— The Content Castle (@ContentCastle) July 5, 2017
Where did you go, you know, the person? Not the one we see but the you inside.
Where did you go? You let them strip you of your joy, your energy, your light.
Lose who you are and you become a collage of everything and everyone else.
Feeling some sort of way that I can’t define. Is it depression? Frustration? Inertia? My writer’s brain says “caged” but that’s a bit dramatic. It’s a long story that I suppose my conscience has nudged me about before. Something has been trying to tell me something for years.
So when do you say, enough is enough? When do you just…free fall? Is there anything besides concrete down there when I jump?
The abridged version of this story is that the current circumstances aren’t working, at all. However, being the overly cautious thinker I am, I’m reluctant to just open a window and plummet. It seems impractical to starve while happy, and yet it’s crazy to make money while sacrificing one’s self, family, and sanity. Tis the world we live in. We learn to become collages.
I eventually retired from retail in 2012 due to health issues and a couple of surgeries, one of which didn’t go well. Now, because of more life changes, I find myself at yet another crossroad.
True, I’ve enjoyed the freedom of being fully present when it comes to family. And in hindsight, things happened that I don’t know if I could’ve dealt with while working full-time–serious illnesses, the death of my father, marital separation.
It baffles me that I got more writing done while working thirty to forty hours, with two small children, than I do without a binding schedule and with kids old enough to occupy themselves. I’ve enjoyed watching them grow, I’ve also missed the security of steady paychecks. I’m saying this to say that happiness doesn’t come from circumstance. Happiness is a state of mind, period. But we have to figure out who we are, what we want, and how we’ll balance our true callings with the titles society places upon us.
Who are you? Where did you go? Lose who you are and you become a collage of everything and everyone else.
In definition of “inner calling” how would you define yourself?
In terms of societal titles, name at least three that describe you.
If you’re not being true to yourself, what’s the reason?
Map out a way to get back to the real you 😉
In definition of inner calling, I’d define myself as: a writer, an empath, a peacemaker
In terms of societal titles, I’d describe myself as: a mother, an estranged spouse, an introvert who knows how to play it off when necessary
I’m not true to myself because: I’m not a fan of failure, abstract ideas, or what-ifs
And yes, I’m mapping out a way of getting back to the real me 🙂
As Soon As
- I can afford another chair, a “real” chair, preferably non-rust, indestructible, with arm rest and the option to lean back, forward, or twirl around as I deem fit.
- I land 12 hours of restorative sleep
- I create THE perfect playlist
- Fridge is fully stocked with Coke and my mouth with Hershey’s candy
- I complete to-do list. Yes, all seven days worth of must dos (except writing, of course)
- I surf websites I don’t care about
- Clear inbox(es)
- X out parts I don’t like
- Put everything back
- Decide for the umpteenth time (because I really thought I had) what to write and how to write it
- Make another list
Your turn. What are your top five excuses when preparing to write?
Please Let Me Get What I Want, I’m Begging You
“Please let me get what I want, I’m begging you.”
No doubt this is what nurses and doctors witness every day—frantic, desperate people, with their plea bargains and threats, people who want nothing more than to spend eternity with those behind the doors of this facility. But this guy could never understand, never know what it feels like to love someone and have to let go, because if he did he’d relent.
“Fine.” The man in navy scrubs says as he removes his gloves. His voice is weary, his eyes are bloodshot.
I take a step forward, relieved he’s finally softened, that he realizes how important this time is, even though visiting hours ended at 8:30 and it’s 8:36. But as I attempt to go around him, he stops me and suggest I sit. I don’t want to sit. He needs me. Paul needs me.
A wail erupts from someone’s throat. The sound echoes down the hall as a hand squeezes my shoulder, or possibly my chest. So many hands—on me, on Paul. Pushing and pushing.
A grief counselor? Is that who the guy in the navy scrubs said he was sending? Have I really been here that long, in this lobby?
“How are you feeling?”
I’ve never understood that question, never understood time for that matter. Like, how we think we have forever when we barely have today. Or how it feels as though my heart has broken in two.
This super short story came from prompt #500 in the book, Lost the Plot? 500 Writing Prompts and How to Use Them, by Adam Maxwell.
There’s something she didn’t give you
Whatever it was it wasn’t enough
She wasn’t scarred enough,
Didn’t understand your demons
She didn’t laugh enough, live
But what she provided was stability,
Loyalty, all the boring words one looks for
Beyond adventure and fun
Yet, she failed. In a sense, you failed each other
You sought solace in dark places,
Hell and shot glasses
She swept broken pieces,
Only to hurt herself in the end
And you’ll never honestly say,
This is why you couldn’t save me
And she’ll never really know
What you needed saving from
sms aka whatevertheyaint
Without you, my days would consist of web surfing and naps
Too much quiet, too much time for melancholy
Miles would remind me I’m Kind of Blue
And I’d drink Merlot for breakfast
And lunch. And dinner, too
You’d ask if I’m falling apart;
I’d answer,The Merlot is gone
Too much time. Too much time without you
You ask if I’m falling apart. I think how empty life would be
sms aka whatevertheyaint
Jan 25 2017
The following exercise is inspired by a writing prompt from, Flash 52: 52 Writing Prompts for a Year of Writing by Jamie DeBree
Richard pours tea and we raise our cups in a celebratory manner. This is our quintet—well, sextet considering Richard. Basically, it’s a group of stressed out writers looking to profit more than gas money from words.
“How’s it going? Any new ideas, progress?” Richard asks.
Sheila’s hand shoots up first. “I don’t know how I did it,” she beams, “but this week, I managed 50k in between the twins’ naps.”
Another hand goes up. 10K. 6K. More cheers and tea.
That’s me; it’s my turn. I clutch my yellow notebook to my chest. The notepad is as blank as when I opened it to its first college-ruled page, two weeks ago. How would they know if I did 50K or zero? It isn’t as though we inspect each other’s drafts, at least not during the first part of the month.
“I’m still outlining,” I say, which is neither truth nor lie.
An uncomfortable silence ensues. And then a collective murmur of well, that’s a start.
Sheila’s eyes scan the group. “I’ve been hiding something,” she says.
Let me guess, she isn’t human? She hired a ghostwriter? She hasn’t typed one alphabet but instead fibbed to make herself feel better?
As if sensing my skepticism, she plops a copy of her manuscript onto the table and then retrieves a small, plastic bag from her purse.
Are those…poppy seeds? No, poppy seeds are smaller. And darker.
“Okay, I know certain things improve brain function, and that’s why we drink tea and meet twice a month and share our thoughts. But these babies,” she continues, grabbing a handful of the seeds and dropping them into a cup, “are like…bees to flowers, bubbles to baths, syrup to waffles. This is brain food!”
Within minutes of sipping from a teacup, she’s reciting passages of Spoon River Anthology.
“Amazing!” Richard says.
“I’ve retained four plays, three anthologies, every word of Ethan Frome and created my draft in two weeks—all with the help of these Z seeds.”
Suddenly, I’m reminded of a time I came home sporting a nose ring and red hair. Ma took one look and admonished, “If the entire class jumped off a bridge, would you do it, too?”
Would I? Am I seriously considering Sheila’s claim?
I imagine four to five completed novels a year, a new car, a full-tank of gas instead of the fumes I’ve driven on the majority of the day. Surely similar thoughts are running through the other’s mind.
Would you be silly enough to do it, too?
And so it begins…
Shonte Sanders aka Whatevertheyaint
* I didn’t follow the premise to a fault, but I did keep the basics as far as setting and characters. The original prompt calls for a man in his thirties, a folding table in a huge parking lot, an electric kettle, a teapot and teacups, and five women approaching. Feel free to continue to add to this piece by sharing (300 words or less) in the comments section. Ready? Let’s Go! Have fun 🙂
this is a comfortable life,
the repeating of words
did you brush your teeth?
please pick up your shoes
the toilet’s still broken
please, pick up your shoes!
tasks and outcomes
faucet still leaking
more piles to pick up
it’s fine, really
we take on titles
our names irrelevant
with each metamorphosis
this is a satisfying life,
the repeating of words
why don’t you buy a wallet?
please fix the gazebo
the wipers are broken
seriously! pick up your shoes
brake-fluid still leaking
more hats to pile on
we take on roles
our names irrelevant
with each version
SmS aka Whatevertheyaint 9-2016