3 comments

Creative Nonfiction

I’m sorry, y’all, I’ve failed as a writer. I haven’t submitted a story to Reedsy since December. I wanted to end my drought this week and write a story about someone trying to do something knowing that they’ll fail, but I’ve been so busy lately. I’ve recently been promoted to team lead at KTP (Kill Them Puppies). It’s a company where we kill puppies. I spent seven years stabbing puppies, from 3PM to midnight. They would look at me with drooping heads and a whimper. Then I’d stab them through the heart. Now I wake up at 8AM every morning to make sure other people stab a designated number of puppies in a timely matter. My team is good. They can kill at least five puppies before wiping the blood from their hands. But my new boss, Micah, keeps warning me that my team sometimes slacks off because they’d rather be in the shooting department instead of the stabbing department. I haven’t seen any issues with them, but I get it: constantly thrusting one’s arm forward takes a toll on the shoulder.

Since I now have to wake up early I have to skip the lunchtime mud wrestling class for the evening mud wrestling class. That’s right, I pay $150 a month to strip down to my boxers and wrestle fellow unattractive people in an aboveground pool of mud. I’ve been doing it for years, and for the most part it’s been my comfort zone. I could’ve gotten more writing done if I skipped classes for the week, but I’m usually irritable when I miss class. I did a lot of sparring with Ashley, age twenty-two, damaged hair, tartar-ridden teeth, and cellulite that makes her look three times her age. She nearly took my head off Tuesday night.

For whatever time I have left at night, I turn on my laptop and study Shakespeare. It’s one of the courses I have to take as part of the online creative writing program at SNHU. I hate Shakespeare. The people in his place don’t talk normal. Try to decipher Henry V has taken up most of my free time. You may think that working toward a creative writing degree has increased my writing productivity, but no. My productivity is about the same. And, honestly, I’d rather write unengaging stories for you, my Reedsy peoples, instead of for a letter grade. I’m not fucking 17 anymore.

I promise, I tried. I didn’t think I’d get any serious writing done, but I still spent my lunch breaks working on my story. I figured I’d write a few sentences a day, then, on my off day, my creative juices would gush out, when I’d have plenty of time to write. Alas, on this day, the day of my off, I napped and cooked jambalaya. Not even good jambalaya. Mediocre jambalaya. Take-it-or-leave-it jambalaya. Jambalaya that would make your shallow, plastic girlfriend cheat on you. 

Needless to say, I didn’t get any effective writing done. At this point I’m just rambling.

If you’re still reading this, you should be ashamed of yourself. What is wrong with you? Are you a completionist? Are you waiting for the plot to make sense? Here’s the plot: Protagonist doesn’t give himself enough time to write a coherent short story, so he throws a bunch of stuff on a page, then watches internet porn before falling asleep. If you really want these words to entertain you, make a drinking game out of it. Every time you see a typo or grammatical error, take a shot of tequila. I have forty minutes to hit my 1000-word minimum, so I won’t have time to proofread beyond this point. 

I told myself I’d do better this year. I’d read more, write more, build habits that will carry me into my emerging writing career. Nah. I’ve done minimal work toward my goal. I’m no better a writer now than I was a year ago. Sure, I’m doing online schooling for a creative writing degree, but a degree doesn’t make you an expert on anything. It just means you know how to study, which is a great skill for a high schooler. But I’m an adult. My goals should have more drive behind them. I should leg drop my TV and body slam my Switch. I should delete my social media accounts. I should definitely do that. I can’t tell you how much accumulative time I’ve wasted scrolling through Facebook. It’s not my favorite social media platform. I’m no longer in touch with ninety-nine percent of my friends there. I don’t even laugh at the memes I see. I enjoy the mindlessness of it all. It is as if I’m too lazy to work out my brain, so I give it the equivalent of a giant container of cheese puffs. 

Can you relate, dear reader, to this creativity dry spell? How you have all these ideas, but lack the skill and vernacular to create an engaging and immersive world? On occasion, I would start a story I thought would be interesting to write, only to abandon it when the necessary tone in not write, or if the way I convey my characters feel more amateurish than usual. Then I would proceed to punch myself in the face and cry alone in the street on a winter night surrounded by strangers, in my mind, of course. I can’t really inflict harm upon myself the fear or worrying my family.

I tried to write a story about an individual civilian trying to survive guerilla warfare against members of an elite military force that invaded their country needlessly. The thought also occurred to my about writing a story of a woman feeling awkward at a party where she’s the only person who doesn’t know anyone else there. I wanted to express a sense of loneliness, something I grapple with every day. Do you ever get the feeling of being alone, even when you’re surrounded by people who’s supposed to care about you? 

March 12, 2022 04:43

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3 comments

Ace Quinnton
18:30 May 03, 2022

You aren't alone when feeling this way. Lots of people (including myself) feel like they're misunderstood, when it comes to feeling a certain way. Here's my advice: Take a break and go do something you love apart from writing. Just relax for a while, then come back to writing when you feel fully refreshed. It helps me, so it can help you too.

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Jarrel Jefferson
12:39 May 06, 2022

I appreciate that, Ace. Thanks.

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Ace Quinnton
14:14 May 06, 2022

It's no problem. Just a simple writer to writer piece of wisdom we should all take into consideration. When putting writing aside for a little while you can always come back to it with inspiration or motivation. Good luck, Jarrel!

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