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Contemporary Inspirational Fiction

CW: This story contains many censored curse words.

*~*~*

It’s a new day; I have a new notebook; cheers to a new me.

For a moment, the only thing I can do is stare at those fourteen words I typed a moment prior.

Then, the laughter comes, almost hysterical, as I press on a single button fifty-eight times—backspace.

Tap, tap, tap, tap-tap, tap, tap, tap-tap, goes the keyboard.

“That was terrible!” I exclaim as cheerfully as I can. “Why would the judges like this?”

I reach over and sip from my cup of barley tea. As the earthy bitterness makes its way down my throat, I gag suddenly, coughing, feeling the familiar sensation of choking.

‘Here we go again,’ I think. It’s on the tip of my tongue; I can feel it sliding up my post-choking throat. “F**k luck!” I yell. “Does anything ever go my way?”

Almost as if in response, my laptop screen turns pitch-black, shutting down.

“Sh*t!” I flop back down on my chair. So much for a relaxing afternoon of drinking tea and writing my worries away.

As I lie fuming, my finger hangs in the air, tracing invisible lines among the bumps on the ceiling. Hey, that collection of dots looks like a glove! I think in the back of my mind. Hm, that one looks like a heart. Is that the Big Dipper?

I never pay attention to how I blink; it seems like such an automatic thing to do.

But as my eyes wander the ceiling, I’m aware of the swift motion of my eyelashes touching the area underneath my eyes; how, for just the slightest second, the world fades into a shade of dark brown.

Then that second becomes two seconds; then five, then ten. I can feel myself slipping from the edge, falling into a stream of unconsciousness and a hazy color of hazel.

After what seems like a second, my brother shouts from the other side of the apartment, but I can barely hear him over the buzz of drowsiness. “If you’re not doing anything important, can you help me with this d*mn laundry?”

I jolt upright, banging my knee against the bottom of my drawer. I check the clock, realizing that I have wasted an hour of my writing time.

“‘Sh*t’ seems like an underwhelming word at this point,” I mumble. “F**k you, luck.”

Rubbing my knee, I shout back, “I’m writing my story! I would much rather get Writer’s Block than help you wash your dirty socks, anyway!”

“Oh, look who’s talking!”

I shake my head; that insult’s the lamest one in the book.

My cursor starts to wander away from the page, slowly floating up like a balloon. I glance at my hand, which seems to be moving on its own, its destination on a single button: a new tab.

I can imagine the blank page grinning, beckoning me to search for something, anything unrelated to writing. ‘Come closer. An entire world is awaiting you. All you have to do is click a few keys. Isn’t writing the most frustrating thing in the world?’

My mind wanders off in a dance much too often. I need to write, godd*mmit!

Nonetheless, I type out, How to stop being unlucky.

Articles of superstitions and ridiculously optimistic tips flood my screen. There are the typical tips of “don’t break mirrors!” “Make sure to change your mindset!” and “Don’t step on a crack; that’ll break your mother’s back!” When will I get a genuine piece of advice?

“Even when I’m searching on how to solve bad luck, I still have that dose injected in my body. Great,” I say, about to close out the tab.

I see big, bold words on the corner of my eye, waiting for me to gaze at the supposed wisdom.

I scan the section, feeling fed up with the previous suggestions of ridiculousness. High hopes are something I abandoned long ago; they’re no use when you have luck like mine. 

But this time—

I remember a day in chilling January: I came back inside from the heaps of icy flakes, which covered my parka. My face and hands were bright scarlet from the freezing world of winter. 

I despised the season; it was nothing but constant frigid air, long stretches of darkness, and burying yourself in layers of fur and wool. Those were the thoughts I always had, every day of this dreary season, even as I made myself a mug of hot chocolate, creamy tomato soup, and garlic bread. (I burned myself in the process, of course.)

As soon as I took the first bite, I sighed as my body sank into warmth and relief, my stress beginning to unravel like string.

It feels like that day all over again, the comfort of immense pleasure filling me up to the brim, even if it is brief. The paragraph after paragraph of carefully typed tips resonates in my bones like a bass guitar.

Advice is a cautious part of a care pie—the chance of the distasteful bites crawling down your throats and lingering in your mouth and a foul mood is possible. Too possible. But that slice can be the sweetness to your otherwise bitter day. It can leave you with a smile, small or big, on your face. 

[As I am editing and revising this, I laugh at this paragraph a bit too often. Why would I, Felicity Benett herself, think like this? I feel like marking this as an inconsistent character personality, but life causes things like that sometimes, I suppose. Don’t sue me, judges!]

I get the former much too often; the latter is, in my mind, an overrated wish. But here it is anyway, right in my face. I read it over again, then again, up to the point where I know every word by heart. The bass guitar gets louder and louder; I can imagine it thrumming in my ears.

Determination hardens my mind like lava into rock. I click back to a tab—a blank document with a blinking cursor.

I try to crack my knuckles, which only results in the humiliation of silent knuckles. I shake my head and stare at the blinding whiteness, remembering everything my readers and judges told me.

“Start it with ‘Once upon a time,’ then hit my readers with a shock of reality.” Sh*t, I used that already.

‘Don’t curse,’ I scold myself. 

‘F**k,’ a different part of me says in response.

I make a sound—a strange mix of a laugh and a sigh—and resume brainstorming, even though I feel like my mind is drizzling with light rain rather than thundering with ideas. 

“Introduce a character in a non-boring way.

‘How descriptive,’ I think, rubbing my chin. I start pacing the room, ignoring the pain of an asleep leg, with a sensation like pins and needles spreading on it.

“F—” I start to say, but I stop. ‘Don’t curse. It doesn’t help anything.’

‘Yes, it does,’ a part of me complains.

“Unlucky or lucky, I should at least be grateful my entire body is asleep again, wasting time.” I lecture myself. I wonder how that will look if someone barges in—a teenager cursing and pacing the room, talking to air.

I sit back down, and for the first time in two hours, I type a few sentences.

A damaged notebook is better—that was something I believed. A notebook was better with golden-brown and torn pages, a cracked spine, and that old book smell. ‘It builds character,’ my mother would tell me.

“That’s not exactly a character introduction,” I say, mostly so I can stop hearing the ominous ticking, clicking clock on my wall.

Tap, tap, tap, tap-tap, tap, tap, tap-tap, goes the keyboard.

“When in doubt, use a personification,” I tell myself as my fingers fly once more.

My notebook’s spine seemed to taunt me with its cracks. 

I shake my head. “You can do better,” I scold myself. “Try something new.”

Tap, tap, tap, tap-tap, tap, tap, tap-tap, goes the keyboard.

Click, click, clack, clack, click, clack.

“That’s even worse!”

Tap, tap, tap, tap-tap, tap, tap, tap-tap.

Click, click, clack, clack, click, clack.

“Too boring.”

Tap, tap, tap, tap-tap, tap, tap, tap-tap.

Click, click, clack, clack, click, clack.

“Looks like the work of a seven-year-old.”

I moan after several tries, nearly slamming the cover of my laptop down in frustration. “When in doubt—ugh. Use the original.”

My notebook’s spine seemed to taunt me with its cracks. 

“Now what?” I ask as I stare at the ten-word sentence in front of me. “The movies and even the books always made it look so easy. Spend a whole bunch of time stressing about one sentence, and the rest of the story comes to you like magic!”

I groan, throwing my hands in the air. “Like, if you know the pain of struggling beyond the first sentence, don’t write about a character that doesn’t! Jeez!”

I knock down the cup of tea at that last word, and the entirety of the golden-brown liquid dripped all over my desk and floor.

“Not again!” I yell, dragging myself toward the roll of paper towels at the other side of the room. “At least I didn’t spill it on the laptop this time.”

I wipe down the floor, shooting daggers at the pitcher of tea next to the now-knocked-over cup. “At least it wasn’t the entire pitcher this time.”

As I sit on the floor, a few paper towels in hand, my face burning with fury and stressfulness, it hits me. ‘I am precisely doing what I've been telling myself not to do for the past hour. Come on, Felicity. You can be better than this.’

I stand up, brushing the drops of tea off my pants. I frown at the mirror on the wall. “Character development was supposed to be a one-way road. No backtracking. At least, that's what others seem to think. So why is this so difficult? Am I that unlucky?”

What I just said seems so right—yet so wrong. I can almost feel myself cracking into two like an egg.

I scoff. “Why do those terms even exist? I’m just living your life, and it doesn’t matter if it’s not going well or not. I can just change it, myself! No amount of superstitions, complaining, or cursing will solve my problems.”

“I’m still unlucky,” I feel like whining. “Nothing ever goes my way.”

But that’s the wrong way to think; I know it. But is it? Yes, of course. But—

“ARGH!” I shout, clutching the side of my head. “Just write, Felicity! Just write!”

For what seems like the billionth time today, I sit back in my chair. The single sentence, something that has been bothering me for much too long, stares at me. ‘If my laptop has eyes,’ I think, ‘They would be tired from looking at me like that so much.’

“I might as well be saying the obvious, but this isn’t working out,” I say, pressing on a single button fifty-six times—backspace.

Tap, tap, tap, tap-tap, tap, tap, tap-tap, goes the keyboard.

‘I might as well start from scratch,’ I think, my eyes on the blank white screen once more. ‘But what do I write? The deadline is looming.’

I glance at the mirror, remembering. My search history, remembering. The worn-out backspace button, remembering. My hoarse voice, remembering.

“I would plead for luck to be on my side, but honestly?” I grin, ignoring my voice cracking. I silently thank myself that I’m not writing a TV show because no one should witness the horror of my voice at the moment. “I don’t think I’ll need it.”

I only need a few moments to think about what to write.

It’s a new day; I have a new notebook; cheers to a new me. For a moment, the only thing I can do is stare at those fourteen words I typed a moment prior. I begin to type out.

*~*~*

For Lone Wolf (Tiffany), who stops me from feeling unlucky myself when I feel down. Thank you for being there when I need someone to cheer me up. You mean a lot to me.

https://blog.reedsy.com/creative-writing-prompts/author/536b84/

June 19, 2021 03:58

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30 comments

just to let you know, I changed my name :)

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16:55 Jun 25, 2021

Awesome name! It suits you.

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thanks. the reason why is in my bio.

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00:27 Jun 26, 2021

Yes, I saw.

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:) how you doing?

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02:08 Jun 26, 2021

Even though I have written stories for over a year now, I cannot think of a word to describe it. It's this strange rush of adrenaline and anxiousness someone might get when they're trying to cram in for a homework assignment. I'm trying to finish my story before the deadline (once again). Last week, I think I submitted it ten seconds before the contest ended. At least it's the morning over here, not close to midnight. What I would give to be able to write quickly. . . . What about you?

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03:59 Jun 19, 2021

My fellow Christian Reedsyers— Please don’t kill me. I’m back with a story after my, unfortunately, very long hiatus. I’m a little out of practice with short stories at the moment. I think I’ll be taking another break (Yipee) in a few weeks, as I, as you might already know, will be in Korea. But until then, I’m down to publishing stories, giving feedback, and talking to everyone! I felt like writing something that portrays my eternal frustration about writing this week. (My experiences have inspired too much of this story.) Hopefully, this s...

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Dhwani Jain
07:09 Jun 26, 2021

Nice story. It TOTALLY describes the Writer's Block feeling. For a moment though, I felt that you WERE the Felicity from whom I receive emails a lot (related to and on behalf of Reedsy) but then I remembered your bio.... Great descriptions. And yes, Flow does make everyone feel better...

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14:53 Jun 26, 2021

Thanks. I think experiencing Writer's Block made it easier to write about it.

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Dhwani Jain
16:17 Jun 26, 2021

Okay....yeah. It helps a lot! I have decided to write a story with the characters introduced by you, yes, YOU. Fill this form to JOIN US!!! https://forms.gle/sH57gUnwx4a2rPtHA

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reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee I-I don't even know what to say. lkiuhgfdsdrftgyhujhygfdsdfgtytfdcvghygfvghj well... maybe I do... First off, this is super super super super super SUPER relatable. Great way to express the struggles of writing. I like how I can literally picture all of this and well experience it as well. Secondly... "My fellow Christian Reedsyers— Please don’...

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17:07 Jun 21, 2021

1. Thank you! I always try to make my stories seem realistic in the character's emotions and struggles. 2. Haha! 3. I agree. At least for me, referring to your experiences—no matter how embarrassing—can help you write a story in the long run. 4. Thanks! 5. Me too. I meant everything I wrote in there <3 6. Aw, you just made my day! That means a lot. Even though I will have to disagree with some of my stories being win-worthy, I'm thrilled you feel that way. And, honestly, I appreciate a long comment. Thank you for your feedback!

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this one was definitely realistic :))) lol yeah XD ofc <333 You're very very welcome! I meant everything :))))

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04:26 Jun 21, 2021

(anyone up for a good talk about death, mourning, and the deep and unknown meaning of life? No? Okay). *GASP* I love that lol, sure (if you're up to it)

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17:07 Jun 21, 2021

Ha, that was more of a joke. But I'm glad that I'm not the only one who feels this way!

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01:48 Jun 22, 2021

I know, haha. Yup!

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09:20 Jun 20, 2021

Hey Annabelle! I'm glad to see you write something for the first time in a little while. I really do like reading your stories. Felicity having the Writer's Block and just being pretty unlucky in general made her more 3D (if that makes sense) and more relatable. For some reason when I read it I imagined a 20 yr old man was the main character???? Idk why I thought that. Amazing job, and good to have you back for a little bit :) ~ Jasey <3

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15:50 Jun 20, 2021

Thank you! I always try to create realistic characters. And haha, I guess a twenty-year-old man cursing at his terrible luck is easier to imagine than a teenaged girl at times. Thank you for your feedback!

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21:10 Jun 20, 2021

No problem! Yeah ahaha idk why I thought that :D

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Rayhan Hidayat
22:41 Jun 19, 2021

This is very unique! I don’t think I’ve read a story on this site so dedicated to exploring writer’s block, and I thought you portrayed it quite vividly: the frustration, falling back on tried and true tactics, the mauling of the backspace key. And does the ending loop back to the beginning? Very clever. My main suggestion is to forget about censoring the curse words. The swearing is done for humorous effect here and I think if you have them out plain as day it’d be funnier. Overall a fresh story, good stuff! 😙

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23:27 Jun 19, 2021

Thank you! Yes, too much of this story comes from experience, really. And yep, it does! As for your suggestion, I censored the curse words because I'm a Christian (and Reedsy might kill me), but I'll think about it! I do agree that removing the censor would make the story funnier. Thank you for your feedback!

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Rayhan Hidayat
06:10 Jun 20, 2021

Ironically, your writer’s block allowed you to write this unique piece, so in a way, I guess it was kind of a good thing, if that makes sense? 😜

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11:28 Jun 20, 2021

I agree!

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Sunny 🌼 🖤
11:57 Jun 19, 2021

Yay you're back! Congrats on fInAlLy overcoming your writer's block! And a great story to come back with too! (ur almost at 30 stories holy heck-)

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12:57 Jun 19, 2021

Thank you! I’m glad I’m back!

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