Tag Archives: DPchallenge

Writing Challenge: Writerly Reflections

My journey to writing technically began when I was a kid even though I don’t recall ever writing a word outside of a school assignment until I was in college. I never had many friends I could call my own. Mostly I hung around my older brother and his friends. I’m sure some of them probably viewed me as a friend after awhile, but I always felt a bit out of place among them–like I didn’t belong. I was extremely shy when I was young, almost cripplingly so. I’m still a very reserved person, but I’ve gone a long way in coming out of my shell, though admittedly there is still a long way to go.

There was one good friend I had between the ages of about 10 and 14, but we grew apart and he eventually ended up addicted to drugs. From what I hear he’s clean now, but that’s a story for another time. Being that I had no real friends (I had a ton of acquaintances, but no one I would consider a true friend) other than him for a good portion of my life I spent a lot of time inside the worlds I created inside my head. At that point in life I wasn’t a writer and I wasn’t a reader. I read the odd book every now and then, but for the most part I was merely a creator of worlds that I would get lost in for hours–sometimes days on weekends–at a time. I was the kid who sat in the back of the class and didn’t speak unless spoken to, and then my reply was always the shortest possible way out of the conversation. I was happier inside my head than I ever was in reality. The outside world was lonely. The inside was adventure and fun and I could change anything I wanted on a whim. I could slay the dragon. I could get the girl. I could be the god or the destroyer of worlds. Inside, I could do anything.

I was graced with the ability to pick up new things quickly, so I spent most of my time in school daydreaming and somehow still managed to get pretty decent grades. If I had applied myself I probably would have ended up with a scholarship to college. Still, I don’t regret my preference for daydreaming over learning.

Somewhere along the line–I don’t remember when exactly–those daydreams started taking darker, more sinister twists and I fell in love with the idea of monsters. There was a period of time where I even took a stab at drawing some of the monsters living my head, but I still wasn’t a writer. Sadly, those drawings probably found their way into the trash a long time ago.

The actual writing didn’t start until my early days of college, but even then it was short lived. I wrote half a dozen chapters of a novel over the course of a couple months. Then I had to actually start putting in effort to keep my grades decent and graduate on time. College is also when I started reading more for pleasure, rather than because I had to, though there was some of that too. I dove hard into Stephen King and the like and haven’t looked back since. These days I’m reading mostly indie stuff with the occasional big name thrown in. I try to make sure I read at least a few times a week now. Before then I was lucky if I read a few times a month, sometimes a few times a year.

Fast forward to about six years later–about three years ago. I sat down and actually finished writing that novel. It spent a lot of time trying to claw its way out of my head during those six years, but I always pushed it back and told myself I was too busy with life and not talented enough to bother. Mostly I was just afraid of what it might mean to type the words. Now that I’m writing other things I’m kicking myself for not taking that big, scary leap into the unknown and finishing sooner. I’m also thanking myself for not pushing it off even longer. If I’d have waited much longer I likely would have never gone back to it.

That novel is still sitting in that horrendous, ungodly first draft state. I had planned to make changes and rework the parts that I hate (of which there are many), but I haven’t done so yet. I sat down a couple times to attempt just that, but I could never make myself work through it. I don’t know if I ever will. There’s a certain reverence I hold for that piece of work that makes changing it difficult. Not only that, once I opened those flood gates three years ago, the ideas that have been building my entire life have come pouring out and I have so much to write that I almost don’t want to go back and look at the atrocity that is my first novel. Even still, that novel made me a writer. It sparked the desire to do something I never envisioned myself doing. I hated English class when I was in school. I hated rules and grammar. I still do actually, but again, that’s a story for another time.

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This post was written for the Weekly Writing Challenge: Writerly Reflections.


Weekly Writing Challenge: 1,000 Words

This post was written for The Daily Post’s Weekly Writing Challenge.

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Floating in the water, his mind was finally at ease. He didn’t remember how he’d gotten there or even how long he’d been there. It felt like a long time, but he couldn’t be sure. Truth is, he didn’t care how he got there or how long he’d been bobbing on the windswept surface of the lake. For the first time in a long time the darkness that had pervaded his every thought had seeped away, replaced by a sense of serenity he could barely understand. It was the feeling he’d used to get after putting in a long day with the guys then collapsing into bed, a heap of aching, tired muscles that had done something to be proud of. He couldn’t remember doing anything before ending up in the lake, much less anything to be proud of.

For weeks, a hazy blackness had encroached on his world, a bit more each day, always remaining just at the edge of his vision, always disappearing when he turned to look. With the darkness came dark and disturbing thoughts. Images that shouldn’t be there burned in his brain: images of the past and of the future, images of torture and of pain, images of death and destruction, images of both the beginning and end of times.

In the beginning he’d turned to self medicating, mostly with alcohol and pills stolen from his parents’ medicine cabinet, to quell the flood of disturbing imagery. When they started coming, he’d taken a day off work, or maybe it was two. He couldn’t remember. The pain of those memories emblazoning themselves in his brain was almost surreal, a migraine on steroids was how he’d described it to his doctor. He’d been prescribed pain pills that didn’t put even the slightest of dents in the pain. He remembered being admitted to the hospital. Room 709 sounded right, but, again, he wasn’t sure. How he got from that room to the lake was just as much a mystery. The real world faded out of his perception as the new memories dug their evil claws in and really took root.

He lifted his arm and looked at his watch. It claimed it was the twenty-first, but that couldn’t be right. Last he checked, the day he was admitted, it was only the eighteenth. That’s when the all encompassing darkness was at its height. After that, everything was black.

He didn’t give much thought to where the dark thoughts had gone, only enjoyed that they had left. He couldn’t even remember what most of them were, but he didn’t dare tempt fate by trying to remember. Instead, he just continued his carefree float in the lake, and attempted to avoid thinking altogether.

His eyes traveled among the clouds, searching for shapes that weren’t actually there. He found a donkey, a kite, and a turtle before he got tired of the clouds and stared instead into the endless blue beyond their puffy, whiteness.

His mind faded in and out as he floated. He wanted to remember the last three days, but didn’t want to at the same time. Bits and pieces flashed briefly in his mind, pieces of a horrifying puzzle. He saw his mother screaming. He saw his father with a butcher knife sticking out the back of his head. He saw fire, so much fire. He saw blood. People he didn’t know danced through his mind: some dead, some wounded, others running away.

He closed his eyes and wished the thoughts away, but they came flooding in, too vivid to be anything other than the truth. His eyes shot open, full of tears that wanted so desperately to flow down his cheeks.

He lifted his arm again to make sure he’d read his watch correctly. Red stains graced the entire length of his arm. How he’d missed that at his first glance he had no idea. He turned his head and saw a similar story written on his other arm. Beyond that, flames licked at the sky. A town, his town, the town he’d grown up in, was burning to the ground. Not satisfied, the greedy flames had taken to dancing through the surrounding trees as well.

He dropped his legs down and stood in the waist deep water. He looked down at his soaking wet, red hospital gown that was supposed to be white. The cogs in his mind worked at a feverish pace to put the pieces of the puzzle together. He came to a conclusion he didn’t want to believe could be possible, though it was the most likely. His agonized mind worked to rearrange the puzzle to form a new picture, one that didn’t paint him in such a bad light, but he couldn’t make the pieces fit any other way.

Looking from the bloodstained shirt to the inferno of the city, he wondered how many innocent people had died at his hands. He could feel the darkness crowding his peripheral vision.

With a shake of his head, he closed his eyes dipped back into the water, face down. After he was sure the water would hold the darkness at bay he opened his eyes and stared at the bottom of the lake. The few plants on the mostly barren floor writhed in the current his movement had created. He smiled as he watched their calming dance.

He silently apologized to everyone and the smile dropped from his face. Just knowing what he’d done made him quiver with remorse. The knowledge that it had been the darkness acting through him rather than him acting alone brought little comfort.

He exhaled, pushing all of the air from his lungs, before he could think about what he was doing. Bubbles rolled up his cheeks to the water’s surface, the smaller ones sticking in the stubble on his unshaven face.  He fought the urge to stand up. Instead he sucked in and filled his lungs with water. His body tried to push itself up, tried to get at the air just inches away, but he held himself under and forced himself down. His fingers clawed at the bottom of the lake, desperate for a hold to keep him below the surface.

Eventually fighting against his body’s natural urge to survive got easier. Eventually darkness crept in on him again, but it was a different darkness, a permanent darkness that promised relief from his wicked deeds. This darkness promised he would never kill again.


Weekly Writing Challenge: Leave Your Shoes at the Door

This post was written for the Weekly Writing Challenge. This week’s challenge was to write from the perspective of someone else. Being a lover of all things dark, I chose to write from the perspective of the boogieman.

Searching

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photo credit: Big Fat Rat via photopin cc

All I want is a friend, but everywhere I go kids run away screaming, or cry for Mommy or Daddy. I’m usually so quiet that they shouldn’t even know I’m there, but somehow they almost always wake up. I don’t know why it happens so much, but it does. I almost always hide when they wake up. I wait as patiently as possible for an opportunity to sneak back into the closet. Sometimes I have to hide in the toy box for hours before that chance comes. Have you ever been inside a toy box? It’s dreadfully cramped in those things, especially when they’re packed with toys with jagged edges. The worst, though, is when they leave Legos on the floor. I can’t tell you how many of those I’ve stepped on. I remember how much easier it was to get in and out before those horrible things were invented.

There’ve only been a couple instances, very few and very far between, when a child hasn’t been scared witless by the mere sight of me. Those were the ones I became friends with, but sadly they’ve all grown up. Each of those special children holds a dear place in my heart. Unfortunately, there comes a time in every child’s life when reality must sink in and they suddenly become an adult. When that happens, I fade into obscurity rather quickly and they’re left wondering if I ever existed at all. That’s why I’m always popping into the rooms of random children. Most people assume I get my jollies scaring the young humans, but that’s not me at all. I’m just searching for a friend.