So . . . I don't normally do this . . .
But today I'm sharing a piece of my writing, just 536 words. It's a short excerpt from my novel. A novel I started and finished during the height of the pandemic.
For me, that time was, at first scary. I was restless. My thoughts scared me. So did the news. I walked a lot. I couldn't stop walking. I'd turn on Audible and listen to a book. I listened to many books. I read many more.
I worked out online. Found workouts on Instagram, Youtube. And with my Barre Studio, (Barreworks in Redondo Beach).
I was hungry. But that first week I didn't eat much. I'd open the refrigerator, scan the contents: apples in the fruit bin, cucumbers. lettuce and carrots in the vegetable bin. And the shelves: yogurt, pickles, bread, peanut butter. I'd stand there, the cool air spilling onto my body, morning light slipping in the windows behind me. Finally, I'd pull the fruit drawer open, grab a Fuji, and close the fridge. I didn't eat it. I'd hold it in my hand, thinking what if. What if. What if I can't buy apples in a week? What if we run out? What if. I put the apple back.
But, it turns out, apples weren't the issue.
I lost 2lbs that first week of the pandemic. (Don't worry, it came back after I adjusted).
I got used to our new normal.
Bill planted a garden: lettuce, carrots, spinach, melon. Our grapes were growing mad, and our apricot tree thickened with pinkening fruit. On many warm afternoons, I sat in the backyard, reading, and writing, while Bill did Bill things: things in the garage, things in the garden, things around the house.
Beyond our walls, the pandemic did what the pandemic did but here, inside of our life it was spring.
Then my husband went to work. He worked on the new SOFI Stadium. Seven days a week. And I wrote. I took writing class. I taught writing class. I wrote. And I wrote. I read a lot. I wrote some more. Eventually, I finished the first draft of my novel.
I didn't try to do it. I just did it. It just happened. I was just writing.
I was not alone in the writing of books. So many others. Those who took my classes and those who I sat in class with. We all practiced our craft together. And through the practice long-form pieces were born.
So here is a section from the earlier part of my book, between the beginning and the middle (what is that part called I wonder).
As you read this, know that I might edit it even more. This too is just a draft, a piece of something. It is me practicing all I have learned, practicing my craft. It is me practicing.
Pride. It’s the deadliest sin. The source of the other six—planted at its base, tucked into the velvet folds of its licorice black soil, nourished by the fodder of its thorny heart. Pride. It is the beginning of bad things. Pride. It is the gateway sin.
For Greed. For lust. Gluttony. Envy. For sloth. And for wrath.
Betsy doesn’t like to be wrong. To look bad. To be made the fool. If you disagree with her, call her out, don’t live up to her standard of good or kind, especially in how you treat Betsy, you will suffer her wrath. She believes in an eye for an eye, in doing what it takes to teach you a lesson. She believes in revenge. She believes that karma will bite you in the butt. And if not Karma, she will. Pride is the invisible engine that drives Betsy.
I know this. I see it in myself. The invisible motor, pride. I am a sinner. I question my motives. My driving force. What propels me forward. I worry that I am not a good person. I ask myself: What is this quest for truth? Is it pride? Is this what I feel pumping in my veins when I catch Betsy in another lie? Am I not seeking revenge?
I hope not.
I’m in the kitchen thinking these thoughts, wondering why Betsy does what she does while Ava makes us lunch: tuna fish on wheat toast. The warm scent of molasses drifts from the toaster.
“Why,” I say to Ava? I’m sitting at the table. My journal, a blue Pilot pen and my destiny are spread out in front of me. The charm gleams in the buttery sun melting through the windows.
Ava turns toward me, her body hovering above the floor. She places her gaze upon me. It is soft. Warm. Sweet, like the bread in the toaster. I notice, not for the first time, how good I feel in the presence of Ava. And yet, I am sure she has sinned. For, are we not all sinners at one point in time? But in this present chapter of time, she is not driven by pride. Ava just does what comes next. I want to be more like Ava.
“Why,” she says? “Betsy does what she does. We only need to know what’s next.”
“What’s next,” I say? This is more to myself than to Ava. She is back to the tuna on wheat toast.
I look at the destiny charm. My destiny. I pick it up. Destiny.
“Destiny,” I say. And I feel it. I found it. A love note, a message, a sign from the universe. Maybe, sometimes pride is a good thing. Maybe it leads us to what is next. I suppose we are all sinners at one point in time. It is when we use pride as a weapon, slashing it about without thought, just because we’re driven to slice through our current reality, or someone else’s, just to look good doing it, that’s when people get hurt.
Life is nuanced.
So is pride.
I tuck destiny deep into my pocket.
“I think it’s time I baked some oatmeal cookies,” I say.
There are some Image Moments in this piece of writing. For those of you who have taken Adventures in Writing, you know what that means. And you know it is foundational. Image Moment makes good writing great. It makes your story interesting. It stretches psychological time. It creates dynamic, cinematic scenes. Image moment is about SHOWING without TELLING.
And you can join my refresher class in July!
Image Moment Refresher Class.