“When you kill someone, their remaining lifespan is added to yours”
Well yes, that’s interesting, but I don’t know if I’m creative enough to do that justice…
“Your landlord is a vampire, so he offers you a deal”
Now that’s a little too creative, what the hell am I supposed to do with that, a romance novel? You know from experience how saturated that market is.
I sighed as my exploits via the Instagram explore page resolved in failure. It’s not like I dreamt of writing some best-selling novel or anything. I just wished I could reignite the spark of my childhood love for literature. Back when I would spend hours with my nose buried deep in a story about orphaned children and a strange Count. Then open a new realm right after that. Now I have a lower attention span than a goldfish.
I resignedly reopened Instagram and continued my marathon of scrolling through mildly entertaining videos. I have other hobbies. I play piano, guitar, ukulele. I can draw/paint/etc (I have a public art account, wow isn’t she quirky). I drown in anime. And here I was, wasting hours on an app.
My aim in life is to satisfy my ceaseless curiosity. I wonder about everything in the world, how it works. I want to have my foot in every faucet, every talent, and excel in it. To amass total knowledge. Sure, I do well in school, but that’s easy.
“King Henry VIII had wanted to divorce his wife so he started a new religion”
“Helium’s two valence electrons makes it a brat”
“Lucie should have picked Sydnee”
That last bit is an opinion I suppose more than fact, sorry if that spoiled anything for you.
I have these lofty goals, but it doesn’t ever feel like I’m working towards them. People in my family say I’m gonna do great things, but am I really?
I haven’t started a business, I don’t have great success in the stock market. I’m not the head of a million clubs at school. I just am slightly above average in a variety of things. I’m not even exemplary in the social chain. Most people think I’m nice, but I’m certainly not “the nicest”. But I’m not “the meanest” by any means either.
I suppose I just want validation for my merits, something that I deserve and have put work into. But then. Here I am. Scrolling through Instagram instead of putting in the effort that my peers do to attain that prestige that I crave.
I probably sound selfish. I only want to do great things so that I feel nice, not for the better of the world. Probably has something to do with my refusal to believe in a higher purpose…
Bored of the same videos of fellow homosexuals complaining about their similar inadequacies, from life skills to romantic fears, I decided to turn to the people in my own circles. The flashing colors of stories caught my eye (as I’m sure the developer intended), and I opened them up, clicking through with half my focus. Usually, they would be stuffed full of memes or funny twitter screenshots. Occasionally you would see friends being friends and taking cute pictures.
Recently, I’ve been clicking through post after post about the Black Lives Matter movement. Stats. Opinions. Arguments. Any fuel to use against a racist or ignorant relative. I love how passionate my generation is, biting at the bit for change. I am in awe of my classmates fighting for their beliefs. I envy them. I didn’t know how I could make a difference when my own illnesses trapped me inside my house. I wished I could be protesting by their sides.
Then I came across an ad. $50 prize for writing. Normally I ignore such things, but as I am unable to work and trying to save up for a trip, I checked it out. A website for writers. Five prompts per week, and a chance to win money. Seemed like a no brainer.
I opened my Google Docs app, neglected until that moment. A prompt about action. I wracked my brain for something other than the obvious. I thought of things that came together. Then I was struck. I spent the entire day before it’s submission date perfecting my first work.
I had no hope of winning, just thought it would be a nice start, a way to stay sharp during my school breaks, motivated by a cash prize. I saw that rather than an individual prize, this week 5 winners would be chosen and allowed to send money to a BLM charity of their choice. Cool.
I automatically started to debate hypothetically who I would send to, weighing options in my head, because why not? It crossed my mind that it would be sad that the winners wouldn’t get their own prizes, but there was always another competition, and the idea of being a part of something beneficial to the movement shaping the world excited me.
I started to read other people’s writings. In all honesty, I thought I’d scope out my competition. I was shocked at what I found. Words as eloquent as my own, many moreso, strewn delicately in traditional structures or splattered in new creative painted tales of life and fantasy.
This website offered me more than just money.
I could critique and marvel at other’s work. I could make friends online with similar interests. I never once fell upon a negative comment, everything was supportive and amiable. I got feedback on my own work that gave me that little ego boost I needed, but I knew it was genuine and honest. I fell in love.
Not only was my desire to read and learn rekindled, I wanted to be like the great writers I found. I wanted to use my wit for something other than snarky comments and petty arguments that I previously used as my outlet for mental exercise. To hone my skills. To join this little in number, but priceless in worth of a community.
So when I won the contest, you can imagine my reaction. I was smiling all morning. Beaming. Then the feedback I received was enough to almost bring me to tears. People I hadn’t even met offering their praise, people who were esteemed in the community, not tearing me down, but building me up.
I’ve been here for almost exactly a week. I suppose most would assert that’s not enough time to make a judgment, but I disagree. I am a critical person, but I anticipate so much from this little place called Reedsy.