Story-a-Day takes over…

Ten years ago writing challenges seemed crazy to me. Someone told me about NaNoWriMo, and I thought that was nuts. Just sit down and write! I thought.

Well. Then I did NaNoWriMo 7 years in a row. And this is my 3rd year facing down a Story-a-Day. I’ve heard all the reasons people don’t do these things–and I understand. People have good reasons. But for me, these challenges pull me out of my excuses for not writing. I feel more motivated and more imaginative during these challenges. And since I’m not published, I admit to liking the chance to say, “I accomplished a goal.”

If you haven’t, give one of these challenges a try. Hey, they aren’t called challenges because they’re meant to be easy. Push yourself.

From the Asylum today.

They screen us before we’re allowed to work here. Not only do we got to fill out all these forms and get letters of recommendation, but we got to take these psychological tests too. I’m not real sure though if they’re protecting the patients or us. You heard about places where disaster strikes and the staff get out and the patients are left behind? Well, we got a whole system of these high-tech security vans for the patients–I mean, inmates–but not one seat on them things is for us.

The pay is good though. Maybe they expect me to buy my own get-away car.

So we take these tests, right? My friend says you can’t be an orderly like me if you’re too smart. I think he’s right. He’s been to college and they would hire him. But they gave me a job before the ink dried on my test.

My ma always said I was crazy, but now that I work here, she doesn’t say it anymore. She figures you can’t be crazy and watch over crazy people. She says this job proves I’m sane and ordinary as they come. My sister says I’m just dull.

I guess I am. After all, all the rules in this place–you wouldn’t believe–and I’ve only broken one rule on purpose. I mean, I don’t rightfully see the point to some of these rules and it isn’t going to kill somebody that I break one. Right?

I can’t help myself. Every day I got to walk down the left corridor, and all the time I see it hanging on the wall, that red cape. Or hood. I don’t really know what it is cause I’m not supposed to even look at it much less touch it, but that’s what I do. I have to touch it every time I go by. You’d touch it too if you saw it.

It’s red like I never did see. And between my fingers it feels like something angels would wear. I know an angel wouldn’t wear no red, but I’m just telling you how it feels.

I don’t know why they won’t give it to the girl. It’s hers. I saw them take it from her and hang it on the hook by her tiny window. That’s not right. If I could, I’d steal it for her. Maybe I will. I like thinking about how happy she’d be.

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4 responses to “Story-a-Day takes over…

  1. I have seen people do NaNo, I even started it one year. And you’re right – it ain’t easy! Maybe I’ll give it another shot this year!

  2. I’m proud to say I know somebody who does this. When and if you ever think about collecting them into a single “thing,” I hope you’ll consider illustrating at least some of ’em — not necessarily in a… what’s the word?…. in a representational way. More like symbolic or stylized. Silhouettes that suggest things, maybe.

    They’re all so good, even when I can’t figure out which fairy tale they’re alluding to. (Do you have the complete Grimm collection or something?)

    My favorite thing, I think, about the project in general: you do manage to give them all (inmates, staff, handbooks and such) different voices. And the inmates — and staff! — all sound so entertainingly paranoid and neurotic, in an obsessive, Middle Ages sort of way. Very nice.

    Just a couple weeks more!

  3. I am glad you said that about the voices. I wondered if they all didn’t sound alike. I’ve hard time telling in my own work.

    And I’d love to illustrate them in some way…when I can. I do have a complete Grimm collection, plus a few other books of fairy tales. I read a few fairy tale websites too.

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