In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Re-springing Your Step.”
I’d typed the last words to my first novel.
It was done, and I sat, in a state of amazement that after all these years of good intentions, false starts, and distractions, the effort had finally paid off, and it was finished.
It felt good; in fact, it felt great.
“Send it to us,” some of my friends said. “What’s it about?”
“It’s a fantasy novel,” I said. “You might not like it.”
“Naw, man. Go ahead and send it to my email, I’ll check it out. So proud of you, dude!”
And so I sent it out to my friends, eager to hear their response.
One week. Two weeks. A follow up email from me. “Hey guys, it’s been a cupla weeks. How ya likin it?”
Another two weeks, another email. More crickets.
“I’ll read it,” a young man I worked with said. “Not sure you’d like it,” I said. “It’s a fantasy novel.”
“Well, I’ll be honest, Alfred. I’m not much of a reader, but if you send it to me, I’ll read it and tell you what I think.”
He gave me his email, and I sent it.
He kept me apprised of his progress, what he liked, what he wasn’t sure about, what was I thinking when I wrote this. It was good so far, he was enjoying it. He could see the descriptions in his mind. He was reading it in the email app on his phone during downtime and lunch. He read it on the weekends.
And then he told me something that sent me to the moon and around it several times:
“I finished it, and I’m looking forward to the second part.”
In that moment, if no one else ever read it, I considered myself a writer.
I got an admitted, self -confessed non-reader to finish my first novel, and he remains, to this day, the first of two who have the unpublished manuscript in their possession.
It was more validation to me than if all my friends had read it and offered their thoughts and opinions.
I was (emotionally) high for a week. I shared it on my fb status, I called my best friend, (a published author, whose book actually contains a line I gave him, but he didn’t pay me. Some friend, huh?) I told my sister.
They congratulated me, they understood what I meant, but they didn’t, well, couldn’t feel the elation that came with hearing those words.
A non-reader who doesn’t read fantasy enjoyed my work, told me to let him know when it was out so he could order it, and was looking forward to reading the second part. And he will order it, because he’s kept his word to me all along.
If that doesn’t put a re-spring in your step, I don’t know what would.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Serenity.”
“Wait here,” Alfred said. “I have something to do way over there. I’ll be back for you.”
Do you promise?
“Yes, of course. I started out with you, so why would I leave you?”
He laughed, took its hand, and kissed it lightly on the tip of its nose.
“Yes, it does, to other blogs. It won’t happen to you.”
Very well, Alfred. I’ll wait here for you.
And Alfred left it, looking plaintively but hopefully at him as he turned to wave goodbye; it gave him a brave, if tremulous smile, and waved half-heartedly, wanting to believe…
And way led on to way, as the poem says.
The blog tried on its own to be good, to be relevant, to be vital and important, to be witty and charming, but without a fresh infusion, its health waned, and the visitors who came to see it didn’t stay long, and soon grew infrequent, and one day, stopped altogether.
The blog tried to be brave, but then a cold fog rolled in; still the blog waited, gathering its thin shawl about its shoulders, and folding its arms for warmth. It worked for awhile, but didn’t last.
By now it was shivering, cold, and hungry for text, but there was no one around.
Alfred was hard at work, loading Christmas packages into trucks, first for fourteen hours, then twelve, and the blog was a vague thought, fast on its way to becoming a distant memory.
Weeks went by, and the blog finally sat down, and began to cry out its heart…
It’s almost Christmas, and he broke his promise. I’m sorry, Alfred, I couldn’t hold them…they left, and now, I’m leaving too…
The blog searched for a way to self-delete, when a voice called from the distance….
And now, before I end it all, the madness comes. I thought I heard his voice.
Again, the voice sounded, echoed, seemed to be closer.
No, thought the blog, no, I dare not hope…
The voice called it by its pet name. “BP!” (an unfortunate choice, given recent events, but there it was…)
Footsteps, running hard, pit-patted on the road as Alfred came into view, anxiously looked for a sign that his blog was still there.
He didn’t see anything. He ran faster, hoping he was not too late.
The blog, rising on thin, shaky legs, used the last of its strength to stand.
It’s voice, cracked and raspy from disuse, was faint, but not gone. Alfred…
Just as Alfred reached it, it sagged into his arms, and he sat down, and laid it gently on his lap. His tears fell copiously onto the page of his abandoned blog, now dirty, dusty, and bleeding from the harm it was about to cause itself. He’d returned just in time.
“BP…” he sobbed.
And the blog reached up a trembling hand, and touched his bearded cheek.
You came back…
“I told you I would.”
But you forgot about me.
The words hurt, all the more so because they were true…
“I did,” Alfred whispered. Shame and sorrow heated his face. “I’m so sorry, BP. We’ve lost so much time. I don’t know if I can ever make it up to you…”
Time lost is…irretrievable, Alfred, but…we can go on….from here. Can you….?
“Yes, yes of course,” Alfred said.
Hands trembling with emotions, he spread his fingers over the warm, familiar QWERTY keys; the relief of finding his blog alive, its forgiveness of his negligence, its still-abiding love for him, shamed him, humbled him, and gladdened him all at once.
And as he typed, the blog sighed in relief, and eagerly drank the text it craved; color returned to its cheeks, and its breathing evened. It was going to take more time, but at least now, there was a beginning.
“I’ll never leave you again, BP” Alfred said.
BP gave him a sad, amused smile, and kissed him lightly on the cheek, beard and all.
At least while you’re alive. Never say never, Alfred.
Alfred smiled back.
Beyond Panic was going to be all right.
Choices… CHOICES… choices
“Scroll through our themes…”
It looks fun. Even inviting, but here’s the rub:
‘Tis knowledge too wonderful for me; I cannot attain it. It all comes down to the words you write. The great works of our times, and the great writers of our age, were not concerned with such things. and I’d just as soon not.
I know that in the digital age of presentation, image counts, but I can’t work up enough concern to care. Eventually, you’re either going to read the content or you’re not, and that’s where the rubber of your talent meets the road of durability.
If it LOOKS interesting, but is in fact NOT interesting, who’s paying attention to the theme?
Maybe that’s a lazy excuse; I don’t know. I’m not manipulated by such things: I click on introductory phrases that pique my interests. Maybe it’s ’cause I actually couldn’t care less.
That being said, I probably will pick one …eventually.
I like the world of fantasy: swords, magic, femme fatales that are great with weapons, that will bed you as soon as kill you, intrigue that you’re always a step ahead of, and the fate of a hostile, ungrateful world that eventually comes down to the final battle with your most lethal opponent, and it’s all on you.
Something in those stories resonated, struck a chord, sparked something deep within, whatever phrase you want to use, but after reading my first fantasy novel (The Once and Future King, by T.H White), it was a world I kept returning to over and over again. I guess you could call it the need to be needed. I’ve always liked to be the hero who came to save the day, even if it was just in the mundane things of life:
:”Could you pick up my kid after school?”
“I need help with this tire.”
“Got change for a buck?”
Not exactly high adventure like a journey to Mordor, but the concept is the same.
It was my escape, my entertainment, my chance to see the world in the mind that I couldn’t see in the natural.
The truth is, most of us would not likely survive in such a world, because as beautiful as it may be, it is also as deadly, and mercy is a foreign concept. It truly was survival not only of the fittest, but of the meanest, the slickest, the most ruthless, and the extremely cruel.
Children who lived to adulthood, much less old age, were a rare commodity.
That does not comprise the makeup of most people, generally speaking. Most of us are at least civil, if not loving, toward one another. And so, we have fantasy; a chance to be heroes / heroines without true danger, but we all imagine ourselves to some degree as the characters in these stories.
I believe it’s because in our hearts, we want to be heroes, we’d love to be needed, and to be able to come to someone’s rescue and say, “Don’t worry, I’m here.”
Never let that fire go out, Dream Reader.
You will one day be someone’s hero. I’ve seen it happen too many times for it not to be so.
In the meantime, we have our books, our cosplay, our nerdy, dorky fellowships that don’t fit in, but most of all, we have our writing; and the worlds we create within, with our abilities to set things right, becomes for a time, our reality.
In worlds where none of us can stay, both real and imaginary, we manage to survive, and find joy in the doing and sharing of it, if only for a moment.
Keep writing, keep reading, and keep dreaming, and you’ll come to know that “Once upon a time, (your name here)…..”