Technical writers or non fiction writers scribble to pay the bills and for the love of the analytical or the exercise of truth or deception.

Fiction authors write to illuminate their world or escape it.

Whichever kind of writer, it's all about staying alive and helping or entertaining others.

The Writing Life

Like most writers, I have a love of reading and the power of words. When I was younger, I read everything I could get my hands on, but I don’t consider myself well read. I consumed books like a starved person, so quickly I hardly knew what I had read. By some strange process of osmosis, I learned from everything I read, but I cannot give you an erudite discussion of characters, plots, or authors. I can only tell you it’s lodged some where in the core of my being and informs my writing.

In addition to reading, I’ve spent a life time writing---from that first elementary school composition to my college days when I studied French literature and wrote explications de texte. Along the way, I fell into technical writing--to put food on the table and pay bills. In the 90s, I had the good fortune to take a dialog class with Sol Stein, former owner of Stein & Day publishers in New York and a prolific author. That led to his California-based writers’ group, Chapter One. It was a rigorous, ego-bruising experience, but I was intent on learning everything I could about fiction writing. A few years ago, I also had the good fortune to study with another writer, Louella Nelson, an experienced romance writer and teacher of fiction writing. She provided a different perspective and balance to my writing.

My novel, DREAMING OF LAUGHING HAWK, a mainstream, Sixties era novel, is available on Amazon in print and ebook (also available in Canada, Europe, Japan, and Brazil). Download a free sample. If you like it, I hope you'll download the book and post a review on Amazon.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Yes, no, oh--alright then!

This is my submission to Romantic Friday Writers Challenge #37. Write your own 400-word flash (prose or poetry) and submit it. The theme is indecision. Well? Why are you hesitating?

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     I sit in a conference room observing the clash of egos and the glazed over expressions on people’s faces. We’re boring each other with the minutiae of our job responsibilities and the latest changes in process. It’s so old. I’ve heard these conversations all of my professional life. I imagine smashing my head against the conference table and splattering my blood and brains on the wall. This is not a good indicator of mental stability. Clearly, I’ve entered the danger zone.

     I trudge back to my desk in a gray cubicle where I will be tethered to my computer the rest of the day. I am one of the fortunate few to have a window and as I look out on the clear blue sky and the palm trees, I say to myself: “They should have known better than to give me a window on the world. Let me out.” Something is really wrong.

     The years I’ve worked as a technical writer flash before my eyes. Hardware. Software. Marketing and corporate communications. All along what I really wanted to do was write fiction. Between working full time and raising a family, I squeezed in writing classes and workshops. I practiced dialog in my head while I stirred a pot on the stove. I scribbled thoughts on pieces of paper, hoping someday to stitch them into something coherent. If only I could quit my job, but there were bills to pay and kids to send to college. My dreams were always on the back burner. I procrastinated. Yes. No. Yes. No.

     Time is running out. I look out the window now and watch the cars streaming by. The colors are vivid and inviting. An artist would need a broad canvas and a full palette to capture it. I get up and walk down the hall to my boss’s office.

     “I am tired of living in a gray cubicle with gray carpeting and gray walls.”

     She looks stunned.

     “There are things I want to do before they roll me into my grave so I’m giving my notice.”

     “Are you sure?”

     “Yes.”

     "I'm jealous."

     We both take a deep breath. “Alright then.”

     I smile all the way back to my desk. It is a smile of nervousness and exhilaration. I pray for a broad canvas and words to fill a palette.

*-*-*-*-*

So there you have it--my semi-fictional account. I am about to embark on the most romantic adventure of my life time. I am leaving my job in two weeks and I am going to finish my novel Laughing Hawk. Whether I succeed or fail, it's the journey that counts. Wish me luck fellow romantic writers.

9 comments:

  1. Great story! I have felt like that, if only I had the nerve! Good luck wtih your new venture

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  2. Hi,

    Oh nice one! Good image portrayed through character perspective...

    Good luck with new venture! ;)

    best
    F

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  3. A lovely piece - we've all been there (or maybe we still are there). Good luck with your new venture.

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  4. Oh Linda, bravo! You did it! Hats off to you. Sometimes we've just got to take control, take risks and see where they lead us. I hope the financials work out, but most of all I hope Laughing Hawk takes shape. If I can be of any help with beta reading or any other way, please let me know. I'm so excited for you!

    Oh, the story...loved it. I love your sparse writing style and the ending is always a delight. The set up at the meeting took us into the story - who hasn't been in a scenario like this? I can remember deciding if someone didn't stop droning on I was going to start pulling my eyelashes out, one by one. ( I still have my eyelashes, not that job.)

    Don't forget to come over and vote next Monday-ish.

    Denise

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  5. Wonderful piece I was cheering on the protagonist and am cheering on you! Go for it!

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  6. Wonderful true-life story! I'm there with you, feeling the moment; thinking about the practical problems; thinking about how time is running out. Some things must be done NOW. I wish you all the best. I'm cheering for you!
    Anna
    Anna's RFWers Challenge No 37 'Yes, No, oh, alright then.'

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  7. I'm jealous too Linda. Congratulations on making such an auspicious decision, and I hope you are never disappointed with your resolve. Life choices are difficult, but can be so freeing sometimes :)

    .......dhole

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  8. Wow FANTASTIC! Good luck with completing your novel.

    You are an edge to your writing that I really like. Terrific tension. Nicely done.

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  9. I love it, Linda! You've captured the essence of the theme brilliantly. Well done.

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