creative writing

All posts tagged creative writing

I’ve Moved!

Published Sunday, August 24, 2014 by Chasing Neptune

Hello, everyone!

As the title of this post states, I have moved to a new blog. It is Kate M. Colby, and it will be the “home base” for my social media platform as I begin crafting my brand as a writer and author.

If you have come here from The Broke Ass Bride, I appreciate it! Click on over to the new site for a more in-depth look at “Real Bride Kate” — or feel free to browse around here for a look at my university writing and musings.

If you are one of the many people who followed this blog, I invite you to make the transition to my new one with me. I promise it will be much more frequently updated (and much more interesting – if that’s possible!). Seriously, though, I would appreciate you taking a look.

For all of you who randomly landed here and prefer other social media outlets, you can find me here:

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

Linkedin

Instagram

Pinterest

Google+

YouTube

All right. That’s all I have for you all. Thanks for the ride, and see you soon!

Brisbane

Published Thursday, January 23, 2014 by Chasing Neptune

The first of a few pieces from last semester’s fiction writing class.

BRISBANE

“I tell you what,” Harold groaned, pulling himself out of the taxi, “Once I get home, I’m never flying in one of those glorified sardine cans again. I still can’t feel my damn feet.”

“Yeah, it’s a long flight, Mate,” the taxi driver said. He handed Harold his scuffed leather suitcase. “You from Canada?”

“America, thank you. And I tell you what, if I didn’t have to be back there in a week for my grandson’s wedding, I’d go home stowed away on a cargo ship.”

The driver laughed. “Nah, she’ll be alright.”

“Who? Who’ll be alright?”

The driver was pulling away from the curb. Harold gripped his suitcase and looked around. He gazed out over the Brisbane River, counting the bridges. Four. He could see four just from Kangaroo Point.

During the war, they had never used the bridges. There were only a handful, and when a man was bleeding out his ears, it was better to zip across in a ferry. There were still a few ferries on the river: red double-decker ones with kangaroos on the side and slim white ones bearing the name City Cat. But they were for tourists and commuters and were vastly outnumbered by yachts and sailboats.

Harold moseyed along the river, feeling the warm breeze on his leathery skin, remembering the way it rustled Gisele’s skirts, the way she would pat down the hems, her fingertips brushing against her nylons. Every time they walked, they would end up at Jubilee Bridge. They would stroll out into the middle, and Harold would stop, spin around to face Gisele, and kiss her lips. Gisele, looking up at the matrix of steel beams, would blush and say, “Isn’t this the most beautiful city in the world?” And Harold, always watching her bright green eyes, would say, “Yes.”

But that was nearly 50 years ago, and they had changed. Even the bridge had a new name now – Story Bridge – honoring a public servant who dedicated his life to the city. When he first learned the name, all Harold could think was, “That should have been me.”

As Harold reached Story Bridge, he felt eighteen again. It still arched up to two high points; its beams still crisscrossed like a steel spider web. There were lights now, outlining the bridge’s silhouette, and he had heard they glowed red and green at night.

He walked out to the middle of the bridge, fingering a bundle of envelopes in his inside jacket pocket. He remembered the words of the last one: I’ll be there.

And then he waited. He waited until he began to worry. Maybe he had gotten the date wrong: with the time difference, he could be a day early – or worse – a day late. Maybe he had misread the letter. Maybe she had lied, played him for a fool, revenge for breaking his promise all those years ago. Maybe she no longer loved him.

Then, as the sun dipped below the city skyline and the green lights lit up, he saw her walking towards him. She looked exactly the same, but instead of a pencil skirt and flowing blouse, she wore tight jeans and a striped sweater. She had the same hourglass figure, the same curly hair, the same green eyes – only, it couldn’t be her. As she reached him, she crossed her arms to shield herself from the breeze.

“Mr. Matthews?”

“Yes?”

“I’m Angela, Gisele’s granddaughter.”

“You look just like her,” Harold said. “I thought you were her for a minute.”

Angela smiled. “Thank you. Nonna told me I would find you here.”

“Why didn’t she come?”

“She couldn’t, she wanted to, she…” Angela looked up at the beams. Harold noticed that her eyes were puffy, red. He followed her gaze up to the beams.

“Isn’t this the most beautiful city in the world?” Harold asked.

Angela looked down at Harold. He saw the recognition in her green eyes.

“Yes,” she said. “Yes.”

 

Writing + Fear

Published Wednesday, May 22, 2013 by Chasing Neptune

There’s an idea in the creative writing culture that fear must be overcome, that you must be fearless to write well. I have a lot of fear, and I’ve pondered this a lot. And I’ve decided it’s bullshit. Okay, conditional.

I think that if you do not have any stress, any apprehension, any fear – whatsoever – while you’re writing, you must be doing something boring. I’ve written plenty of pieces with which I’m perfectly comfortable. The topic is approachable, the reader is well-defined, the purpose is clear. But it’s also boring. I can write about school and horses and nature all day long, but those subjects are safe. Too safe.

The true fun comes when I take a risk. By definition, a risk involves a hazard, a dangerous situation, the chance of loss. If I take a risk when I write, if I write about something personal, intimate, or metaphoric, something I know the reader will not understand properly (or maybe understand too well), I feel a bit of fear. While I write, my stomach turns and my lip curls and my fingers tap the keys quickly, as if they are burning coals. I like it. It’s fun.

Fear during the act of writing is positive. It’s energizing, validating.

But I’ll agree with the culture on the other point: the fear of starting to write is paralyzing.

This is my biggest obstacle as a writer. When I’m under obligation to write, whether it’s a deadline or a class or a promise to a friend, I can always get started. I’m one of those people who feels obligation much too strongly. But when I’m trying to write for me, I always let myself off the hook. Oh, you can totally play video games or hang out with a friend or throw the ball for the dogs – the writing will be there when you get back. But it’s never there, because I never start.

So what do I fear?

  1. Failure
  2. Sounding like an idiot
  3. Realizing I’m a horrid poet/fiction writer
  4. Losing my passion for an idea
  5. Ruining an idea with my clumsy writing

I could probably go on, but I like the number five.

I’ve tried different ways to get over this fear. I’ve made fake deadlines (but I always justify ignoring them). I’ve asked friends to pressure me (but they always fall for my justifications). I’ve tried to write crappy prose on purpose, just to start something, (but I can’t turn off my internal editor THAT much).

Once upon a time, I told myself that if I could just find out how my role model, or should I say idol?, did it, I could copy his methods and follow his advice. Well, I met my idol, and I asked him how he overcame the fear to begin writing. He told me that you just have to realize that you can do it. He said that if you can communicate, have a conversation and tell a story vocally, you can do it on paper. Logically, I realize this, but it doesn’t work for me.

I think I like the romance of  “suffering artistry” a bit too much. Many years ago, my idol also said that he found something romantic about self-destruction, or something to that effect. I can agree with him on that point, sometimes it’s kind of fun to watch everything, even yourself, burn.

But…eventually, the suffering artistry will turn to ash, and I’ll either have to pick up a pen or find another passion.

For now, I think I’ll cozy up next to the fire and write pointless blog posts.

The Next Step

Published Tuesday, May 21, 2013 by Chasing Neptune

If all goes according to plan, one year from now, I will be a college graduate. Don’t worry, I’m not going to launch into some nostalgic rant or preach about the importance of starting a new adventure. I am going to ponder what the hell I’m doing with my life, but hey, at least I won’t whine or stick my nose up.

I’ve decided to go to graduate school. It just seems like the next logical step. Even though I bitch incessantly about the stress of university, I do love it. I’m good at school. I know how to work the system, and it is a huge part of my identity. I’m not ready to give it up just yet.

So, I’ve decided to get my Master’s Degree in Writing, Editing, and Publishing. I like to write. I enjoy editing (probably because red is my favorite color, and I love feeling superior to others). And I think the publishing industry is my best chance for making a butt-load of money with an English degree. I may also be able to be a professor. I’m leaving my options open. In other words, I’ve made a decision that allows me to procrastinate making the real decision.

I think I’m just at the point in my life where the decisions are becoming irreversible. At this point, I can’t change my Bachelor’s Degrees. Luckily, I’m pleased with them. Once I get accepted into a graduate school, that decides my Master’s and, ultimately, my career.

I think I’m just a little worried that I’ll fail. I feel like I’ve been given a bow and arrow, and I have to shoot a target while blindfolded. I know the general area of the target, I’ve seen other people shoot an arrow, but I have no idea how to pull this off myself.

What if I decide I don’t want to sit around and help other writers reach their dreams? What if I try my hand at writing and realize I’m horrid or don’t love it?

I could always be a housewife. Better learn how to cook…

Adolescent Rival

Published Saturday, July 7, 2012 by Chasing Neptune

This is a letter poem, written for class last fall. As the title suggests, it is about an adolescent rival. Picture any pre-teen “frenemy” combo, and you’ve pretty much got us. We had our differences, but this person made a huge impact on my life. Seven years ago (give or take a few weeks), she introduced me to my favorite band, My Chemical Romance, which is still one of the most inspiring entities in my life. And for that, I will always be grateful to her.

For three years, we inspected each other
under the fluorescent lights of the middle-school
hallway. You laughed at my bushy eyebrows
and mustard yellow highlights. I gawked
at your beak, snaggletooth, and
five-finger forehead.
 
We were two sharks in a small
tank — circling each other like the predators
we had taught ourselves to be.
 
I didn’t always hate you.
 
Once, we spent the summer by the lake,
cherry popsicles dripping down
our chins. I watched your stained
lips, as you mouthed the words to our
July song. And to this day,
 
I remember every syllable.

How Daisy Loves

Published Friday, July 6, 2012 by Chasing Neptune

This was a draft that I wrote for my Creative Nonfiction class, which was passed over for We Ride at Dawn. Even though I did not choose it as my piece for the theme (time of day), this short still holds a special place in my heart. Enjoy!

Even if every clock in my house stopped ticking, I would still know when the five o’clock hour rolled around. At this time, I am normally lounging in my dad’s spot on the couch, munching on a handful of Cheezits to placate my stomach until dinner. Usually, Daisy curls up next to me with her head in my lap, watching the small, square crackers and waiting for me to drop one. However, the moment the clock reads 5pm, Daisy leaps off of the couch and trots over to the staircase.

She places her haunches on the second step and her front paws on the first. As she gazes out the window towards the gravel driveway, her back straightens and her ears perk up into high alert. She sits quietly, waiting for a grey Silverado or a blue Equinox to emerge from behind the row of evergreens. When Daisy finally spies one of these vehicles, she leaps to the floor. From my place on the couch, I can hear her toenails scrambling against the hardwood floor in the dining room, as she rushes to meet one of our parents when they come in the door.

When my parents and I first brought Daisy home, I didn’t love her. She was a replacement for another dog, who had passed away just two months before. I felt that to love Daisy would be to betray and forget my Annie, who was like a little sister to me. However, watching Daisy day after day, as she patiently and loyally waits on the stairs for my parents to return from work, and knowing that she still sits in the same spot on the staircase, waiting for me to come home from a week at school, makes me love her, too.

Every day at 5pm, Daisy reminds me that loyalty and love do not weaken when given to more souls, but rather, when shared, become deeper and more meaningful.

Nail Gun

Published Thursday, July 5, 2012 by Chasing Neptune

This is an “object” poem from one of my poetry courses. The inspiration comes from my dad, who always complains about how inaccurate the portrayal of nail gun shootings is in horror movies. I hope you find it both entertaining and educational.

You do not fool me, Mister
I-can-shoot-nails-across-a-warehouse,
through three planks of wood,
and the antagonist’s
skull.

Hollywood may have exaggerated
your power — elevating you to the level
of a sniper rifle — but I know
the truth.

The metal spikes you spit
fly six inches, then crash to the ground,
their cries of pain echoing
off the concrete floor.

You may have tricked horror movie
enthusiasts, but you will never deceive
the carpenter’s daughter.

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