Word Count Goal: 5000
What am I working on?
I've been writing a bunch of 100 word stories (some of which I posted earlier). I'm also starting a screenplay for a movie.
How do I feel about this process?
It took me a while to recover from finals, but I'm feeling pretty good right now. When the semester ended I wasn't sure whether or not I wanted to keep this blog going, but I kind of missed it. Is that weird? So, for now at least, I'm going to keep it up.
Random Note: If anyone has any tips on how to structure a movie, I'd love to hear them. This is harder than I thought.
Total Word Count: 5102
What am I reading right now?
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (It's a really good book. I'd definitely recommend it!)
Thursday, June 1, 2017
The Secret Is…
So, you’re reading this because you want to know the secret to happiness. Well, you’ve come to the right place! Because I, my friend, will give you all the knowledge you need to be happy in only 100 words! Sounds great right? You’re probably asking yourself “how much does it cost?” Well, I can tell you that it costs absolutely nothing! You can have the secret to happiness right now for free! All you have to do is keep reading! It’s that simple! Now, listen closely and I’ll tell you everything. Ready? The secret to happiness in 100 words is–
Quick, light breaths, quiet on their own, but quiet loud together, filled the dark cave. Occasionally, there was a cry from a child, but otherwise it was silent but for the breathing. And the fear. The crowd watched the ceiling of the cave, their eyes searching the dark stone for some sign of change. Their fear was tangible. It could be felt, filling every nook and cranny. It could be heard, in the ragged breathing. And it could be seen. It was on the face of everyone there. They could only wait, together but alone, their breath filling the room.
An Adventure in Poorly Timed Conscience Development
“Who would have thought my life would come to this?”
I looked at the morose English gentleman sitting beside me, struggling not to roll my eyes.
“Here, take this.” I handed him a loaded rifle.
He stared at the firearm like he had never seen one before. “So not only am I to die hiding behind a camel,” he said. “But you expect me to shoot this contraption?”
“If you don’t want to die, yes.”
He stared at the gun like this was a difficult decision. I groaned in frustration. These people always chose the worst times to develop consciences.
“What do you have to say for yourself?” My boss looked like he had something hard shoved up his ass in the best of times. Currently, his face was red and beads of sweat dripped down his face. Being angry looked exhausting.
I yawned and shrugged. “Well,” I began. “It’s a bit of a story.”
He inhaled more aggressively than I would have thought possible. “Then you should start telling it. Now.”
I clapped my hands together. “Alright. Well, it all started with a false rumor, a bad haircut, and a lollipop.” I paused. “Sit down. We’ll be here awhile.”
He trotted after me. “You haven’t even heard my plan yet!” he protested.
I rolled my eyes. “I already know it’s stupid.”
“And?” he asked expectantly. “Will you do it?”
“No.” I kept walking, hoping he’d trip or something.
“Jonah,” he whined. “Why are you always like this?”
“Like what?” I dared him to answer.
“Stubborn.” Of course he didn’t even notice my eyes shooting daggers at him. “You never listen to my plans. And they’re good!”
I stopped and turned to face him. “When has one of your plans not ended in us getting arrested or almost dying?”
Failing with Style, Part 1
At the top of his paper was a massive, red, angry F. It was honestly impressive how angry a single letter could appear. Connor knew his project had been shit. He’d finished it in approximately 15 minutes at 3 in the morning while he was as high as a kite. Still, the F seemed a little extreme. He could practically see Mrs. Finley’s gleeful expression as she’d stamped it. Then thickened it with sharpie and underlined, it by the look of it. It was truly a master class in condescending hatred. He turned around and went back into the classroom.
Failing with Style, Part 2
Mrs. Finley was sitting with her arms crossed and her feet up on the desk when he came in.
“Oh, hello, Mr. Rogers.” she said. “Do you have a question?”
He put the paper on her desk. “Yeah, why?”
She shrugged. “It’s an insult to the trees to have a piece of paper with no effort on it.”
“That’s fair.” Connor examined the F. “You went all out this time. Is that glitter?”
She smirked and put a finger to her lips. “Don’t tell anyone. I took it from the preschool supplies.” she said.
Decisions Already Made
“This is a crustacean.” the child said, pointing to a sand covered crab.
Sally couldn’t help but laugh. What was he? Seven? The word crustacean sounded hilarious in his childish lisp.
But she smothered her laugh and nodded seriously. “Really?” she said. “How do you know that?”
“Mamma read me a book about them.” the boy said.
Sally stopped smiling abruptly and had to turn away. She really had no right to be hurt. Of course he didn’t know she was his mother. She’d made her own choice. She couldn’t unmake it now. No matter how much she wanted to.
I’m Not Going Anywhere
“I’m not going anywhere,”
10 years later I still remembered that phrase. My mom’s career was stalled like our manual transmission. I’d been an impressionable five-year-old who quickly learned that her career was more important than me.
10 years of depression, messy relationships, drugs, and general shit later, she sat on my bed while I sobbed. Her phone was off. Her eyes were on me. She held me like I was still the five-year-old she’d left alone to go on auditions. She wiped away my tears. Her face showed the revelation she couldn’t put into words.
“I’m not going anywhere.”
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Sometimes writing is hard. Sometimes, it feels like anything would be more fun than going to the computer and trying to write one sentence after another. Luckily, even the best writers feel the same way. This song, "It's Hard to be the Bard" is about how even Shakespeare has those days where he hates writing. Enjoy!
Wednesday, May 3, 2017
Sitting backstage was one of the most powerful things Iris Durante had ever experienced. Her stomach fluttered in anticipation at the thought of the crowd just on the other side of the curtain waiting for what was to come. Not that the crowd waiting for her was that big. It was about forty people, some of whom had probably just wandered in by chance. But it was something.
“Durante.” A gruff voice pulled her out of her daydream.
She blinked her eyes, to see a tall man, impeccably dressed in an expensive suit. She welcomed him with a glare. “Pierce, didn’t we talk about not distracting me right before–”
“Be quiet and listen to me.” He cut her off, and the tone of his voice made her annoyance vanish.
“What?” she asked, “What’s wrong?”
“There’s a gentleman here to throw us out.” He voice was perfectly calm just like it had been through many much more dangerous situations.
Iris’ on the other hand, was not. “What?” she stood up and walked toward him, furious. “What the hell? We rented it through the rest of the week.”
“Yes, but apparently he never got his payment.” He moved closer so he could whisper in her ear. “They never paid him.”
“Fuck.” She whispered and looked sadly back at the curtains and the waiting audience on the other side.
“So we have two options.” Pierce said, ignoring the profanity. “Stay and try to figure it out or”
“Or make a daring escape.” Iris was already standing up.
“Through the window?” Pierce suggested after a moment of glancing around.
“It wouldn’t really be an escape if we used the door now would it?” Iris asked. He didn’t acknowledge her sarcasm. What else was new.
She opened the window and stuck her head out. The drop was about ten feet. She looked out planning her fall and couldn’t help commenting.
“You know, it feels like you have me jumping out a new window every week.”
“Just jump.” he said, sounding bored.
“Fine, be that way.” she said and jumped, rolling out of her landing to break her fall. Pierce came after her, landing more heavily than she had but still safely.
He straightened his suit and pulled out a pair of sunglasses. “Ready?”
She took a breath. “When you are.”
“Alright. Let’s get going.”
As they ran around the corner of the building, Iris realized how suspicious they must look.
“I hope no one sees this.” She said.
“They won’t think anything of it.” He said back.
Iris couldn’t help laughing. “Yeah, because a black girl climbing out the back window of a building isn’t at all suspicious.”
He laughed, despite their situation. “I think you’re fine.” he said.
“Yeah, because you have a white guy with you.”
She shrugged. “I hope you’re right.”
A moment later they were at his car. Iris shoved her guitar as carefully as she could into the back seat before getting in herself.
Pierce started the car and glanced over at her. “Are you buckled?” he asked.
“Because seatbelts matter when we’re trying to get away.” Iris said.
“Safety is always important.” he said, but his small smirk told her he was only partially serious.
“You’re a safety freak.” she said, but buckled her seatbelt.
She waited until they’d made it a couple blocks before speaking again.
“What the hell are they playing at?” she said. More like shouted.
“I’m sure it was just a mistake-“ Pierce began, but Iris didn’t let him finish.
“This is the second time they’ve done this! Are they trying to get us arrested?”
When he only shrugged, she let out an exasperated noise. “This is our cover Pierce! You’d think they’d want to make sure it worked.” She stopped, suddenly scared of the possibilities. “Are they trying to get rid of me?”
“No.” Pierce suddenly sounded not only invested in the conversation but forceful. “No. You’re a valuable asset to them. They’re not trying to get rid of you.”
As much as this was nice to hear Iris wasn’t entirely sure she believed him.
“How do you know?” she asked.
Before he could answer, his phone rang and he picked it up.
“Hello?” he said. “Yes, it’s me. What?”
Iris sat back in her seat, and tried to guess what the person on the other end of the line was saying based on his expression. She knew him pretty well after all. Before she could, however he hung up and turned to her, gravely.
“What did they say?” she asked, dreading the answer.
He immediately switched to his no nonsense expression and scoffed. “Stop panicking Durante. They’re not done with you yet. As much as you might wish they were.”
“Can you stop trying to be dramatic and just tell me what’s going on?” she exclaimed.
Her rudeness earned her a glare. “They’re giving you a new assignment.” he said.
“Well, that’s great! What is it?” She held her breath, waiting for the answer.
He gave her a strange, half smile. “You won’t be so excited in a moment. Now tell me, have you ever heard of Autumn O’Brien?”
“Autumn O’Brien bursts back onto the scene with her new organization, the League of Geniuses.”
Mark scowled at the man reading over his shoulder. “This is private.” He said. He pulled another tab to cover the headline and the picture of the smiling, curly haired woman underneath it.
If Richmond noticed Mark’s tone, he didn’t let on. Instead he carefully lowered himself into the chair besides him. He smiled kindly. It was a smile Mark had grown up with, and remembered more fondly than either of his parents. At the moment, though, he was in too bad of a mood to respond like he normally did.
“What, are you checking up on me now?” he asked.
“I’m worried about you, obviously.” Richmond’s tone became more serious. “How are you feeling?”
“Like my boyfriend broke up with me basically.” Mark stared stubbornly at his computer screen. He started moving all of his folders around so it would look like he was doing something.
Richmond made a concerned face. “Can we actually call him you boyfriend?” he asked. “You did only date for a week.”
“Well, he’s not anymore.” Mark pulled up the tab of the smiling woman again. “He made that very clear.”
Richmond paused. When he spoke again, his voice was much quieter. “What is this? Three in two months?” he asked.
“Three boyfriends, four breakups.” Mark corrected him. “Don’t ask.” he added.
Richmond looked concerned. “Do you want to talk about it?”
“Not really.” Mark started typing.
“Ok, we won’t then” Richmond said. He looked over Mark’s shoulder again. “Are you hacking into your own website?”
“It’s not my website.” Mark said. “I wouldn’t have used such a god awful font.”
“You’re hacking into a website to change the font.” Richmond said. “Yes, you’re obviously completely fine and have all of your priorities straight.”
“I do in fact.” Mark said, still typing.
Richmond sighed. “Mark, this isn’t the way to deal with people leaving.” he said gently.
“There’s more than one way to deal with a breakup,” Mark snapped. “Just because I’m doing it differently than you doesn’t mean I’m wrong.”
They were doing it wrong. Dana knew they were. The men who had been called in to fix the electrical system were doing it absolutely wrong. Or at least one of them was. And that just happened to be the one who was doing anything. The other one was “overseeing” him she supposed. In reality, he was just standing in the corner on his phone. The other one was fumbling with wires and tools. He had a cigarette sticking out of his mouth. Dana had tried to tell him that this was a smoke free area, and the dangers of smoking. He didn’t care. He had mostly just looked confused how she’d been able to remember all the statistics about smoking off the top of her head.
He’d probably be even more confused if she revealed her knowledge of electrical systems. He probably wouldn’t listen.
“How’s it going?”
She turned to see, her coworker, Steve, standing behind her.
“What?” she asked.
“Them.” He pointed at the workmen. “They don’t seem to know what they’re doing.”
“Nope.” She said, keeping her eyes focused down on her notepad as she said it, hoping her body language would make it clear that she didn’t want to be part of this conversation.
Steve didn’t notice. “What are they? Her cousins. Do any of Stacy’s family actually know what they’re doing?”
Yeah, but who would hire them then?
She didn’t say that out loud of course.
“Do you want a drink?”
Steve was offering her a beer.
She stared at it.
“You do realize we’re supposed to be working right?”
He shrugged, taking a swig from his own bottle. “We’re working for a newspaper written by three people, read by even less. The lights won’t turn on and Useless and Stupid are over there fixing the electricity because they’re the boss’s cousins. How serious do you think this is?”
“Good point.” She said. But she still didn’t take the beer.
“Do you want to ask them how it’s coming along?” he asked, taking another sip.
Honestly, no. She sighed. Steve was in no condition to be talking to anyone. Even two electricians who didn’t know what they were doing. Maybe especially them.
“Fine.” She stood up and walked toward the one who wasn’t doing anything, trying to look casual.
He didn’t notice her. She cleared her throat and waited. When that didn’t work she rolled her eyes, beginning to lose her temper.
He looked up, immediately looking guilty about being caught doing nothing.
“How’s it coming?” Dana prompted.
“Oh, uh, fine. Fine. Very good.” He said.
She stared at him for a second, not wanting to push anymore, even though she knew he was wrong. “Ok.” She said and walked back to her desk.
“Well?” Steve asked. He was still there.
“I was literally four feet away.” She said. “You didn’t hear it?”
He looked taken aback at her tone. “Are you alright?”
“Do I look alright?” she didn’t even raise her voice that much, but in the silence of the room it seemed to echo.
“What’s going on here?” Stacy Wright came out of her office. She was the owner of the paper Dana worked for. She was a self-made businesswoman who’s story would have been inspirational if her business was actually successful and her paper had more than three regular readers. Right now, she looked pissed. “Dana do you have a problem?”
A small part of her mind told her to back down. To say no, thank you and go back to work. She ignored it.
“Yes actually.” Dana snapped, “I can’t finish this interview because the man who gave it is currently on the run from the police. There’s beer in the office. And the lights won’t turn on.” As she said it she flipped the light switch to prove her point. For a moment they did turn on. Then a deafening crack of sparks lit the room and she turned just in time to see the two workmen jumping away from the wall as a stack of unsold papers went up in flames.
The fire alarm, which she’d always assumed was broken, proved her wrong and went off. She stood paralyzed watching it spread to other stacks. Just as it was reaching her desk, Stacy appeared with the fire extinguisher and put it out. She turned to them, looking as if she herself was about to burst into flames and pointed to the door.
Ten minutes later, they were all outside, sitting on the curb, waiting for the fire department. Stacy clutched a stack of this week’s unsold papers to her chest. They’d been the only think she’d though to rescue. Steve turned to Dana, his beer still in his hand.
“Now what?” he asked.
Dana grimaced and took out her phone. “Now I have to make a phone call.” she said, mostly to herself. She dialed the number from memory and put the phone to her ear.
“Autumn!” she said, trying to make her voice sound optimistic. “How are you? So, this job – it’s not working out. No, I wasn’t fired, but funny that you mention that…”
The café was a security hazard waiting to happen. Niguel literally watched as a woman slipped the goods from the counter into her purse while talking to the cashier. It wasn’t the best set up for a store anyway. The small front windows would make it a prime example for a robbery. No one outside the store could easily see what was going on inside and there was only one phone he could see. It was in plain sight.
Niguel cut off the train of thought and forced his focus back to his menu. He wasn’t here to case the joint. He didn’t do that anymore. He was here to see his sister who he hadn’t seen in almost six months. She still did do that. That was the reason for the long time in which they hadn’t seen each other. This was just the kind of place they would have chosen though, in the old days. And it would be just like her to choose it on purpose, just for that reason. He’d given up on waiting outside and had gotten a table.
Niguel looked up to see Galena standing in front of him. It may have been only six months but she looked years older. Her make up was heavy and she’d cut her hair short. She looked tired.
“Hey.” he said.
She sat down and started perusing his menu. “I almost walked right by you. You look different.”
“You’re the one who’s different.” Niguel said. Of course she didn’t apologize for being late.
“Maybe.” She said, not taking her eyes off the menu. “But you’re the one who completely decided to change everything.”
“I’m not coming back if that’s what you want.” Niguel began. Might as well make that clear right off the bat.
She gave him a look. It was the look she’d given him ever since they were children. It was the look she gave him when he stated something she thought obvious. “Yeah, I know. I’m not an idiot.”
“Debatable.” Niguel smirked at her.
After a moment she returned the look, accompanied by a choice gesture. “Do you wanna let me speak or keep yapping your mouth?”
“Can I be honest?” The conversation almost felt like one they would have had before.
“Shut up and listen to me.” She leaned in toward him and lowered her voice. “I want out.”
“What?” he’d expected to be recruited not her wanting to leave.
“You heard me.” She said.
“What, you want me to help you get a job?” he asked, trying to wrap his head around the situation.
“No I want you to help me leave.” Her menu was still up but her focus was completely on him. He quickly glanced around before putting his up too.
“Then why don’t you just leave? Andre will get it. He won’t be happy but he’ll deal with it.”
She shook her head. “It’s not that easy. We aren’t teenagers shoplifting anymore.” She looked around. “We got picked up. We help out with big stuff now.”
“So you joined a gang.” Niguel couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “Jesus, Lena that was the one thing I said not to do.”
“No it’s not a gang. It’s worse than that.
A chill went down his spine. What did she mean worse than a gang? “Could you stop playing games and tell me what the hell I’m supposed to do?” he snapped.
“Fine.” She crossed her arms. “But believe me, I’m not screwing around. This is real. Andre met them a couple weeks after you left. We’ve been working for them sense. It was good at first.” She looked down and Niguel followed her gaze to see her gripping her seat so tightly her fingers were turning white. “We got paid and the work wasn’t too hard. But then-“ she stopped and looked over his shoulder. Niguel discreetly followed her gaze. A man was sitting alone at the table behind them. He didn’t seem too suspicious.
“What?” Niguel asked.
“Nothing.” She shook her head. “I’m being paranoid.”
“What happened Galena?” he asked
She looked for a moment like she was going to tell him then her expression closed off. “I’m sorry. I can’t tell you. It’s too dangerous. All I can say is that I want out.”
Niguel stared at her, trying to figure out a way to make her say more. But her mind was made up. She wouldn’t say anything else. “What am I supposed to do about that?” he asked.
“Tell that person who helped you get out.” She said, earnestly. “What’s her name, Autumn O’Brien. She helped you get a job and avoid the charges. She can help me too.”
“What, Autumn? “ Niguel shook his head. “She won’t be able to do anything about this.”
“How do you know?” Galena asked stubbornly.
Niguel sighed exasperated, “I was just shoplifting. And I don’t know what you’re into but it’s worse than that.”
Niguel sighed exasperated, “I was just shoplifting. And I don’t know what you’re into but it’s worse than that.”
Galena raised an eyebrow skeptically. “Autumn’s a lot more powerful than you think.” she said. “You should hear some of the stuff people say about her. I wouldn’t trust her if I were you.”
He stared at her. “I don’t know who you’ve been talking to, but I think they’re messing with you.”
“Whatever,” Lena waved her hand dismissively. “That’s beside the point. What are we gonna do?”
He sighed and leaned back in his chair. “I’m gonna get you out of this. But you need to tell me what’s going on.”
She looked down at her menu, and he could almost see her thoughts going at a mile a minute, trying to decide what to do.
“Fine.” She said finally. “But not here. I’ll text you. I have to go now.” She stood up and looked back at him over her shoulder. “Thanks Niguel.”
“Yeah, don’t mention it.”
Then, with one anxious glance around the store she left. A waiter watched her leave and turned to Niguel.
“Are you waiting for anyone else sir?”
“No,” Niguel leaned back in his chair and watched his sister disappear in the crowd. “It’s just me.”
Theo had always had his entire life planned out. He was the kind of person who hated indecision and uncertainty so he planned to avoid it.
The problem was that plans didn’t always go the way you wanted them to.
For example, he had never planned to be in New York City of all places, standing outside an apartment door with an address and a name clutched in his hand. Yet here he was.
He took a breath, and checked the address one more time, making sure he was at the right place. He was. He had already checked. To be honest, at this point he was just stalling.
It was getting ridiculous now, how long he’d been standing outside the door.
“Just do it!” he muttered under his breath. Then without thinking he raised his hand and knocked.
A series of muffled voices came from inside the door. Then it suddenly opened and he found himself staring into an unfamiliar face with short black hair, almond shaped eyes, and an annoyed expression. He blinked.
“Um, hi.” he said hesitantly. “Is Autumn O’Brien there?” He really hoped he didn’t have the wrong address.
“Yeah.” The girl said in a disinterested voice. Then she yelled over her shoulder. “Autumn! There’s someone here for you! Tallish, blond hair.” She turned back to him to look him up and down. “Super fashionable! Sound familiar?”
Theo blushed as she described him and stuttered. “Umm thanks. Tell her its Theodore Sanders.”
But before she had time to relay this, another person appeared in the doorway.
“Theo!” she shouted and rushed forward to hug him before he could even say hello. “I’m so glad you made it! Come in! Poly this is Theodore Sanders. He’s the one I was talking to on the phone yesterday. Theo this is Poly.”
“It’s Poly with one ‘L’” Poly clarified. “Because spelling is stupid. Or because I’m too lazy to write an extra ‘L’. Believe whatever you like.”
“Ok,” he didn’t really know how to respond to that.
“Come inside!” Autumn said, “Sit down! Are you hungry? Do you want something to drink?”
“No, thanks, I’m ok.” Theo said, feeling overwhelmed by Autumn just like he always was.
Once they were inside she turned to him seriously. “Did you tell them before you left?”
Theo avoided her eyes and scratched his arm nervously. “Well, no.” he said.
She sighed. “Theo, they have the right to know! What are they going to think when you just go missing?”
Theo shrugged. “I was going to tell them. Then I didn’t.”
Poly snorted and slumped onto the couch with a notebook and pencil. She looked lost to the world.
Theo snapped his attention back to Autumn who was still talking.
“Do you want to talk about it?” she asked kindly. “I can have Poly leave if you want privacy.” she added, reading his mind.
Poly looked up for the first time and stared him directly in the eye, as if daring him to tell her to leave.
“Umm, no, that’s fine. She can stay.” he said. He looked back at Autumn and cleared his throat nervously. “And no, I don’t really want to talk about it.” He cleared his throat again, “So umm, your group–”
“The League of Geniuses.” Autumn said.
“Yeah, that.” Theo looked down at his hands. “Is there room for me?” he looked up as he asked.
Autumn’s face beamed at him. “I thought you’d never ask!” she said. “Of course! It’s for anyone who needs help–”
“For anyone who doesn’t feel like they have a place in society.” Poly finished her sentence like someone who had heard the speech a thousand times. She rolled her eyes. “He gets it Autumn.”
“Alright,” said Autumn clapping her hands together, not looking even a bit phased by Poly’s rudeness. “I can get you an apartment. It won’t be big, but it will have working electricity, which believe me, isn’t always a guarantee.” She stood up, completely in business mode.
Theo was still struggling to keep up with what had just happened.
“What? You don’t have to–” he began, even though this was his only option at this point.
“Theo.” Autumn turned back to him seriously. “I said I’d help you if I could. And I can. I can help you get settled here.”
She was actually serious. “Thank you.” he said, barely daring to believe it.
“Of course.” She patted him on the shoulder. “Anything I can do to help. I know how hard it can be. Now excuse me one moment. I have to go make a call. You can wait here.” She went to the other room, leaving him alone with Poly.
“Congratulations.” she said after a moment.
“What?” Theo asked.
She looked up and met his eyes. “You’re one of her projects now. Just like me. One of her geniuses she calls us.”
“I’m not a genius.” Theo quickly began.
“It doesn’t matter. Autumn believes everyone’s a genius in their own way.” She rolled her eyes. “That’s just how she is. Now you’re one of us. Welcome to the League of Geniuses.”
“Thanks.” Theo said.
All his plans were shattered on the floor. He didn’t have any idea what he was getting into, but he had no other choice. This was his new home.