I loved the fact that in the movie The Incredibles the superpower they gave to the mom was super elasticity. It seemed like such a mom thing, like juggling five things at once. I’ve been thinking a lot about stretching myself lately, doing it kicking and screaming. It’s easy to get to a point where you get comfortable, get in a groove, and then getting out of it is like breaking away from quick-setting cement. (And I know what I’m talking about. My last household project involved quick-setting cement that ended up setting too quickly. Yeah, we won’t talk about that.) Now, granted, Peter and I have spent the last three years living out of our comfort zone, so when things kind of mellowed out a bit the last six months, I was all for it. Yeah, guess God had other ideas.
I had planned to take December off from writing, thinking I needed a break. But after a couple of weeks, I find myself missing the creative stimulation. And, boy, you don’t want to be around my house when I’m in need of creative stimulation. I create, uh, let’s call them projects. And since my husband is still recovering from foot surgery and unable to bail me out of my creative endeavors, I had to find something less dangerous, or less messy, to do.
So a friend (yeah, you know who you are—you can out yourself in the comments if you want) suggested I write a short story. Now, I have completely dismissed the idea that I can write short stories. I don’t do anything short (remember that list of things I can’t do from the seven sevens?). The ones I wrote in college were terrible.
But the more I thought about the idea, the more I figured I should try it. Like in other areas of my life, my writing had found its groove. I’d found what I liked to write and stuck to it. Nothing wrong with that. However, one thing I liked about my writing classes in college was that they made me write what I didn’t want to, what I wasn’t comfortable doing. Since college—a distant memory—I haven’t forced myself to stretch, to write something I know will suck. To quite frankly, fail. Did I mention I hate to fail? So what the heck was I thinking in becoming a writer? Or a mom, for that matter?
The idea of writing just for fun, just playing around with characters and words without worrying about how it fits into the plot really appealed to me. I could plop my characters into a situation and see what happens. I could borrow characters (and animals) from my friends’ WIPs. Maybe I’d end up with nothing. But maybe, I’d get something I could use. Maybe my characters would do one of those weird and quirky things characters do that surprise you. Guess what? I found out Sarah wears contacts. Didn’t know that before today.
So I’ve written five pages. It’s not a short story. It’s not even a scene. But it’s a start. I’ve stretched just a little bit.
And it’s okay if it sucks.