I miss her

I haven’t given her much attention lately, even though she’s still on my mind.

Six months ago, I started a new job that challenges me in a great way. I give so much of myself at work — I feel like I have nothing left to give once my day is done. I’m exhausted, but I feel fulfilled and happy.

But I miss Melissa.

You would think that if I missed her so much, I’d give her more attention. That I’d spend time with her and see how she’s doing. That I would just write her story.

I want to. I just want to make sure that while I spend with her, I give her the best of me. I want to sit with her when I feel I can really get into it with her.

I just have to find a way to give her the time she deserves. Find a way to focus and write her story.

She needs me.

And I miss her.

NaNoWriMo 2018

I’ve been working on a novel. But the thing is, I didn’t really like what I had written so far. After only 4,665 words, I lost momentum and didn’t really know where to go from where I was. I knew the kind of story I wanted to write, but I didn’t know how to get there.

I like plans. I like making them and thinking about them. I don’t always follow through, but plans make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside — they help me figure out what (I think) I’m capable of.

So I looked online for plotting and outlining advice. After all, these are writing plans. It seemed like exactly what I needed to get out of this writing jam.

I found tons of writing advice. Websites and YouTube videos. I tried to apply some of the stuff I found, but I felt like something was missing. Then, I came across Rachael Stephen’s YouTube channel. She’s a young writer whose writing advice resonated with me.

She has a course on how she uses Dan Harmon’s plot embryo (which is based on Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey.) If you want to know more, just search online — you’ll find tons of information on all of these people and this subject.

Anyway, I applied what I learned to my story and wouldn’t you know — I found a path through my ideas. I already have a whole bunch of scenes to write.

Rachael, along with many writers, is participating in this year’s NaNoWriMo event. And I want to join her (virtually).

In case you don’t know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. It’s a challenge to write 50,000 words in one month and happens every November.

At first I  was going to attempt it without officially joining (you can sign up online). But I’ve decided to officially commit. I’ve announced my novel on the official NaNoWriMo site.

I don’t expect my novel will be finished in 50,000 words — but I expect it to be a good start.

As I go through this, I plan to write a little summary of my daily experience and update my blog every week with how things are going.

I hope to win this challenge. It starts this Thursday. Wish me luck!

Flashy writing

I’ve always wanted to be an artist in one way or another. Drawing—painting—singing—playing a musical instrument—acting—writing. Although I’m not great at any of these, I would say I have sufficient artistic talent that could turn into something decent if I stuck it out long enough and consistently practised. I’ve always wanted the honour of being considered a real artist.

I’d been feeling creatively stuck over the past few months. I’ve had this great desire to write, but all my ideas seemed pointless.

I searched online for inspiration and I’ve rediscovered flash fiction.

I remember when I was in high school, a teacher asked us to bring in a photo of any random person for a writing assignment. I had a lot of teen and music magazines at home at the time. I cut out a photo of Nikki Sixx from Motley Crue, outside in the sun. His bushy black hair covering his eyes.

He then told us that we had to write a “nouvelle litéraire” about this person. (My schooling was in French. I’m pretty sure “nouvelle litéraire” is French for flash fiction.)

Well, I didn’t do my assignment until the very last minute.

I’m not joking. It really was the very last minute.

Because my last name starts with a “J”, when teachers went alphabetically to get people to do class presentations, I’d pretty much always be in the middle—alphabetically—whether they started from the top or bottom of the list.

So as my fellow students read their flash fiction pieces one by one, I frantically started writing. I didn’t want to get in trouble, once again, for not doing my homework.

When my turn finally came, I read what I had just written. It was a story of a young man, the extreme thirst he felt while mowing a lawn on a sweltering summer day, his desperate search for relief, and the pleasure of finally being able to quench his thirst by drinking water from the garden hose.

Once I was done, the teacher said that what I had written was a prefect example of the type of work he was looking for.

I was relieved that I didn’t get in trouble. Proud that he liked my story. Maybe even felt a little smug about my work being a good example.

If I remember correctly, this is when I felt I could become a real writer. I wrote poems and punk song lyrics. I tried to write a play. And I wrote more flash fiction.

I loved writing flash fiction! It kind of felt like the literary equivalence of a snapshot or a rough sketch—a potentially beautiful raw quick piece of art.

So, I’ve decided to go back to what I used to love.

My plan is to publish a new piece of flash fiction once a month. I already have a few ideas. Snippets I’ve already written that I can work on to make them worthy (in my eyes) of being published.

I might even publish some of the ones I kept from back when I was a teenager, just for funzies.

 16-year-old me – 1991