"Whatever you are, be a good one."
"I remained too much inside my head, and ended up losing my mind." -Edgar Allan Poe
"Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."-Albert Einstein
Below are a few of the important insights I have discovered regarding my own writing process:
Return: After you have finished what you have written, look back at it and see what you can change. You can collaborate with others or look at it on your own (though I've found fresh eyes have helped).
Revise: Then revise again. It may seem like you're editing a lot, but that's not always a bad thing. Looking at the work at a later date, you might find things that you have missed during your first editing.
Risk: Be open-minded about whatever topic or story you decide to write about and new methods of doing so. You may find out that you actually enjoy it.
"All is a riddle, and the key to a riddle...is another riddle." -Ralph Waldo Emerson
“When you’re mad, mad like this,…”
The house looked normal on the outside, like any other house in the neighborhood. The tan paint that was on the house looked fresh, though it had been there for years. There was a small garden at the back of the house where the grass was a healthy green, and all the flowers looked lively. The windows were washed, framed with lace curtains, and soft homey sounds floated from inside.
“…you don’t know it.”
The small family that lived there was a rich one. They looked fine from the outside, though madness laid within the walls. The mother was beautiful, dark brown hair and dark brown eyes to match. The father looked good himself. He was clean and shaven with his dark brown hair in a tattered mess that did not look bad on him, with hazel eyes.
“Reality is what you see.”
The parents were perfect. They were still married and then soon started a family, having two beautiful daughters only a few years apart. The oldest had dark brown hair, like the earth, and hazel eyes, causing her to look like a younger version of her mother. The youngest was as mysterious as the night—her hair as black as the night with no starts or lights with aqua blue eyes that shone like the moon.
“…When what you see shifts…”
As they became older, little pranks the youngest used to do to her sister turned to little talks and secret sharing. They would talk for hours, after the older sister’s studying, about beauty and fashion. When they could, they would go shopping together and try out all latest trendy outfits, buy in matching accessories and make one another look their best. As time passed by, they also grow and those little things turned to serious talks regarding life and its turns.
“…departing from anyone else’s reality…”
A small girl was standing in the doorway with the yellow light of a lamp illuminating her father’s face. “Is something wrong?”
“I can’t sleep.”
He got up from the paperwork he was working through and she couldn't help but notice he seemed to get more tired with each passing day. He gently placed his hand upon her shoulder and escorted her into her own room in silence.
“It was the same nightmare.” She stated timidly. “The one where I’m falling, and I was in a strange place. At first it was happy, though. People were celebrating, but I saw a strange light and everyone scatters. Only screams could be heard erupting from the blackened trees.”
Her father smiled down at her and placed her onto her bed. “Well, why don’t you try to remember about six impossible things a day? I remember about eight before breakfast. That’ll help you forget the dream and make you feel better.” Slowly, he started to tuck the girl in and gave her a kiss on the forehead. That was the last she saw of her father. The last memory of him.
“…it’s still reality to you.”
"In life, unlike chess, the game continues after checkmate." - Isaac Asimov
Many others, like her, walked around their ‘home’ as they talked about many random things such as women, work, friends, and rarely, family. For people like her, family wasn't much of an option without the threat of death. Though, just because it was uncommon doesn't mean that others don’t have them, besides for the ‘family’ that they are a part of being here.
Noticing her surroundings, she stood in front of a pair of massive doors and just waited. It didn't take long for them to open on their own. As if on cue, she walked into the large room where a flat screen monitor mounted the wall. Not feeling internally alone, she walked to the middle of the room and faced the screen.
"Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime." -Ernest Hemingway
The blacksmith, her supposed father inspected, making sure that he’d tied it properly before roughly jerking her to her feet by it, snickering when she cried out in pain at the pinch that followed.
“Is it tight enough?” The seller asked, giving the collar a tug himself, though his was nowhere near as harsh as the man’s was. She curled a lip at him, her dark brown eyes furious. In return, the other man slammed a curled fist into her cheek for her rudeness, sending her reeling back. She whimpered, cradling her cheek.
"People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something one finds; it is something one creates." -Thomas Szasz
A small girl sighed lightly to herself and continued to walk down a dark street. Her work was far from finished and she knew it would take all night if she didn’t find who she was looking for. Irritated, she let another sigh fall from her lips and turned a corner. Glancing around, she blinked. Something about this road seemed off. She had no idea what it was, but she knew something had to be wrong. She hoped the bad feeling she was getting was just paranoia, anyone in her line of work would have it.
Quietly, she looked back to the other street. Nothing seemed odd, at least at first glance it seemed fine. All the windows of the apartments next to the alleyway she was in were black, indicating that the residents were sleeping peacefully in their beds.
She checked the street once more, looking for the smallest details that could tell her of some problem. Despite the fact nothing seemed wrong, she couldn’t decide which road to take. “Pull yourself together, Alice!” Her voice, while only a whisper, seemed to float in the air around her, making stealth impossible. It wasn’t her fault she could be paranoid, sometimes things aren’t always what they seem to be.
"The herds seek out the great, not for their seed, but for their influence and the great welcome them out of vanity or need." -Napoleon Bonaparte
She walked in; acting like nothing happened and looked around. She smiles. "Ichiru, you need to stop overdoing yourself. One of these days you're going to collapse." She giggled slightly and looks at the food. "This looks amazing!"
"Thank you Miss Alice. I was bred to over-do myself." He smiled and pulled out a chair for her.
She sat down in the pulled-out chair. "Well, you have no need to overdo it here. I don't want you to strain yourself." She smiles up at him. "You going to eat with me? You have to eat to, you know."
"Yes, of course." He sat down after pouring Alice and himself a drink. He smile at her with closed eyes then began eating his dinner. He had to admit, it tasted great.
"They mess you up, your Mom and Dad. They may not mean to, but they do. They fill you with the faults they had, and add some extra - just for you." - Philip Larkin
“Once upon a time...”
The house looked normal on the outside, like any other house in the neighborhood. The blue paint that was on the house turned grey within years. There was a small garden out by the side of the house, but all the flowers had withered away because it was forgotten. The porch had a few rotten boards but the railing was strong. The windows were washed, framed with lace curtains, and soft homey sounds floated from inside. The garden was overgrown, but the grass was neatly cut and there was a child's wooden swing hanging from a low branch of the pine tree in the yard. It wasn't the prettiest house on the block and it wasn't the best, but it was home.
“There was a beautiful girl...”
The small family that lived there was a rich one. Living in luxury was not something they thought to be good though. They even looked fine from the outside. The mother was beautiful, dark brown hair and dark brown eyes to match. The father looked good himself. He was clean and shaven with his dark brown hair in a tattered mess that did not look bad on him, with hazel eyes.
“When she grew up she wanted to be a movie star or a singer...”
The parents seemed perfect. They were still married and then they soon started a family, having two beautiful daughters only a few years apart. The oldest was as mysterious as the night—her hair as black as the night with no starts or lights with aqua blue eyes that shone like the moon. They had a second child a few years after. She had brown hair, like the earth, and hazel eyes to match and go along with her parents. She was a happy flower all the time.
"Then, on the night of her prom, a magical faerie godmother came and granted all the wishes of her heart…"
It wasn’t too long after that the little happy family façade shattered. The youngest daughter suddenly got sick and there was just a slim chance she could live. The parents spend as much money as they could trying to get her better on things like miracle cures, but nothing worked.
“She became a famous singer and found her prince, and fell in love…”
The family changed after that. It was the way they walked around town—heads bowed, seeming as everything tasted as ashes, eyes red-rimmed. Nobody could blame them for suffering, but they still had one daughter left. Although it was as if they didn’t even notice her anymore, and young children can’t understand the complexities of adults. Trying to cheer them up, she would dance and sing to her sister’s favorite song.
“And they lived happily ever after…”
Her efforts did nothing to help her parents. In fact, they did quite the opposite. The young couple found an outlet for their grief and that grief became scalding rage. The first time they beat her, she thought she had done something wrong and she made every effort to never do it again. But even when she smiled, they saw her little sister's face in hers and hurt her. Over time, she accepted that she had done something wrong and accepted what they did to her. Just as she accepted her little sister's death.
“Once upon a time… I believed in those stories…”