Holding Onto What You Love

I’m a firm believer in working hard, making mistakes, and watching yourself grow every single day. It’s important to have opinions, beliefs, values, not only because they make you dynamic and interesting (which they do), but because people will respect you for holding strong to those beliefs. Trust me: one day, people will look up to you for being so sure, always, when this world throws us a million reasons a day to give up or to be pessimistic or just to turn our back on something we once held dearly. Whatever that something may be.

I’ve been dabbling in this new Thinking Ten concept, letting my fingers type away for ten minutes, letting the story unfold in front of me. Last week, I had to start my ten-minute piece with this sentence: “I write this sitting in the kitchen sink”. Just to give you an idea, here’s my piece:

I write this sitting in the kitchen sink. Which is difficult, to say the least, since I have a big, fat piece of metal dividing the side with the garbage disposal and the other, regular drain. But I digress, it’s all in a day’s work. And today, I’m holding my breath, trying to pretend that someone, some unknown face, is on the other side of that swinging door. There’s just a crack underneath the door, big enough for this mystery person to lean down on all fours, hugging the floor, and looking through to see my feet on the cold tile. I could just sit on the counter Indian style, but that wouldn’t give me the full effect. My butt wouldn’t be numb, my knees cramped, my toes a little wet.

“You have to get your toes a little wet,” my Grandpa always used to say. “That’s the only way to go through life.” He was in the Navy, a real trooper, with a big heart and a knack for serving his country. And I know he said that metaphorically, at best, but I’m taking it to heart right now since I forgot to clean out the sink before I sat in it. There’s a leftover puddle of water inside my cereal bowl from when I washed it out.

I call it Experience Writing. My villain, in this latest misadventure, is on the other side of the kitchen door, breathing so quietly I can’t even hear him. That’s what I tell myself, since you and I both know there is no villain on the other side. It helps me feel tense, keep the words flowing on the page. And the funny thing is, in a way, there is someone else on the other side of that door. A different kind of villain, maybe, but a villain nonetheless. It’s my mother, coming inside from hanging laundry on the clothesline, and she’s going to scream. Not out of terror though. I wish it was out of terror, but I’m not a very scary little girl. The scariest thing about me, according to her, is my tendency to dress and act like a boy.

“Mom,” I tell her, whining. “I can be whoever I want to be. I’m a writer.”

“So be a girl,” she tells me, smacking me upside the head and demanding I get down from there right now before all the germs from my dirty feet infect the sink and she has to spend hours scrubbing it out.

I argue with her for a few minutes, reminding her that girls don’t always get recognized for their writing. Not until they’re dead. And I need to experience “Boy Life” because my latest story is about a boy. Girls don’t worry about villains, I insist.

She shakes her head once more, firmly, and wraps both arms around me, pulling me out and setting me down.

As for news, Mind Games is available on Amazon.com now. If the diversity of the collection isn’t proof enough for you that two words can take you in vastly different directions, I don’t know what is. Along with that, 6S: Half a World Away is available on CreateSpace. My friends all asked me if I get commission for the sales. No, no, no. One of them promised, swearing up and down, that she would buy five copies. I laughed but shook my head and told her that wouldn’t be necessary. Am I excited? Absolutely thrilled. I’m trying to remain grounded, though. I’m trying to remember the road ahead of me, the way it’s winding and steep and a bit hard to follow. And I’m taking a step, jumping off the cliff, and throwing every ounce of energy into the hard work that I love. Because ultimately, I want to wake up and love my job. Because I’m a writer, I can be whoever I want to be.

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