I’m still at it, slogging away at a freelance writing project. I’m about two-thirds of the way through but today my brain snatched up a grenade and threatened to blow us all to hell. You can’t do that, I told my brain. We have to finish. We’ve never missed a deadline — until now. But my brain was like Trumbo’s wounded soldier. It couldn’t communicate except by banging my poor skull against the wall.
Despite my brain’s act of rebellion today, I’m not complaining. There are worse things you can do in life than write for money from the comfort of your own home. And mostly I enjoy the work. But it is just that: work. And today I couldn’t seem to make any progress no matter how bleary-eyed I got reading over the materials.
I was avoiding Facebook but it lured me like the false-hearted siren that it is, and I clicked on it out of habit, out of boredom, out of desperation, anything to distract my brain from the live grenade. And lo and behold, the lead “status” on my feed was from Frances Lefkowitz with a list of words that she used to create a short-short story. I am not sure if these were words Frances came up with or if they came from a friend of hers. I only know that Frances hones her writing skills and garners fame if not fortune, whipping up micro-fictions based on these word lists.
I usually look at the word list when she posts it and think that looks too hard. Not tonight. Tonight I glommed onto that list. I can do this, I thought, and bam in about five minutes I had a short-short story that delighted me. It made me laugh. It was fun, so much fun, and my brain set down the grenade and started dancing in joy. And then I remembered why I am here, why I do this — for the sheer unadulterated joy of it.
To paraphrase Bukowski, if it’s not fun, don’t do it. I’m not talking about the writing you do to pay your bills, I’m talking about the writing that feeds your hungry soul, the writing that shouts out the secrets of your heart, the writing that feels like a lover’s mouth against your bare shoulder.
This is just one more way that transformative writing transforms: it makes you happy. What more could you want?
Some games for you to play:
- Here are some words to play with: time, milky, uncle, hey, fancy, coping, necktie, bent, bookcase, cat’s paw, sweat, choir, lake, white, childish, magnetic, forgotten, breath. Can you come up with a short-short story (say 300 words or less) around these words?
- Write a nonsense poem. Out Jaberwock the Jaberwocky.
- Write a funny sex scene! Let there be wardrobe malfunctions or . . . well, I’m going to leave it to your imagination.