Gravity

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.

32 responses to “Gravity

  1. So glad you’ve found a new place to hover, help and inspire. Your words and dedication to writing are such a vital part of our community.
    Thank you for giving us a place to express ourselves, 42 words at a time.

    (plus I get to call you ‘my friend’, we can is a sweet bonus)

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  2. Awww. We are so happy to have you at yeah write! And the new gargleblaster is awesome. Too bad I missed submitting before it closed this week!

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    • This is a fantastic place! I’m enjoying every minute of it. I almost missed the gargleblaster myself last week, and I even knew the prompt before everyone else. 😉 Speaking of which, I have no idea what I’ll be writing for the next one…

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  3. First of all, the feelings are mutual. Your writing has always stood out and your ability to pack a punch into 33 (or 42) words is more than a little impressive.

    Thanks for sharing a bit of yourself with us. I love your comment about your tense relationship with gravity. I’m guessing there’s a story there. I am so happy you joined the yeah write family – and I promise one day we will meet in person and I’ll buy you a latte!

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    • I wish Ottawa weren’t so far from Portland! Thank you so much for bringing me into this crazy place. I am loving it. Regarding gravity, it’s less of a story than a general way of operating in the world. I really do tend to fall down a lot, for no apparent reason. 🙂

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      • If it’s any consolation, I do plan on moving to the west coast of Canada someday. I would be there already if I hadn’t met my husband.

        As for the gravity thing – I have a similar issue with walking into corners (doors, walls, tables, dog crates, etc.), so you’re in good company. 🙂

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  4. Loved getting to know you in this story, and so pleased that you have joined the yeah write team.

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    • Thank you! It was tricky to write – I’m not used to writing about my real self. 🙂 I am so happy to be hear, and to start getting to know a whole new bunch of great people.

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  5. KymmInBarcelona

    You go, girl!!!

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  6. That’s a wonderful opening line.

    I’m glad you’re a part of Yeah Write, and I love the Gargleblaster!

    P.S. Portland is just up the road from me. I live in Centralia, WA. I “fell in” to the Northwest 30 years ago (TESC), and I never left ; ) Karen

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    • Thanks, Karen! I am so happy to be here. And I’ve been enjoying your posts – well done this past week!! The PNW is a great part of the country, no? Where did you fall from? 🙂 (As for me, Connecticut, by way of Vermont, Michigan, and a couple stints in Russia.)

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  7. Don’t sell yourself short.
    Your micro-fiction is on average, excellent, and often surpasses that average to be brilliant.
    I’m still looking for a challenge that suits my style and temperament, but will keep looking forward to and reading what you write.

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    • Ah, but selling myself short is exactly what I should do, no? Micro-fiction and all? OK, forgive the horrible attempt at a joke. Thank you so much for the lovely compliment and for reading at all, and for making me laugh on Twitter and in your posts. 🙂 What kind of challenge are you looking for? Maybe somebody around here will have some ideas.

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  8. I still remember the first piece of yours that I ever read, and it made me realize how economical you can be with language and still say so much when you don’t plop down a word out of place. Your writing isn’t written so much as crafted (to my ears, anyhoo). It’s cool to see a behind the curtain peek at what drives a person that you respect.

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    • You pretty much made my week with this comment, you know. Just the fact that you remember something I wrote – that’s huge. Thank you so much for your kind words and for reading.

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  9. I’ve read your posts through trifecta, and really enjoyed them (including this one. ) I feel the same way, to make every word matter.

    Well written as always.

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  10. Rock on, lady. I know you’re making Yeah Write a little more awesome just by being you. And I love your micro-fiction the best of anyone’s. (<–I can haz writing!)

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  11. You are a wonderful writer, Christine! I enjoyed your writing on Trifecta, and often said, “dang, I wish I wrote that” after reading 🙂 So glad you found a new home and adventure… I think it was meant to be!

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  12. Congrats on your new baby! I’ve been away from Yeah Write for ahwile and was sporadic at best but I met Gargleblaster today and I LOVE!!!

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  13. Your ability and willingness to jump in on anything at yeah write is wonderful. I love your spirit. You make me laugh and I’m really enjoying working with you. And I love the gargleblaster, too!

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  14. Really enjoyed this insight into how you came to be here – it’s good to get to know more about the who behind the words. And thank you for the gargleblaster and letting us play with your baby.

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