I have a habit of falling into things. It’s not just physics – though gravity and I have a very tense relationship. And it’s more than just luck. Twenty years ago I signed up for what I thought was an “Intro to Music” class. It turned out to be a beginning composition course, and I loved it. That’s how I fell into a music degree. Thirteen years ago I moved to Portland, Oregon, sight unseen, and fell in love with the city – the culture, the climate, everything. I’ve got no plans to leave. One August morning I hopped on my bicycle, anxious to get to work early for an important meeting, and fell into a daily routine that even the drummingest downpour doesn’t interrupt. Falling into things is something I do well.
About two years ago I fell into writing. An old college friend inspired me to submit a little piece for an online writing prompt. It’s not that I had never written before – I’d been writing on and off for most of my life. I even wrote two novels for the National Novel Writing Month, which have never seen the light of day. All that writing, and nobody had ever read any of it. I spent about two weeks fiddling with the look of my brand-spanking new WordPress site before I actually put virtual pen to paper, but I finally posted something at Write On Edge, and I was hooked.
There are hundreds of homes for aspiring writers on the internet. Eventually I settled in at the Trifecta Writing Challenge. Something about the very specific parameters of the challenge – 33-333 words, using the third definition of a given word – really appealed to me. Like writing counterpoint or twelve-tone compositions, the challenge was in finding ways to be creative within certain boundaries. When the editors introduced a 33-word micro-fiction challenge, I knew I’d found my sweet spot.
Trifecta closed its doors at the end of March. There were some really great writers in the Trifecta community, and innumerous wonderful people. Some of them are regulars here as well. Others (like me) are more recent converts to the yeah write way. One writer in particular always blew me away – not only with her beautiful imagery and fantastic wordsmithing, but with the uncanny way she always beat me to the punch when commenting on other people’s writing. If I had a nickel for every time I typed, “What Suzanne said…” – well, I’d be drinking more lattes.
Suzanne, of course, is the managing editor of the speakeasy challenge, and though we’ve never met in person, I swear that we’re two peas in a pod. When she approached me about joining the yeah write team, I felt that familiar rush of weightlessness. It was happening again – I was falling into yet another thing. It was exhilarating. And terrifying. Let me explain: I’m not a blogger. Hell, I’m barely a writer, some weeks. But I seem to have an affinity for super short fiction and making every word matter, and I’m hoping that counts for something. Because I really want to matter here.
I have had more fun in the last two weeks than I thought possible. I’ve learned that I enjoy helping others get it right, whether that’s finding the “so what” in a personal essay, suggesting a different perspective in a short story, or giving instructions on pasting in the correct badge. I’ve learned that not everyone follows directions, but I can usually gently nudge them without too many bruised feelings.
The gargleblaster wasn’t my idea, but it is my baby. I have very strong feelings about what works for a micro writing piece and what doesn’t. I am also an unabashed cheerleader, and I can’t help but applaud anyone who dares to put their words out for anyone to read. I’ve said it before: writing is hard.
I’m still new. I’m feeling my way, and relying a lot on the patience of folks who have been doing this a long time. But I’m starting to think I’ve fallen into another one of those great life-changing things.