Life 1, Writer 0

Over the last two months or so, I’ve been facing difficult *stuff* happening in my personal life.

Lately, I arrive at Starbucks during my protected writing block, only to avoid any serious thinking or creativity. I’ll get my venti iced skinny vanilla latte with three Splendas and sink down into a comfy chair instead of a well-lit table as usual.

And then, I open up my computer and I… can’t face writing. I go onto Twitter on my phone instead. Or Draw Something. Or Words with Friends.

The ironic thing is that if I could write, really immerse myself into my stories, it would probably make things better. What better place to escape?

I know my creativity isn’t gone. It’s there. It’s just that there’s a force separating me from it, like until things are easier in my life, it has to be barred off. I’m not sure how to break the wall down unless I just keep tapping at it when I can.

I guess in the meanwhile I’ll keep reading and at some point I’ll be magnetically drawn back into the world of my stories.

What do you do when it’s Life 1, Writer 0?

“The Voice” (another blog contest, please forgive me everyone!)

So I’m participating in this blog contest modeled after TV’s “The Voice.” I have to post the synopsis from my query letter and my first 250 words. Bear with me. All in the process, right?


Super-brain Alexis likes everything exactly so. Perfect prep school grades. School supplies arranged eight inches apart in parallel lines. Timed phone calls with her mother. Scheduled hook-ups with her boyfriend Ben on Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday nights. As long as her secret self-destructive streak is hidden, all is well.

But then Alexis receives a bright red B on an English paper, and endures an excruciating break-up with no explanation. And now parallel cuts run down her leg an inch apart, one for each day since Ben broke up with her. She bangs her head, burns herself–anything to soothe herself and assert some control.

When her friend Miranda accidentally glimpses her scars, Alexis feels even more trapped. Now she must survive weekly therapy sessions with a counselor, forced disclosure to her parents, and worst of all: dismissal from school if she doesn’t get better. It’s up to Alexis to pull herself out of the mire–if she even wants to.


A bright red B. Oh my G**. My lowest grade ever.

I rubbed my cheek as hard as I could and stuffed the paper into my binder. I didn’t bother to check the comments–plenty of time to memorize those later.

My throat closed up and I couldn’t draw a full breath. One full grade less than an A. My G.P.A. would sink. Miranda would pass me in class rank.

What would my mother say?

So stupid.

The bell rang, and Miranda and I headed to the door. Once we were in the hallway, she burst out, “I got an A! What about you?”

“Mmm,” I said, half-nodding.

She prattled on about her comments and each word stabbed at my stomach.

I couldn’t listen to her any longer, and escaped to the bathroom. I made it to the safety of a stall before the dam burst and the tears started flowing.

Why didn’t I work harder? I didn’t deserve an A anyway. Dummy, lazy, fat moron.

I jerked my left sleeve up. A paper clip would do, one of those big ones in my English binder. I uncurled the clip, molding the metal into a straight line. When my sleeve was up all the way, I scraped the clip back and forth across my fat upper arm until beads of blood popped up.

It wasn’t enough. I scraped four more times, changing the line into an angular B.

Shame on my body now too. The scratches would burn and remind me what I’d done. Exactly what I deserved.