Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – September 30, 2004
The Home Stretch
Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – September 30, 2004 – The last day of September. Tomorrow it will be October – the start of the last quarter of 2004. I have 92, as yet untold stories to write. I have no idea what they will be, from whence their inspiration will come, or if they will be interesting or instructive. What I do know is that I am going to finish this project, if it’s the last thing I do, and it may well be.
These daily ramblings started out as an anthem of gratitude, they’ve rounded a gentle bend to encompass memories of people and places, served as a platform for the odd childish rant, raised questions that don’t have easy answers and provided assistance to my troubled heart and soul when I was in need of a therapy session. Of course, I had to be both patient and therapist at the same time and I’m not sure how effective that is.
I had no idea when I started, how difficult it would be to write on a particular day, and how easily the words would flow on another. The siting down to a blank screen is intimidating, frightening and exhilarating all in the same breath. I’m guessing that if you’re a real writer, you have confidence in your ability, so you don’t doubt the fact that your story or assignment will materialize as it’s meant to.
Because I consider myself an interloper, some days are more daunting than others. What will I do with this when I finish? Will I have the nerve to give it to someone else to read? Will I wonder if they start on page one and finish on page ten, and give it back to me with glowing exclamations about how wonderful the entire tale is, including the delightful stories of my childhood? Probably!
Perhaps I’ll bundle the pages together into a large manilla envelope and pop it up onto a shelf in my bedroom closet. It will collect a suitable amount of dust, and periodically I’ll take it down and read a few pages, and remember the year I spent writing for an hour a day – 15.30 days in total. I’ll wonder why I didn’t simply take a vacation and crack the whole thing off in a fortnight.
I’m plagued with insecurities, but I’ve come to realize it’s not just about this project – it’s about everything. I’m a bona fide worrier. A glass half-empty gal. I don’t want to be – sometimes I almost convince myself that it’s otherwise – but it’s not. This writing bit is an anomaly. Fortunately, I’ve told enough people about it that I must finish. I do have “some” pride.
Some days, an idea pops into my head for a story and the words spill out of my head and arrange themselves neatly on the computer screen. It’s magic. Other days I grind my teeth in frustration and wait for inspiration … and wait … and wait. Finally a sputter – then a paragraph – good Lord, at last a page is complete. I drag the ideas to the forefront of my brain and then give them a good kick so they tumble down through my body willy-nilly and come out my fingertips. I’ve also learned during this exercise that I fight life at every turn. I expect it to be a struggle and it doesn’t disappoint me. I imagine the worst case scenario, fortunately it doesn’t usually happen, nevertheless it uses up a lot of energy.
In spite of these setbacks – real or imagined, I am moving forward – on the home stretch with the commitment I made to myself last January. So in spite of the fact that I think I should always be writing stories that are profound, witty, deep, humorous, motivational, revealing or helpful – I’m not always successful.
So be it. I haven’t quit when I felt I had nothing to say, when I was afraid, short of time, feeling blue, over-whelmed or stressed. This is a huge undertaking for me and when I finish, as I will, I’m going to look myself in the eye and say “You Rock, Roe”.
Now this is the good part. If I can do this – you can do anything you set your mind to. You simply have no idea how many personal things I’ve started and not finished. The list is endless and I have the three ring binders to prove it. I always follow through when it’s work related commitments, but when it comes to what’s good for me – the Empress of Excuses appears with the Princess of Procrastination and the Queen of Rationalization not far behind and “bang” – another Roe project is shot to hell.
I know that I often have about as much chance of finishing something as a gnat does of flying across the Atlantic Ocean. But this is different, and speaking of gnats, I’ve heard that there are some incredibly powerful wind currents. This must be true, because right now I have one beneath my wings, and I’m three quarters of the way across the ocean! You Rock – Roe!