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When I was in third grade I wrote a story about my friends and I getting murdered and trapped in what was supposed to be purgatory. I wasn't quite sure where it was, but I knew what it looked like. It was a small cavern pitted between and below massive clay stones. The pit was full of quick sand, also the same dull orange color of the rocks that pushed in from all sides.
Really, what I had created was a claustrophobic person's worst nightmare. It was small enough of a space just to feel uncomfortable about the enormous rocks towering over and around you. It was dark enough to warn you of the lack of sunlight, but light enough to see the shadowy walls keeping you trapped inside. And possibly worst of all, the floor was unstable and mysterious.
As my friends slowly sank they had time to think of all the possibilities they could possibly face once they finally descended and the sand closed completely over their heads. It seemed like the stuff nightmares were made of. The children sank, but amidst their growing horror of the uncertainty waiting for them, they felt the comfort, however slight, of having friends by their doomed sides. But as all Disney movies teach us: there is always a happy ending, and as we were swallowed up in the scary sand, POOF! We magically came back to life and ended the tale happy to be alive and grateful for our friends! I had fun writing the short story and enjoyed seeing it all stapled together. My clumsy handwriting lined the pages and formed a coherent and exciting (to me) story.
When I received my story back, the teacher had written that she wanted to see me after class. I had never been in trouble at school before and I was sick with nervousness from the note. I recall staring at my words, rereading them, and seeing the capital A on the top of the first page. I didn't see how I could be in trouble if I had received a good grade.
Once class was over and the other students were gathering their lunch boxes and their shiny My Little Pony/ Carebears/ Captain Planet/ Ninja Turtles backpacks the teacher called me to the front of her desk. She was one of my favorite teachers, must nicer than my previous one. I felt a little less nervous when she smiled at me and asked me if I had received any help writing my story. I didn't really know what she meant. She elaborated, as only elementary school teachers can do, and I explained how much fun it had been to write the story and that no one had helped me. She seemed delighted and went on to express her sincere amusement in my assignment. This was the first spark of my relish in writing. I had been singled out and complimented by Mrs. Flaherty. I felt proud of my work. I had never before experienced such a feeling. Pride. It bubbled in my chest and I couldn't smear the smile from my face. I raced to the sidewalk where my mom would be waiting to pick me up. I showed her the story and told her all about my teacher's embellishments on my work and how wonderfully I had done. True to a mother's duty, she made me feel equally as special.
Who knew I would wind up sitting in an apartment, practically begging for a job? One Bachelor's Degree in Creative Writing later and the girl who had started out writing a short horror story in the third grade finally grasps the concept of the "starving artist."
When THEY said 'starving' I had no idea they meant in such a way. Regarding being starved for something to DO. I simply read the statement literally. And literally so wrong. Writers always confess their stories of sitting at home eating nothing but Ramen noodles for months and months on end. Being that I despise Ramen noodles, I completely agree if I had to eat them for more than a single DAY I would consider myself starving as well. But the clincher is I had no foresight to see that no one seems to need a creative writer to work for them. Apart from being able to formulate coherent sentences and occasionally provide quippy comments (my computer thinks I'm making up words), I cannot seem to find the correct niche of jobs. Am I searching the wrong side of the internet? Is it just the tiny town I'm in? Or was my dad right all those times he lectured me about never being able to use my degree? ...Oh God! My Father can't have been right. Parents are Never right! I am officially going insane.
Well, what's a Chickfila worker to do? I thought I was done with fast-food jobs. Oh how wrong I was. At least I won't starve... You get a free meal for every six hours you work. :]
This is Laura, signing off.
Just keep swimming. Swimming in letters, words, sentences, paragraphs, story-lines, plot devices, character flaws, intriguing concepts, quippy comments! Just. Keep. Swimming.