Hi all! Happy Friday!
This week I had a huge breakthrough in revising the manuscript I'm querying and, as seemingly everything else in my life is going insanely busy or falling apart, I'm focusing on that as proof that things aren't all bad. Things really aren't all bad, but the bad stuff is pretty big and there's a lot of material there for depression and anxiety to feed on. So, dear depression and sweet anxiety, you can suck on the good news of that major revision being awesome and shrivel up a bit, now and thank you.
In case you've ever wondered, I do actually have a writing process. It typically involves having a word prompt – either on purpose or because it got stuck in my head – which my imagination 'remembers' is part of a story. Usually the story is short because it's only a part, and other times the part becomes a world and the characters grow into personalities who tell me whole sections of their lives. For both long narratives and short stories, my process is the same and starts with the first sentence of the event which my imagination remembered: sit and type.
Long winded way of telling you that your writing process is as personal and individual as you are, I know, but the more I write and the greater number of Writers I interact with, the more I see this is true. It might take a few failed attempts to get your process figured out, and someone else's Right Way to Write might get you started, but how you get your awesome stories out of your head has to be the way that works for you.
Hope you have a great weekend!
3. Breakfast Plans with Trolls
Bissette pulled her phone out of her sweater pocket and sat down. Her phone connected with three out of four bars to her grandma’s Wifi from this chair. She could bring her suitcase over after dinner and run her laundry from the past week and a half through while having a mug of tea. Probably she could plug in her laptop to get a couple hours of work done on the two jobs she did from home and then stream music while hunting for where that bleached smell was coming from in the kitchen to clean it out with dish soap and vinegar. Compared against spending another night trying to work and sleep around her cousins and youngest brothers using the two game systems in Grandma’s basement, sleeping at Gran and Pop’s had always been her choice in the past and she smiled to realize that hadn’t changed at all even with both of them now passed away.
She stood and walked down the hall to the spare room. The bed was made neatly, dents in the rug beside it where the dresser had been and empty hangers in the closet. She lifted her backpack from the bed and set it in the closet under the hangers. It leaned against the wall in there as if that’s where it had always sat when she wasn’t carrying it around. Her desk would fit perfectly where the dresser had been, and Grandma and Grandma's siblings had cleared out Gran’s bedroom so it was empty right now. Bissette’s small bedroom set would fit in there without feeling cramped like it was in the place she was renting in right now.
In the span of a heartbeat, a breath lifted the weight of living off her shoulders for a moment. Having gardens was something her hands had achingly missed since moving out of her parent’s house, and there was a yard full of them waiting outside to be tended during her free time. She could borrow Grandma’s truck to bring her things here without having to worry about the cost of a rental, so that meant texting her roommates tonight that she was taking the jump and coming here, giving her notice at her in-person job tomorrow morning, accepting the offer for the new position tomorrow afternoon, and be moving in by this weekend. The offered salary from full time work would pay expenses and still have funds left over to start putting toward student loans.
She’d be here to take care of the fairies, trolls and brownies, keep the mirrors clean to reflect away any bad spirits, and set up her home so that the energy stayed just as positive as when Gran and Pop lived here. She paused in the hallway and looked out at the bits of rooms she could see, already knowing which kitchen chair to stand on for replacing the dusty spice bundles with fresh. The door to the crawl space ladder creaked in that familiar way when she opened it and the bare bulb clicked on brightly when she pulled the long string tied to the short chain.
Neat, wooden shelves were arranged for maximum capacity down here, the bricks keeping everything cool. She flicked the switch and the lights Pop had gotten installed when the electrical had been updated brightened the space as if there were suddenly windows. Gran’s little deep freezer was still here, humming in the nearest corner with its red light shining dully from the handle. On the shelves were maybe a dozen jars with tidy labels written in Grandma’s flowing writing. Surprisingly, all the jars held things Bissette liked to eat and each was less than six months old. In the freezer sat a small turkey, a dozen hotdog buns, two half-eaten pints of vanilla ice cream, and a half-pound package of bacon. Bissette knew that Gran hadn’t been down the ladder in at least two years, so everything stored here was likely Grandma’s forgotten food. If she asked, Grandma would likely let her keep most of it.
Bissette updated her breakfast plans to biscuits and bacon, bringing the half-pound package up the ladder and depositing it in the fridge to start thawing out. The cat was gone (as was the milk and tea) and the big clay bowl was dry enough to wipe the last few drops off the outside. She filled the bowl with clean water and took it back out onto the patio, setting it in the shade so it would stay cool for any passing trolls needing to dip a mug. Grandma was in the garden just off the patio, puttering at some weeding, and smiled through a sniffle as she watched her granddaughter.
“For the trolls?” she asked.
“You never know when they’ll come by,” Bissette answered. “I guess I missed dinner?”
“No, not at all. Your Grandpa just chased all the kids away and started the burgers on the grill. I came over to tell you to come and make up your bun and saw there were a few weeds so I stopped for that,” she said, straightening up and dusting off her hands.
“Okay. I’ll just lock up the front and come out this door. Be right out.”
Grandma was weeding again in a different part of the garden when Bissette came back and closed the door without locking it. “No backpack?” Grandma asked. Her tone was just as carefully neutral as every other conversation about the house. She hadn’t wanted to pressure Bissette one way or the other, but her nerves about not knowing what was happening with the little house pinched at her eyes.
“No. I think I’ll bring my suitcase over after dinner. There’s still tea in the drawer and a couple of mugs with the dishes that were left behind. I’ll have to borrow some of your cutlery, though. And…” her voice trailed off as she braced for the big question. “And I wanted to ask if I could borrow your truck?”
The pinching around her grandma’s eyes melted away. “You’re going to accept that job offer?” she asked quietly, the forced neutrality strained by hopeful excitement.
“Yes.” The statement felt definitive. And right. It felt right and Bissette felt good saying it. Especially once it was said out loud and her grandma wrapped her up in a hug.
“Welcome home,” Grandma said, holding Bissette’s shoulders and stepping back to beam a smile through the few tears on her cheeks. “Come on. Let’s go tell Grandpa that you’re taking the truck for a few days.”
Why are Authors crazy? I can't answer that, but I can provide bits of my own thoughts so that you can piece together why I may be.