Like many writers, my first foray into the creative process was at an early age---the second grade, to be precise.
I don't recall what possessed me to do so, but I picked up a pencil one day and wrote an inventive story about the family dog. I still have that piece, written in my childish hand on those large, lined pages used in elementary school. I reference it occasionally when I need a pick-me-up or a quick trip down memory lane.
The list below is sparse... For now! I will be the first to admit that I am woefully behind on my efforts to compile all those stories written over the years into some sort of usable work. The pencil and elementary-school paper gave way to journals and notebooks a long time ago, followed by my Mom's old typewriter and, eventually, word processors and computers.
Satan and a Hair Net
This short piece was selected for The First Line Literary Journal, a monthly publication that provides writers with the first sentence to see where it leads. Below are the first few paragraphs of the published piece:
"The rules are clearly spelled out in the brochure. Everyone must follow them!"
My new manager yanked on my shoulder and shoved a hair net in my face. "Put this on, blondie --- we will have NO hair in our food. And get that gum out of your mouth right now unless you want your first day to be your last!"
Geez! This was supposed to be a part-time job, not a military training exercise! I cursed my mom for making me do this. No one else I knew had to get a job.
"For those of you who can't read," the manager continued, still eyeing me and holding up the brochure we had all received during orientation," the rules are as follows...
Written on the floor of my cramped apartment bathroom by candlelight at 2am, I conveyed a dark, suspenseful tale of a relationship gone very wrong.
Here's a sampling:
Short rapid breaths left her body as she clamored for the stairs.
Footsteps sounded behind her, loud and heavy on the wooden floor.
Fear welled up so intensely that she thought she might die, but to do that—to give up—would be to die.
She had known something was wrong the minute she’d walked in the front door. Moments later, she was running for her life, unaware of anything except the hallway in front of her and the gun just beyond it, tucked away in a shoebox inside her closet.
By the time I stepped outside, the leaves were on fire.
Not actually on fire, of course. I hadn’t been close to a real fire since my early twenties, when the world last seemed exciting and not in the least bit scary.
This kind of fire was the orange, red and gold of late fall, yet I had been too shut up in my own house to notice the colors creeping into the trees. Like the dying leaves, my own life was slipping away, and it had been for years.