Write About Yourself: Tips and Prompts

by Joe Bunting and Sue Weems | 199 comments

When you have to write about yourself, do you hit a roadblock? If so, you're not alone. There are a number of situations when you have to write about yourself for school, work, or publication. Let's break down a few ways to make it easier and then use some prompts to get you started.

Write About Yourself with blue hello name tag

When Do You Have to Write About Yourself?

Several scenarios might require you to write about yourself from personal essays to job applications and biography blurbs. 

The key for each is to think about the purpose and the target audience. Then shape your personal history or life experience into a well-crafted piece of writing that meets those needs of purpose and audience. 

Let's look at a few of the most common scenarios where you have to write about yourself. 

Personal Essays

Personal essays aren't just for high school. A personal essay typically reflects some aspect of your life that you are sharing for a specific purpose. Many college applications or scholarship applications ask for a college essay or personal statement to help them get to know you as a student or applicant. 

If it's for a university or school application, you might write about:

  • academic achievements
  • personal accomplishments
  • difficult experiences that helped you grow
  • personal stories that relate to your desired field of study

Personal essays will have a friendly tone regardless of the essay topic. The personal examples you include or the personal stories you tell will need to be focused tightly on the audience and purpose. If you're trying to get into a university engineering program, you don't want to write about a pet's passing.

Your story of losing a pet is likely moving and will tell committee members about you and your personality traits, but it won't communicate why you might be a good fit for their school or program. 

If you're writing a personal essay for a course in narrative or memoir, then of course, your story of your pet's passing would likely be a solid choice. 

Personal Essay Prompts

1. Tell about a time you overcame a significant hardship.

2. Describe an interest that makes you lose track of time. 

3. Tell the story of an experience or person who changed the way you thought or lived.

4. Describe a time you overcame rejection or fear.

5. How has your community shaped you as a person?

Job Applications

More and more job applications include personal statement sections or questions that ask you to describe your professional experience in more detail. Job seekers are often used to listing out bullet points on a resume, so writing about yourself can feel uncomfortable, even in a letter of introduction. 

In professional settings and applications, you want to focus on four elements as you write about yourself:

  • relevant experience
  • recent professional accomplishments
  • personal details that enhance your qualifications
  • specializations

Again, keep your purpose and audience in mind. If you're having trouble narrowing down your relevant experience, consider looking at the job listing to see what they require of applicants. That way, you tailor your experience to what the position requires.

Some common job application prompts

1. Tell us about yourself. (They aren't asking about your favorite food or vacation last year! Focus on professional experiences.)

2. What are your strengths and weaknesses?

3. How have you managed conflict in former roles?

4. Describe your strongest professional accomplishments.

5. Why do you want to work here?

Remember, each of these questions is designed to help a company get to know you as a professional—share only relevant stories and details that align with that purpose. 

Author or Speaker Biographies

As a writer (or speaker!), you need an author biography to include on any publications. These can be short 100 word statements that give the audience a sense of who you are as a person.

Again, the purpose and audience matters. If you are a scholar writing and speaking on a topic in your academic field, it's appropriate to list your relevant degrees and major publications to build a sense of credibility and authority. 

If you're a fiction author, your biography will likely reflect a few personal details that are meant to connect with readers in a positive light. 

The best way to know what will connect with your intended audience, is to look at the biographies and About the Author pages in books like your own. 

A few things you might include in an author or speaker biography:

  • where you live (generally speaking—not your personal address)
  • themes you explore
  • awards, recognition, or other publications
  • relevant personal background info

You can see our full guide here on writing an author biography here.

Prompts for author or speaker biographies

1. What are the two most important things for your audience to know about you?

2. Find two authors writing in the same genre you are. Write your biography using their bios as models. 

3. What themes do you explore in your work and why are they important to you? Write them out, and then condense.

4. What experience or awards are relevant to your work? List them out and pick the top two.

5. Make a list of all the things that you likely have in common with your target audience. Choose two to include in your biography. 

How to Write About Yourself 

Whenever you're asked to write about yourself, take it as a challenge to share relevant personal experiences with vivid details and your unique point of view. Remember that you're not sharing your entire life story. Stick to short personal anecdotes and pay attention to your purpose and audience. 

How do you feel about writing about yourself? What tips have made it easier? Share in the comments. 


Choose one of the prompts above. Set the timer for 15 minutes and write about yourself without stopping. If you don't have an essay, job app, or bio to write, then simply try to capture something true about yourself and your experience in the world today.

When time is up, share your practice in the Pro Practice Workshop here and leave feedback to encourage a few other writers too.

How to Write Like Louise PennyWant to write like Louise Penny? Join our new class and learn how. Learn more and sign up here.

Join Class

Next LIVE lesson is coming up soon!

Joe Bunting is an author and the leader of The Write Practice community. He is also the author of the new book Crowdsourcing Paris, a real life adventure story set in France. It was a #1 New Release on Amazon. Follow him on Instagram (@jhbunting).

Want best-seller coaching? Book Joe here.

Sue Weems is a writer, teacher, and traveler with an advanced degree in (mostly fictional) revenge. When she’s not rationalizing her love for parentheses (and dramatic asides), she follows a sailor around the globe with their four children, two dogs, and an impossibly tall stack of books to read. You can read more of her writing tips on her website.


  1. EtienneT2013

    This is one of my favorite ways to write 🙂 Except I like to use “you”, as if I am talking to myself and telling myself what I am doing or have already done.

  2. Josh Peters

    He sits in his office chair, staring at the computer screen. In the cube next to him he can hear the sound of a coworker banging on a loud keyboard. The printer spits out paper after paper, other co workers talk and laugh.
    “I would never want to be a landlord.”
    “It’s not so bad.”
    The light of the mid morning day streams in behind him as he works on his assignments, filling in forms, completing spreadsheets, answering emails. Sometimes he thinks the entire job is all about email management. How did he get to this place, to this life? Simple, small choices add up until years later he finds himself bored and unenthusiastic about where he is. His cell buzzes next to him, notifying him of a text message. He checks it, hoping to see a message from his girlfriend but finds instead a message from his ex-wife. He ignores it.
    Chatter continues around him, papers turning, the mail delivery guy singing to himself pushing a squeaky cart down the aisles. Time passes under the glow of fluorescent lights and the hum of overhead heaters. The fan on his laptop starts spinning and he places his hand next to the computer to feel the warmth blowing out from it. Simple pleasures.
    He puts headphones on to drown out the noises and looks at his plan once again. The way out. Hope for a future of freedom and joy, real life, not the feeling of entrapment and stagnant death. It all begins with courage. The courage to face up to the difficult choices ahead, courage to face his fears, courage to be honest and real with himself and those all around him.
    It starts now.

    • Wordstock

      I learned a long time ago that I am not trapped in any place in my life. I think the truest thing you said was to be honest and real with yourself. This certainly touched a chord in me.

    • Josh Peters

      I continue to learn that lesson. I’m glad the message touched you.

    • mariana

      brilliantly inspiring. I don’t know if you meant for that. Like it!

    • Josh Peters

      I’ll take it, thanks!

    • sara choe

      i’m intrigued as to what the details of “his plan” are; like the mystery with which you end your last paragraph.

      i might try deleting certain phrases to slim it down. for example, i might get rid of “notifying him of a text message” after “His cell buzzes next to him” and just end the sentence there, since in the next sentence you talk about anticipating a message from a certain someone.

      “email management.” i like how it all reminds me of the movie office space but has more depth. thanks for sharing!

    • Josh Peters

      Thanks Sara, great feedback!

    • Vicki Boyd

      Josh, I recognized the office. In fact I think I worked there. Good job. I like your last sentance. “It starts now.” If you were writing about a fictional character would he get up and walk out of that office then?

    • Josh Peters

      You got it Vicki!

  3. Debra johnson

    I love how you wrote your piece this morning. It shows your longing to discover who you want to be..

    Here’s my attempt at it:

    The morning starts as it always does, with the cold seeping
    into her bones. Although she is under the covers somewhere there is a gap in
    the covers because the cold invades her dreams.
    AS she wakes her thoughts begin to race as she wondered where her
    writing will take her. Which story will she choose and what will she learn
    about herself from her Characters today.

    Because the cold works to sap her energy as she pulls
    herself from the covers, she sets her feet on the rug. She feels older then she
    is. Reaching for her robe she works to keep the dreams fresh in her mind so shemay write them on paper before they are lost forever never to resurface again. Until she is away from writing instruments.

    With her eyes barely slits she shuffles to the kitchen to
    start her day. Knowing where everything is she begins the task of making coffee
    and waits impatiently as it heats. Finally with her cup filled she carefully
    moves to her desk by the window and takes a seat. Pushing the button that
    awakes her ‘baby’, she listens for the hum as it awakes ready to take in what
    her fingers type.

    What will her writing revel to her today as she
    steps one step closer to discovering who she is, for she can only know these
    secrets when her fingers what no one else will see.

    • Wordstock

      But we want to see the secrets. 🙂 I’m intrigued.

    • Debra johnson

      When I finish writing I will share with you, then we’ll both know. *smiles*

  4. Wordstock

    Good timing! This is the morning I am having. And having written this, I know what I am going to do.

    My practice…

    In a moment of utter frustration, she walked away from the computer. The story in her head wouldn’t form; it came out in bits and pieces.

    She knew she needed more research but couldn’t find what she wanted. How do you explain a world when your perspective is that of a child? While the world swirled around her, she didn’t take notice. As a child, she didn’t
    care about things she couldn’t comprehend.

    The story’s important. It’s a tale of innocence that was destroyed by events she didn’t understand. The story’s old. Ruth died 46 years ago. The anger at her death is old too but doesn’t seem to lessen. Sometimes, it seems like it happened yesterday. The images of the last day are clear. The sounds and the smells are as fresh now as they were then.

    Again, frustration overtook her. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t seem to change her perspective to that as an adult. The child in her would not let go. It was easy enough to check dates and events but those were just the things that happened to other people outside her realm. In their small neighborhood, none of the global events affected them. They had been sheltered from the reality of the adult world.

    Years later when she was able to piece the events together, she realized what had happened. She was angry all over again. And the child in her took over, raging at the adults who let it happen, who shattered the innocence forever.

    “Screw this,” she thought. She sat back down at the computer and started to write. “I am going to write it from the child’s perspective.”

    • Josh Peters

      Yay! That’s what I was hoping for!

    • Vicki Boyd

      Throughout your piece I KNOW what you are writing about. The fact you were able to make me feel your pain and frustration, without actually describing the acts that caused them,

  5. Alicia Rades

    I really like your practice, Joe. Here’s mine:

    Alicia should be ashamed of herself, but she isn’t. She should be working on her recent assignment but has yet to make it past 16 words, and she still doesn’t hate herself. Instead of getting paid to write, she’s spent the last hour writing about why she loves writing and reading about writing. Does that bother her? No. Should it? Probably.

    Alicia normally has a full cup of self-discipline, but with the end of the semester approaching, she just wants a break, and it can’t get here soon enough. So she finds comfort on her couch, crosses her legs, and types whatever comes to mind through her fingers. She lets the writing consume her, take it where she needs to go, until she can muster up the energy to begin her assignment.

    But the day is still young, and it’s quiet in the living room, with just the soft sound of running water in the fish tanks to calm her nerves. And while Alicia’s been stressing all week over her endless to-do list, she’s calm now because she gets to write about what she loves and learn how to improve her talents.

    Alicia glances at the clock, and her heart flutters with annoyance. She had planned to finish her assignment before heading back to class, and now she only has an hour to research and write 675 words to meet this goal. She narrows her eyes. Will she be able to do it? Or will part of the article have to wait for later? She exits out of the extra tabs on her browser, even the pages she has yet to read, and prepares to settle down and get to the writing she should actually be doing.

    • ruth

      Love that “the writing consumes her” and the “water in the fish tanks calm her nerves”. She “writes about what she loves”….the best reason to write!

    • Alicia Rades

      Thanks for the feedback. I wasn’t actually sure how I did since I was in a rush.

  6. mariana

    She had been up for two hours and only after making picky- eating- nutritionally- acceptable breakfasts, appetizing yet balanced lunch boxes with the right sized plastic containers to fit every corner of the bento boxes, looking for toys, crazy loom bracelets, socks, shoes, super hero shirts, underpants and sweatshirts, negotiating every minute of TV watching and making up games to get everyone off to school on time, only then, she was able to finally sit and be herself. It took making sure that the 4th grader had the confidence to ask classmates to come to his birthday, even though they “think I’m weird” and that the 3 year old could look forward to playing with preschool toys instead of swords and handle being away from his mommy for at least four hours straight. It took giving more than what she had, setting aside her needs, her feelings, her frustration, her anger, her timing, her opinions, her natural inclination to wake up slowly into the world, to induce her children into a hostile world that had to contain them while she could become a person again. A person who had to reconstruct herself everyday at 9 am; reviving memories, making sense of goals and lost dreams, making sure she retained the spark in between errands and chimerical schemes.

    • sara choe

      [whew]. i feel like i got caught in the whirlwind with you.

    • Tami

      Love all of it, but especially the lines, “It took giving more than what she had, setting aside her needs, her
      feelings, her frustration, her anger, her timing, her opinions, her
      natural inclination to wake up slowly into the world, to induce her children into a hostile world that had to contain them
      while she could become a person again. A person who had to reconstruct
      herself everyday at 9 am; reviving memories, making sense of goals and
      lost dreams” … you have captured many moms’ gut-wrenching feelings, and done us proud!

    • Susan Anderson

      Been there, done that. I’m right with you on this. It is but a thumbnail sketch of a mother’s morning.

    • JC

      Ditto. My kids are grown, but you took me back. And your last sentence is spot on, with or without kids underfoot.

  7. ruth

    Her days are filled with projects and a certain urgency to life, a hurry to complete goals before time floats away. Her head is full of stories, imaginary and fully lived. A favorite time of day is retiring to the small office, just off the kitchen, where she writes. One wall of the office features an oil painting by her sister of a mountain scene, another photo depicts the Appalachian mountains with low clouds floating like angels across the peaks. A small window allows a glimpse of sky, a few leaves tumbling out of the roof gutter and the imprint of a dizzy bird which hit the window.
    Stories spill out of her mind as fast as she can type, with hesitation just long enough to find the right words to transfer an image to paper. The urgency is there: don’t let the memory fade, the precious moment escape before sharing it. Her heart is overwhelmed with gratitude for life itself.
    Sticky notes surround her desk: a reminder to read a new book, a list of stories to be included in a collection, several titles for her book, a reminder to run a backup disk of all her writing.
    Every week she reads books to elementary school children, pouring out her love of written words to children dominated by TV and the Xbox.
    Others her age have passed on to a different life. Time is precious. She considers the title for a blog, “Not Done Yet”.

  8. sara choe

    so. i forgot to describe my surroundings. it’s been awhile since i’ve done a prompt! i think the last time was to help me get started on my personal statement, so maybe this one will rev me up again for the final onslaught/phases of my applications. thanks, joe. now i have to resist the temptation to revise this instead of working on apps. 😛


    Desperate times calls for desperate measures, she thought as she clicked “Deactivate” on the screen. This might’ve been a good weekend to hole up in a cabin, somewhere in the Hudson Valley, maybe. But with what money? She’s trying her best to resist the plastic precious in her wallet.

    She’s also trying her best to focus on the many tasks at hand. Revise her resume for one school. Send a Hail Mary email to a professor for a letter of recommendation. Write about how she would add diversity — convincingly, too; debunk the notion that there are enough Asian females in law school, and in law in general.

    She also wants to do the right thing. Her heart has entered yet another spin cycle of “Does he like me like me?” She’s not tired of being wrong, she’s tired of the uncertainty. She’d rather know if he’s just not that into her — those late night text messages actually don’t count?! — and be put out of her misery.

    But it’ll hurt anyway. Is it wrong that she just so happened to connect with someone else that might actually be into her? She thinks there might be something there…

    But she still can’t forget how quickly the two of them connected. How they met twice in the span of one day. Who does that?

  9. Lois

    She clocked in at the library and went to sit down at the library’s little coffee bar. If she she was lucky she would have time to study in between customers… if she was lucky. Her eyes scanned the little library…. it looked like it would be a slow day. Time to study… but would she use it? It seemed forever ago since she had started the semester and now she was almost done… not really done though… school always just seemed to keep on going. Semester after semester…. year after year. “Study,” she told herself, but her mind would not focus. Too much had happened to not just take a moment to think about. Sometimes she wondered if God liked to see her scrambling so she could remember… remember Him. She’d had so many instances to turn her mind to God that week, too many times it felt like… and probably many more times in the future.
    She sighed. Study.

    • Susan Anderson

      I can see myself playing this mental/spiritual game too.

  10. Marilyn Ostermiller

    She wakes before the clock radio starts muttering. Realizing that she slept through the night makes her giddy. Yes. All right! A full night’s sleep. The Holy Grail. She wakes rested and ready to take on the day, but not quite yet. Husband breathes deeply next to her in the king-size bed she loves. Day has not dawned, but there is enough ambient glow from night lights and electronics to take in the cloud-like expanse of their white comforter. This is her nest, her safe haven. She would be embarrassed to tell anyone how much she loves this retreat, with its cathedral ceiling, extravagant crown molding, paintings and family photos. It is hidden away in a corner of their townhouse that looks like hundreds of neighboring abodes from the exterior. And yet, even though she shares it, she coverts time alone here to read, to write. to muse.

    • Tami

      Love this…can relate (except the husband part) … laughed out loud re: “She would be embarrassed to tell anyone how much she loves this retreat,
      with its cathedral ceiling, extravagant crown molding, paintings and
      family photos.” Men are not the only ones who have their caves! Your retreat sounds so cozy and I share your love for having my own comfy hideaway, my respite from a sometimes chaotic outside world!

    • Marilyn Ostermiller

      Tami, I hadn’t thought of my retreat as the equivalent of a man cave. That made me smile and nod.

    • Anne Peterson

      She might have been embarrassed to share how much she enjoys her retreat, but I’m glad she did. Loved that thought. And knowing people who struggle hoping to get a good night’s sleep, I understand giddy. I liked your piece.

    • Marilyn Ostermiller

      Anne, Thanks for affirming that what I was feeling came across.

    • Susan Anderson

      I empathize with the feeling of not wanting to move from your space, to actually enjoy what you’ve bought, cleaned, and decorated.

    • Marilyn Ostermiller

      Thank you, Susan. It feels so good to know that my words connected with you.

  11. Elsa

    She would always hide in the corner, and curse quietly in a funny little accent she wouldn’t dare identify if you remembered her name. She’s usually silent, invisible, and overly polite, but once you got her to start talking there was no end to her rapid fire run-on sentences, stretched analogies, and skewed logic, peppered with random facts acquired from a long reading history or else personal experience. Sometimes people gather around her and just listen, if they can follow, and it’s the only time they see her at all–when she’s rambling incessantly. She gets weird looks from everyone around her and it’s one of the only things in the entire world that make her smile. Ah yes! The humans think she’s an oddling! Cue the fanfare.

    She’s willing to talk about almost anything, but sometimes certain things come up and she quiets right back down and doesn’t say another word for hours. Did you hear about that celebrity that just got diagnosed with cancer? How about that girl who killed herself? The dude caught dealing drugs and killed a cop? And what about that serial rapist they just caught?

    If you looked closer, you might see the way she trembles. You might guess what sinister reminders it brought.

    But she’s not talking, and nobody sees her when she isn’t talking.

    • TurdbagTheGreatXIV

      I’m not sure why this doesn’t have more comments, because you’re certainly not silent in your writing.

    • Deborah Wise

      Beautiful, beautiful! I can identify with her, silent and invisible, until she speaks, and people listen because her words are rare, precious and unique!

  12. JC

    She lays back in the chair, hair still damp, her skin glistening. The smell of coconut oil conjures up tropical beaches and swaying palms; a strong contrast to the snow covered view through the window. As her eyes open, grey as the sky, she thinks of tomorrow. A fresh pot of coffee, followed by a quick pick up, and since the heavy chores are done the day will unfold as she chooses. She anticipates choosing to think about things that have not yet been thought. She anticipates the time to remember things that deserve remembering, and maybe some that do not. Perhaps since she’s been ‘good’ she can start now. After all, she can’t see the clock from where she sits so time is not really passing. It is better, she thinks, to measure time by what gets finished- a thought, a smile, a loaf of bread, a good book.

    • Susan Anderson

      Very nice mood, here. I can totally picture it.

    • JC

      Thank you, Susan. Maybe now that the mood is down on paper, I can conjure it up on demand 😉

    • Susan Anderson

      You’re welcome. I love writing that evokes (invokes?) mood.

    • JC

      Evoke vs Invoke- Initially evoke worked for me, the idea that the writing “calls up” a mood. But then your choice had me googling- and I like that invoke suggests an active calling, maybe even with incantations. And I see that I posted more than once in response to your initial comment….time for that second pot of coffee!

    • Susan Anderson

      I’ll join you for coffee.

    • JC

      Thank you Susan. I liked hearing that you can picture the mood.

    • Tami

      “After all, she can’t see the clock from where she sits so time is not really passing.” What a great line! An inner thought that probably all of us have felt, but never quite put into words. Thank you for sharing.

    • JC

      Thank you. This is my first prompt exercise and it is lovely to get feedback. I had recently had a conversation with a friend about the bane of electronics and clocks in our lives so I suppose that this thought has been brewing for a while. When I saw the 15 minute limit for the prompt, I ‘promptly’ turned away from the clock and so…..

    • Winnie

      What about the numbers that rule our lives?

    • JC

      Well, only if we let them….but truly, people impart a magic to the ‘right number’. Just look at how the media uses numbers: the TEN best, SEVEN most……

    • Winnie

      I was thinking of our numbers for social securiy, bank accounts, cellphones, passports, vehicle registrations, etc. Must admit they bring a sort of order to everything.

    • SK

      very nice description of your thoughts, feels like a calm mind

    • JC

      Thank you. I think that writing brings me calmness.

    • Anne Peterson

      Those are wonderful measuring tools. Enjoyed this peaceful peace. Wondered if she was drinking a cup of tea as she sat there. Nice.

    • JC

      Thanks. And no, she was not drinking a cuppa. But the pot was set to boil.

    • Contrary Bear

      Very simple, but very effective. I love her thoughts on time- just passing thoughts, but important all the same

    • SB

      “It is better, she thinks, to measure time by what gets finished- a thought, a smile, a loaf of bread, a good book.” I really loved this. The true value of time is found in the things that make it special.

  13. Cardinal Mel

    13:23 to 13:38
    She prefers numbers to words. The numbers maintain their meaning whether she says them or someone else tells them to her.
    She’s sitting outside this afternoon, warming in the sun, thawed out for the first time today. The sofa faces the garden, downhill and she sifts through the chores in her mind, the only way she knows how to avoid getting up, finding her garden gloves and walking down and through the gate to get dirty.
    But today she has limited time, a to do list perched on her desk reminding her to stay on task.
    Lunch has been eaten, dishes cleared away. It was bean soup, the same thing she’ll have for dinner tonight and the same thing she’ll have for lunch again tomorrow. She would be happy as a dog, eating the same food every day.
    She read and wrote on her lunch break instead of rushing back inside to sit at her desk and finish the lingering items. What was the use? There would never be a day without a long list if to do items.
    She abandoned her desk every day at lunch. She demanded outdoor sunshine, the smell of dirt and the sounds of birds and bugs, of leaves skittering across the pavement.
    The same wind that scattered the leaves made the chimes release their music. Planes roared over head at thirty thousand feet.
    The numbers would call her back soon enough. She’d arrange and rearrange them and send them off in different forms to different departments. She didn’t believe for a minute that anyone read or analyzed her numbers but since she was paid to do it, she worked the spreadsheets and calculator.
    One day she’d total everything up in a today package and start using words. A backlog was developing and she knew that one day they would have to come spilling out across pages and pages and books and books. The End

    • Anne Peterson

      Yes, one day the words would have to come out. They can’t be jammed in there forever. I liked the wind that scattered the leaves and made the chimes release their music. I also like how she had to choose between numbers and words. Though I have made similar choices, I still prefer the words. They dance.

    • Claire

      Numbers…the universal language…

    • JC

      I felt a bit wistful (on her behalf) reading this.

  14. The Cody

    The Yahoo Mail waiting symbol chugged slowly in a circle as it pulled messages from who knows where. He wasn’t too worried or impatient, though. It had only been a couple days, and he was sure there wouldn’t be a response yet. Even if there were, he was prepared.

    99.5 percent of new authors are rejected, he’d told himself a thousand times. And he believed it.

    On top of that, he wasn’t crazy about his query letter. And, after reading his manuscript a hundred times over, he’d decided there were parts he positively hated. But this was a crucial step. Unlike all those other times in his life, he was saying, “Fuck you” to fear. It felt nice, and was especially easy this time, because he knew exactly what would happen. In fact, he was downright excited to get that first rejection.

    I’m putting myself out there.

    Smiling to himself, he clicked the “Check e-mail” button for the hundredth time that week.

    This time, a new message appeared, and he gasped after reading the familiar e-mail address.

    This was it. And he was ready. More than ready; this wasn’t even one of his favorite agents. He had decided to submit to a couple ‘middle of the pack’ agents, first. That way, he could hone, as needed, for the big dogs.

    Not even bothering to take a breath, he clicked the e-mail and its contents flashed on the screen.

    Dear author:

    Blah blah blah blah blah blah Rejected blah blah blah blah.


    He stared at the screen, wide-eyed. There it was, exactly as he had expected. And, exactly as expected, he tried to grin and nod to himself.

    But something different happened.

    For some reason, his neck faltered and his head hung like a corpse.

    Then, before he could stop himself, he’d lowered himself to the desk. The second his forehead touched the cool metal, his eyes overflowed, and he choked a sob into his keyboard.

    • John Fisher

      This is such a great portrayal! Though I haven’t gotten that brave yet, I can see myself acting and reacting just the way this guy does, even after he’s steeled himself for rejection!

    • The Cody

      Thanks!! This actually happened *today* :/ It’s a little exaggerated but the wash of emotions was definitely accurate. Oh well, it will get easier! And if I can be that brave (although I wouldn’t call it that, lol), anyone can.

    • Winnie

      He should just remind himself how many times some bestsellers were rejected. They say you don’t finish a novel, you abandon it. We’re always learning. Right till the moment when we write our last words and curl our toes.

  15. Vicki Boyd

    Just a hint of light was showing through the datk navy roman shades. The three cats were already restless, anxious to be fed. Ghost, the smallest of the three, curled up next to her right ear purring loudly. Brother began to paw at her feet, nibbling on her toes. The third cat, pounced onto the bed, and curled himself onto her belly.

    Pulling the covers over her head, she moaned. “I’m not ready to get up yet guys. Go away.” Flexing her right shoulder, she dislodged Ghost and rolled onto her left side. The cats, sensing her mood, quickly.vacated the bed.

    Like a blow, the large empty space in her bed confronted her. This was where her husband should be. Instead, on the nightstand next to his spot sat a black box. It contained all that was left of the man she had loved for thirty.seven years. Seeing the box always caused her to sob. Crying was better than not having something of him with her. She reached over and touched the box. “I love you sweetheart.”

    Slowly she swung her legs out of bed and sat up on the edge. The room around her was cluttered, dirty, and disorganized. She sighed and heaved herself slowly up, holding to the edge of the bed for balance. Already her back ached and hard pain shot down her left leg. As she reached for.her mefication bag her shoulder screamed, “time for.a pain pill.” Hastily.she swallowed a handful of meds. In thirty minutes she would feel better.

    The boys were now milling around her feet, begging to be fed. First she bent and scooped the nights gifts from the litter box. Then, she filled thier bowl with dry food topped with a can of tuna. With her furry children content, she finally turned to her laptop.

    Now was her time, in the quiet morning hours, to put words on a blank page. This was what kept her getting out of bed each day. This was the gift she gave herself, permission to create.

    • Winnie

      I like the “nights gifts from the litter box”.

  16. Karoline Kingley

    She’s surrounded by her favorite entity – words. A long bookshelf mostly contaning classics, hangs overhead, winding the wall. Small hands with slim fingers type on the laptop placed on her lap. Though the room is dim, christmas lights hang around the window, cast a festive glow. The black coated corgi keeps her company, laying at her feet and occasionally popping up for a pet. The girl, for she is not fully a woman, bites her pink lips and runs her hands along her auburn hair when stuck for ideas. As she writes away in her second book, thoughts of doubt begin to creep in. For a minute, her hands stall and the fire drains from her green eyes when she listens to the lies. Is it worth it? Who would read it anyway? Success has been slim thus far, why would this book bring a different fortune? With a sigh she glances at the books behind her. Some of them are so tattered that the binding is becoming undone, so often has it been read. Very few of them are from this century and as she ponders why, she turns to her work again, mindful of her passion. She MUST write this story for the love of good literature, wholesome stories and beautiful writing. Though in many ways, she knows she lacks necessary experience, that is why she must write all the more. So that perhaps one day, she can contribute to the world that has helped her so, if not just to say thank you.

    • ruth

      I love this picture! The Christmas lights around the window, the black corgi for company, shelves of old books for inspiration, small hands on the laptop. I’m a bit confused by listening “to the lies”? Maybe you could expand on that a little? Very touched by “she can contribute to the world that has helped her, if not just to say thank you.” Thanks for sharing.

    • John Fisher

      I really identify with the “lies”, for that’s what many of our self-doubts are. Also the good books on the wall, I share that affinity, and very few of mine are from this century either! And writing as a thank-you to the world is a beautiful idea. Good work!

    • Karoline Kingley

      Thank you! I’m glad I’m not the only one 🙂

    • Susan Anderson

      Isn’t that how it is for us writers? To be compelled to keep on writing, not knowing how successful we will be. We owe it to the craft itself, to write, not just to be published, but to become better. Good empathy.

  17. Susan Anderson

    As if swimming were not lonely enough, she ventures off to the beach for an open water swim. All by her lonesome. She and her sisters coined this part of the shore, “Lonely Beach.” It was where they went when they didn’t feel like being social or seen.

    She waded in on a Sunday afternoon—the sky shrouded in gray humidity. Sharing the sand with an old lady walking a dog and a hippy wielding a metal detector, she sighed. Within the sigh she asked herself a question and then answered it. “Why do I do this? …You’re paddling the extra lap.”

    She stood staring at her feet as the water washed over, their prints seeming like primitive clay monster feet. She crossed her arms, hugging each elbow in a palm. Her hair blew across her nose, causing it to itch. She paused to watch the guy deliberate over the metal detector. To her, it was an odd way to spend an afternoon.

    Yes, she was stalling. There is a certain amount of psychological readying to taking the plunge. She bolstered herself, silently.

    “You’re here.”

    “You might as well get

    She thought that may be she was a lonely soul, an old soul. She craned her head over a shoulder to look at a vacant lifeguard stand, imagining a chiseled sun bleached body, shading his eye contact in Ray-Bans. The sign read, No Lifeguard—Swim At Own Risk.
    She was swimming, at her own risk.

    • John Fisher

      I like the lonely feeling of the place, that certain stretch of beach, and the sense of looming risk that she stalls from facing. Her response to the sign — swimming, at her own risk — sounds like it could be a theme in the story. Good practice!

    • Susan Anderson

      Thanks John. Yes, you nailed it. The theme for a story that is…

    • Tami

      Hope this develops into a short story (.meant as one of the highest compliments) … want to hear more…want to know where this goes!

    • Susan Anderson

      Thank you, Tami. I kind of cheated. This is part of a larger piece I’ve been working on for years. It was not an impromptu writing effort.

    • JC

      I was able to step into the image and the feelings you impart in the paragraph describing her staring at her feet, hugging her elbow,etc. Thank you.

    • Susan Anderson

      Thanks JC. Again, writing can be so creatively charging!

    • Anne Peterson

      Loved the primitive clay monster feet. I got to experience those when I went to Michigan with my daughter so you gave me a chance to revisit. And I almost felt like I had to brush the sand off my feet even now. Thanks for your piece. And stalling. I know stalling.

    • Susan Anderson

      I liked how that came out too, Anne. Isn’t it great fun to create something out of the blue? Wouldn’t know it was there if I hadn’t started typing. And the word, ‘stalling’, I had to use that. It is a strong verb.

  18. John Fisher

    Mister Computer says it’s 34 degrees Fahrenheit. The rain hasn’t started yet; they’re saying it could be worse than at the 2011 Superbowl. If it sleets/snows, the office will be closed and he won’t have to go and repeat yesterday’s terrifying wrestling-match: answering calls, first-day panic, taking questions he didn’t know the answers to yet — he answered phones for the gubm’t for nine years through sheer force of will, Before. Does he have it in him to do it again? He kinda hopes it snows.

    He remembers how much fun it was this morning helping with the produce at Seniors, wrestling three dozen frozen turkeys into an upright position so his partner could slip a wal-mart bag over it. He broke a sweat, he’d have you know. It’s good to work for your dinner.

    It’s gonna be a tight couple of weeks due to car registration, high heat bill, just too much dang month left at the end of the money. But that sackful of food from this morning is gonna help a whole lot. He’ll make it. He always makes it.

    He’s just a little less self-confident at the moment, with the new job, new people to deal with, and the memory of backing into that man’s pickup in the bank parking-lot Monday morning isn’t helping. He keeps worrying at it in his mind. His fault. Insurance likely to go up. Is he losing his edge? Should he give up the car and start riding the bus? Did it for five years in the ‘nineties, and has less problem with the idea than some would.

    He’ll never get too old to make a mistake. And he’ll never escape change.

    • Susan Anderson

      Definitely a man aging back and forth. I like the word picture you use in the first paragraph of the office zone being like a wrestling mat. I also like the line about too much dang month at the end of the money.

    • John Fisher

      Aging back and forth, yeah, exactly, I like that! Age coming on, but the youth hasn’t left the building. Thank you!

    • The Cody

      Agreed, I loved the line “too much dang month…”. I actually did a double-take when I read it, thinking “huh?” Then it hit me and I smiled (maybe a little jealously 🙂

    • Winnie

      It’s amazing how self-doubt creeps in with age. That’s when you start taking a hard look at the person you’ve lived with all the years.

    • John Fisher

      Yes, taking a hard look at that person — and still choosing to accept him/her! Self-doubt is a temporary state of affairs.

    • JC

      I can’t explain it, but I love the line (and the feeling that goes along with it), “He’ll never get too old to make a mistake”.

  19. Tami

    Today the flame went out.
    It had been slowly dying for quite some time. Flickering, waning…
    But always still there.

    Today it gave up.
    It no longer had wind, wood nor heat.
    Today the fire died.

    The wind should have come on the wings of laughter,

    From whispered words of love, kindness and affirmation.
    From the sheer joy of knowing they had been SO blessed.
    But even then, Wind is not enough.

    The wood should have been there too.
    It used to be.
    It was determination, commitment to their future together.
    Fuel is necessary, and it must come from

    A renewable source,
    Unconditional and full of promise.
    They must have stopped gathering wood together.

    The heat is gone too.
    Flames would sometimes rise, showing promise of the
    Once familiar fire…
    Sometimes it was all-consuming,
    Sometimes warm and comfortable.
    Now, it is neither.
    There is no wind, no wood, no heat.

    He had big dreams, but she doesn’t know what they were.
    He didn’t share them with her.
    She’s not even sure he could because maybe
    He didn’t even know what they were himself.

    She had dreams too…everybody does, right?
    Not lofty dreams, but good dreams still.
    And her dreams included him.
    What she thought they had together,
    Yesterday, today, and all her tomorrows.

    She doesn’t know which happened first.
    Did the flame go out and she awakened from the cold?
    Or did she just become cold,
    And watch the flames die?
    All she knows is, today the flame went out.
    Today, the fire died.

    • Marilyn Ostermiller

      Tami, This is so poignant. I want to mourn for what they have lost because they stopped trying and didn’t share their dreams and hopes.

    • Tami

      Thank you, Marilyn. I realize it didn’t really follow the prompt directions, but sometimes, it’s just what comes out, ya know? Thanks for sharing.

    • Susan Anderson

      I like the element of fire showing a relational climate. It was pleasant to follow your prose with the way you formed your lines, like a poem.

    • Tami

      Thank you, Susan, for sharing your observation. It did, indeed, evolve into more of a poetry format, though not intentionally. I often write long hand — maybe how I process things — and I decided to use the same format when posting.here.

    • SK

      This grabbed me, a very interesting and well done way to describe a relationship and how it flickered away.

    • Anne Peterson

      Great piece. Sadly it captures what my brother is going through. His plans included her. Hers did not. He’s hurting because the fire died. Also it reminded me of a song my son’s group just released. His words and yours run parallel. Enjoyed this.

  20. Lou

    She sits there, staring numbly into the computer screen of a random website. Noises of her father and brother are behind her along with their laughter and christmas music. But she just stares, thinking of her life, how she is beginning to see things differently. She thinks of the morning of school today, waiting for the bell to ring as her childhood friends laugh and just goof off but she just couldn’t bring herself to laugh. She yawned and just looked to her left, passed her closes friend’s face. Should she feel guilty that once she sees another friend she only known from her early years at the school she begins to laugh and enjoy herself? She questions herself in front of the computer screen. She blinks…then her mind travels to another problem:her dream. Her dream of writing short stories. She has good ideas and her mind won’t shut up but of course right when she grab that dreadful pen her mind suddenly zips up and her ideas hitch a train for nowhere. And that train would be reality.

  21. Claire

    The alarm rings, and she presses the snooze button every ten minutes for the next half hour. It’s early, way too early, but she finally gets up at 5:30 to the sound of classical music. Her chocolate lab watches as she rises, and she could hear his tail thumping against his mat. Adorable. By the time she goes downstairs, the coffee has already perked; its wafting aroma stimulating her senses.

    By the time her husband comes down, the breakfast table is set, and they share the first morning brew along with some conversation. Once he’s out the door, things quiet down once again. Her mind wanders as she does the morning dishes., but as usual, it focuses on her afternoon down time because once the chores have been completed, she ensconces herself in her nook and writes. Once her imagination is liberated, it’s the highest kite she can fly…

    • Anne Peterson

      The highest kite she can fly. Love it. I also loved the tone of your piece. It just quietly unfolded. And how nice to come down to a table set. I felt as if I were peeking in to see it all. Love the tone.

    • Claire

      Thanks, Anne. That’s about how it unfolds.

    • JC

      Writing as the antithesis to chore. Love it!

    • Claire

      Yes, JC, “antithesis” is an excellent word to describe what writing is to me as compared to other things. Thanks.

  22. Winnie

    He could have taken the car to work. But that meant sitting in traffic, and a hefty slice out of your savings for the parking. After all, his retirement, or call it by its real name, retrenchment, loomed. At his age he’d never find anything.
    He sits on the upper deck, among all the youngsters. Not for the company, but for the view. From there he can see into people’s houses, how they scramble around to be in time at the office.
    He tried sitting downstairs once, but it wasn’t the same. He was lower than them; it felt as if they were watching him.
    So he went back upstairs among those boisterous youngsters, who spoke about which club they’d been to the previous night, and other mindless things. Energy is wasted on the young, he often thought. Rather give it to us adults, who’ve had a lifetime learning to put it to good use.
    On the way back there’d be those drunkards heading for that rough working class neighbourhood on the route
    He later found that if he buried his nose in a book they left him alone. And the noise faded into the background as the youngsters excluded him from their sphere of attention.
    Now that his pension days were around the corner he’d like to turn the clock back and do things he should have done. And undo those things he shouldn’t have.
    He’d spent his life as a passenger, becoming part of what went on around him by being a spectator.

    • Deborah Wise

      And now it’s time to pull out all those treasures you’ve been storing up through all those years of spectating, sort them out, categorize them, and share them with the world. No time for retirement! You have work to do! I agree, energy is wasted on the young. Those of us with things to tell need the energy to do it!

    • Winnie

      Thanks for the advice.

  23. SK

    The room is small, cozy.
    The air is still, having not yet been disturbed by the travels of the
    people still sleeping in the darkness.
    Looking out the window he sees the trees reaching up towards the grayish
    sky waiting for the rain as a young boy would be as he watches a ball falling
    toward him, anticipating catching it.
    His back is achy despite a few hours of rest. These 15 minutes of tapping on the keyboard a
    pleasant new exercise, for his brain if not his body. Despite the quiet of the day, the current
    task at hand, the single light on in the darkened house illuminating his desk
    he is struggling to keep his mind on the task at hand. So much work ahead of him in the next 12 or
    14 hours. Shortly he will get up from
    this silent moment and awaken the day.
    Start the rushing process of making sure she is ready for the bus. A lunch to make, to approve of an outfit,
    breakfast to prepare, dressed warm enough for the day, the hair!, the hair is
    always the delay, even at a young age of 11.
    He marvels at how hair is a concern everyday for him despite him losing
    his 15 years ago. The anticipation of
    the craziness that is about to begin has his mind racing already, a warm cup of
    coffee adding to the adrenaline rush starting to kick in. He glances at the clock, 2 minutes and this
    quiet day will kick into overdrive very quickly. Off to the races, time to put the silence
    back to bed for another 24 hours.

    • JC

      I like that your writing cocooned you with silence at the start of the day.

  24. Anne Peterson

    She sits in the quiet. The darkness still surrounds her but she knows in time the darkness will give way to light. It always does. Oh sure, sometimes it takes its sweet time like when the cold embraces us. Days like today.

    She pecks away at the keys watching stories slip out of her head. Wondering all the time how they got in there and then she remembers. She used to run to stories when life was hard, when life was scary. She ran to stories a lot.

    And now she does what she has to do again. She waits. She waits to see if the test results are good for her brother. She waits to hear that the procedure went well. She waits to breathe again.

    She can’t afford to lose any more people she argues. But she knows that she knows nothing compared to the one who holds the keys to life and death. She knows, but still she argues. It’s the one thing she can do. The only thing she can do.

    And yet, there is this place inside her. This room that she goes to when she’s afraid. She sits there waiting and knows He will show up. And she won’t be alone. He always comes. He always sits with her when she’s afraid. Always.

    He was there when she stood at her mother’s coffin at 16. There as she said goodbye to her father at 24. She was there as she revisited the cemetery again and again. Too many times to count and yet she does.

    It’s easier to count the remainder. Two. There are just two left. There were five of us siblings and then Peggy was gone. Domestic violence. Brutal thief. But years in between another huge loss. And those years got her used to living. Well, kind of.

    Then she saw cancer rip away one brother. Watched as it took his health day by day. Had to remind him he was dying when he’d say, “Get my coat, let’s go home.” And later he’s say, “Oh yeah, we ARE home.”

    And then there was February when she sat in a hospital bed with anxiety. Something new that keeps pestering her life. Something that causes her blood pressure to spike when should flow steadily. Yes anxiety had visited her. Intruded and refused to leave.

    Anxious about her one brother getting a heart procedure. Unaware another brother clutched his heart and died.

    Two. There are just two of them left. And while she tries not to think about it, that thought bullies its way in her mind and pushes out all the other thoughts. No thoughts like to be bullied.

    She sits quietly and as she suspected she senses His presence. And hears His voice remind her she is not alone. He’s right there beside her. Just as He promised He’d be. And He never broke one of His promises. Not one.

    • Susan Anderson

      Anne, this line caught me: ‘She can’t afford to lose any more people she argues,’ yet not in the way that I think you intended. I guess I put myself in her place. I mentally added the word, ‘with’ at the end of that line. As if the people, or God himself, being the ones we argue, love, and struggle with are the ones who cost us the most. They are the ones that we stand to lose the most of ourselves. Like a part of us dies with each one.

    • Anne Peterson

      I should have put a comma after the word “people.” She is arguing with God.

    • Susan Anderson

      I wasn’t correcting you. I got what you were saying, I just liked the twist of arguing with everyone, including God and self. hugs…

    • Anne Peterson

      Sorry, Susan. I didn’t mean for it to sound abrupt. I was actually angry at myself for not putting in the correct punctuation. I also like the twist of arguing with everyone. Thanks.

    • Marilyn Ostermiller

      Anne, You introduced us to a lifetime of grief and loss so great that it could rip your soul apart.

    • Anne Peterson

      And except for the fact God was in it, you’re right. And do you know what he brought out of it? Poetry.

    • frenchrunner

      Thank goodness that you have experienced Him — so much love !

  25. Anne Peterson

    Loved your piece. There were so many things about it that made it alive. Loved the continual thankfulness that just had to ooze out of you. Absolutely loved how you ended your piece. The piece just flowed so evenly. Actually inspired me to even sit down and take part.

    • Joe Bunting

      Thanks Anne. 🙂

  26. Bob DeSpy former Spycacher

    So, here he sat again in front of the screen. Open the last page of his book. Words appearing in succession, staining the whiteness with characters burping from the brain.

    For some time now he was aphasic to open it, almost scared. He might have turned on, to check emails and to play solitaire, but even that reluctantly. Many, some several months old, particularly those related with writing were loitering in the list of unopened mail. There was no reason for it.

    A slap of life had smashed all desires to write.

    I have to commence writing again. Now! And in the same sentence: Why write? It will not contribute to be alive. Arg! Too damn trumpery and useless! Thought of impotence heaped his mind. Had a bad mood, even snappy. It took awhile for him to grind down the disappointment and in the end accept he had to live a life whatever the circumstances. The end will come soon enough.

    Some days ago, he started again reading the book with an earmarked leaf, which was lying around for a while. That night, he couldn’t sleep, and for him, reading was the best somniferous. Soon, ideas invaded the spirit, and he made notes, searched words, concentrated in modisms. That night and many after, he did not sleep enough.

    Bad habits were kicking in again.

    But there was a difference. He realised, just today, a big difference.
    Before, when his wife asked what he was doing, the answer had been: Working! Nowadays he says, Writing!

    What a difference a misfortune makes!

    Misfortune? Maybe, maybe not. Who knows? He remembered the old Chinese saying.

    The energy is back with vigour. Carelessly ignoring the numbness his backside and the urge of nature. Barely walking to the kitchen for a cup of coffee. He has to prepare it. It takes too long. Better, some water, he decides and is back to the frantic clicking on the keyboard in one corner of his bedroom. The music plays away. It’s cold. His heart has, though, been warm and palpitating to the rhythm of the script.

    Hey! Of that, life is all about!

  27. frenchrunner

    I love what you wrote….a bit of mischief is getting ready to happen, I think…..

  28. frenchrunner

    Here is what I wrote for 15 minutes:

    She sits at the desk in front of the laptop almost everyday. But nothing comes to her mind. There is too much going on around her – even the dog and cat prevent her concentrating on what she needs to say – what she must say. There is a story inside her somewhere. But she has no time to dwell on its location, to find out where in the body or mind such a story could be. She is a writer. She has always been a writer, even if she rarely puts pen to paper. She has been a writer since she was very young, sitting on the back porch on a hot summer day with nothing but chores to do.

    She used to wonder about eternity. The concept of eternity was troubling her when she was only eight or nine years old. Sitting on that back porch in the
    heat of the summer in Dallas, wondering about eternity. She would imagine the world never, ever ending, like the nuns told her classmates and her, but somehow she could not get a true connection. What would eternity look like, she wondered, forgetting that she was only in the third grade…what could it be like?

    Well, it had to be better than just sitting on the back porch, waiting for her mom or dad to come yell at her for not doing anything. They had small patience for little girls, especially for her, since she was the eldest girl in the family and should be helping her mother to care for the younger kids. Man, what a life for a kid! But that is what an adult would have thought, had an adult been sitting on the porch with her, sharing those eternal thoughts. Kids had not much of a
    past, so they had little to refer to. Still, she knew that whenever there was not much work to do, the little kids were asleep, and she had finished her homework (funny that she could not remember doing homework, for the most part!), she ought to have a bit of time for herself. Time to swing on the swing
    set before her dad opened the screen door and hollered for her to get her butt
    inside and do more work.

    Little did she know, however, what lay ahead. And that was definitely a good thing. A damned good thing. Because if she had known even a little bit, she might have found the courage in her heart to take a short cut while walking home from school and end up elsewhere.

    • TurdbagTheGreatXIV

      Funny because I’m listening to Above and Below, which seems to go along with this.

    • frenchrunner

      Where would I find “Above and Below”? I am a newbie here. Thank you for your comments.

    • TurdbagTheGreatXIV

      It’s by The Bravery and there is a moon version and a sun version. Youtube has both.

  29. TurdbagTheGreatXIV

    The murky shape of a fish torpedoes through her peripheral vision and is swallowed by the clouded lake waters. She cranes her neck in its direction, hair following suit in a dull golden cloud and coming to rest in front of her eyes. Her back arches as she kicks deeper where pressure begins to replace sunlight and the sandy bottom full of discarded clam shells beckons as a silent refuge. Her elbows come to rest against the gritty surface as she releases her air from its chambers, watching it flee to the surface in a shimmering cloud of light. She could beat it if she wanted to; kick up from the bottom and satisfy the dull ache in her chest, but she doesn’t want to. Not yet anyways. She closes her eyes and the water seems to disappear, swaying around her with the same heat which runs in her veins, melting itself against her skin until the two are indistinguishable. She could lie here forever, in her secret, dim world. But it isn’t hers. Her lungs tighten to remind her that hers is up there, into the sun which shines so far away from this place. She jumps off the her throne of sand, rising into the surface.

    • frenchrunner

      You must know something about diving. I would not have been able to create this scenario without having been underwater myself. Good job !

    • TurdbagTheGreatXIV

      Thank you, It’s one of my favorite pastimes and I bought my first monofin last summer.

  30. Deirdre

    She wakes reluctantly, feeling him stir by her side. The familiar feeling of heaviness returns as the reality of their life now seeps into her consciousness through the last wisps of sleep. Further rest will elude her now. Should she get up and try to use the time when he is asleep to do some writing? She is bone tired, but she knows there will be little chance for time alone later in the day. She turns to watch him sleeping and thinks of other Saturdays when he would be first to wake, always active, vital. Perhaps after some leisurely lovemaking he would return to her with a cup of tea and her favourite – hot buttered toast with marmalade. Then off to get the paper, maybe stop for coffee on the way. Now he can’t get out of bed by himself anymore or pee alone. This horrible disease is taking its time to kill him. She watches his dear face, at peace in merciful sleep for a while. She is sad but angry too. Maybe she will get up and write, despite her weariness.

    • L_V_K

      While I have no really experience of what this is like your writing doesn’t use such fancy words that make it seem like a show. Yours seems real, but still showing how you feel underneath the words. I like it.

  31. Carole Dixon

    She stood at her computer, wishing she could feel comfortable in her own body. The room is lit with natural light and her husband is listening to the book Wise Blood on AudioBooks. She needs to jump start her energy, needs to get her blood moving. The calendar tells her it really isn’t good day to do anything, unless it is to work on her own set of personal challenges – releasing her bad habits, for god’s sake.

    How does one work on one’s bad habits, she wonders. They are there, the patterns of behaviors. She circles around them and then gives in to nap. It is like earlier this week when her calendar asked her to retrieve her soul. Retrieve her soul? That is a long process, but she tried. She went through every memory she had – sitting on the front porch when scarcely older than a toddler, wondering what is infinity. Come here, little girl, she entreated. She remembered the last time she wet her pants after they stopped letting her wear diapers; squatting under a shrub, being amazed there was no diaper to catch it. Come back to me, she asked. Playing in her sandbox, riding her bike for the first time, climbing a skinny tree to get away from either a small snake or a big worm. Come back to this big empty spot in me, she asked. The memories of her life flooded her and with each memory, she invited herself home. Some of the memories weren’t so good and she hadn’t behaved admirably. She invited that girl back too. Get them all here, retrieve them, she told herself. Before long, all the retrieved people she could ever remember being gathered in her solar plexus and built a bonfire. They raked the coals around. This made her nervous. She wanted to fill that hole, not burn a bigger one. Oh well, all those soul pieces were in charge of this, not her. Just let it happen and she did.

    Is she more whole now? More of one cloth? Who knows. There is an ache in her left back side. She feels full, lethargic. What are her bad habits? Is procrastination really that bad or is it her creative process? Certainly eating potato chips, her new vice since quitting gluten, could be something she skipped today.

    Her husband stops listening to his story and comes over to the computer and wants to talk about the parade Saturday and had she told her youngest granddaughter they were staying in town, so now they could all go to it. Leave me alone, she finally explodes. Just 15 minutes, that is all I want. 15 minutes to write this exercise. And it is done. He goes away and the 15 minutes are gone.

    • Carole Dixon

      Sorry for posting so late on this. I loved the exercise! I did it a day late and then my internet was down for an entire day. Finally this morning, I have internet!

  32. Christina Chenier

    She sits, reclined on the couch, trying to escape reality for the umpteenth time that week. Not that it’s been a hard week, or that she doesn’t love her life or anything, she’s actually enjoying life; she just likes to pretend it’s different sometimes. She picks up the book on the table and shimmies down into a position that says, “leave me alone. I’m reading.” A frown crosses her face as she struggles to drown out the sounds of her five younger siblings and piano-playing dad by immersing herself into a different world.

    Later she will probably try to drain her emotions through writing, allowing the paper of her beloved notebook to carry some of the burdens weighing on her heart. Typical teenager burdens: love, hate, wonder, and longing. Regret too. And Nostalgia. All of these mixed up feelings trapped inside her will flow out onto the blank pages in inky words that will somehow sooth everything. She’d like to think she was unique, but she has the same problems as every other teenage girl. And then some.

    Left to her own mind is much too dangerous these days. It’s a trap that ensnares her at her weakest times when she’s alone. Which is most of the time. There are certain people who help her though, and she’s seen them all this week. The greenish grey eyes of her best friend. The grey ones of her beloved music teacher. These are the people who put a little bit of light into her dark mind and draw her back into reality: the good reality. They keep her safe from the trap her mind has set for itself and remind her that love is a very big part of life. Not being loved necessarily, but loving. Being the one TO love is what matters most and it makes all the difference.

  33. Louski

    She lays with her knees up, covered in three army surplus
    wool blankets and an old, yellow stained feather blanket she’d known for years,
    though it wasn’t hers. Her bed, which
    takes up most of the room, is on the floor, the bare dirty white walls
    sometimes remind her of one of those old, padded asylum rooms. The kind that
    don’t exist anymore. And while that
    might have once really bothered her, even scared her, it amuses her now.

    The room sits in the back half of the “house,” which is
    actually an old trailer, half of one, where they used to hang the plants to
    dry. The front half of the house is wooden, with wooden walls and floor and a
    high ceiling. Behind her, cold air comes up through the cracks between the wall
    and the chipping lanoleum floor. Last night, she had made a feeble attempt to
    remedy this with another rolled up wool blanket, but then figured out that a
    sheepskin did the trick.

    It’s her idea of luxury. She’d been sleeping on the floor
    for years, with intermittent mattresses here and there, but she preferrs the
    floor. Maybe it’s just that it reminds her of the last place she called home,
    where they slept on the floor, and ate meals together in a circle around a fire
    or a woodstove. Where things made sense.

    The house is finally quiet. It’s her favorite time, when she
    doesn’t feel the pull of anyone. Somewhere inside of her, the tug of an
    impending decision making time. She has no idea where to go from here. This
    little room, which for some reason she can remember seeing for the first time
    three years ago, when it was filled with April’s willow baskets and craft
    making materials, is starting to feel like hers. Even the weather seems to be
    comforting her here all of a sudden.

    Fall in Northern California is strange for her, someone who
    has never missed a real winter. It’s sunny and warm, and her body kept
    expecting the change. Something, anything to signal that it was this time of
    year, and not another. But it never came here, and it felt like she was somehow
    stuck in time. The wintery slant of the sun was strange in the heat. Finally it changed.

    This morning she sat outside on the porch, the sun just
    barely coming over the horizon but nowhere near her, those huge, intimidating
    redwoods stood in the east and shaded everything. Her afternoon cigarettes were
    the time where she could find a tiny patch of sun. this morning the wind
    howled, and she put on a wool hat and wool shirts and felt the crispness, and
    imagined brown leaves falling. She had never been so happy for a brisk morning
    chill. And wind, actual wind, blowing a
    fall hello. Her body swayed with it as she smoked her cigarette and the smoke
    didn’t matter. She didn’t want to smoke with all this weather calling .

    She needs to get back to that piece, due tomorrow morning.
    She hears Susan sneeze in the other room, and Chris beside her shifts. They
    whisper to each other, and then go silent. She hears the hot water heater, and
    feels at home.

    • Winnie

      I like the phrase about her room – “where things made sense”.

  34. Deborah Wise

    Her childhood was a happy one, filled with pine forests and pussy willows, shading trees and deep shadows, bright sunlight and fairies. Her mind was a blessed
    country where music filled the air and magical creatures were waiting with secret smiles around every corner, offering new adventures. A little sister was a ready and willing companion in her exciting fairy world.

    As she grew, reality pressed in with dawning dismay. Too late, she discovered
    that her childhood world had been one of the imagination, and in the business
    of growing up the door grew narrower until it closed altogether. The only way she could alleviate the anguish was to write – anything and everything.

    Her one delight in the agonizing world of puberty became a pure white sheet of paper before her, and a pen poised in readiness. It was only then that her soul could be at ease.

    With her teenage years came the realization that she must find an identity for herself, or perish, and that involved searching with every bit of strength she possessed.

    The search lasted for many years, tumultuous, exhausting and filled with some bitter sorrows and some unspeakable joys, but the search bore fruit. She
    discovered who she was at last!

  35. Therese

    Outside her office window the sun is blazing. The
    temperature is frigid, below freezing. Her garden appears shocked, the plants
    struggling to breathe outside of their designated zone. Whoever decides what will thrive through
    winters in the Pacific Northwest probably didn’t have a day like today in mind.

    The sun is a mixed blessing for her. In her chest she wants to run outside,
    through her arms open wide and hug those rays for the weather forecast
    indicates the usual gray clouds will return in just a few days. Yet, she looks at her desk. A half-done
    presentation awaits, due on Monday. Follow-up with a creative team on her new
    website is tugging at her “let’s play inside” persona. And then there’s the prospect of a trip to
    Costco to get the wreath, the garland … the overdue beginnings of the whole
    holiday decoration process. In the next
    room her husband lingers over the New York Times. They only subscribe to the
    Sunday edition so she looks forward to that leisurely read every week (and, she
    just learned, having something to look forward to can increase your personal
    baseline for happiness).

    Happiness, she decides, shows up physically today. Sun rays streaming
    through the window. A second cup of coffee resting on her desk. The prospect of
    unpacking the Christmas decorations makes her smile inside. Finding a place for
    the crystal snowman, the mantletop garland, the collection of German smokers –
    a yearly ritual that signals the holidays have arrived, along with that endless
    of to-do’s that never quite get done.

    • frenchrunner

      WOW ! I love especially the image of the sun streaming through the windows. And yes, we have the have just the perfect place for each Christmas item, don’t we? I wish I could read more !!

  36. AC Barrett

    First job on a dark winter morning: tending fire. The fires of evening languish after midnight and leave the big house chilled in this snow country. She is the designated early riser.

    She stirs hot ash to wake red coals, then adds wood scraps that in a moment will blossom into flame. Coffee goes on while she waits. Once the fires start up again she adds firewood, small and then larger pieces. When they catch she damps the flow of oxygen back down for a slow burn. The fireplace in the family area is first, followed by the wood stove in the entry way. Family first.

    A glance outside the window answers the pivotal question: is it falling, blowing snow today, or are bright snow fields already dimly visible down the hill? Her favorite is dry snow that glitters under the sun. It’s like a field of cool white velvet thickly strew with tiny opal chips.

    Maybe this will be that kind of day. Warmly dressed now, she does a few minutes of yoga while the others stir and wake. An hour before dawn, with the sounds of day rising and the first cup of coffee in hand, she sees a small herd of deer cross the field below. They are graceful dark silhouettes in the dusky blue. As a small child she once cried for wild things outside in the snow, at the unfairness of it all, and sometimes she still wonders how they manage. Often, she knows, they don’t. Perhaps that germinal sense of fairness has wandered over time. Perhaps it’s merely been polished by emery grains of experience.

    These deer, though, seem lively and inquisitive, at ease in their travels today, unperturbed by human habitation near by. Her kitchen is warm, bright, and yellow, and there’s a day of writing ahead.

    • Brett

      Jealous of that morning routine! Maybe I wouldn’t be over time, but it sounds like such a perfect way to ease into the day: a little work to get a fire going. Some exercise. Then recollection.

    • AC Barrett

      Thanks, Brett. I’m a little conflicted about it, though. Having read some of the stunning entries here (plus almost all of Glimmer Train Issue #89, which to my mind has kind of a bleak feel) this little practice piece seems “fluffy” in comparison. I’ve taken it aside to give it more than 15 minutes. Notwithstanding my encultured training to convert lemons to lemonade, the hand of a darker angel rests on this character’s shoulder. It deserves observation. These prompts are great practice, but I think practice only works for us to the depth we actually dive.

  37. Guest

    It’s 5:49am and about 39 minutes behind schedule. My coffee never seems to be as warm as I want it to be. By the time I top it off and sit back down, it feels like it needs to be nuked.

    The Bible and journal next to me, open to Isaiah. It’s mostly confusing to me right now, but slowly meaning pops out. My car journal is to my right. It’s a little spiral bound notebook that I keep in the car while I listen to podcasts. Texting and driving is unsafe, but I hope note taking on the center console isn’t. The laptop is open between them.

    The lights are off and I’m typing in the dark. This space between 5:30am and 6:00am is tricky in our house. One of my children, were I asleep, would wake and crawl into the big king bed between my wife and me. But since I’m up, he might hear me and come downstairs for some attention.

    I’m selfish. At least, I try to be selfish prior to 6:00am, or 6:15 if I play my cards right.

    Across the dining room table is a my belt, my t-shirt, a children’s Bible, and a couple spiral notebooks that the kids like to write in. Plush green and white candy canes barely visible, are hanging in the dark underneath the light fixture.

    I know the condensation is puddling around my water glass. This is my second day trying to write first. 500 words daily before I do anything else. I should probably get an earlier start and take a walk or do some stretching. It always seems I’m much more inspired after some early exercise. My brain seems to function. I’m using this prompt from deep in my Gmail because the cupboard was bare. And writing as a discipline, apparently, is tough the first couple mornings especially since I don’t have a clear end game. The last thing I want to do is write for work. And I’m not excited to write for my personal blog that centers around living a simpler life. And the blog on the url for my name has been in technical difficulty for over a year.

    Consequently, I’m on Evernote practicing.

  38. Brett

    It’s 5:49am and about 39 minutes behind schedule. His coffee never seems to be as warm as he wants it to be. By the time he tops it off and sits back down, it feels like it needs to be nuked.

    To his left is the journal open stacked inside the Bible, also open, opened to Isaiah. That ancient book is mostly confusing to him right now, but slowly meaning pops out. His car journal is to his right. It’s a little spiral bound notebook that he keeps in the car while he listens to podcasts. Texting and driving is unsafe, but he hopes note taking on the center console isn’t. The laptop is open between the two books of records.

    The lights are off and he’s typing in the dark. This space between 5:30am and 6:00am is tricky in their house. One of his children, were he asleep, would wake and crawl into the big king bed between his wife and him. But since he’s up, his young son might hear him and come downstairs for some attention.

    He’s selfish. At least, he tries to be selfish prior to 6:00am, or 6:15 if he plays his cards right.

    Across the dining room table is a his belt, my t-shirt, a children’s Bible, and a couple spiral notebooks that the kids like to write in. Plush green and white candy canes barely visible, are hanging in the dark underneath the light fixture.

    He knows the condensation is puddling around his water glass. This is his second day trying to write first. 500 words daily before he does anything else. He should probably get an earlier start and take a walk or do some stretching. He always feels much more inspired after some early exercise. His brain seems to function better. He’s using this prompt from deep in his Gmail because his idea cupboard was bare. And writing as a discipline, apparently, is tough the first couple mornings especially since he doesn’t have a clear endgame. The last thing he wants to do is write for work and his insurance blog. And he’s not excited to write for his blog that centers around living a simpler life. And the blog on the url for his name has been in confounding technical difficulty for over a year, so that’s not an option.

    Consequently, he’s on Evernote practicing.

    • Sandra D

      The coffee part was funny. Towards the end you wrote me instead of he. Also I did not like the last paragraph as much of the rest of the story. Maybe there are too many details in it. I’m not sure. The writing overall is good and I can feel the balance between being dutiful to the family and also having a special time to do one’s own work. And the grappling with is it selfish to hope the boy stays asleep a little longer.

    • Sandra D

      He knows the condensation is puddling around his water glass. I think it would be better to say: Condensation is puddling around his glasses. He knows feels like it slows it down to me.

  39. Byju V

    He wants to be a writer. He knows wanting to be a writer is not the same as being a writer. He sits in front of the laptop every morning before the birds have begun singing, before the sense of duty comes alive to distract him. But he always ends up posting, commenting, arguing.. on the facebook, anything to avoid actually writing. His other hobby is reading. He reads everything, with no
    discrimination. His childhood heroes were not cricket players or action heroes,
    but writers. While his friends admired Amithabh Bachan and Kapil Dev, he worshipped R K Narayan and Arthur Conan Doyle. In his dreams, he saw himself publishing Sherlock Holmes stories. But he could never convert these dreams to reality.

    The moment he cherished most from his childhood was when he won a writing competition inschool. More than the prize itself, what he remembered was the praise he got from a famous writer, a judge for the competition. Yet he could not write.

    Recently, he suffered a mental break down. It dawned on him that he wa 40, he had passed the prime of life, perhaps crossed the half way mark. He realized with surprise that he could not recapture time, recreate the past, that he was locked in a day time job that he loathed, that he was also shackled by the sense of duty from which thete may not be any escape.

    • Sandra D

      very moving, and throughout I could sense the struggle and the longing to be formed and changed (thinking of a caterpillar/butterfly) seeing what you know you need to be, but also feeling not there yet. And then the sad realization of not being able to go back in time was a good ending paragraph.

  40. Contrary Bear

    All around her, the air was still. Not just still, but paused, muffled. All the world seemed to be put on mute. It was probably because of the snow outside, padding the roads and the sidewalks with white fluff. She didn’t mind- the quiet was a nice break from the noise and the cluttered mess.
    She sits beside the window this morning, curled up into a tight ball underneath a patchwork quilt, in a too-large chair. The heater is blowing out warm air besides her, and she can’t help but be a little reassured at the gentle hum of it running. Not that she needed it- her dachshund was curled up in the crook of her legs, acting like the miniature space heater she was.
    She couldn’t sit there forever, she knew. As she typed, the list of things she needed to do pressed on the front of her mind with continuing urgency, barrating her with a buzz of reminders and loose ends. But a little time for herself couldn’t hurt, could it?
    A thin strand dangled in front of her eye, and she blew it aside in mock irritation. Maybe this wasn’t the best time for this. Maybe this was just her way of procrastinating while she had real work to be done. That was very probable, and very like her. She knew there were real things to do, things that had to do with nasty words like ‘school’ and ‘chores’, but for the moment she was fine with brushing them off with a flick of her wrist and delving deep into her writing.

    • Sandra D

      good job using the five senses so someone can really feel your environment. That makes it cozy. And even though there is a lot of stuff that the writer knows will have to get done, you could feel how she was still very immersed in her writing, and not getting overly stressed by it.

  41. Cadillacs.

    She sits at a funny little place – too small for a window seat, too large for a windowsill. Her cheeks press against the cool dampness of the glass, her fingers curled into the nails which she had been painting a few hours ago.
    It was the holidays – she should be relaxing, why was she agitated anyway? There wasn’t any homework assigned anyway. Her family ignore her and her own little ramblings, they only treat her ponderings and opinions as ‘teenagerdom’ and something ‘bound to change when she grows up’. They’re too busy in front of the television, intent on ‘The Wizard of Oz’, unaware of the clock ticking on the wall, that the children they have in their arms will eventually be doing the same. Perhaps it is only her who can glimpse into such thoughts. Perhaps it’s due to how she is in that time in adolescence when you know that you’re going to grow up, and that you’re nervous about what it will bring. Perhaps…
    She slides off the seat, and plops onto the sofa. Her younger sibling comes to her lap, bringing the scent of warm milk and love, something which will outlast all time.
    She smiles. Love, which can outlast all time.

    • Sandra D

      yes. I like this. The writing is good, it doesn’t have unnecessary words. And also I like how you go into the feeling of fear of growing up and leaving what is known and people loved.

  42. S.M. Sam

    He, sits. He thinks. He ruminates. What is he doing with his life? Come Jan 24, 2014 and he would be completing 23 years of existence on planet Earth. But what has been accomplished so far? A bachelors degree, a film school diploma and now on his way to gain his Masters in Marketing and still he doesn’t feel very accomplished with himself. Still leaving at home, feeding of Dad’s income with absolutely no work experience as such, was he worth anything?

    The fact that the girl he really had a thing for not only rejected his romantic advances but went on to say that “I will never like you” didn’t help his cause. He needed to find his ‘eureka’ moment where he finds the true purpose of his life. Maybe it lies in the world of words. Maybe that’s why his heart always kept tugging at this direction but he was too lazy to sit and let the words flow. Maybe it’s time for him to realise that there is no point in trying to rush and see what his future is going to turn out like. Live life and Just let it be.

    • Sandra D

      I could really relate to this and the feeling of not yet being there, at that place where one wants to end up.

  43. Lucy Crabtree

    The blue chair was her throne, her childhood home her castle. Right now, just for right now, there were no doors opening and closing. No pounding on the stairs as parents and/or a brother made their way to the second floor. Not even the hum of the dishwasher or the thump of the washing machine intruded into her time.

    All she heard was silence. That blissful, marvelous silence that came from just being. Not doing or crying or wondering or worrying. Just being.

    For these few minutes, she could pretend. Pretend that it hadn’t been almost a year since she had to move back home. Pretend and remember what it was like to live in her own space, among her own things, free to think her own thoughts or even to dance in the kitchen with no one watching. If she wanted to, she could even watch an entire episode of “Glee” without any eye rolls or scoffs thrown her way. Or questions. She was so relieved, really, to have this time without questions about how had her day been, and who did she eat lunch with, and why did she like this show or that so much, and had she heard from so-and-so lately?

    Not even the temptation of having the family TV all to herself was enough to pull her away from her words. The words were there, always waiting. She just had to sit still long enough to see them. To feel them, run her hands over them, testing their strengths, their weaknesses.

    She wasn’t always sure of what she was writing, or why she was. “Writers write to be read,” she remembers telling a friend, many moons ago. But somewhere along the way, she stopped. The writing fizzled, save for a sporadic blog post here and there. She didn’t remember when, exactly, but she had lost herself, and was always, always in search of the She she used to be.

    The blue chair didn’t have any answers. Neither did the blue walls, or the red mantle. My mother is a colorful woman, she thought. The fake greenery arranged artfully around the room also offered no secrets, no clue to the person she was looking for.

    So she ignored them all — the reds, the greens, the blues — and leaned her head back and closed her eyes. The searching could wait another moment. For now, there was just being.

    • Sandra D

      This was really intriguing and interesting to me.

    • Darcy

      Love the opening line

  44. 709writer

    Life is complicated for her, if not physically, then on the inside. Between work stress, school priorities, and guys, she doesn’t always make time just to talk to God, and often suffers for it. She struggles with finding her identity. Her family is always supportive and loving, and that gives her strength and hope.

  45. Sandra D

    She is inside now. She wishes she were drinking coffee but she thinks it a waste of time to make some for just a few spare minutes of writing. She loves the outdoors though. She also loves people. Everyone coming from different places with different ideas, many she had never thought of. She loves how life changes. But she is starting to realize somedays things don’t seem to change. At least not for her, not always. Someone told her once life doesn’t hand us a new lesson until we first master the one given. Perhaps she was stuck on something. But perhaps she just expected too much from the universe.

    Her garden is being eaten away by bugs, and she has been working to get ahead of it. And even though she had gotten the bugs under control, the plants look damaged and many have died. Can the plants catch up and be in time for the harvest time, she wonders.

  46. Isaac Palmer

    This one is actually quite, quite mad, but I’m literally just writing the first things that come to me on these prompts!


    22, single, Bristol! Straight up social construct looking
    for love. Seeking the sort of love that can be conceived of as a ‘lagoon’ or ‘oasis’.
    Enjoys music and gambling, always up for a PARTYYY! Young displaced whisper
    floating among suburban streets. Massive Kanye fan, second biggest hero
    probably Messi!! Youthful fun-lover carried invisibly by a discourse I can’t
    remember. Travelling, traveller forever <3 .

  47. Amin

    he was lying in bed. another day is over.every night it occurs to him that he hadn’t been giving much attention to the the passing of days, to opportunities he missed. but then he admits that counting them wouldn’t really make a difference. you’d think it will end there and he’d go to sleep now, but it never does, because he always needs to do something about it or at least think about doing something about it. why is it that he never feels satisfied at the end of the day? may be because he’s not doing something he likes, may be because he is not doing anything, or may be because it doesn’t matter what he does as long as it is HE who’s doing it. he’s not dissatisfied with life, he’s dissatisfied with being.

  48. zaza

    three body in the small dim room- two sleeping. one sits cross-legged, her fingers tucked in around the cover of her small neon notebook. her eyes constantly gaze around the object that surrounds her and for a second she wondered why she loves to write in the dark so much when there’s plenty damn lights in the daytime. her heavy eyes darts to her brother’s sleeping figure, his snore low and she always find it funny in some way; maybe because she could tease him about it later and she always wonders about her sister’s eyes when she sleep; they’re never fully closed and she still think about it at some point. suddenly, her hand pauses and she took a short breathe, reciting what she had just wrote in a careful whisper. it’s almost three in the morning. she felt a familiar feeling of wishing she could just drift away to her beauty sleep haunts her every night, though she could never come close to stop thinking about so much things.

  49. Nicole

    Sunlight gently streams into her room, caressing her face. Her eyes flutter open; another day has begun. She carefully selects the outfit she will wear; the dress must match her shoes while the earrings must offset the color of her hair. Everything must look perfect because in reality nothing really is.As she carefully applies her make-up she notices tears glistening in her eyes. She smiles weakly and although her eyes shine with life, the lace of death within them is unmissable. Try as she might she cannot hide the pain that is always with her.

    She tries to remember a time when laughter was her life’s song, and hope was her constant companion. A time when she had a spring in her step, a trunk full of dreams and a heart bursting with love. Reality intrudes on her wistful musings and she remembers she must get to work. She carefully tucks away the pain and meticulously hides her bleeding heart, and once the burden of loss is tightly secured on her back, makes her way to work.

    • Darcy

      ‘laughter was her life’s song’- beautiful

  50. Miguel

    He sits on his computer all day his mum says, wondering out his window, what is actually out there? look, whats that and whats that? it looks like a rock falling from the sky in the distance burning with fumes of smoke, the rock is the same size as Africa I heard on the news, it was cooling but they say it could cause collateral damage on a major scale, like one we’ve never seen before, this is the end call it judgement day, the end of days, the second coming. I didn’t care for that one moment I knew what to do with my life…

  51. Sophia May

    “Wake up, you lazy mongrel! Time for school!”

    Those blaring words, coupled with a rigorous jolt made against her shoulder, ends her long sleep nestled with a dream. It seems to her that her mind stiffens as still as a frozen figure before it adjusts to reality. In other words, the brain waves take a long while to recognize what is happening now.

    Slowly, eyes half-closed and struggling with her depleted energy, she reaches out for the alarm clock which is situated on her bedside table. It is now six o’clock in the morning, when she realizes it is fifteen minutes too late to get up. A thought dawns on her: must she go back to sleep or head for school? With a quick burst of energy, she dashes off for a good bath and after ten minutes, emerges from the bathroom all wet, with a wrapped towel on her wet hair and another covering her naked body. Without further hesitation, she dresses into her school uniform and stamps out of her room with her bag in tow.

    While having a breakfast with her family, her thoughts are on her assignments, which are almost complete at that moment. She leaves very little time to ponder on her dreams as doing this would waste precious time. Having finished with all the usual preparations, she skips off outside.

  52. Steve E

    He shows up to job that moved him across country, that he was unsure of. He graduated from school July 2011, and didn’t get a call from a company until January 2014. He wasn’t sure if it was the right decision. He believes the move part was right but the job, the job is boring and doesn’t challenge him like his last. Their is a lot more down time and sitting around. He often jokes with is coworkers he has watched more tv the past year and a half than he has in the previous five combined. He doesn’t know what to do. He went to school to work on planes, but he doesn’t like it. It is not what he expected. Coming on to the age of 30 what does he do? Does he stay in this career path or find another? He doesn’t have any special skills or hobbies to make a career out of. He kind of misses his old way of life. Doing electrical wasn’t so bad always busy at work, did not have to work second shift and sit around until 2-230 am while his supervisor fucks around on the internet, just because.

    His old boss knew how to take care of his men. He would buy a few thirty racks for the guys every week, sometimes twice depending on how thirsty we were that week. Occasionally he would takes us out to dinner. It was a fun environment to work at. Its funny how things work he tries to better himself and make himself happier but all he has done is made him more frustrated. He is a city 850 miles away from his friends and family. He has a smaller social group. He loves the city of Chicago and is glad he made the move. Because it’s a fun city and always something to do. And if he didn’t take this risk, he could look back at his life 10 years from now regretting he never took this risk.

  53. SRT

    On the sofa
    laptop in place
    cats at his feet
    yearning for touch

    Warm summer night air
    invited in through fully opened windows
    cars speed past
    passersby talk in swift whispered tones

    He finds words to add to a new poem
    some fall from his fingertips with ease
    others drop haltingly
    fishing for the right word in this first draft

    like he usually does
    uncertain where he’s going
    fear to share to much, not enough
    thinking, thinking of the point

    of why his writing this poem
    words battle in his mind
    for recognition to be chosen

    to show the feeling he’s trying to capture
    with words on a laptop in place
    cats at his feet yearning for touch

    He stops and strokes them
    they need him now

  54. Evelina

    She’s sitting on a bed with a mac on her laps. Her toes are freezing even though she’s on a tropical island with the ocean in a safe distance hiding in the dark, frogs quietly perfecting their tunes, and the wind coming in and out of a little house without using the door.

    Solitude. Silence. Nature. Time. She has almost everything a writer could be dreaming of.

    Has she written much since she came here about a year ago? A few Facebook posts. Three probably. No. Four.

    In her defense, she’s just recently discovered that ‘morning pages’ or the stream of consciousness that helps get rid of what’s obstructing the writing and is intended to be kept private just like a diary does not count as actual writing. Who knew?!

    Plus she was busy with work. The work she loves. And can conveniently hide behind.

    And often times it just felt pointless. Someone else surely wrote about the things she wanted to write already. Or will write about it very soon. And better than her.

    And doesn’t she need to learn more, understand more, become more, better, enough to write the book she wants?

    She also had to finish reading yet another book about creativity, sincerely wishing it was longer. Or endless. And read more about writing. And how all the above and below should be solved by a simple motion of typing word after word, sentence after sentence, otherwise known as writing.

    This evening all she wanted to do was write. But then she had to find the log-in details (that haven’t been used for two years) to the unfinished online course on how to create a blog that makes a difference. And think about a perfect topic. And a WordPress theme. Just to kill that urge to write. Something. NOW. Nobody would read that blog anyway with the plentitude of brilliant ones out there to choose from.

    Maybe she’s not that passionate about writing after all. She could definitely survive without it. She could keep updating the list of things she wants to write about and share, and keep exploding about not doing that on those private pages that will never be shared.

    She would survive. But would she thrive? Another year might be given for her to find out.

  55. Lyss

    She puts her headphones in as she types away on her laptop. The music drowns out her problems and the writing washes away her pain. A cold cup of coffee sits beside her, but it’s been long forgotten as she absorbs herself in the lyrics that were made to speak to her hurting ears. She imagines the life of her characters and fantasizes about slipping into her precious books and never coming back to reality.

    The messy kitchen that surrounds her is suffocating and she thinks of just walking out of the house and starting a new life somewhere else. Her mind is in a million and three places all at once. Right now, all her mind is filled with is the fantasies of her dreams and the music that calms her soul.

    Her frizzy, curly, brown hair is in a messy bun and her brown eyes sparkle with inspiration. Her mind has doubts about society finding her pretty and talented, but the writer in her has a different personality and she has a confidence in her that only comes through in her writing.

    As she sits in school, her headphones have been banned and the only writing she does is equations and the answers to problems that are not her own. She watches the other people and envies their happiness. Everyday’s a struggle not to snap under the pressure of having straight A’s and expectations that her shoes are too small to fill. Day to day this is the same feeling, the same agony.

    Someone changes her though. When she’s around this person, the pain fades and not a keyboard in sight, her problems are forgotten and the headphones she so often turns to are abandoned as she embraces this person. True happiness can be seen in her eyes, but of course this is just another fantasy that will fade as quickly as the door is shut and she once again is left in the messy kitchen with her writing and headphones.

  56. FB

    She always has a smile on her face. Sometimes it’s real and sometimes it’s not. The truth is that, deep inside, she’s a warrior. Her head is a battelfield. One might think she’s always optimistic, like her life is a musical where a happy tune is playing in the background. But no. She’s constantly at war with her mind, struggling with keeping her innocence intact. She likes to think of the world as an ocean. But she’s not fooled by it’s beauty. She knows very well that the ocean isn’t such a scary place if one’s solely observing it from the shore. She knows she’s not brave enough, not strong enough. She knows she can’t dive in, even in her wildest dreams. So she lays there, on the burning sand, watching the sunset, thinking about love, as if she were in a fairytale. Thinking about reality terrifies her. Thinking that there’s a world out there where only few know happiness makes her want to stay forever in her little happy place where people desperately get out of the ocean looking for someone to make them see the good in the world again. And the fact that she hopes to be that someone, for any stranger who’s struggling with life, makes her who she is. And that’s why she makes it a point to put a smile on her face and laugh, no matter what war she’s in.

    • Darcy

      A very real scenario a lot of us will identify with

  57. FB

    She always has a smile on her face. Sometimes it’s real and sometimes it’s not. The truth is that, deep inside, she’s a warrior. Her mind is a battlefield. One might think she’s always optimistic, like her life is a musical where a happy tune is playing in the background. But no. She’s constantly at war with herself, struggling with keeping her innocence intact. She likes to think of the world as an ocean. But she’s not fooled by its beauty. She knows very well that the ocean isn’t such a scary place if one’s solely observing it from the shore. She knows she’s not brave enough, not strong enough. She knows she can’t dive in, even in her wildest dreams. So she lays there, on the burning sand, watching the sunset, thinking about love, as if she were in a fairytale. Thinking about reality terrifies her. Thinking that there’s a world out there where only few know happiness makes her want to stay forever in her little happy place where people desperately get out of the ocean looking for someone to make them see the good in the world again. And the fact that she hopes to be that someone, for any stranger who’s struggling with life, makes her who she is. And that’s why she makes it a point to put a smile on her face and laugh, no matter what war she’s in.

  58. Cogito Ergo Sum

    He sat staring in to the laptop screen. It’s dull light
    painting his face a subtle shade of cyan. Was it dull though? Maybe it wasn’t.
    Maybe the afternoon sun streaming its heat in through the three wide windows
    behind him, in his bedroom, was just too bright. Everything was relative. None
    of it constant. He realized as his fingers, now slightly oily with sweat, drew
    circles on the touchpad and traced the edges of the black ‘accutype’ keys.
    Sweat was trickling down his forehead too, forming droplets on his thick
    eyebrows, dampening them and blurring his vision. He didn’t wipe them off with
    the handy towel he kept nearby, as was his custom. Let the heat burn this
    sickly feeling inside of me, he thought.

    He couldn’t think of any other way to get rid of the
    feeling. What had he done? He had said his good byes to her. That’s what he had
    done. That’s what he had accomplished with his morning. Ended something that
    had kept him human and alive for a year. He had destroyed something he might
    have on this very day, in the previous year, sworn to keep true forever. Why
    had he done it? The flurry of strong, sharp, pointed reasons that had left his
    quiver of logic and pierced the bond that tied them together, seemed flaccid now.
    Strangely impotent. Was he happy now? He could tell that if only he could feel
    his heart. It had gone silent, and numb.

    The blinking cursor on the white screen gave him no comfort.
    Write! His head screamed at him breaking the silence. Write something! Let it

    What would he write about? Every word seemed to form around
    her, framing themselves around her face and her smile.

    Find something else to write about.


    Look it up. Find a prompt. He finally moves and the fingers
    that were caressing the plastic keys before him, began to press them with vague
    intent taking shape in him. Find a prompt, he thought, wiping the droplets of sweat hanging from his
    brow, and trickling down his face. Let it out…

  59. Elif Aşkın

    She keeps biting her nails. And she doesn’t know why she just cant quit this disgusting habit. Disgusting. Do you really write it like that? She doesn’t remember. Its already 5oclock in the afternoon and she still is in her pjamas, too lazy to even get off the couch and get a glass of water, she is much too comfortable. She feels ok, but
    the rainy day outside makes it hard for her not to think about negative things,
    like her break up and the fact that she hasn’t written for such a long time.
    She even forgot how to use the keyboard properly. Why did she quit? Was it
    because of him? Maybe he wasn’t encouraging enough? Too full of himself as a
    writer? That he made her feel like she isn’t good enough? No. He did a lot of
    things wrong, but not this. It all comes to herself and her lack of self
    confidence. What happened now? What changed? She did. She is herself again, because it all depends on her. How she feels, how she behaves, how she speaks. Its kind of like karma. What goes around comes around. She hates cliches, but its true. If you don’t love yourself, who will love you truely in the end of the day? If you don’t believe in the story you are telling, how can you expect others to fully believe it?

    She is too lazy for everything, or maybe not lazy but too scared. Scared of trying, scared of losing, of disappointment. Maybe thats why she keeps biting her nails, doesn’t even try to quit it, because she knows that she will not be strong enough and
    start it again anyway. But you know what they say, if you don’t try you will
    always wonder why. Another cliche. But thats why right now she is writing, because
    she doesn’t want to be the one to not even try. Who knows, maybe putting her
    fingers on top of the keyboard instead of in her mouth, might even help her to
    overcome that disgusting habit. She still doesn’t remember how you write that
    word, and she is still too lazy to look it up.

  60. Malcolm Hodnett

    He sits in a dimly lit room, typing on a dimly lit laptop. He is lost in himself and lost in the world. He finds himself lost in a maze he doesn’t understand the dimension of. Up is darkness and left is melancholy. But he still types.

    He has always been numb. He has always been detached. He was ok with how it was before. He is a thinker. Once a problem presents itself he decides right then whether to pursue it or to wipe it from his consciousness. But he knows he can’t wipe The Question away.

    The Question is why he has always read. He hopes to find a glimpse of an answer. He doesn’t have any other choice. Someone else must have had The Question before. Therefore, there must be instructions or directions or a fucking path to follow to lead to an answer. But he has come up short. 21 years of searching and he has only just grasped the simplicity of The Question.

    “Who am I?”

    It haunts him. It lies behind every word, underneath every step, and right at the edge of his vision. He sees the world as nothing but a mirror by which he can maybe hold fully catch a true glimpse of the answer. Before high school, books were the mirror. Then it was that hurricane of a woman. Now it is in friends and maybe just maybe he won’t need a mirror for much longer.

    But it is hard work. To drown but to hold off on getting help. To suffer but to refuse to ask the pain to stop. He knows the answer to The Question is in these experiences. He writes for the same reason he once read.

    Hopefully the answer arrives soon. Treading water isn’t easy.

    • L_V_K

      Really well written. I find this so easy to follow a see the growing emotions and battles.

  61. cjl6

    He;s sitting quite content in a sense. Throughout turmoil being anything but rare state of mind. As he sits here computer in lap writing, he feels home again. Trying to chase various paths of life throughout the past couple years, yet always knowing in the back of his head that he will end up home. Writing. Doing what he has always truly loved since he first discovered it in elementary school. Funny thing is; he discovers this in the most humorous way, at his best friends house, regardless of the fact that he is 2000 miles away at school. His best friends name is Andrew, and he goes to school in Colorado. Andrews house was always the 2nd home in his life. Single mom, raising 3 kids Andrew being the oldest. The boy on the bed, yeah over here *waving*[trying to use imagery], he on the other hand is home from school taking part time classes after being a full time student for the past 2 and a half years. You see, he was in a dark place for a while. Lots of things going on in his life, battling unhealthy relationship with long-time girlfriend, various family medical situations, trying to catch up on sleep from being a student-athlete with a rigorous schedule constantly. On top of all that he is being told these will be the best times of my life, yet all he feels is a cloud of depression over his head glooming larger and larger as the day goes on. Throughout all this, he decided it was best to come home for the semester. He has had a lot of time on his hands; a lot of support from his one and only woman he will ever need in his life, his mother. The true best friend. He has come to realize a lot of things about life. Life is what you make it, there’s only so much opportunity out there that you have to be willing to put the work to achieve your true goals. The right people relationship wise will come to him. All he needs is his family of five sisters and one brother with two loving parents behind his back. He can achieve anything he wants. Throughout the past couple days, he had a chance to think very deeply. He decided he’s going to attend college to play lacrosse, while majoring in business with a minor in some sort of english or writing. He feels like this is the right thing for him to do. He is very personable, and feels he can excel in the business world by day and by night take care of his body, be athletic, and destress and by night doing what he loves most, writing. And heck, if he ends up being good at it and maybe pursue a career in that path, then screw it. Life is what you make of it, you have to do what feels right, and what truly at the end of the day put a smile on your face and make you happy.

  62. Sarah Elizabeth Vivino

    Her Bed is made. That’s a change. It isn’t always. For once she made it. She dared to tame unruly blankets that had twisted and tangled themselves throughout the night. Confined to her room, quarantine self imposed, she lay on her neatly made bed. Propping her head up on pillows she angled her laptop to just the right angle for bearable squinting. Her glasses were annoyingly smudged, but un-cleanable on the black Batman t-shirt she wore. She gave them a once over. Better than they were before, good enough, she pushed them onto her face. There. Comfortable.

    She sighs. What is she doing anyway? Music plays over the internet radio. There is so much passing through her mind that the firewall is up to keep the virus from corrupting essential programming. So far high functioning. So far so good. Processing power is diverted to essential tasks, managing the menial necessities. Depression is a daily deviant she fights.

  63. Alia Far

    Around 15 minutes long:

    She sits on a soft and cushioned couch, legs close together, eyes staring at an electronic screen of white and light. A glass of water rests close by. In her mind, words gush forth like a national gyser, and her hands shake with excitement on top of the black keyboard keys. She could already imagine the clickity-clack sounds they make after each of her fingers’ caress.

    She clicks her tongue, and carefully navigates the keyboard, placing each fingure on a well travelled path. Usually, she does so with confidence, joyfully skimming the web and dreaming of a future of transformation and delight.

    Today, she tilts her head and clucks her teeth, straightens her back, and glares. She glares at the notepad from left to right, tilting her head to and fro. Her toes start fidgeting, and she moves her knees up and down, as she searches her house for inspiration.

    She sighs, and blinks. The cursor blinks back. She cradles the mouse carefully in her hands, preparing to place a few words to look at.

    “Come on,” she thinks. “I can do this!”

    She types one word, “She”, then another. And it seems as if she has finally broken through the dam holding her vocabulary hostage. Then she stops, and takes a look at her work.

  64. Darcy

    After what has felt like weeks of travel from one country to another she sits looking out of a huge floor to ceiling window at the undulating tropical ocean. Despite the air con, the room feels warm and the air close. After a fortnight on European shores yearning for the heat on her back the unerringly grey and stormy weather has put a dampener on her mood. Whenever she feels like this, she reminds herself of how many people would give their right arm to be living in a tropical island paradise, but on days like today its hard not to remember the laughter, ease and shared history of familiar faces back home.

    Man’s best friend commands her attention by snuggling his face on the seat in front of her. He misses his Daddy and with only one human in the house today to look after him he’s insistent on commanding her full attention. His eyes wonder to his ball. The intention is clear, “Play with me then?”. A game ensues of ‘throw and fetch’. She’s amused that he hasn’t quite mastered bringing the ball back; he takes it back to his bed each time then pushes it slightly with his foot and draws her eye as if willing her to take action through his glance.

    Her thoughts wonder to the feelings this furry friend stirs inside her: maternal instinct. Is it a desire that will ever be fulfilled? Does she even want to disturb the calm freedom with which they lead their lives? Maybe nature should decide. Is that selfish or human nature she wonders?

    As her mind fogs with the racing of thoughts inside her head, she hears a gentle snoring from the furry mound on the floor. Life is so simple for him she thinks, maybe they should both take a leaf out of their pet’s book and stop thinking too far ahead. “ Enjoy the moment”, she thinks and smiles to herself as she remembers how many times an online article has advised her to do just that.

  65. Jae Ram


    I’m so alone.
    I thought death would bring me peace but instead it is a constant torment. I
    thought finally after all my pain and suffering I could have an endless sleep,
    an infinity of nothingness. But no. I’m stuck, forever here to watch drones get
    married, start families, fall in love… Why am I here? What did I do to endure
    this suffering? I’ve been here for centuries. Watched the decimation of my
    family line, the rape of my sister, murder of my father, things I probably
    would have been able to prevent if I was there.

    It’s so
    lonely here on the other side, I haven’t spoken a word out loud for almost 80
    years. Because what’s the point? The worst thing about it is being able to see
    everyone progress and not being able to interact with them, or maybe the
    inability to have someone touch love and care for you. It’s just nothingness.

    Live your
    life to the fullest as this is what is in store for you, an eternity of torture
    and torment, oh well.

  66. SB

    She is restless. Sitting in front of a computer monitor trying to contain a lifetime in 15 minutes. Trying to squeeze in a few words a life that was lived and a life that wasn’t.
    Her heart can’t contain it, her mind can’t, her room can’t contain it either. How could then a few words do it?

    She is writing about the hope that is renewed as the dawn is re-birthed every day. The faith that hasn’t yet seen it all. About her real self that is yet to be manifested in a whole new way as she is becoming more and more who she was born to be.

    The pictures on the wall remind her of the special moments she has lived. The sleeping man next to her reminds her of all that is yet to be lived.
    The silent hot night is just one of the many that she has lived; yet it is special. She can hear it whisper to her : “you are blessed”.

  67. Clive Webb

    He woke up in the morning, and looked up at the damp patch in the corner of the room. He then wondered who was going to show up on this day, would it be white lightning, or the green eyed monster. White lightning was the mad wild white stallion that he was trying to break in, he is attempting to get a saddle and reins on this wild horse, but white lightning is a feisty beast, and doesn’t like to be controlled. But given time, he hopes that they can learn to respect one another, and white lightning won’t give him to much of a bumpy ride.

    He knows that there will be times when he will loose control of the wild horse, and loose grip of the reins, and fall off. But he hopes that with help from his family, he can stand back up, and dust himself off, with only a few minor cuts and bruises. He hasn’t named the green eyed monster, as he doesn’t want to be familiar with him. This beast turns up unannounced, and at anytime, night or day. He was doing so well riding white lightning, and he was approaching the finish line, when the monster showed up, and ripped the reins from his hands. This is how he describes what it’s like living with bipolar disorder.

  68. Hailey

    This mental state of hers is deteriorating, falling apart as she types. Another pretty face taken for granted, and lost in a wonderland of words. Only sure about one thing, she is alone. Alone because she pushes them away, the human race. She picks up a book and is lost again. She reads to escape this world, and writes to turn it into something else. Looking close, while she grips this pencil in her hand, a familiar feeling, it shakes. If you trace her fingers to her arm you see the cuts that bury deep into her wrist and forearm. Three months have passed and they have only faded a little. If only you could see into her body, you would notice the crack in her rip cage, and the collapsed lung that threatened to take her life two years ago. But the only visible scars from that night lie among her face, busted cheeks and scarred temple. Bruises long gone. Her shoulders start to cave with the weight of her mothers relapse, her dads disappearance and reappearance, death following her in every step along the way. She made her peace with him, why can’t he make his peace with her. People threaten to take her life and he said no. She tried to take her own and he said no. Begging to put her out of her misery. Wondering if she is here for a reason. Only time will tell.

  69. L_V_K

    Every form of creating is an escape, from what she still doesn’t know. She’ happy, mostly, even though she knows she shouldn’t be. There is a weird sadness and yet poetic justice about her situation. Moved from one entrapment to another, never sure which is worse. Yet here she is, still smiling and laughing because that’s all that she can do. To say she find’s this world disturbing is pushing it a bit far. There is a lot in this world she finds beautiful and there is so much to be happy about. Overly emotional and a weirdo in her own right, that’s what she is growing to accept. People come and go in her life, she watches her own life progress as if she is an on looker for things her body says and does without her permission. There have been so many late nights where she sits up cringing over thing’s she’s said and done anywhere from 2 minutes ago to 18 years ago. That in itself making her cringe. There are those around her, her friends and peers that she sees changing, being so different from who they used to be. So many of them posting their lives on social media, filling up folder after folder of selfie and fun yet hers lay bare, the latest upload 3 months ago of raspberries on her fingers because they looked like people. The childish curiosity and amusement still there. She sees all the statuses, while she sits on the sidelines of everyone else’s life, as pathetic as that is, and watches as they post how dweeb-y they USED to be and here she is, unable to say those words because the truth be told, she still is. Her weird, erratic behavior covering the scars and loathing. A volatile concoction of bitterness, love and naivety. The happy mess she’s made her life.

  70. Eric

    The same wind that scattered the leaves outside accompanied by the sounds of a
    passing train fills the room accented by the crisp fall air. The vibrant aroma
    of a fresh cup of coffee seemed to have extricated itself from the thick, cream
    coating over the surface, penetrating deep into his nose, watering his mouth.
    He craved the subtle undertone of caramel, and his cup showed a festive color.
    He wraps his fingers around it, enjoying the heat spreading through his hands.
    But without a conscious thought, it is in his hand, and the first milky sip
    creeps over his taste buds and down his throat. After only a few minutes he is
    bathed in the kick of the caffeine.

    With cookies and candy nearby, he begins typing on his computer. At first his
    thoughts flow free and smooth like a quiet stream. But after twenty minutes or
    so his creative thought process hits a road block. He turns to his outline he
    made only minutes before hoping for more creative words. Checking the online
    timer he still has about ten minutes before the planned time runs out.

    He has a to do list perched on his desk to serve as a reminder to stay on task. He
    loads some of his favorite mood music on his computer into his headset. The
    creative center of his brain stimulated by the music provides him with the
    visual and emotional thoughts he now types onto the page. Words begin to flow
    more freely and faster. Soon paragraphs, even chapters are written. Lost in his
    own world he can feel, taste, and experience every nuance his characters are

    As he types, the deep emotional thoughts translate onto the page bringing his
    characters to life. The timer runs out indicating a red flashing message on his
    screen. He stops typing. While taking a break, he reads the words his mind had
    provided him.

    His eyes tear up as he reads what he created realizing the beauty of the words.
    Reading them aloud almost brings them to life.

    If only he could enter that world.

  71. Elizabeth

    She was the type of girl who was loud and outgoing. Her curly smokey brown hair and dark chocolate brown eyes that everyone though was always happy. when someone would look at her she would always be smiling , as if she had no worries in the world. At least thats what people thought. She was the happiest yet the saddest person. She never knew what she felt. she once mentioned she was seeing a psychologist to help with whatever she had,that didn’t help, it just confused her more than she already was. She was alice in wonderland but in her own world. she didn’t know whether she was mad sad or happy so she just smiled the pain away. No one ever seemed to ask how she felt because they didn’t care, but when it came to them she was the one who was always there. she was an excellent student, she played sports, and was loved by her family, yet she hated herself. Why? who knows. all she knows is that she doesn’t lover herself. she wishes that she could be the perfect picture of a teenage girl that society looks for. Those curves,flat stomach, colored eyes, etc. she had extremely nice features yet she wasn’t satisfied, she didn’t like what she saw when she would look into the mirror. all she saw was a hideous girl starring back at her. she’d would wake up knowing that she would be the same girl in the mirror. she worked out everyday and ate so little to meet societies expectations, but no matter what it wasn’t good enough for her or society. Her only escape was writing and music, she couldn’t describe her feelings or thoughts, she was emotionally and mentally muted. she would talk about anything and everything except herself. she doesn’t feel loved , she feels as if shell never be good enough for anyone or that no one will ever see her for who she truly is. On the outside she’s beautiful, smart, funny, outgoing etc. yet on the inside there is the ugly part of her that consumes her more and more everyday, she was sinking into a dark hole that no one knew about. she would take pills that would make her feel good, she would smoke pot and eat edibles, it didn’t complete her. she’s missing something that completes her but what could it be? Love? Attention? she doesn’t even know the answer to that, all she wants is to be left alone but at the same time she wants to be happy, she doesn’t want to portray to be something she’s not. She’s tired of it! She wants to be set free and be that little girl that everyone knew she was, she doesn’t want to be this rotten 16 year old girl. Her mother always tried to figure her out but she never got anywhere because she would never try to talk to anyone. Instead of talking to someone she goes to sleep or goes to work out. Her body says one thing yet her mind and soul say another. She is searching for ways to communicate through her actions yet no one understands her complexity, but thats what makes her who she is. Her complexity of emotions and mentality make her beautiful.

  72. KithyLouise

    She sits on her couch. Goes for the remote to watch news. News is not her kind of thing but today she needs to watch. She feels the urge to see what’s happening to the world. How can she be so interested today in news? She asks herself. Deep down, she is scared. Not sure of what to do with her life. She has just finished campus and does not know what life ahead has in store for her. All she is sure of is that she wants the best life. She doesn’t want to look back and regret one day. As she sits there, she sees this cockroach just fumbling around her living room. It hits her that she has dirty utensils. Utensils from the previous day. Nothing nags her than doing the utensils but does she have an option? She let’s go the thought and picks her phone to call her little brother to see how he is doing. As she goes through her contacts, her phone vibrates..she looks, it is her boyfriend calling to ask her to meet up tomorrow they need to talk. What is it that he wants to talk about? What had she done? This freaked her out. The nervous feeling inside her does not allow her to watch the television in peace. She walks to her bedroom, lies down and lets the night slip away..

  73. Hara Tsoukaneri

    She always remembered herself listening to music. By now she pinned it down to the fact that she dreaded being alone. It wasn’t fear of the dark or any other shady thing that might be luring in dark corners, she had her own personal demons to keep her entertained. Those vengeful entities with such free will but no sense of boundaries that kept reaching out to gradually more sacred and untouched parts of herself. No music in the world could stop them today. The turntable was whistling jazz tunes and coffee was bubbling on the stove-top. She looked outside the window and the sharp stillness felt like failure. She felt the failures she’d experienced and all the failures yet to come weighing down on her. All those opportunities she’d missed and all of those she’d never gotten. Why? What was she afraid of? For one, she was afraid of answering that question.

  74. Jacob DeMille

    He sits in his newly-furnished living room. Alone, as always. Of course, this is a burden that he has always bestowed upon himself. He could not be lonely, people like him enough. But nevertheless he is alone. Perhaps subconsciously, for his consciousness constantly dreads it, this is the way that he wants it to be.
    He silently types out his “creative” piece, only listening to the conversation within his mind and the only-occasional clicking of keys. You see, he wants to be a writer; ever since he was a small child he has dreamed of touching people’s hearts in the way that his heart has never been touched. A weird sentence? Yes, but truthful nonetheless.
    He has always had a sort of appreciation for the art of creative writing and reading, an appreciation that grew into a desire, not a desire to entertain but more of a desire to awe people, to make them think. Unfortunately, his laziness is the only thing that has ever stopped him from achieving his own potential.
    He certainly will never be the person who bows down to society and proceeds to lick it’s sweaty, fungus-ridden puss-covered toes but the least he can do, he thinks to himself, is work so that he eventually will not have to.
    There has always been this game he has played in his head. One where he writes something that is truly phenomenal, a piece that nobody in their right minds would ever dare to pass up, and then he shows it to a teacher or professor, somebody with power. Of course, they would be so impressed by it that they rush out of their office or classroom, wherever they are reading it at the time, and drive straight to their friend Steve-The-Editor’s house and he is so impressed by it that he immediately bestows a book deal upon the boy and he makes it big.
    Within two years time, he is talking movie-deals, daily interviews, widespread acclaim and above all else, a more than ideal living situation.
    But instead, the boy just sits alone in his newly-furnished living room, thinking of his glory-days and all they are meant to be.

  75. logan

    An Exorcism

    He listened to the audio tape, wandering idly in this crypt, that extended under the Parisian bedrock-the ossuary giving the city a foundation of bones. “This historic place was originally a quarry, a place where stone was dug…” He ignored it, too focused on exploring. He was not usually like this, but there was a difference lurking in his actions, something strong, something elemental, something overpowering. Fear-He was scared, not of the grinning skulls that littered this labyrinth, nor of the musky scent of the already decomposed skulls and bones, not even of the long narrow corridors, and leaking pipes.

    He feared what the skulls implied; they were identical, forgotten, alone, and He prayed for them. For everything has a past, an origin, and with any beginning comes an end. With that realization He prayed. This time for himself. For his beginning was known, but his end, that was uncertain. Would He end forgotten, alone, indistinguishable, an enigma, from the rest, in the eternal conformity of death?

    With these thoughts relentlessly agonizing him, He slowed, his extensional crisis not yet resolved, instead looming over him, in an insidious invasion. He felt meaningless, after all, without humanity the sun would still shine, space would still expand, and the mantle would still convect. What was the worth? Why were they here? What was life if not an exercise in futility? These Toxic thoughts pained his soul, and He could find no answer-no reason for his self-importance in the face of these fears and questions. It seems fitting that in a place of death, these questions haunted him.

    He felt alone, until He looked at his family, and thought of his friends, and in a flash of realization, his blindness to the beauty of humanity lifted, and He remembered. He remembered the beauty of our endurance, dauntless in the face of a hostile world, a species that rose from the bottom of the food chain to the ones that create it. A race that when faced with nature’s wrath, they rebuild, and repopulate in the exact same places. Using the god-given tool of innovation, to create a society that links the world together. Rising above all that burdened them until they were smart and resilient enough to ask these questions.

    With that, He realized that the answer to his crisis was in the company of his fellow man. He wouldn’t die as a nobody, because the people He loved would remember him. His life had barely begun, He had an opportunity-no a gift-to make an impact, and to change the world. With that his demons had been exorcised, that in an odd juxtaposition, his restoration of hope, occurred in a place of sadness, mouring, and death. But He supposed, that is the nature of humanity, finding inspiration in the oddest places.

  76. Ssarthak Suri

    He was lying in his bed, listening to the voice of newspaper flickering through the wind of ceiling fan. He was tired and having a sever headache. But was determined to learn how to write since he is very close to giving an entrance for a college. When I talk about his frame of mind, he is very scared, someone who has a confidence with a sense of doubt – “Will I be able to achieve this?”. He thinks and longs for sleeping, but there is a burning sensation, a desire, a goal that keeps him awake during the nights, gives him a typical of 4 hours of sleep every night.
    After all, what keeps him alive is the what kills him the most – desire to achieve success.

  77. Zach King

    He didn’t know what to do. He didn’t know where else to go, who to tell or who even to trust. So he panicked. Without a second to think, he quickly grabbed the phone out of Uncle Jack’s coat pocket and dialed 9-1-1. The phone hardly rang before a operator answered. ” 9-1-1 what’s your emergency?”
    “Yes! can you please send medical help to 123 Main Street, my uncle has been shot and he’s not responding! There’s blood, a shit load of blood, everywhere.” he cried. After, he ended the call, quickly wiped the phone clean of any fingerprints and placed the phone in a wooden drawer near the closet.

  78. Georgia

    She sits alone at a desk, a dual-monitor computer flickering lazily in front of her as she scrolls through websites online. Her eyes are tired, for such a young soul. She has had enough. The dark circles under her eyes made her seem like an infant panda, or possibly a raccoon, and no matter how much makeup she used she could never quite rid herself of them.

    Often, she finds herself wandering aimlessly in her own mind; the mind itself seemingly a vast expanse of intrigue and wonder. Thoughts can linger for hours, or disappear as quickly as they come into being. After a while, she often forgets herself in her thoughts and lets time pass her by.

    The stress of exams lingers over her, a hovering overlord dooming her to fail. She, however, ignores it. With a wave of her pen, she writes facts and figures to remember for the next day. A flicker of her weary eyes across a page gives her a sense of reassurement as she realises she knows more than she once thought.

    The clock ticks seven. Her revision session is over. She is content and prepared, even if she looks physically exhausted.

  79. Jess

    She wakes up every morning at six o’clock sharp. Not a little bit more nor less. She likes doing that,even if its not a school morning or a day necessary for her to wake up so early. She thinks by doing that, she can catch up with time and run alongside it, not behind. She’ll sleep very late at night and wake up with the sun, a constant routine she’s careful not to break. Afraid that if she did, one precious hour will passed without her enjoying her favorite youtube channels, usually talking about different psychology topics or the meaning of her birth chart explained by amateur astrologers. She likes the silence that comes with the early morning, when everyone in her family is still asleep. For a moment, she knows that she’s safe, with only the sun and sounds of someone speaking through her iphone screen or sometimes, just her own thoughts ringing in her ears like small bells reminding her that she’s alive and all the reasons why she should be glad of that. Breathing in and out, opening and closing
    her eyes, a small smile tugged at her lips, and birds singing, vaguely signaling that a new day is approaching.

  80. vinod koul

    He is sitting in the separate room as a study room .He looks joyful remembering his family, his child and of course his parents too. Even he tries to ignore the some cuts he received in his fresh battle with his spouse. As he is somehow determine to overcome by this. Now again the question which makes him vociferous is what to do..
    It is very long time ago now as he remembers his old work job. Because there is nothing credibility left in that concern or by that job. As it is morning time,he has to do some rituals but completing some more sentences. Of course he is now determined man. who has seen all gritty petty of life. He tries to answer his questions then why he is sitting ideal.

  81. vinod koul


  82. vinod koul

    He is sitting in the separate room as a study room .He looks joyful remembering his family, his child and of course his parents too. Even he tries to ignore the some cuts he received in his fresh battle with his spouse. As he is somehow determine to overcome by this. Now again the question which makes him vociferous is what to do..
    It is very long time ago now as he remembers his old work job. Because there is nothing credibility left in that concern or by that job. As it is morning time,he has to do some rituals but completing some more sentences. Of course he is now determined man. who has seen all gritty petty of life. He tries to answer his questions then why he is sitting ideal.

  83. bri

    She sits back in the same seat she always sits in at 1:10pm. She scans the room around her. “What am I doing here?” she questions herself. “I belong somewhere bigger, better, faster.. most importantly more creative.” She begins to think of everything she’s ever been through and then moves onto thinking about everything she deserves. This girl had been through hell and back and never really seems to get a break. In her 7th grade year she was told that she needed to move to a house almost 20 miles away from her whole life, not extremely far.. But it was a lot for a 12 year old. There was something revealed about her parents. They were addicts. They were addicted to the effects that heroin gave them. The way it made them feel, but they realized they needed help and there was only one place their child could go and still have some sort of way to go back and forth to her school that she couldn’t just drop. Her heart dropped to her stomach every time she ever started to think about the place she was sent. She felt sick of everything she’d been through because she fears every day she’ll have to go back. The girl was sent to her aunt’s house. Sounds all great and family oriented until you realize the way she was treated and what she had to go through. When she first stepped foot into the home that she would live in for the next 6 months, she felt ery. She cried herself to sleep for a majority of the nights spent in the basement of their home. She contemplating ending her life more than once but she continued to hold on, “For mom,” she would remind herself, “Stay Strong for mom”
    She paced around the basement trying to figure out how to get out of her hell on earth. She was treated as a red headed step child… some would even call it a life like cinderella. She was told to make a meal once a day for the people she was staying with. She had family counselors that would come to the house and speak with her, they would find any way to possibly help her. She was in the deepest depression… nothing seemed to pull her out from the dark depths she had entered. Now the day she was taken out of the home was the most traumatic experience she had encountered. “TWO WORDS. THANK. YOU.” These words rang through her head to this day. Her aunt screamed these words at her whilst in a family counseling session. She now struggles keeping herself together everytime someone raises their voice even in the slightest bit directed towards her. Her body trembles occasionally throughout the course of her life due to these events. She doesn’t remember breathing this day. She just remembers crying and balling herself up for self protection. She was rushed into the basement to collect what she could grab. “You are the most ungrateful, disrespectful, selfish kid I’ve ever met!” The young girl still thinks about herself like this. She takes one look in the mirror. Disrespectful. Selfish. Not good enough.. This is what she sees. New things have been added to the ways she sees herself because her self esteem was destroyed. Ugly. Untalented. Rude. Broken. That word… Broken. There was no way to unsee this word written across her forehead. She never thought she would be able to be loved again.
    After she left her aunt’s house she moved from one house to the other of her family. She was moved to another aunt’s house, this time her mom was with her. Her mom had to leave the recovery house she was staying in because the broken hearted girl wasn’t able to keep herself together anymore after the horrifying memories that blocked her state of mind. After a few months they were asked to leave there as well, due to having a relationship with her father. He was also a recovering addict and wasn’t the best with keeping his old ways under keeps. He had stolen about 200 dollars in change from the woman who allowed his girlfriend and daughter to stay. They moved forward from this and the young girls grandmother allowed them to enter her home. At this time in her life she was about 13 now. Her mother was diagnosed with an unknown disease that caused her brain to swell. Her mom fell back into a deep depression and the only way she knew how to cope with this was to begin using again. She was constantly in and out of the hospital and her young daughter struggled with the idea that she had no clue what could happen to her mom.
    Eventually she was released and all was well, except that fact that they were sooner than later kicked out of this home they were staying in as well. Her heart broke. She wasn’t good enough, her mind flew to the conclusion that her family didn’t love her. Hate grew in her heart. She began to come off as hard and unloving. Her heart looked black. She didn’t feel anything anymore. She definitely believed no one would love her anymore. Here comes the part where we fast forward 2 years. She falls in love with a boy she never thought she would even have noticed. She fell in love with not only this boy but his family, his heart, his looks, and his interests. He put on the cover of loving her more than anything. She opened her heart to the boy, she gave him everything. Near the end of the relationship she gave him her body, her heart, her soul and her mind. He was the first boy she’s ever gave these things to. She valued herself more than expected and took these things very seriously. But not long after she did this he decided it was time for things to come to an end. She never saw this coming… she had planned so far in advance for them. She started planning for next year, next summer, their one year. She truly believed that he was the one to help her through everything. He lightened up her life in ways that hadn’t been lit up in years.
    She found herself in a dark space again. She didn’t really understand why it hurt her so bad to have her heart broke over and over again. Her mind told her this would become a normal thing. The broken girl never really stops being broken right?

  84. Hanna

    At the moment, she was worried. It felt like everything was all too much and not enough at the same time, and it was overwhelming in a way that was seemingly impossible to explain. She was sitting in a chair with ugly red flowers sewed onto a grey fabric, and she was contemplating her life. It felt like so much had already happened, but there was still more to come. It was an exciting thought, but it was also what was frighting her. She had everything planned. A college acceptance letter was tacked onto her wall above her bed; her future was ready to begin. She would attend an unreasonably expensive school, live in mediocre dorms with a room mate she feared she would hate, but she would survive. The college wasn’t far from home, so any time she felt her sanity slip she knew her mother was only a twenty minute drive away. Her mother could always help her clear her mind, and she knew within the next couple of years, she was bound to need plenty of clearing. College wouldn’t be easy. She would be working on her writing, investing herself into the one thing she truly loved, even though she knew it was a bad idea. That this tacit rarely worked, and it rarely worked for people like her. People with so much doubt in themselves that the feel that maybe everything would just be easier if they gave up and did something smarter. Maybe she could do something easier with her life. Major in math, like she always thought she would, maybe become the veterinarian she had dreamed herself to be for so many years before she got it in her head that she wanted to be a writer. Still, as she considers quitting on her dream and doing something that would be more successful in the future, she can’t ignore that fact that she wouldn’t be happy in any other life. She’s passionate about writing, more passionate about creating her own words than reading others, and this is saying something because she can often be found hiding somewhere with a book in her hands, ignoring f all of the responsibilities of high school and life. She wishes that it would be easy to get where she wants to go, but she knows it won’t be, and all she can do is hope that she can keep her doubt at bay for long enough to do something amazing, because she knows she can.
    But she doesn’t know if shes strong enough for that. Strong enough to ignore the world and all the judgmental people in it who are trying to hold her back. Doesn’t know if she can ignore herself for that long.
    This is what scares her. Herself. So she sits in her ugly chair and prays that she doesn’t get in her own way of changing the world with her own words.

  85. HopeLincoln4

    Behind a desk loaded with papers, she sits in an office chair looking anywhere but at those files waited to be sorted through. She wonders, ‘How much paper would it take to completely barricade me into this office I despise? Could I stop my boss from popping in periodically if I flooded this room with papers, making it impossible to open the door without risking a paper cut frenzy?’ She wouldn’t mind the paper cuts if it meant more autonomy and less need for these useless details depicted on every form. She sips her coffee, which the receptionist brewed too strong (again) and will surely cause a queasy stomach as she taps fingers and feet, hoping to make 5 o’clock come more quickly. Coffee is no time machine though – merely a morning ritual which always seems like a comfort until she’s at the bottom of the cup, realizing it actually brought her almost no comfort at all. ‘Oh well’. she thinks. ‘Maybe tomorrow’s cup will help the time pass faster.’ And yet time passes at the same rate it always has, ticking away her life, file by file, cup by cup.

  86. Annalia Puser

    Eleven Years Ago
    They make it seem like a past can just be forgotten. They don’t truly realize what it really was like. Smoke. Silence. Constant pain and fear. Hungers of a child compel her out of the safety of the closet.
    Creeping past the slumbering Bringer of Agony and Rare Love, she trips over imagined escapes. Scouring the kitchen, she looked for something – or anything to eat. But a roar of the mother’s wrath interrupted her anxious search. A fist met her stormy blue eye. Cries of confusion and agony echo in the sparse and bare apartment. She falls face first into the cruddy, grey shag carpet, fresh cigarette butts singing her cheekbones. She whimpers like a kicked puppy, trying her hardest to not let The Woman see her tears carving canyons down her pale freckled face. She knows this to be her life, and that it will never change.
    At the tender age of five, she already knew that her mother couldn’t and wouldn’t love her, and each day will follow like the one before it. Abuse would’ve been her eternity. But she also did not know of hope. She didn’t realize that the unexpected can occur in the deepest, darkest of midnights.
    When the silver moon was just a glowing crust, the storm in her eyes brewed. A thought rose like the tide, and an idea crashed down in waves. Before her mind could rationalize the idiocy, she crawled out of the sleeping bag in the closet. The Woman had left the child alone that night, again. Grabbing her coat, shoes, and a cereal bar, she climbed out onto the steel ladder going down the five story apartment complex. Her footfalls made little to no noise as she clambered clumsily. A tomcat yowled and hid when she stepped out onto the pavement. She looked both ways. The stars winked mischievously as she disappeared down the unknown alleyway, escaping from the frying pan and into the great and terrible fire itself.

    She sat in her creative writing class. Creative non – fiction, huh? Sounded interesting. She recalled the stolen file hidden under her mattress. She knew she was adopted. Her parents knew that at seven years old, she was bound to remember something and thus didn’t keep it a secret. But they also never gave her any details. They say they really never knew the background of the little blonde child they opened up their arms for. It wasn’t until she was older that she recalled memories of eating rotten apples and discarded, half eaten sandwiches in the darkness. She remembered grey shag carpets, and a ripped sleeping bag in a tiny closet. Images that she couldn’t have imagined on her own began sprouting up from nowhere. She didn’t dare tell her parents. They always assumed her overactive imagination tended to skew her version of reality. They thought they knew better than to trust her words. So just the other day, when her parents were gone, she poked around in her dad’s office looking for the keys to the intimidating file cabinet prowling in the corner. She didn’t believe that her parents were as ignorant as they portrayed themselves to be. Besides, when you go through a huge financial and legal change like adopting a child, don’t you usually keep records of everything? They had to be in that filing cabinet. She had shuffled around through the desk drawers and the bookshelf beside her computer. She saw a ring of little keys beside a small wicker basket filled with other random brick-a-brack. Excitedly, she tried the first key. It didn’t even insert. She heard her mom open the garage door. The second slid in easily, but refused to turn. The dogs were sitting at the laundry room door expectantly. Her heart racing, she almost dropped the keys before using the last one. Slippery like butter, it turned. The drawer popped open. Her eyes glanced at all the different files, and saw the one titled Annalia. The file was heavy, and she thrust it into her shirt. The papers felt cold and sharp against her sweaty back as her mother walked into the house, laden with groceries. “What are you doing in dad’s office?” Her mom was definitely suspicious. “I was getting printer paper for a drawing. It looks nicer than the lined notebook stuff.” She nodded. “Ok. Help unload the car please, then get started on your homework. And remember, it’s trash to the curb night, and you have to be at choir practice at 6:30…”
    After school that day, she plopped herself on to her bed and pulled the thick file out from under her mattress. She didn’t know what she expected to find, but this – this was something else entirely. It was a record, from the day she was introduced to the family on their doorstep in the August air, to just few days ago while she was working out at the Dojo. She read her mother’s handwriting, of every single conceivable mistake and error she made, and was picked apart and analyzed. There were even notes from some parental class she was taking, something about child development and discipline. She read every single day entry. Then behind the notebook there were medical reports dating 2001 – 08. It was a little hard reading the messy handwriting of a doctor, especially with the older technology of photocopying fading the paper. The day that she put into state custody, apparently there was a very thorough physical examination. She had purple and black bruises all along her arms and legs and stomach and back, and even rings around her neck from a chokehold. The were long red streaks, presumed by the writer as proof of a constant whipping from a belt. There was also damage to her lungs from secondhand smoking. She had three deep puncture wounds on the bottom of her left foot that were infected. She vaguely remembered crying on brick steps, holding a bloody foot and smoke curling around her tear stricken face.
    She was horrified. She always dreamed of finding her parents, and meeting them again. She imagined herself to be like Annie, where her parents would come back for her someday. She knew that she couldn’t just go back to live with them again, but she liked the idea of both sets of parents all sitting down at the dinner table, laughing and eating delicious food together. She could see her adoptive dad taking out the monopoly game board, and both of them having conversations about boyfriends, and moms sharing their own mother’s chocolate chip cookie recipes. Her fantasy was destroyed. That could never be. Her own mother was only thirteen years older, young enough to be an older sister. Her father went unmentioned throughout the file, as if he only existed to bring her into the world, then ceased to exist. There were also gaps. 2006 and 2007 weren’t recorded. She knew she was going to have to learn more. This file – this wasn’t enough. Her hunger for the truth to be dragged out only increased when she snuck the file back to the cabinet after making more copies of every single page. She stored her copies between the layers of spare sheets on the top shelf in her closet. They couldn’t know. Not yet. She needed to know more. This couldn’t be the end.



  1. 10 Best Creative Writing Prompts - […] See the writing prompt: Write About Yourself […]
  2. 100 Writing Practice Lessons & Exercises - […] Write About Yourself [writing prompt] […]
  3. In Which I Pretend To Be Someone Writing About Me | Medium Rare Robot!Medium Rare Robot! - […] love to write more but the prompt I based this post on called for fifteen minutes and I’m about […]

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Say Yes to Practice

Join over 450,000 readers who are saying YES to practice. You’ll also get a free copy of our eBook 14 Prompts:

Popular Resources

Books By Our Writers

Share to...