out of the room as soon as the class was over.

When I entered the classroom there were only a handful of students already in the room. The class didn’t start for another ten minutes. I wanted to be early so that I could get a feel for the place and also so that I was able to get the seat of my choice. I didn’t want all the good seats to be taken.

The professor entered the room about five minutes before class started and since then a few more students trickled into the room. When there were about 11 of us sitting in the room before the professor, he looked up at the clock and shrugged his shoulders.

“We’ll wait a couple more minutes for some more students to stroll on in and then we’ll get started.” He announced.

I nodded my head, but no one else seemed to pay any attention to what the professor said. A few people were texting under their desks; some were doodling in their notebooks. Some of them didn’t even have notebooks or pens or their textbooks. Why did they even bother to show up for class?

I watched the professor gather his things out of his briefcase. He placed a laptop on his desk, took out the textbook and a notebook. He opened the textbook to a certain page and then he opened his notebook. I could see the notebook was filled with scribbles and notes. Holding it in one hand, he took a piece of chalk in the other and began to write a few notes down on the blackboard.

I lifted an eyebrow. At this day and age the college still had blackboards with messy chalk? I was paying the school a lot of money to take these classes and they couldn’t afford to have the school buy brand new white boards? In fact, why were we using a blackboard—or a white board—at all? Most of the notes and lectures were online anyway. Why did we even have to bother coming to class in the first place? We should have been able to do the class online.

“Okay, let’s get started.” The professor stated as he looked up at the clock once more It was exactly eight o’clock which was when class was supposed to start. Only about three more students came into the classroom since then making fourteen of us all together. I had a feeling there were supposed to be more students in the class. It was one thing to come to class unprepared, but to come late on the first day? What was wrong with these people?

“I’m Professor Calvin Andrews… you can just call me Calvin. Or Professor Andrews. Or Professor Calvin, I guess. Whatever you’re most comfortable with.” Professor Andrews explained. At least he seemed to be laid back. That was a good sign.

“We’re not going to do too much today. We’re just going to get to know each other a little bit and learn a little about the class. Does everyone have their textbooks?”

I nodded my head, but I was the only one who responded. Looking around the room I noticed some kids had their textbooks on their desk, some were taking it out of their bags, and others… were still texting under their desks.

“There’s an introductory chapter in the textbook that explains the textbook and basically what this class is about. While I pass out the syllabus I want you all to read that chapter silently to yourselves.” He explained.

I skimmed the chapter, I’ll admit. Others seemed to skim it as well. Some were actually reading it and some opened the book to the correct pages, but were only pretending to read it. The students who didn’t have their books were still texting with nothing on their desks. Professor Andrews didn’t seem to notice… either that or he didn’t care.

The person in front of me passed the syllabus back to me. It was a rather thick packet. I thumbed through the pages and looked at it with disgust.

I looked up hearing the chalk scrap against the blackboard. Professor Andrews was writing something down on it about the homework we were going to have that night. I thought we were just going to get to know each other and what the class is about? I didn’t see any point in having homework on the first day of classes.

I sighed and opened my notebook. I began to copy everything down from the blackboard into my notebook. It was better to have everything written whether I needed to know it or not.

One class down, three to go.

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

Via Goodreads
Via Goodreads

Summary (from Goodreads):

Doomed to – or blessed with – eternal life after drinking from a magic spring, the Tuck family wanders about trying to live as inconspicuously and comfortably as they can. When ten-year-old Winnie Foster stumbles on their secret, the Tucks take her home and explain why living forever at one age is less a blessing than it might seem. Complications arise when Winnie is followed by a stranger who wants to market the spring water for a fortune.

This book, being about 135 pages, is a quick-read and fast-paced. I wish the story was a bit longer so I could read more, but I think it’s perfect the way it is. Any more detail and I think the story wouldn’t be telling itself and would be ruined. However, I do think that the relationship between Winnie and some of the Tuck family members could have been developed a little more.

This was my first time reading it since fifth grade, but I still enjoyed it all the same. The book is about family, secrets, and life and death. It’s about protecting who you love and selflessness. It is–more or less–a tragic love story.

The story hits home with anyone who has feelings; especially the ending.

Favorite Quote:

“‘Life. Moving, growing, changing, never the same two minutes together.'” –Tuck, Tuck Everlasting

Short Story Sunday #43

GLOVES

            “Oh, nice gloves.” My friend felt my hands staring in awe at the black leather gloves I was wearing.

“Thanks,” I smiled.

“Where did you get them?”

“I found them in the lost and found at school.”

“Wait,” my friend paused and took a step back. “You mean to tell me that these gloves don’t even belong to you?”

“Yep,” I beamed. I admired my hands. The gloves were soft on the inside and shiny on the outside. They were pretty to look at and comfortable to wear. I knew it was wrong to take something that wasn’t yours, but they hadn’t been claimed in a while. No one was going to miss them.

“You found them in the lost and found and just decided that it would be a good idea if you took them?” my friend lifted a suspicious eyebrow and folded her arms across her chest.

“What’s the big deal?” I shrugged my shoulders. “They had been sitting in the lost and found for two weeks. If no one claimed them, they the school was just going to get rid of them. I thought this way; the gloves would have a proper home.”

“You have been checking the lost and found for two weeks?” my friend rolled her eyes. “You’re ridiculous.”

“I checked the lost and found because I accidentally left my homework folder behind in the cafeteria at lunch. I found it, but then I also found these gloves. I was going to take them right away, but I didn’t think that would be right.” I explained.

“Oh, how big of you,” my friend scoffed. “You know it’s not right to be taking the gloves even after two weeks, either. When if the person doesn’t realize that they’re missing?”

“Then they won’t miss the gloves, will they? They’ll have no idea someone else took from the lost and found box.” I retorted.

“What if the owner was absent from school for the past two weeks and they weren’t able to claim them? What if they come back from school tomorrow and something and they start to look for the gloves only to realize that they’re gone.” My friend interrogated me.

“What do you care?” I glared at her. I didn’t want to talk about it anymore. She was trying to make me feel guilty when I didn’t really do anything wrong. Once an item was in the lost and found for a while it was fair game. It could belong to whoever claimed it first. That’s how it usually went. People grabbed items that weren’t theirs all the time. They didn’t even bother to wait two weeks, either. They would just take it.

“Do you realize how many items I’ve lost because people just grab out of the lost and found box?” I remarked trying to sound smart.

“Two wrongs don’t make a right.” She explained. “Besides, you barely lose anything and if you do you go looking for it right away. The lost and found box is always the first place you look, too. People don’t really get a chance to take your stuff.”

“Then what am I supposed to do then? Bring the gloves back to the lost and found? They’re just going to sit there and rot. Either that or someone else will like them and snatch them up. That someone else being not the actual owner of the gloves,” I stated with an annoyed attitude.

“Or they could go back in the lost and found box and be given to the rightful owner. You never know.” My friend folded her arms across her chest and stared at me expectantly.

I didn’t understand why, but I had the feeling that she was never going to let this go. If I didn’t bring the gloves back to the lost and found then I was never going to hear the end of it. She was going to get angry with me for stealing someone else’s things and I would forever feel guilty about wearing these wonderful gloves.

“Fine,” I rolled my eyes.

Together we made our way to the lost and found box. I took the gloves off and checked the tag in one of them.

“What are you doing?” she asked.

“I want to know where the gloves were bought. I would like to get a pair.” I stated. I tossed them back into the box with a sigh when I couldn’t find the source of where they came from.

“Well maybe you could ask the owner.” My friend suggested.

“Right. How am I going to know who the owner is when no one has claimed the gloves?” I snarled.

My friend picked the gloves up from the box and put them on her hands. She looked and me and smiled. “I got them from the discount clothing store around the corner from my house. Great price for them, too.”

“Wait…” I was puzzled.

“I must have dropped my gloves on the way out of school two weeks ago when I got sent home from being sick. Remember I was out the past two weeks with pneumonia?” my friend was still smiling at me. She had known the entire time that the gloves were hers.

“Oh,” I rubbed the back of my neck in embarrassment. “Why didn’t you just tell me that the gloves were yours?”

“Would you have really believed me?” she shot back.

I shook my head. In all honesty I probably would have thought that she was just trying to get her hands on the gloves because she liked them just as much as I did.

“After school we can go to the discount store together. We’ll buy you a pair. How does that sound?” my friend suggested.

“I think that sounds like an excellent plan!” I smiled at her. “Oh… and sorry for trying to steal your gloves…” I snickered.

Six On The Sixth: Love

Via Pinterest
Via Pinterest

First Sight
Our eyes met, it was love.

First Date
We dined, we danced, we laughed.

First Kiss
Tired of waiting, I leaned in.

First Anniversary
Quiet, relaxing evening of being together.

First Child
A boy who looks like daddy.

First Grandchild
We must have done something right.

Short Story Sunday #42

PUPPY LOVE

            “Asher, no! Stop! Down, heel!”

Colin chased his Beagle puppy, Asher, around the house, holding a leash and harness in one hand, and trying to catch falling objects with his other. Asher was full of energy and didn’t seem to notice anything was in his way. He knocked over everything in the house, he ate whatever he could find, and he never slept; there was simply just too much to explore.

“Colin, Asher doesn’t know what any of those commands mean.” His mother was leaning against the doorway with her arms folded across her chest. Her gaze followed Asher throughout the entire living room, but she never seemed to flinch when Asher ran into something causing a loud crash or something to fall.

“I don’t know what else to do!” Colin shouted in a panic. “Asher, come here!”

Asher paused for a brief moment to scratch behind his ears. He looked up at Colin panting, with his tongue hanging out of his mouth. Colin slowed his pace and closed in around Asher, who resulted in play-bowing with his front paws stretched out and his wagging tail high in the air. He still panted pretty heavily, but he wasn’t ready to give up.

“I told you Beagles have high energy. You wanted to get him though.” Colin’s mother tried not to laugh.

“You told me that… yes… but I still don’t regret getting him.” Colin countered in between breaths.

“No, of course not; he’s adorable and so loveable.” His mother cooed at Asher’s cuteness. “I’m just saying that I warned you. That’s all,”

Colin dove to grab Asher. He needed the dog to stop running around the living room like a maniac, but Colin also needed to bring Asher outside to let him go the bathroom. If Colin’s father found anymore presents in the house from Asher, Colin was surely going to hear from it. His mother didn’t seem to mind, though. She said that was all part of taking care of a puppy and training it.

Asher darted to the side causing Colin to hit the ground hard. The dog ran towards the exit right where Colin’s mother was standing, but she stepped in the way. Asher didn’t bother to try to get around her; he seemed to know almost instantly that he had lost that battle. So he turned right around and began to do laps in the living room once more.

Colin stood up scratching the back of his head. His jaw dropped as he glared at his mother.

“You totally had him! Why didn’t you just pick him up and hand him over to me?”

“You said that taking care of a puppy would be your responsibility and that would be… what phrase did you use? Oh, easy-peasy.” She mocked her son with a smile. “I’m all for helping you out with this dog, but I want you to try first.”

“Okay, fine.” Colin sighed. “Well, I’ve been trying for the past 15 minutes. Asher is still running wild and he doesn’t look like he’s going to be losing steam anytime soon. Me on the other hand is out of breath and tired. May I pass the torch to you?” he held up the leash and harness, but his mother shook her head.

“You need to try a little longer. Asher is your dog. He needs to get used to listening to you.” She explained.

“He needs to listen to you and dad, too.” Colin retorted.

“Yes, but you’re his master.” She looked over at Asher with a smirk.

Asher was sitting in the corner of the room watching Colin. He was waiting for Colin to start chasing him again. This was all a game to him.

Colin took a deep breath. He tossed the leash and harness onto the cabinet a foot away from him and then sat down on the floor. He opened his arms wide. “Come and get me, Asher!”

Immediately, Asher sprang into action. He leaped into the air charging straight for his owner. He jumped on top of Colin and began to lick him all over his face.

Colin rolled along the floor with him laughing and playing.

His mother shook his head with a chuckle. “That’s not exactly what I had in mind, but I guess we’ll have to work on that later.”

Colin sat up with his arm around Asher’s waste. He picked the puppy up and when Asher realized what was going on, he immediately began to wriggle and squirm trying to get back down to the ground.

“Whoa!” Colin struggled to keep hold of Asher.

“Okay, I guess I’ll help you now.” Colin’s mother entered the room and grabbed the harness. She handed it off to Colin and held Asher in her arms. She stroked him and he instantly calmed down.

“How…?” Colin’s eyes grew wide and his jaw dropped again.

“Ask later; Asher is ready for his leash and harness. Don’t delay or you might miss your chance.” His mother explained.

Obeying, Colin managed to strap the harness around Asher’s neck and belly without the Beagle letting out any protests.

“I’m going to put him down and you can hold him by the harness while you strap on his leash.” His mother explained.

Colin took Asher by the rings on top of the harness and hooked the leash onto it. He then stood up holding one end of the leash and smiled down at Asher feeling accomplished. Asher on the other hand realized what just happened and began to scratch and bite at the harness. Colin sighed.

“He’ll get used to it.” His mother stated.

“Come on, Asher. Let’s go out.” Colin stated. He tugged at the leash and Asher followed Colin. When he did, Colin noticed a wet spot on the carpet right when Asher was sitting.

“Aw…” Colin groaned.

His mother laughed. “I guess it took you too long to get that leash and harness on. Oh, well. Take him out anyway. He’ll learn soon enough. You both will.”

Short Story Sunday #41

FUNERAL

            I didn’t think it was going to happen so soon. One minute, she was with me and the next moment she was gone. I didn’t fully understand what happened to her and to be quite honest, I didn’t care too much. I just wanted her to come back, but I knew all too well that she wasn’t going to. Standing in front of her open casket was probably the toughest moment of my entire life.

When I got the phone call at four o’clock in the morning, I knew something was wrong with someone. That’s what usually happens when you get a phone call in the middle of the night… it usually means that something terrible happened to one of your family members or friends.

In this case, it was my daughter.

It took me a moment to realize that the ringing was the phone and not my alarm clock. I kept trying to shut the alarm off, groaning that it was already time to wake up when I in fact still had two hours left.

“It’s the phone.” My husband whispered as he rolled himself out of bed. I clearly wasn’t going to be moving anytime soon.

“The phone?” I sat up straight in my bed and watched my husband walk out into the kitchen. Who would be calling us at such an early hour?

Well, I was certainly awake now. I jumped out of bed, threw on my bathrobe, and rushed into the kitchen after my husband.

“It’s… the hospital.” He announced with great confusion as he read the caller I.D.

“The hospital? Why is the hospital calling us now? We don’t know anyone who is in the hospital.” I panicked.

“Shush,” he picked up the phone.

He wasn’t on the phone with the nurse very long, but it seemed like an eternity to me. We didn’t know anyone in the hospital at the time, so I assumed they had just gotten the wrong number. However, you don’t talk to the nurses over the phone for very long if they don’t have any of your family members with them.

My husband hung up the phone and slowly turned his head to look at me.

“What? What is it?” I put a hand to my mouth gasping.

“It’s Maria… go get dressed and I’ll explain everything on the way.”

I had just seen my daughter Maria the previous day. She was fine. Nothing was wrong with her. We had a great time together. We went out to the mall for our Christmas shopping. It was an annual tradition for us to get our Christmas shopping done together. It was a great bonding time for the two of us.

Ever since she turned 18 and went to live at her college campus, we didn’t get a chance to see each other very often. Sure, she called every night to say hello, but it just wasn’t the same. She worked while she was in college, too. She slowly saved her money so when she graduated; she found a small apartment for herself. I never thought that my one and only child would move out at the exact age of 18. Don’t most children end up moving out in their early 20s due to money issues? I guess I should have been happy my daughter didn’t have money problems and that she was able to leave the nest at the normal age of 18.

That was where she met her fiancé. He had the apartment right next door to her. Eventually, he moved into her apartment to save some money on rent. His best friend ended up moving into his old apartment and the formed a small group together.

While Christmas shopping, Maria told me they finally set a date for the wedding. She had one more payment left to go for her school loans. She and her fiancé were close to saving enough for a down payment on a house. She left the nest a long time ago, but she was officially able to start her life now. I was happy for her.

“She was driving herself home from the mall yesterday and another car hit her. He was texting and driving.” My husband explained to me as we hopped into our own car to get to the hospital.

I didn’t have many words then because I was too much in shock. I didn’t believe a word he was saying. I had walked Maria to her car and watched her pull out of her parking space and drive away. How was I to know that she was going to get hit by a car just moments after?

Now that I was standing next to her open casket I had many things I wanted to say, but couldn’t voice through the tears and the lump in my throat.

Maybe if I had just waited a few more seconds before allowing her to leave. If I had just made one more idle conversation and asked her what her plans were for the rest of the day, it would have taken her long enough to tell me that the driver would have already been long gone.

Maybe if I didn’t stop in the middle of the sidewalk to tie my shoe. If I only I decided to tie my shoe in my car after Maria left. Maria would have been in her car and on the road long before the texting driver was even able to get near the mall.

A moment earlier, a few moments later… would it have really mattered? Would Maria still be here with me if I didn’t tie my shoe or if I stuck up one last conversation? There are plenty of drivers out there who text; who is to say one them wouldn’t have crashed into her?

My husband put both hands on my shoulders and massaged them. “The wake is over; let’s go home and get some rest. We’ve got a long day ahead of us tomorrow.”