Short Stories, Writing Corner

Finding My Voice | Part 1 | A Short Story Inspired By A Picture

These last few months, I’ve struggled to write. I haven’t really talked about it before but the entire experience of rewriting and finalizing my first eBook was fucking traumatic. Shit, that’s an ugly sentence but we’re sticking with it. For months on end, I wrote almost every single fucking day for hours. At one point, I had no choice but to aim to write 8 pages per day if I even wanted to come close to meeting my deadline. It was horrible because every time I got stuck, it was incredibly stressful because when I finally figured out the problem, I had to work so much harder to make up the time. It was a vicious cycle and sucked a lot of that passion to write out of me. I can’t even say now a good 6 months later, I’ve recovered. What added to that almost traumatizing event was the big incident that happened almost two seconds after the launch. My content had triggered someone immensely and I felt bad. I still do. It was never my intention to add more emotional stress to anyone’s life. I know how fucking horrible life can be and sometimes you just want a super happy story to forget momentarily. Now, I never advertised that this book was going to be that, heck I threw in my warnings, but it wasn’t enough. The horrible truth was and is, is that I hurt someone. It wasn’t my intention and it was the last thing I wanted, but it happened and there is nothing I can do about it now.

The problem is, this happened very soon after the launch which basically meant I had no time to bask in the glory. I didn’t have a moment to really enjoy the moment of finally becoming a published author because I felt so fucking terrible. I had ruined that girl’s day. I made her cry and that made me sad. It made me feel like shit. Ever since that moment, I’ve been too scared. What if I trigger someone else? What if my words will hurt them? What doesn’t really help is the fact is that I tend to enjoy writing more of the bit…well triggering content. It’s what I excel in. I can’t write happy go lucky, sunshine and rainbow farts type of stories. I’ve tried and it turned into a tragic love story. But now…I’m hesitant. I’m scared. I want to do these topics justice by making sure I get everything right but…this just destroyed everything. Yes, it’s important to get your facts straight, be sensitive and whatnot, but…it’s crippling me. I don’t want to hurt anyone with my words by saying anything wrong, but now I can’t write. I never thought too deeply about my stories before. I had an idea and just started writing it. But now, I have an idea and: “I’m like oh fuck me that’s a bit dark. If I’m going to write it, I need to do it correctly. It’s a sensitive subject and I have to do the people who are going through it or have gone through it, justice.” That type of pressure makes it nearly impossible to write. I feel that I’ve lost my voice and it makes me so incredibly sad. I used to love to write. I have so many stories and ideas that I truly so desperately want to write, but I’m scared. I can’t find my words anymore. It came so naturally to me before, but now I stare at an empty word document for actual hours. I watched that little line tick away until it becomes blurry. I reach out, type a few sentences and…then nothing. I stop, crippled. I stop, wishing I can find my voice again.

I’m not ready to give up though. I have so many more stories and adventures to tell. I just need to explore, experiment and get back my confidence. Sounds really fucking easy right?

So, here is the plan. I’m going to attempt to write a story that’s inspired by a picture. These pictures were randomly selected by my husband by the way. I couldn’t even pick a picture, that’s how bad it is. Anyway, the idea is to write a short story (minimum of 1500 words) that either a) describes the picture, b) adds to the picture or c) goes along with the picture. That’s a shitty description but you get it. I hope. I’m just going to let my ideas run wild and try to write something without fear and hesitation. I’m just going to run with whatever idea is flowing out of me and if it turns into something a bit darker, then so be it. My words are going to hurt someone again and there is nothing I can do about it. I just need to write something I feel proud of…I guess that’s all I can do for now. Or at the very least, it’s a start? I don’t really know what else I can do.

Okay, let’s rip off this band-aid and start with the first picture.

fields

The Bright Blue Sky

The wind brushes against my back and tickles my skin. It brings with it a cold breeze that has me reaching for my sweater. I rubbed at my arms, desperate for some heat. The annoying clacker of the tracker meets my ears and I sigh. It’s always the same. Nothing changes in this small town. I watched my brother log the wheat barrels over the field and pondered over the discussion I had with mother dear just before making my escape.

   “Honey, you’re twenty-three years old. It’s about time you find a husband. Everyone is whispering about it you know. I can barely show my face in public because of you. Sarah’s daughter, Vanessa has three kids you know. She home schools them too. She is such a bright child…and her husband, that young man works hard for his family. They are such a precious little family. Vanessa does a lot of work in the community too, you know. How she has time for all of that is beyond me.” I resisted the urge to bang my head onto the table and instead forced a sweet smile on my face. My pure disgust in the same conversation we’ve had way too many times to keep count has done nothing to detour my mom. In her head, if you’re not married with ten kids, you’ve failed as a woman.

  “Honey, didn’t you go to school with her? You should go talk to her sometime soon. I’m sure she can help you get out this rut, my dear. It’s about time you move on from that old friend of yours. It’s been five years. It’s horrible to see you rot away. You need to take care of yourself more or no man would want you. You’re too small. It looks like a stiff breeze can blow you away.” Her words cut into my skin and I bite my lip. You would think by now it wouldn’t hurt as much, but whoopie fucking doo it stills fucking claws at my skin and shatters my heart. Yay. Just the mention of Kate hurts. It will always hurt. The pain of losing someone so dear to your heart will never not hurt, but sympathy died out when her coffin lowered into her dirt prison. Kate was just a nobody. The rejected kid from the city that lived in the outskirts of town. Kate was that older girl that came from mysterious origins. The girl that stole men from their wives and soiled our town. Kate was and still is, my everything. My mother’s annoying squeak pulled me from my thoughts, and for once I was grateful. That was until her words finally sunk in through my thick skull.

   “Oh, did I tell you that Hannah’s boy is back in town. Now that’s a fine man. Very educated. We should invite them over soon. Who knows, maybe you and Thomas will hit it off. He always had a sweet spot for you when you were younger and prettier.” I sighed loudly, received the usual I’m really fucking disappointed in you scowl.

   “Mother, I’m not interested. I have no intention to go along with your matchmaking sessions.” And boy oh boy, did that set her off. The women blew a fucking fuse and I got to get the same fucking speech. I didn’t even bother listening, I just got up from my seat and left the room. Her screams followed me as I stepped off the porch and marched my way to the usual spot. It was a temporarily solution. I knew I was going to get an earful from not only her but father dearest when I finally returned…but, fuck it. For just a fleeting moment, I want to sit up here and dream. I want to delude myself that this world isn’t as fucking horrible and there is something worthwhile out there.

The drum of the engine pulled me from my thoughts. I looked down and smiled when I saw my brother practically hanging out of the window, waving at me to come down with his signature goofy smile on his face.

   “That bad?” I whistled and jumped on the trunk before taking his hand. Getting up was one thing, but getting down is an entirely different story. I’ve twisted my ankle, landed on my face and just all in all, got quite my fair share of bruises with my previous attempts. My short center of gravity doesn’t really help me much.

   “Oh, just the usual you need a husband to be worthy shit.” I grabbed onto the blue rusty door for dear life. Balance just ain’t my friend. I have the grace of a fucking elephant in high heels.

   “You know, you don’t have to stay here for me anymore. You can leave now. Just walk out of here and never come back.” The seriousness in John’s voice caught me off guard. Where are the usual cheesy jokes to distract us momentarily from our suffering?

   “I can’t.” I managed to choke out. I just can’t. Kate is here. John, the only fucking person I care about on the planet, is here. The second I leave here; mother dearest is going to turn all of her focus onto John. And he is a lot weaker than me. He will cave under the pressure and mold into the man she wants him to be. Even if that means destroying everything that makes him, him. Even if that means being unhappy for the rest of his life. Living a fake life in a fairy tale of her creation. I can’t do that to him. And if I stopped lying to myself, I could maybe admit just how fucking scared I am. No matter how shitty this town is, it’s safe. It’s all I know. Yes, before I often dreamt about leaving this small town and their small way of thinking in my rearview mirror. I would set off into the sunset and make something of myself. But in those dreams, Kate was driving and John was in the backseat, laughing up a storm. John doesn’t want to run away though. He loves it here. He loves this small town. He loves the community. He just wants different things. He doesn’t feel trapped here. How that’s possible will never make sense to me. The same fucking community he loves so dearly will practically fucking stone a gay man to death. Beat the devil out of him. But John, he sees the goodness in people. He looks at a rainy day and instead of moaning and groaning about getting drenched to the bone, possibly catching a cold and just fucking getting mud everywhere. He will see nourishment for the fields. He will see the rainbow that brightens up the sky when the dark clouds open up their wings. I will never understand that part of him. How can you still be so positive with so much pain in your heart? How can you still smile when you have to push a part of you aside?

   “They might not understand it now, but they will one day.” How? How will these old-fashioned folks ever accept love between the same gender? I can never be like John. We’re in a similar boat. Yet, he is paddling away happily towards that happy ending where my boat is fucking sinking and I’m desperately shoveling out water so I don’t fucking drown. I nearly jumped out of my skin when John brushed my gold locks out of my face.

   “It’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to be different, but it’s not okay to destroy yourself. You can’t stay here. Pretty soon, you won’t have anything left.” I smiled sadly, biting back the tears.

   “That’s the thing, John. I don’t have anything left to lose.” The wind howled and I looked up into the sky, desperate to forget the sadness that broke the goofy smile. Why now? Why can’t we just act like everything is okay for just one more day?

   “You do, you just can’t see it yet.” I didn’t respond. If I finally stopped lying to myself, I might admit that I couldn’t respond. Instead, I watched as the wind blew away his words.

~*~

As predicted, anger and another lecture awaited me when I finally returned home. The tension could cut steel. I simply stared at the spot just above their heads and forced myself not to think…not to feel. When the lecture finally ended, I was allowed to retreat into my room. There I crawled onto my window seat and stared out to the sky.

   “I miss you.” The words fell off my lips so naturally that it clawed at my skin. The truth will set you free bullshit can eat my farts. It fucking hurts like hell. I didn’t even realize I fell asleep all hunched over against the cold night glass until the bright morning sun woke me up. I grunted as every muscle screamed with every single movement. Lovely. Just what I needed. Without much thought, I threw myself on my bed and allowed sleep to take me away. I don’t feel anything when I’m asleep. I stopped dreaming the day Kate died. Unfortunately, life hates my guts because seemingly seconds after climbing into bed, my mother dearest slammed open my bedroom door and yanked open my cocoon.

   “Shower and get dressed. You have an hour.” I rolled my eyes but got up. If I’ve learned anything over these last six years is to pick your fucking battles.

   “And for fuck sake, you better put some effort in for a change.” I would be lying if I said that my mother swearing didn’t completely bewilder me. Don’t poke the bear. I followed her orders to the T. I even went as far as to spray on perfume and braid my hair into something semi-presentable. Naturally, this would never meet my mother’s standards, but nothing ever will. I smoothed out my shirt and squared my shoulders. You can do this. Without much thought, I opened my door and made a beeline for the stairs. I didn’t even pause to put much thought into the fact that I could hear more than the usual voices coming from downstairs. I held back a snort when the Yale family smiled from their seats when they caught sight of me. Of course. I pulled the best fake smile right out of my asshole and greeted everyone with the usual fake pleasantries. Thomas stood up from his seat, a bight fake smile on his face and pulled me in for a tight hug. I returned the hug with a bit less excitement before pulling away to launch myself to John’s side. Thomas might be quite an attractive man but fuck me is he the biggest piece of shit you will ever meet. He is the type to walk around with the bible under his armpit while beating up his wife and kids behind closed doors. A real peach. Mother dearest entered the room with a snack platter, shooting me a semi subtle glare. It was quite fucking loud and clear. Stay in line or else. As I wasn’t exactly in the mood to find out what will happen if you poke the angry bear, I played along for the night. That was until the conversation over dinner a good hour later, turned incredibly morbid.

   “Honey dear, you should show Thomas around town tomorrow. I’m sure he will appreciate a good old update about everything he has missed these last few years since he’s been gone. You two can even turn it into a nice little date. Maybe go to the movies and go out for a nice meal. It will give you two the opportunity to catch up on old times.” I gaped as it slowly sunk in through my thick skull. This woman is going to marry me off to this piece of garbage if that’s the last fucking thing she will ever do. She has made it her life goal and if her glare was anything to go by, it was my only option moving forward. Something in me snapped.

   “No.” My mother practically resisted the urge to kill me on the spot with her bare hands and instead forced that sweet smile on her face.

   “Now dear, that’s no way to treat an old friend.” She practically spat out. I shook my head and got up from my seat. Mother dearest shot up from her seat, her façade long gone. With a red face, she practically hissed me.

   “You will go out with him. There will be no further discussion on this matter.” I could feel Kate snap up my spine and fill my body with strength. Her intentions were loud and clear. It’s time to grow a fucking backbone, bitch. And I did.

   “I like tits and pussy, mom.” The rush I got from the reaction from the table is something nothing in this world would ever be able to intimidate. Without a single fucking doubt, I exited the room with my middle finger high in the air. My message was loud and clear. I walked straight to my usual spot, climbed up the bale and screamed into the air. I did it, Kate. I finally did it. I kept screaming until my voice went hoarse, laughing hysterically when the skies opened. For once, the rain bought happiness with it. The usual drum of the engine pulled me from my thoughts. I looked down and laughed. Strapped onto the back, sat my suitcase. A suitcase I had packed five and a half years ago.

   “Need a ride, bitch?” John howled from the open window. Fuck yes. I looked up into the sky and smiled. I’m sorry for being late, Kate. And so, I jumped off the bail and climbed into the tired blue tracker through the passenger window. Once seated, John revved the engine and backed up. From the very corner of my eye, I could catch figures on the porch. Instead of the usual dread and misery, relief flooded my veins. It was exhilarating to see the figures grow smaller as John drove up the driveway. I turned around in my seat, determined to stop looking back and instead face the future.

   “You know, I’m going to have to go above and beyond to top your coming out of the closet liner.” John said with a chuckle. I laughed and shot him a wink. Fuck, this feels good.

   “Well, you can say you like cock and balls but that doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.” John all about choked on in his spit and my colorful choice of words. I shrugged and shot him my best innocent smile. He simply shook his head.

   “Yeah, the ass is the best part.” I snorted with laughter and slapped his leg.

   “You got me there.” I smiled and stared out of the window, happy to see the usual scenery blur. I’ve envisioned this exact moment a good hundred times and although it’s nothing like I imagined, it’s still somehow perfect. Here’s too more heartbreaks, laughter, crazy adventures and so much more. Here’s too finally living again.

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And that’s a wrap boys and girls. I’m not sure how I feel about this one but I’m going to force myself regardless to share it.

Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in a click!

End Note

PS. I’m sorry this is a few hours late. I didn’t feel like editing it yesterday and I had work this morning. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed it? I will see you on Friday with the next Writing Corner update.

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