It's like the world is closing in on you. The walls are getting closer and closer and the ceiling is getting lower, but you're the only one who notices.
Your heart starts racing and your thoughts zoom by too fast for you to comprehend. There's something about a deadline and that person you haven't talked to in weeks. There's that thing you did five years ago you wish you could take back and the thing you didn't do that you should have. Another deadline. Why can't you keep track of it all? Did you respond to that email?
And the teacher's talking. He's talking about, did you answer that text? No. You forgot. Again. Gotta text them back. Double the weight and find the wattage you need. What about that thing you were supposed to print out? Did you turn that assignment in? Auditions. What if no one shows up? The bigger the better with motors because it gives you more control over the camera batteries. You didn't plug in the camera batteries.
The room is spinning. The teacher's looking at you. Smile. Laugh. He told a joke. Laughter. Is your script done? Nauseous. So nauseous. Water? Not thirsty. Make sure the motors can support the propellers. Finish that project. Need to contact, but wait you need 18 hours of flight time. You're on level two and should be on level four. What's wrong with you?
Hold on. Did you take your medicine. Yes, but you forgot last week. You're off balance. You're okay. Nauseous. You're okay. Everything is fine. You're in control. So nauseous. And the motors. Write that down. You need to take your medicine. But I was fine. I'm fine. Your medicine. You need to stay balanced.
Why is the room still spinning?
Don't throw up.
Hands in your pockets. It's cold. But you're hot.
Everything is okay.
Class is dismissed. Pack your bag. Breathe. Pack your bag. Breathe. Breathe.
You're fine. You're doing fine.
Everyone's anxiety is different, but none of it is fun. It's not something you snap out of, but you deal with it. Do you know someone with anxiety? Ask them how they're doing or to tell you about what they're feeling. If you suffer from anxiety, talk about it. It can really help. Also visit your doctor, because sometimes you need medication to keep yourself balanced. There's no shame in that.
I was on a roll and then I got mono, which knocked me off the roll real quick. But I do have some more prompts coming soon and the next one that'll be posted is kind of cool and I'm really excited about it.
To make the prompts more interesting I am thinking of giving myself a time limit. Fifteen minutes? Does that sound reasonable? Let me know in the comments!
Tomorrow I am hosting auditions for my first feature film and I am beyond excited but also terrified. It's one thing to dream about making a movie and another thing to actually make a movie. I'm actually making one. And that's pretty scary-cool-awesome-amazing-terrifying-wondering-dream come true. I'm anxiously awaiting the process and can't wait to live the experience.
This summer I will be attending a writer's conference with Joanie B., but this time I'm not going as a writer. I'm going as the owner of Positive Note Magazine and Positive Publishing. I'll be the one teaching and talking and accepting queries. I'm pretty pumped about it. It's really weird to go to a writer's conference and not be the one pitching, but it's refreshing.
With that said, I am working on Rebecca Dalton again and I am SO EXCITED about the turn it has taken. I've decided to publish it under Positive Publishing, so I have creative control over the project. But that won't happen for awhile. Just know that Rebecca is back in business and her story is being taken care of. I'm taking care of it. And I'll share bits and pieces along the way.
I've been thinking a lot of about Write-to-Publish. That's the conference we're going to this summer. We went two years ago and I sat in front of agents and publishers and tried to convince them that little seventeen-year-old Jenni had something in her. Through that process I would say I convinced myself (more than anyone else) that I had something. That I was somebody. And that was a beautiful experience. It changed me and this year, when I walk onto the campus for the conference, I'll be a different person. It's really weird to think about it, but I'm glad it happened. I'm glad the past two years happened and that I'm different now. I'm glad I'm confident and strong and capable. I'm just glad.
However, don't think that I'm immune to the struggle. I've really been struggling with the idea of authors pitching to me. I'll be twenty, which many people consider to be a baby. I'll be so young and everyone will be so much older than me, and I hate the idea of an author feeling awkward pitching to such a young person. But this morning my mom gave me some incredible advice...
"They'll just have to get over it."
I preach all the time about how age is just a number, but it still gets to me sometimes. So, to all of you reading this... AGE IS JUST A NUMBER. You're not too old or too young to do anything. Don't you dare forget that.
That was a pretty long update, so I won't hold you all up any longer. Have a great day and STAY POSITIVE! You're always in my thoughts and prayers.
Sorry I skipped out on the writing yesterday! But I'm back with a BANG today. Here's what I've got to work with today...
Main character: a young woman in her late teens who can be quite easy-going
Secondary character: a young man in his late teens who can be quite shy
Setting: the story begins in a prison
Situation: someone loses a fortune at cards
Let's see what we can cook up today.
He looked like he understood me. Those brown eyes promised he did. Promised he would.
"Hey." I sat down across from him. "You're new."
He didn't say anything right away and I could tell he hadn't yet embraced the orange.
"What'd you do? Couldn't have been too bad since you're here and not, you know. They didn't try you as an adult."
"They wanted to."
He was a mystery I wanted to solve.
"I got caught up in some rough stuff in my neighborhood," I began. "I'm from Brooklyn, but not the nice side, you know? My family didn't have much and I thought I could help by selling some rocks. Turns out I wasn't as street as I thought." I laughed at my own stupidity, but new boy didn't see the humor. "I'm Lacey."
"I don't really want to talk to anyone right now."
"You've been in for almost a week. It's about time to start talking."
He huffed and part of me thought I should back off. I decided against it.
"So what did you do?" I asked again. "Drugs? Theft? We've got some tough guys around here, but you don't look like them."
"What do I look like?"
"Like you got in here by mistake. Kind of like me. I was just trying to help my mom, and I wasn't thinking about morals and laws and stuff."
"We're nothing alike."
The lunch buzzer rang and he bolted off. One of the guards came over and tapped me on the shoulder.
"Careful with him, Lacey."
"Have any intel?" I liked to act like I was some kind of informant and not just a juvenile delinquent. Usually they played along.
"The name's Shawn Piedmont. I can't say what he's in for, but I'm warning you that it wasn't a mistake."
"Is he a tough guy?"
"Just watch your back." With that she walked away.
Her warning just made me want to know him more. What was so dangerous about Mr. Shawn Piedmont? He was a flaming match and the fire was getting closer and closer to my fingers.
At dinner that night I made sure to slide into the seat across from him.
"Shawn, right?" I smiled and took a spoon of potatoes and shoved them into my mouth. "You know, if you just tell me what you're in for, this will be a whole lot easier for you."
"You'll leave me alone?"
"I can't promise that. But I'll stop asking you stupid questions."
"Shake on it."
"I'm from Manhattan. Went to a private school and lived the whole posh New York life. Made some friends from the other side of the tracks and ended up gambling away a lot of money I didn't have."
"Hardly sounds like a reason to get put in juvie."
"Are you going to let me finish?"
I nodded and shoved in more potatoes.
"They crew I was running with thought it would be fun to get into one of those mob, mafia run gambling houses. We made it and started playing and winning. Pretty soon we lost all the money we didn't have and the guys who ran the place didn't like it too much. My buddies and I ended up in a street fight. One of the guys pulled a gun, I wrestled it away, and it went off."
"You shot a mafia guy? Holy guacamole that's impressive!"
"I shot one of my own guys. The rest of 'em ran off, called the cops at a payphone, and before I knew it the blue and red were pulling up to me leaning over a dead teenager. They agreed not to charge me as an adult if I confessed. I signed and now I'm here for a couple years."
"It was an accident."
"But I killed someone."
"But it was an accident."
"That doesn't matter, Lacey."
And it was in that moment I cracked the mystery.
Shawn Piedmont was an Upper East turned Lower East. He was a choir boy turned street runner and now he was in a detention center for an accident. An accident I could tell he wanted to take back.
An accident he would spend the rest of his life punishing himself for.
I wanted to say something deep and inspiring, but all I could do was 'clink' my fork onto my plate and stare at him. The kind of stare that looked judgemental but that was really anything but.
Think! Think of words! I told myself.
I wracked my brain trying to find the right words to say. Finally I blurted out...
His eyes shot like daggers into my soul and I wished I'd never opened Pandora's Box.
For today's random writing, this is what I've got to work with:
Main character: a young man in his late teens, who can be quite rude
Secondary character: a woman in her sixties, who can be quite charming
Setting: the story begins at a swimming pool
Situation: an elderly person is burgled
Theme: it's a story about infidelity
Character action: your character takes control of the situation
It was late and the hotel swimming pool had turned into an eighteen and up kind of scene. There were alcoholic beverages strewn around the perimeter, left in the wake of the bachelorette party that had just ended. Some party-goers lingered, but hotel employee Martin Vanity had come to clean up the disaster.
"One beer can here and another here and why can't you just use a trash can?" He muttered to himself. With gloved hands he grabbed at the cans and bottles on the ground and chucked them into his garbage bag. "I swear..."
"Excuse me, young man." An elderly woman who had to be almost seventy, tiptoed toward Martin.
"I'm looking for my husband. Little short man with gray hair."
"Haven't seen him."
Martin continues with his business and the woman places her hands on her hips. She looks around the darkened pool area.
"He said he would meet me down here. I can't imagine where he'd be."
"Sorry, lady. I don't know what to tell you."
"Could you just help me find him? He must've gotten lost on the way to the pool."
"I've got to get this place cleaned up."
"It'll only take a few minutes."
With a huff Martin drops his garbage bag and follows the woman toward the pool exit. They look around the surrounding hallways for a few minutes.
Martin stops in the middle of the hallway and lets out a frustrated grunt. "I need to get back to work."
"He has to be here somewhere." She looks around and smiles. "There!" She points to a man off in the distance, headed for the pool.
The woman takes off running after him and Martin slowly makes his way back toward his work area. All the while muttering to himself about salaries, Wall Street, and college loans.
Back in the pool area Martin picks up his trash bag and starts reaching for more debris. Out of the corner of his eye he sees Mabel or whatever her name was, wrapping her arms around the old man's neck. It was almost kind of sweet. Untill...
"Hey!" Martin yelled. "What're you doing?"
The woman was pulling a wallet from the man's back pocket.
"Mind your manners, son," the old man said with a smile.
Martin grabbed the wallet from the woman's hand and dangled it in front of the man's face.
"She was playing you man. Swindling you. You almost lost big."
The old man smiled and patted Martin on the back.
"Thanks son. Really appreciate the help."
I wanted to end this one with Martin closing his sketchbook, like everything that had just happened was only a drawing and nothing more. But it's nearly 1 AM and my brain can't handle the pressure :)
It's been quite some time since I updated this blog, but now I have a "new" use for it. I am challenging myself to write something every day and to share that with anyone who wants to read it. I'm going to use the Internet to generate random writing prompts and I will create a (most likely fiction!) short story related to that prompt.
Ready? Let's go...
Here's what I have to work with:
Main character: A man in his eighties, who is very sensitive.
Setting: The story begins in a nursing home.
Situation: A reunion takes place.
Theme: It's a story about eternal youth.
2.3.17 - Everland - by Jenni Beaver
I could never forget him. Nearly ninety-years-old and always fiddling with something. Playing with an action figure or building a city out of blocks. His room was filled with trinkets from years long before my time. Things I'd never seen before.
"You'll have to excuse Mr. Daly," they told me. "He's sick."
But he didn't think he was sick. He seemed like the healthiest person in the nursing home. That was despite the Alzheimer's diagnosis he'd received three years ago. The other nurses told me he couldn't remember the growing up part of life. The part where he worked a corporate job on Wall Street, lived in a big mansion, and drove fancy cars.
He told me otherwise.
"I've always loved this one," he'd tell me as he slid a car across the carpet. "Just like one I had when I was thirty-five."
It was a black mini Mercedes. He hadn't forgotten what it felt like to drive it, and he told me at least twenty times how it felt to go fast with the top down.
"How'd you afford something like that, Mr. Daly?"
"Worked a lot. Too much. I didn't know about Everland back then."
The Alzheimer's had affected his ability to form certain words and for nearly four years I assumed 'Everland' was 'Neverland'. I thought he fancied himself as Peter Pan or one of the Lost Boys. Maybe in his head his wife was Wendy and his kids played some kind of role in defeating Captain Hook.
He was sick.
I never questioned things.
That was until the disease had taken its toll and Mr. Carl Daly was struggling to inhale his last breaths. He had stipulations.
One: he had to be outside.
Two: No medicines or IVs or anything of the sort.
Three: Only one nurse could be present.
And the fourth request... that nurse had to be me.
At three o'clock in the morning I found myself sitting in a park trying to keep Mr. Daly warm as he stared up at the stars.
"This is it, isn't it Julie?"
"I think so."
He didn't seem scared in the least. He just smiled up at the stars and I could almost see his wife's reflection in his eyes. He'd lived what seemed like a lifetime without her and now they would finally be together again.
"At least I never have to leave Everland."
"I guess that's why they call it Neverland," I said.
He looked at me, almost startled.
"Neverland isn't real." He was so matter-of-fact.
"You talk about it all the time, Carl. About finding it and living there."
"Everland. It's everland."
He spent his last breaths telling me the meaning of life. He finished with the wisest words I've ever heard.
"Neverland disappears when the movie stops. Everland is made of the love you have for others and the love they have for you. It's all your hopes and dreams and everything you've ever wanted or needed. It's faith in Jesus Christ. It's the realization that growing up should never be an option and that life is too short not to embrace every moment. Everland. Where 'never' doesn't mean anything and 'forever' means everything."
It wasn't long after he said those words that Carl Daly closed his eyes and moved on to the best looking part of Everland. And I sat on a park bench, holding him close, and shedding some tears of my own.
He would say Alzheimer's never took a single thing from him.
He'd smile that cheesy smile and say, "Julie. I've got everything I need up here." And with a tap of his noggin he'd carry on with his work never even realizing I wasn't just a nurse.
My name wasn't Julie.
My name was Amanda Daly.
And Carl was my father. Even if he never knew it.
This blog is a glimpse into my crazy life as a twenty-something female entrepreneur navigating life as the co-owner of a mother-daughter business. Things get pretty insane, but we make it all work.