Spent yesterday afternoon at one of my favorite cafes doing some freewriting. The first assignment for my new writing class was to do a daily freewrite taking down notes about different settings/places. So yesterday, I chose the cafe’s enclosed front porch to do some writing. Today I sat down & worked those pages of notes into a 120-word description of the place. Yes, a 120-word limit for the assignment. Plus, it had to be completely about the place, no character description or character involvement. At first I struggled to find an in, but then decided to just try writing without worrying about the assignment. That turned into a 1000-word short story sketch. It feels like something I can continue to work with, which is good. The final project for the class is a short story. Since I’ve been focusing on the novel-in-progress, I haven’t had a lot of time or mind-space to work on shorter pieces. So, I’m looking forward to this class forcing me to make the time.

After working on the story sketch, I did finally get around to working on that 120-word setting description. I currently have a decent 115-words. Assignment is due tomorrow evening, so I want to play with it again tonight & tomorrow morning before turning it in.

I like these types of exercises. It really gets me to zero in on mechanics & techniques that are crucial for the novel-in-progress.

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I feel like I should issue a disclaimer before I write, speak, or enter a room. Sorry to bum you out. I find myself closing every conversation, email, voicemail, & visit with those five words. My brother & I even found ourselves saying them to each other tonight on the phone. It managed to make us laugh. A good thing I guess. We’ve both realized that it’s tiring to say we’re “fine” or “okay” or “good.” Such simple words as those take too much energy, and they’re a lie. Even if in that moment we are “fine” or “okay” or “good,” it’s just that moment. And while we’re both just trying to get through the moments one by one, it’s the sum total of the moments that add up to a day that really say how we are. “Sucky.” “Shitty.” “Crappy.” Those are more accurate responses, but even they fail to accurately describe what we’re feeling. We’re both at a loss for words.

I’ve always found it so hard to tell someone how I really feel. To not just say, “I’m fine.” But now, it’s so easy. It’s much easier than trying to tell someone what they want to hear. It’s much easier than telling someone something that will make it easy for them. I don’t have the energy or the focus to put together the emotion to back up those false words. So, I’m honest, & I bum people out.

Everyone keeps telling me that it will help to get back into a normal routine. I’m trying, but I don’t know how much it is helping. If anything, my normal routine only makes her absence more noticeable. I leave during the day & have no one to say goodbye to. I come home at night & there is no one to say hello to. I feel bad for her dogs, my dogs. Every time I come in the door, they are so happy to see me, but then they both turn from me & look to the door waiting for her to come in. It kills. They don’t understand. I supposedly do & it doesn’t make it any easier.

God, I want to write a happy post, but I know I’m not there yet. Don’t think that I spend the day in tears or on the floor–even if there are more than a few moments each day that I fear I might land there. For the most part, I get through the day. I do what I’m supposed to do. I wake up. I talk to family & friends. I do work. I leave the house & I come home. I play with the dogs. But I do all of it feeling scattered & gutted (as my brother described it tonight.)

So, day 2 of being on my own was no different from day 1. No worse, no better. That’s about all I can say.

Sorry to bum you out.

Image: brianokellypictures via flickr