Why I Write

I write because I have stories that need to be told.
I write because I can’t do anything else.
I write because I have a voice and I want the world to hear it.
I write because I have worlds inside of me waiting to get out.
I write because I can’t process the world any other way.
I write because I am lost.
I write because I feel alone.
I write because I don’t understand.
I write because I want to learn
I write because I know someone will need my story one day.
I write because I am a writer.
I write because I want to change the world.
I write because I am afraid.
I write because I am sad.
I write because I am happy.
I write because I am angry.
I write because I love it and I love it because I hate it…

Writing is the hardest thing in the world. In writing you learn things about yourself that you never wanted to learn. Things that you never knew were important to you. You learn to see your deepest fears and your greatest passions side by side. You see straight to your very soul and you open it up for the entire world to see. You have to do unpleasant things to serve your creativity. You have to sacrifice your very sanity to gain it back. There is nothing more draining and rejuvenating than writing a story that demands to be told.

Writing is a mistress that kisses you with passion and heat, stealing your very breath away before she places a gun beneath your jaw and cocks the hammer, pulling back to gaze at you seductively as she trails her other hand down your chest. You feel all the warmth leave your extremities as your heart tries to beat its way out of your very chest. She smiles at you, letting you know that she can feel it too, your arousal – and your fear – and the hope that you might experience that breathless, warm, passionate kiss just one more time before she pulls the trigger.

Author’s note: This is what I keep in the front of every journal and I read this periodically when I’m getting frustrated with my work. I wrote it in college and it serves as a reminder to myself why I do what I do.

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Exciting News!

I’m Releasing a Webnovel at: https://alovelytragedy.blog/
Check it out and subscribe to get the first installment in your inbox when it goes live! I’m so excited to share this story with you!

This is Really Happening!!! MAY 25th 2019!!! 26 Days!

On May 25, 2019 I will release the first installment of my serial web novel I’ve been working on, Xanadu

You can find it at https://alovelytragedy.blog/

I’m taking a leap of faith. I refuse to stop writing, I refuse to be a failure. I’ll be releasing Xanadu, an experiment in world building and character development, that I want you all to see. I want the world to see what I can do and I’m so excited to share it with you!!!

I’m a Woman Too

My womanhood is never more apparent to me than when I am just one of the guys, and it is only when my womanhood is so apparent that what society calls broken reveals itself.

I used to be a girl.

I didn’t like that.

Who wants to be a girl when boys get all the interesting toys, all the interesting jobs? they get to read all the fun books and wear the clothes that don’t fall apart as soon as you look sideways at a bicycle.

Now, I’m stuck. I made myself one of the guys and it’s easier for you to keep me there, in the box I built around myself. You think I’m too broken for the other box.

When I wore make-up for a few days you asked who I was trying to impress. You asked if I’d finally changed my mind. Then you went back to farts and crude jokes. You laughed and I laughed, but you didn’t see the pain behind my eyes.

You told me I was easy to talk to. I let my hopes get high. Perhaps you would see past the parts of me you thought were broken and see that I am whole just as I am. Maybe – just maybe – I could break out of this cage I’d built around myself. But, then you started talking about her. A normal – unbroken – girl. You asked me for my help, advice.

I couldn’t offer you much. I don’t feel the same things that she does. I don’t know how you’re supposed to make her want you that way. It was like you were driving the point of my brokenness home. I’m not quite a girl – I’m too broken to be a real woman.

So, I smiled, I laughed, even as I was telling you how to win her heart, if not her body – the same way you’d won my heart first.

I read a book where the princess fell in love, kissed the prince, lived happily ever after. I could have done without the kissing parts. Why couldn’t they just read books together while cuddling by the fire? Isn’t that enough for anyone? Or am I alone?

You and I used to do that. You said it was refreshing as I lay with my head in your lap, holding a book that had captured my attention as your body, never could. It was refreshing to you that you didn’t need to impress me, that I was a girl you didn’t need to think about sleeping with. I was one of the guys.

We got coffee and then caught in the rain. You shielded me with your umbrella, holding me close. I let my hopes up again. Was this my chance to get out of my cage? But your body was the key and I couldn’t bring myself to take it. It wasn’t worth even that.

The next day you started seeing her. She wanted to sleep with you – do things that I didn’t, couldn’t – and you told me you’d finally found the one. You’d only known her a week.

When the two of you inevitably broke up, you ate ice cream with me and we laughed about stupid things. We talked about books and art, and video games as we played for twelve hours straight. 

Just before you fell asleep on my couch you asked me why your relationships couldn’t all be like this. You wished you could find a girl like me. I pulled a blanket up to your chin and whispered “I’m right here.”

But I knew the truth. You didn’t want a girl like me. You wanted a girl who loved you like I did and desired you like I couldn’t.

When I wore a dress and heels, you asked what I’d done with the real me.  You seemed awkward, shy. You warned me it would attract the attention that I didn’t want. You made the same old crude jokes, but this time your voice sounded different to me.

By now, I’m over you. You’re my best friend and I can’t leave you behind so as the years go by I stay by your side, just one of the guys.

I watch you and the guys: commenting on other women, talking about settling down, having kids and lives. I don’t always like the way you talk about other girls, it isn’t kind or fair to them. It sometimes just isn’t right, but a tiny voice inside me wants you all to talk about me the same way, to notice that I’m a woman too.

So, I try again.

I wear a dress here, a scarf there. I put on make-up too, subtle so you don’t really notice it. You all scoff when you notice. Who am I trying to impress? Without my own desire what’s the point in making others desire me? 

You might as well say, Why bother trying to be a woman?

But, as I get a little older with each passing year, my ovaries ache beneath my stomach, my womb cries tears of blood, as though my body too thinks that I’m broken. I look in the mirror, desperately trying to find the switch labeled “ON” that will turn me into a woman, make me feel the desires I’m supposed to feel.

I say to myself in the mirror, my naked body staring back at me with limp hands, “I’m a woman too.”

My hands wander to my breasts, twisting, pulling, and pressing, trying to move them so they look more like a woman. I don’t believe they are right. They must not be because I’m one of the guys.

I sit in the bar with all of you, the only girl in our group. A few of you have girlfriends, but none of them are here. I dress a little nicer now. You’ve all come to accept that I can dress for me and not for others. It took awhile, but I accepted it too. That I don’t do it to attract the desires I can never feel myself. You all see me as broken still, but I don’t care. I know the truth.

When the stranger approaches me at the bar as I’m buying you all another round, he looks me up and down. I know in his eyes he sees me not as one of the guys but as a woman. The woman I look for in the mirror. Perhaps he will see past the parts you all call broken. We talk as I wait for your drinks, he asks for my number. I tell him I don’t know and he gives me his instead.

You all notice and when I return with the drinks you try to warn me. You’ve seen him before and you know his type. Suddenly you all see me a little different. But, I see him a little way off, talking to another woman, our eyes meet and I know he sees me too. He sees me the way you all see me now, but he saw it first. He stops talking to her and leaves the bar alone.

A few days later I brush you off. I called him, despite your warnings. We meet at a bar I don’t know. I wear my hair down – a dress – my make-up a little more daring. I smile and laugh as he talks circles around me about everything and nothing. I’m not one of the guys tonight.

Tonight, I am a woman.

He asks me back to his place. I tell him no, I tell him the truth. I tell him about the parts you all call broken. 

“I bet you just need a good experience.”

That should have sent up every red flag in the world, but if it did I just ignored them, laughing it off. It was all in jest, wasn’t it? I just wanted one night to be a woman and he didn’t seem scared away by my brokenness.

I let him buy me drink after drink. He takes me back to his place and I’m too drunk to know what’s happening as he fucks me without asking. I can’t object, but somewhere in the back of my mind I know that what he’s doing is wrong and I’m screaming for you to save me. I’m one of you, aren’t I? You protect your own. But I’m one of the guys; I’m supposed to be able to protect myself.

In the morning I wake up alone in his bed. I don’t know where I’m at. There is a pain that I am not used to, my legs tremble as I gather myself together.

I feel his arms snake around me while I pull my shirt on. “I told you you’d like it,” he hisses in my ear. “You moaned like a bitch in heat. Now you’re a real woman.”

I can taste bile in my mouth as I wrench myself from his arms. I run from his lair and I call you from a bus stop a few blocks away. I can’t breathe, but I don’t let myself cry.

You pick me up, “It’s not a big deal,” you tell me with white knuckles on your steering wheel. “At least now you know for sure that you don’t like it.”

I just stare out the window, shivering in silence – uncomfortable in my own skin. Those aren’t the words that I want to hear. I don’t know that I want to hear any words at all. You warned me about him. You warned me not to trust him, and I didn’t listen. I didn’t want to. I just wanted to be a woman.

I began to weep, sobs racking my entire being; there was a dead rabbit on the side of the road. 

I’m not sure she could be called a rabbit anymore. Her tail was in one place and her spleen in another. She wasn’t recognizable as a rabbit anymore. We passed her quickly, no one stopped to mourn the loss of her life. 

She shouldn’t have been in the road.

Her blood was a bright crimson stain across the asphalt. Fresh, I saw it before we ever got to where she was – everywhere she was – you couldn’t miss it but no one looked at her. At the gruesome display that had become her body. Spread across the road like that. I knew she was dead. I knew she couldn’t feel it anymore, but I could feel it for her. Spread out across the road like that. It wasn’t just the rabbit. 

I could see my spleen, my lungs, the rope of my own intestines wrapped around my neck where the ghost of his fingers were still clenching, making it impossible to breathe, impossible to scream. Where the road was I saw his bed. One by one like cars going by I saw you, our friends, everyone, passing through. You didn’t look at me and those that did didn’t really see me, didn’t see the blood and guts and everything laid out in front of you, displaying my humanity, my womanhood, everything about me to be seen. Flattened and bloody, strewn about in a display that would have disgusted any of you who dared to look, but none of you did. You just passed by like cars on the highway, never really seeing.

The tears rolled down my face. “Buck up,” you said. “It’s just a rodent.”

You didn’t see me…

I wanted to be a woman; I guess I wasn’t prepared for what that really meant.

 He tried to fix me. He thought I was broken, just like the rest of you. Instead, he broke me. Now, when I stare at my naked body in the mirror, I see the woman that was there all along. She trembles with a mixture of fear and rage, covered in blood, wearing it like war paint. She feels sympathy for the rabbit. She is angry at him for trying to fix her when she wasn’t broken, and she is angry at me for believing that she wasn’t there, and she is afraid of you. She is afraid of being put in her cage again. She screams in defiance even as I want to curl into a bottle and drink it all away, let myself be broken.

She stands there, shouting at the top of her lungs. “I am not broken! I’m a woman too!” This time, I know that she will not be contained. Not by you and never by me.

A Gift Misused…

Everyone has a gift they’ve been given in life. The ability to sing, cook, make people feel better, patience, kindness, the ability to understand science and to innovate and further the human race.

Me? I’ve always felt that my gift was storytelling. The ability to pull someone in and give them a hard dose of truth wrapped in an enchanting, at least I hope so, tale full of adventure and intrigue. But I don’t think I’ve been using that gift to its fullest. Not just because I barely ever post anything for you, but because even in my writing when I manage to get through the depression and the anxiety to sit down and pound out a few words here and there I don’t really use my ability to its fullest. I don’t share it with people. 

The worst part? I teach first graders every Sunday. I have a mostly willing and, quite literally, captive audience once every week that I don’t use my gift on. I follow a curriculum, I try to entertain them, but I don’t tell them stories. I don’t really teach them. I’m honestly more of a Sunday School Supervisor than a Sunday School Teacher and that bothers me. It’s an itch I try to ignore and just do what I’m told by teaching what’s given to me on a preplanned sheet and program, but I feel like I’m doing a disservice to the audiences I have by not telling them stories, by not showing them what it is to be a living breathing human being made by God, by not using the gift that I believe God gave me.

This month, November, is a big month for me. It’s NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. and this year,  I started 4 days late, now I’m 4, almost 5, days ahead of the curve. I’ve been surrounding myself in story. I’ve been working really hard to write this story, to get it going and next year I plan on releasing it, starting in January as far as I know and I’ve been really excited about it, but this morning I’ve been focusing on my lesson for today and I had a talk with my Gramma and… I’m just so annoyed with myself right now.

Today’s story is in Luke about the friends whose faith was so great that they took a roof off of a house so they could lower their paralyzed friend down to see Jesus. But the lesson plan I was given? It doesn’t talk about faith, it talks about cooperation. Everything this month is about cooperation. Which – NOT a bad thing – is just so frustrating. As an English major I was trained to get at the heart of a story, to find the meat of it, the meaning behind it, and cooperation is not the heart of this story, it’s not the theme, it’s barely even a subplot. I’m starting to feel like these kids are being cheated of the real lesson. I feel like they’re being taught to just be little cogs in the machine we call a church.

We’re teaching good behavior principles, we’re teaching them how to do good works, but we aren’t teaching them faith. We aren’t teaching them why they do good works.

Faith without good works is like the body without a soul, but good works without faith are just as empty. You shouldn’t do things just because you’re taught that it’s what you do. You should do things because there is a driving force in your life telling you to do it, a motivating reason beyond it’s what you’re programed to do. We’re humans, not robots. If God wanted good little robots he never would have given us free will. He never would have let Adam and Eve eat the fruit and get kicked out of the garden. But we’re teaching these kids how to act, how to look like Christians on the outside without teaching them what they really need to know on the inside.

The outside can look as pretty and perfect as you please, but if the inside doesn’t match, if they don’t have the faith and understanding to think for themselves they’ll never really know why they’re doing it. Doing things without real faith is probably worse, at least in my opinion, than having faith but not doing anything with it. because when you do things that you’re “supposed to” you can end up tricking yourself into believing that you have faith, that you have salvation, when you don’t really believe it in your heart anymore than you believe it with your mind.

We’re working backwards. We’re trusting that good behavior will bring faith, not that faith will bring good behavior.

Every time I sit down to work on my novel this month, I’ve been doing it while fighting depression, anxiety, and self-doubt. But I sit down anyway I tell myself that I have to believe in this story. It helps I have a pretty awesome cheerleader in my NaNo region who’s been checking up on me every night to make sure I’ve been writing, and if I can’t really write he’s been letting me know that it’s okay, he thinks I can do it, and that I’ve been doing great so far. If anything I’ve sat down to write with at least the faith that he will be asking me later in the day if I’ve done anything and I don’t want to disappoint him.

Kind of like how I know, I have faith, that one day I’m going to meet God and He’s going to ask me if I used the gifts He gave me. He’s going to ask me if I told stories and I don’t want to disappoint Him anymore than I don’t want to disappoint my NaNo cheerleader. In fact I’d say the willingness to disappoint Him is less than the willingness to disappoint my NaNo cheerleader. Of the two, only one of them will know when I’m lying. (Not that I’d lie to my NaNo cheerleader…. I respect him too much.)

So… I guess what I’m trying to say here is…

I’m Sorry

I’ve misused my gift. I haven’t been teaching these kids to think for themselves, to have faith before works. No one should believe something just because they’re told to. They should believe it because they are so compelled by faith that they have no choice but to believe it and to act on it.  What’s worse is that I’ve become no better, just a cog in the machine doing what I’m told and not what I want to do, not what I’m compelled to do, what I need to do. (Can you tell it’s NaNo and I’ve been working towards word count goals instead of being short and to the point… or is this normally me?) I haven’t exercised my gift of free will any more than I’ve exercised my story telling gifts…

And for that I am sorry.

But, now that I know what I’m doing wrong. I have an opportunity to fix it. I have a chance to make things better, to change the world for the better and to teach these kids, at least for the short while I have them, that they can think for themselves, that God made them with free will and that faith doesn’t come from good works, good works come from faith.