It’s day 15 of the 30 Day Restart Challenge, which means we’re halfway through!
I’m so glad I started this challenge because I’ve been able to practice two very important aspects of writing life: discipline and perseverance.
I’ve become more disciplined because this challenge asks me to show up to my writing every day. Whether I produce anything is another matter, but at least I opened my notebook, stared at the prompt, and picked up my pen with the intent of creating something. The BICHOK concept is very powerful, y’all.
Because I’ve shown up to my writing almost every day for the past two weeks, I’ve become more determined because hey, words are elusive little bastards sometimes and that means I have to strap on my bow and quiver and go a-huntin’. In this challenge, I’ve experienced a lot of creative pushback and I’ve stretched my muscles and shoved through.
The stuff I produce isn’t perfect; far from it. But, surprisingly, that doesn’t even bother me. I made it and to me, that’s beautiful. Over the 8 days I’ve produced something, I’ve written over 4,000 words. And that’s on top of the habits I’m learning.
Writing every day is hard and sometimes I don’t get to it, not because I don’t want to, but because I literally don’t have the time to make it happen. And that’s okay. I redouble my effort other days. I’m proud of myself for having gotten done as much as I did because these past two weeks, I’ve started a new job and had a cold. And I still showed up and put something on the page.
…a picture hung on the wall with a two-inch wide border, gilded and rippled like a starburst, framing a black and white overhead sketch of a bumblebee
…the top of a brown, wooden bookcase
…on the far left, a golden cage that holds a bouquet of soft pink fake feathers
…a geometric vase with the bottom two-thirds painted gold with a texture like the inside of a steel drum, pounded over and over again with a hammer
…a stack of five World Book encyclopedias (G, H, B, and I), spines a muted burgundy, the title gold
…a pair of golden swans, one on top of the encyclopedias, neck arched as if looking down on its partner, which sits on the top of the bookcase below the other, its neck tilted as if in awe or servitude
…over the bottom swan’s shoulder are two long, slender black candles, their bases cylindrical and painted a dark blue-black with silver-gold bowls to catch the wax, one taller than the other
…they rest inside a shallow wooden tray painted a uniform seashell orange pink on the outside, black on the inside
…in the tray next to the candles is a globe, the golden continents glistening against the black seas, Africa facing front
Today’s prompt was pancakes / lilies / blue
Today’s response is different because sometimes it takes trying something different to give your creative well time to refill. For me, it helps to practice basic writing concepts, like noticing and describing details.
I enjoyed this exercise. Details are the things that make your story pop, so it’s always good to keep that skill sharp.
Tomorrow’s prompt is a free day!
If you’d like to join me and my writing friend, John Mastro, in our 30 Day Restart Challenge as we stretch our muscles before our MFA residency, check out the prompt list here and comment with a link to your response!
When you’ve saved the parallel world you were born to but were stolen out of as a baby half dozen times before your eighteenth birthday, you’d think you’d be entitled to a restful retirement and fun and stress-free entry into your 20s and the start of your Real Life.
That’s the echoes of Fate’s laughter. I could hear them loud and clear when Rayner materialized on the sidewalk in front of me, unfolded out of the air like he was being let out at the end of a straw, bringing with him a faint pop and a waft of honeysuckle.
My old comrade in arms had gained several inches and more than a few pounds of muscle since I’d seen him last. The Great Hall at Della Run flashed from the depths of my memories like a coin in a riverbed caught in the sunlight. The phantom weight of the Dellan Medal of Honorable Service settled around my neck.
Four years was enough of a vacation, apparently. Fuck you, Fate.
“No,” I said, before Rayner opened his mouth. “Whatever it is–the answer is no.”
He didn’t twitch. I didn’t expect him to. His face was just as impenetrable as the thick, black leather armor he wore and just as hard as the short sword strapped to his back.
“Maybe we’re dying,” he said, in Dellan.
“Maybe that’s your problem.” Despite the years, the language came back as if I’d only just come from the market at High River. I hitched my backpack higher on my shoulder. “Find someone else.”
“You’re the one Fate sent me to. You’re the one Fallon needs.”
Now if he’d told me that before I left the last time… No. This was bound to happen either way. This was where my life was, where my brother’s life was.
“I can’t go back,” I said. “That place is Neverland. You’re Peter Pan, the boy who never grows up, and I’m Wendy, who goes home and every time you come back I’m just a little bit older–”
I was glad he cut me off. I didn’t like the comparison I was making. “No.”
I walked past him, but he grabbed my arm when I tried. I turned and deflected his hand, shifting it away from his center so I could slam the heel of my hand into his solar plexus.
It didn’t move him far but I hadn’t expected it to. Just to stun him a moment and loosen his grip on me enough to pull my arm from his hand.
He raised his eyebrows. “You’ve kept up with your training.”
I knew the slant of those eyebrows. Smug, like he’d caught me at something. I repositioned my bag again. “It’s muscle memory. Don’t get excited.”
A few blocks over, someone’s car horn went off and Ray stiffened. All at once, the sounds of my sleepy urban neighborhood flooded me–and Ray standing in the middle of it, with his black leather armor and short sword and ridiculous manly muscles.
“Fine. Stay here and Fallon will just die,” he said.
There’s the melodramatic Ray I once knew. I glanced around me. It was still empty, the world winding down for the night.
“Fallon will evolve,” I said, “like all worlds. Get your head out of your ass. I’m not the savior of Fallon, I’m not a unique key to fixing your problem–”
“It’s not just my problem. You were born Fallonian, half of you belongs there, is of Fallon.”
My gut reels like a punch in the stomach. I step back. “And there are others more qualified than me, so stop acting like I alone can save the day. I’m not a superhero.”
That awkward moment when you wrote up your response and forgot to post it and only remembered days later when you find it in your drafts folder *cringe* so you backdate it so you don’t look AS lame
Today’s prompt was perfume / honeysuckle / pop
Today’s prompt response developed in two phases. First, the dialogue. I came up with the dialogue completely out of context of any description. So my main task was to build up prose around it.
Building prose around dialogue doesn’t always work out for me. In a story with characters I know well, it’s my preferred method of scene sketching before drafting. Developing the two independently of each other is difficult and comes out awkwardly to me. So this piece feels all over the place. Definitely not my best work. But it’s one of those scenes that I’d like to redo one day.