January 31, 2011 – that was the day I wrote words on a page that would change the trajectory of my life. Sounds a bit over the top but it’s true.
I laid my youngest down to bed with the first line circling in my mind. I sat at my computer and wrote without stopping until I was done with that page. I saved the file and emailed it to my oldest sister, Sarah. I had never sent any of my writing to anyone until that moment.
Sarah’s enthusiasm for those words encouraged me to continue to write, even as she spoke of ways to improve. It’s now been over ten years and my joy in writing has only increased.
As a tribute to my ten years mark, I decided I’d post that very first page I shared all those years ago. My writing/knowledge of storytelling has expanded but these words mean a lot to me since they were the beginning.
He slashed at her, cutting her from her high, defined cheek bone all the way down to the tip of her chin. She wasn’t a vain girl, but she felt the distinct impression that this was going to leave a mark. His mark, and she didn’t know if she could bare looking in the mirror and thinking of him. She could see herself go crazy, clawing at her face as she saw her reflection, her eyes wild. She didn’t like what she saw but she knew inevitably that was where she was headed. But she wasn’t there yet. Not by a long shot, and right now she was simply pissed off, and that, that worked for her. If she was going to go crazy eventually, she wasn’t about to give him the satisfaction of knowing it.
It had been a long battle already… at least an emotional one. He struck the first…punch? Yeah, we’ll go with that. But she wasn’t going to just lay there broken. She was stronger than that or at least more stubborn than that.
Up and at ’em she told herself. She carefully stood up, eyeing him. He grinned. He shouldn’t have grinned; it made her blood boil. She could feel the anger in her veins, so tangible. It made her feel more powerful than perhaps she was, but maybe that would work to her advantage.
Finally, she stood there just a few feet away from this man monster. He had deceived her in so many ways. She had loved him. No. She loved the idea of him he had gift wrapped for her. Well, that gift was covered in gasoline and set on fire. She watched it go up in smokes until only the ashes remained. She wished she could get rid of the ashes too.
“Please do yourself a favor and sit back down.” He said it sickeningly, all calm and cool and polite. Polite. One of the first things she noticed about him. He always was the master of etiquette, Mr. Genteel. He had opened every car door for her, remembered every special occasion, he never yelled in an argument, hell, he was even polite in bed. It was all about her, but really she was discovering it had always been about him. It made her want to throw up… and take a scolding hot shower, a long one, one she could get lost in, stay in for weeks on end.
Ten years later and I notice all the things I would change about this but mostly I just think, “Not too shabby for someone with no experience!” I never finished this story. I wrote to chapter eight and then began what would become my first novel. But despite not finishing it, those eight chapters helped me to write the next thing. Just like that first novel helped me write the second novel. Knowledge stacks my friends, and with everything I write I improve and discover some aspect of the craft or, perhaps more importantly, myself.
So, cheers to a decade of writing! And cheers for the decades to come!
And here’s to you, reader, and all your time pursuing that which brings you joy and growth!
Photo by Rafael Garcin on Unsplash