Currently… January

ReadingThe Rules of Love and Grammar by Mary Simses. The title caught my eye, but in an effort to save money, I actually went to my local library instead of bookstore! I forgot how great libraries are. My reading list increased after visiting, but at least I know I can get those books for free! I have only read chapter one as of today, but so far so good!

Watching: This is Us is back!! Alex and I are watching Band of Brothers, and I think when I finish re-watching Drop Dead Diva, I will rewatch Sex and the City as well.

Planning: My wedding, which is in…. 214 days! Which is 30 weeks! Which is 7 months and two days! We just booked our Hawaiian honeymoon, bridesmaid dress shopping is this weekend, and cake tasting is the next two Saturdays of this month!

Writing: *crickets* because I suck. 😦

Obsessed with: Getting our new puppy and my cat to get along! Alex and I found a one year old Golden Retriever rescue. So many things had to go right for us to adopt this guy, and everything did. It was meant to be! Here is his before and after adoption photo. It was seriously less than two hours after adoption and his demeanor changed so much! Welcome home, Peyton! (Yes, like Peyton Manning!)

img_2599

Thinking about: Taking a break from the internet. I have taken social media breaks before, and they can be quite refreshing. But I am thinking about taking an internet break, (other than emails). My friend and I were talking about just how reliant we really are on the internet. Don’t know how to change a tire? Google it. Want to know what illness you’re suffering from? Google it. What’s that recipe for that chicken you like? Google it! What did our grandparents think of their stomachache while lying in bed at night? How did they ever figure out how to make food delicious without Pinterest?? We’re just really spoiled with the internet and I’m thinking about taking a break. After I look up dog training articles of course! 🙂

Feeling: Slightly overwhelmed, and hungry.

Craving: Guacamole 🙂

Needing: My animals to be friends!

Wanting: A new job. I’ve been bored here for months now and have not even used that time to be creative. I have no flexibility, but do have money to keep a roof over my head, and get a new pet.

Well, thanks for reading everyone! Feel free to let me know what you’ve been up to in the comments!

-M

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Wave of Doubt

Do you ever ask yourself, “What’s the point?”

I pose this question to artists in generally, and writers specifically.

We’re constantly reminded how hard it is to “make it” and redefining what it even means to “make it” and lately, it has exhausted me.

I’ve been uninspired, unproductive, and unsure.

And my writing has been even worse.

I can come up with plenty of excuses as to why I feel all those things. “It’s the holidays.” “I’m planning a wedding.” “It’s just the industry I’m in.” “It’s Jimmy Fallon/Isla Fisher/Chelsea Clinton’s fault.” (What do those three have in common that could possibly relate to my writing – children’s books and the fame that got them published.)  But these words won’t write themselves, and I have no one else to blame for that.

Even when I say that to myself and admit that I have no good reason to stop writing, then that voice is in my head that asks, “But what’s the point? You’ve been ‘a blogger’ for 5 years now and what’s come of it? When is enough enough?” It’s like taking a test like the MCAT or LSAT. After so many attempts, you might want to reevaluate. Is that how it works for creatives too?

Even after I’ve changed what my notion of “making it” means to a writer, and to me, I wonder, what’s the point? Why write this blog? Why do you think your words are more important than anyone else’s? What do I have to say that’s more interesting than the next struggling writer with an English degree? Or the next struggling writer without an English degree? Is the person who gets paid to write better off than me? Why can’t I just be happy with where I am in this very moment? Why can’t I just be content with the loyal group of readers that I have? What if Emily Dickinson concerned herself with getting published?

So my fellow creatives, and my dear readers, I can’t be alone in these thoughts, right? How do you get over your own fear and doubts and just keep going? 

 

A Few of my Favorite Things…

Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens….

Well, not quite. But I do love the holidays, and have quite a few favorite things when it comes to Christmas. As I’ve gotten older, and now that I’m engaged and have two families to share the holidays with, Christmas has gotten complicated, and it’s easy to get wrapped up in the stress of logistics and money. Whenever I need a little Christmas spirit, I go to the mall, it’s decorated beautifully, it’s bustling with people, and it smells like cinnamon. As odd as it may seem, it’s a reminder to me to slow down and enjoy the season that only comes around once a year. If I can’t go to the mall, I light my Pine scented candle and wrap presents, or watch a Christmas movie, and I think back on all my great holiday memories I’ve had over the years. So while someday I might do a list of my favorite things in general, today I’m giving you a list of my favorite Christmas things!

Food: Homemade fudge! On the actual day, cinnamon rolls for breakfast, and stuffing with dinner.

Song: The Christmas Song (Chesnuts Roasting) by Nat King Cole, or Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas by Frank Sinatra. A less traditional favorite is It Must’ve Been Old Santa by Harry Connick, Jr.

Movie: Home Alone

Tradition: Every Christmas Eve my dad reads Twas the Night Before Christmas to my sisters and I. We all pile onto the couch and listen as he adds his own personal touches to the story, “While visions of Starbucks danced in their heads…” (who wants a sugarplum anyways??) It’s been a tradition since we were kids and for the few minutes that he is reading the story, we’re not fighting, or stressed, or thinking about presents, we’re just a family, listening to a story. Below is one of the oldest pictures I can find and the latest picture of this tradition.

BeFunky Collage

These are just my favorite things to remind me enjoy this season and stop and smell the pine needles every now and then. Maybe you need a little reminder too.

Maybe Christmas . . . perhaps . . .means a little bit more!

I wake up to the beeping of my alarm. 7:00 a.m. I look outside and notice that the sun is just starting to rise, painting the sky periwinkle and orange. No time to waste today. I walk next door and wake up my sister, “It’s Christmas, time to get up!” She wakes up instantly and we go run into mom and dad’s room, jump on their bed, and yell “It’s Christmas, time to wake up!”

Dad says we have to wait for our other sister, and for coffee to brew. We sit at the top of the stairs in pajamas and curlers waiting impatiently to see what Santa has brought us. Our older sister’s bedroom is in the basement, so we can’t go wake her up ourselves without peeking at our own presents.  But soon enough the three of us are waiting together, talking about what we hope Santa brought us this year.  The coffee is brewing, filling the house with the warm, familiar aroma. Mom’s tea kettle is steaming and boiling. The twinkling of the Christmas tree lights cast reflections on the walls, but we can’t do anything until we hear the music, and get Dad’s “okay.”

“Can we come out yet?” one of us yells.

“Almost!” Mom says.

Then we hear Nat King Cole’s velvety croon, “The first noel…” We brace ourselves like it’s a race to the stockings.

“Okay!” Dad says.

And we’re off! Down the stairs we run and quickly turn the corner to see the wonderland.

The two Christmas presents that I most vividly remember receiving are a doll and my violin. I got the doll when I was about 4 or 5 and named her Kelly. I had very badly wanted an American Girl doll, but my parents just couldn’t afford it. This doll looked like me, with golden blonde hair, had the tiniest blush of pink on her cheeks, and had eyes that open and closed, so I was hooked. It was my favorite doll of all time; so much so that if I started to love another doll more than Kelly, that other doll would be stripped and banished to the basement, and Kelly got all the clothes. I still have Kelly, and though her hair looks more like dreadlocks now, and she has ripped so that she has to wear permanent underwear, and her face may be dirtier than on that Christmas morning, she is still one of my most memorable toys.

The year I got my violin I was in 3rd grade. I had been begging my parents for a violin because I wanted to be a world famous violinist when I grew up. I still remember turning the corner downstairs and seeing the case open to show a beautiful, shiny violin. I played for about 5 years before I quit in high school. (My excuse was the music program wasn’t very good, but now I wish I would have kept playing).

So if I’ve had 24 Christmases in my life, why is it I only remember the presents of two? Because as fantastic and special as those two gifts may be, that’s really not what Christmas is all about. For my family, every Christmas had a few things in common, family and tradition.

Once we looked through all our Santa presents, it was time for breakfast. We would have a cherry pastry braid, cinnamon rolls, coffee, and freshly squeezed orange juice. Then we all sat around the living room while Dad passed out presents to each of us, oohing and aahing at each other’s gifts. There were no cell phones to distract our attention, if the TV was on it was only playing music. To this day, I don’t think we are on our phones much on Christmas morning. After the presents, Mom and Dad would start preparing the turkey and stuffing. Then the house was filled with the smell of celery and onions sauteing in butter and toast for the stuffing. Somtimes we would help them tear the toast and some years we made so much that Dad had to use a laundry bucket as a mixing bowl. Christmas is one day that only brings happy memories. Sure there are a few years where that day was better or worse than the year before, but overall, everyone is just happy and together.

Of course, as time goes on and people get married, have kids of their own, move away, etc. the holidays can get complicated. The pressure is on to make everything perfect, and when it inevitably fails to be perfect in every single way, sometimes people are disappointed, but I would like to think that when Christmas morning rolls around, all of that can be forgotten and we can just be happy and together.

Trying to determine holiday plans once you’re engaged to an equally family oriented person can be tricky. But when I stop to think about it, we’re both so lucky to have such amazing memories and traditions that we refuse to give up. We’re lucky that we’re both so close to our families that we want to spend more time instead of less with them. And we’re lucky that we have families that are understanding enough to know that things change, but that change isn’t always a bad thing. Change just means that life is still going on. The best traditions will stand the test of time, and memories will be made regardless of where you spend Christmas morning. This year, my dad will pass out presents to Alex and I in the evening, rather than in the morning. It will be different, but the meaning will stay the same. And in a few years, our Christmas will look different again, as we have children of our own and make new traditions and memories for them, but again, the meaning will stay the same.

For me, family is the most important part of Christmas, and I’d give up even my most cherished presents to continue making those happy memories.

“My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?” – Bob Hope

“The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.” — Burton Hills

Currently…. December

Reading: The Sister Season by Jennifer Scott. So I don’t normally start a new book until I finish the last one, but I wasn’t getting into The Winter Wedding Plan like I had hoped, and The Sister Season has been on my list for awhile. It also takes place around Christmas and happens to be about three sisters, so I decided to try that one instead. It is turning out to be a much darker story than I was expecting, but it’s so juicy that I just want to keep reading it!

Watching: Drop Dead Diva – again. This show is just fun and since I’ve already seen the full series once before, I don’t feel like I have to watch every single second of it to keep up.

Planning: Christmas shopping, and the wedding. Tuxedos are chosen! But, let’s not get me started on the florists right now. 😐

Writing: Christmas stories and traditions. Stay tuned 🙂

Obsessed with: Christmas! AND Pinterest sections! I have said that they needed to implement sub-boards, or sections, on Pinterest for quite some time now so when I found out about it, I was pumped, and my Wedding board has never been so organized!

Needing: a memory foam pillow, so my neck doesn’t hurt all the time.

Wanting: a day of baking!

Looking forward to: next week I get Thursday and Friday off work, then we’re closed the following Monday and Tuesday for Christmas, so I will have a wonderful little 6-day vacation 🙂

Thanks for reading!

 

-M

 

Sunday Short Stories: A Hero Complex

                I didn’t expect to see her, not on this night, not at this party. She normally went out of her way to avoid parties. When we first met she said, “Why doesn’t anyone try to pick me up at a bookstore? ‘Can I buy you a book?’ ‘I see you’re into fiction, have you read Tom Clancy’s latest?’ I’d be much more impressed and you would learn a lot more about me than ‘Can I buy you a drink?’” She said that in response to my asking, “Can I buy you a drink?” So to see her at a party was certainly a surprise.

I saw Kate from across the room. She had a red cup in her hand – no doubt filled with water – and was pretending to be interested in whatever story the guy in front of her was telling. I looked around trying to spot who she was with, when I saw her sister, Lila, just within eyeshot of Kate. Lila and I never got along. It wasn’t for lack of trying, believe me I tried and I tried, but Lila just hated me, and I never knew why, even at the end.

I try to make my way over to Kate when Lila comes running to her, flailing around, drunkenly yelling, “Sister!” I quickly turn around and pretend to be on my phone. When I hear Kate’s voice, I’m right back in the past.

“Hey Lila, are you ready to go?”

“Um no! But you can go home, I’m going to stay with my new friend Danny!” she says as she drags a tall man over towards her sister.

“Does Danny have a last name?” Kate asked. I can’t help but chuckle as I realize that not much has changed in that regard.

“Ugh! Kate! Why do you always do this?!” Lila asked.

“I just think it completes the name. And besides, you know my rule.” She tried to whisper, but the party was loud and Lila was barely listening as it was.

“Come on sis, let her go.” I heard Danny say. Things were going downhill fast. Kate can handle these things for a little while, and then she just looks cool, but starts to lose her nerve on the inside.

“I’m sorry, Danny, is it? First of all, I’m not your sis. Second of all, why should I let her go with you? You barely know each other, obviously, since apparently you don’t even have a last name.”

“Come on Lila, let’s go.” She grabbed her arm, and Lila pulled back, just in time for Danny to grab her other arm.

“You’re not her mommy, if she wants to come home with me, she can.” He said.

“So I assume you’re going to hold her hair back when she’s puking in half an hour? Or make sure she’s drinking plenty of water the rest of the night? And I’m sure you’ll make sure she gets to her apartment okay in the morning? Oh wait, you don’t even know where she lives. I’ll take it from here Dan.”

Danny tightened his grip around Lila’s arm enough for Lila to say, “Actually I forgot, I do have this thing tomorrow, so I probably should go with her.”

“Really? You think that you can just talk to me, dance with me, lead me on all night and then go home with your bitchy sister? Oh no you’re coming with me.”

Some may say, that I have a hero complex, others may just say I have a soft spot for Kate, but whatever the case may be, this had gone on long enough.

“Lila! Kate! I’m so glad I found you! Mom’s been trying to call you. Grandma is in the hospital, she’s not doing well and we need to get over there quickly!”

I could see Lila’s internal struggle. She obviously didn’t like that I was there, getting involved in their battle, but she didn’t want to be in Danny’s grip anymore so she kept her mouth shut.

“Oh my God.” Kate said. She clearly didn’t expect to see me here tonight either. “Um. Grandma. Right. Oh wow, she’s not doing well? Well then yeah, Lila we have to get going!”

“Who’s this?” Danny asked, clearly agitated. “You think that just because some dude comes in and tells some lame story about your grandma, I’m going to just back down? Well he’s going to have to go through me first.”

“I’m really close to my grandma.” Lila said, trying to deescalate the situation, but was too drunk to help substantially.

At that, Danny forced Lila to the chair next to them, and stepped up to me. Kate ran over to her sister and sat with her, then just looked at me. I couldn’t tell what she was thinking. Her eyes were scared, surprised, confused, and maybe a little bit relieved?

“Danny, you don’t want to fight me. Now that the girls are good to go, I’ll make sure they get to their homes okay, and you can go flirt with some other girl. Or better yet, you could go home too. Or go to a well-lit bar to do your flirting.”

“Oh yeah pretty boy?” he was rolling his sleeves up. That’s the thing, when drunk people try to fight sober people, it’s already not fair, but to try and fight me, well that just wasn’t a good call to ever make.

Before he could even bring his arm back from behind him, I broke his nose with one punch – something I learned long before combat training.

“Goodnight Danny.” I motioned to Kate to get out of here, as I was leading them to the door, Danny was back at me and even angrier.

“Come back here you piece of shit!” I kept walking and then felt him grab my shoulder to turn me around.

“I didn’t want to do this Danny!” I said before I knocked him out.

I followed the girls outside, and helped Kate get Lila in the car.

“Thanks DREWL!” Lila said from the passenger seat.

“Sure thing Lila. Drink some water.” I said as I closed the door.

“Thanks a lot Drew. That was really nice of you.” Kate said before walking around to the other side of the car.

“You know I’d do that for you anytime.” I said.

“Drew, just so you know, you may have coincidentally been in the right place at the right time, with your superhero complex tonight, but this doesn’t change things with us. I appreciate what you did. Tonight. But you and I are still ancient history.” She slammed the car door shut.

“You and I.” Those words in her voice, they gave me hope to this day. I knew I would win her back. Maybe not tonight, but I would win her back some day.

Currently… November

Reading:The Winter Wedding Plan by Olivia Miles. This seems like it will be like a Hallmark Christmas movie, predictable, easy to watch/read, but makes you feel good at the end.

Watching: “The Good Place”, I’m just on season one, and I fell asleep during one episode, but overall it’s a cute show.

Planning: My Thanksgiving recipes, (appetizers for one family, rolls for another), and Christmas decorations 🙂 And of course, the wedding! Currently working on flowers in that regard.

Writing: Novel. For ever. AND short stories! So far every Sunday I have written the start of a novel, novella, etc. or a short story. Click here for the first one, and here for the most recent one!

Obsessed with: Creating. I want to write, do crafts, bake, do anything creative lately.

In need of: A good night’s sleep. And probably a more supportive pillow.

Thinking about: Black Friday, and how it’s gotten to this point. Just a reminder, Black Friday originated because stores wanted to make sure they end the year “in the black, ” or profitable, and the best measure was the day after Thanksgiving, because that’s when people start shopping for Christmas. But now, it’s all about greed. It was never about making employees work instead of being with their families on Thanksgiving because of some stupid sale, or about getting up at midnight to fight someone over a TV, or starting this sale a week early (I’m looking at you, Macy’s!) What happened to being closed on Thanksgiving (I know there are still stores that do this, DSW for one, but it’s getting so rare to see). Mini rant, I know, but I am a dedicated shopper, and I hate what Black Friday has become. I would love to go out and pick up a few things on Friday, since I have the day off, but I don’t want to fight with people, or deal with traffic. I will be home on Friday, watching Christmas movies, drinking hot cocoa, and decorating for Christmas.  🙂

Thankful for: I have so much to be thankful for this year. I am engaged to a wonderful man. My family is all healthy and happy. I am growing closer to friends every day. I have a job that keeps a roof over my head and food in my belly. I have a cuddly cat, and so much more to be thankful for. I am a happy, and very thankful girl!

Wishing: A happy Thanksgiving to everyone reading this post! I am thankful for you!

Sunday Short Stories: A Real Family Thanksgiving

This week, I found a prompt that seemed very fitting and festive for this week. As always, let me know your thoughts, and I hope you all find love and forgiveness in your hearts this holiday season. Have a fantastic Thanksgiving!

I stopped for a breath before cutting the turkey. I wanted to appreciate the moment. Seeing everyone there, sitting around the table, almost felt like we were a family again. But if we had been a real family, we wouldn’t all feel obligated to be here today. I hadn’t seen some of my uncles for years; my estranged cousin hadn’t even met my own son. But grandpa had requested one last old fashioned Thanksgiving dinner – one he would “take with him.”

After Grandma died, Grandpa tried his best to be the glue that held this broken family together, but for a few of us, he was the reason we stopped coming home. Grandma was always there to remind us, “He means well,” and “He grew up in a much different time,” but now that she was gone, it was harder to forgive and forget, even for just one day.

I looked over at Grandpa, I thought I saw a tear in his eye, a rare sight for a World War II vet. To my surprise, he stood up and raised his glass. The sight of him standing stunned everyone, and when he cleared his throat to speak, you could have heard a pin drop.

“Thank you all for being here today. I know it’s been awhile for some, and I know it’s difficult for many of you. Your grandmother would be so proud to see this. I know that I’m far from a perfect man. I’m not a perfect grandfather; I wasn’t a perfect father, as you know, and I certainly wasn’t a perfect husband. But you mother, and grandmother to some, she loved me and our family despite those imperfections. She had a way of seeing beauty in anything, even broken things. So while I have grown to accept these broken parts, and imperfections, I recognize that some of you may have a harder time doing so. This holiday is about being thankful, something I’ve never been very good at. So I want to take this moment to say, I am thankful for my beloved wife, for loving me despite my imperfections as a man, and for helping me create this family. I am thankful she was always able to get you all to come home every year until she passed. But I also need to say thank you to each and every one of you sitting here today. Thank you for showing an old, imperfect man kindness when he sure doesn’t deserve it. I know I’m hard on all of you, especially my sons and grandsons, but I love you despite your imperfections and your brokenness, and I just hope that for today, you can love me despite mine.”

He sat down and dabbed his eyes with his napkin. I looked around and realized there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. For me, it was the first and only time since the funeral that I saw my grandfather cry; that I saw a vulnerability in him, and that I heard the words so many thought he would never speak. My dad stood up, raised his glass, and said, “To mom, we love and miss you. And to Dad, I forgive you, and I love you.” There was something about the way he said it, I knew he truly had forgiven him, rather than just forgotten about it for one day. Slowly, one by one, my uncles, brothers, cousins, sisters, all of us, stood, raised our glass and toasted to family. I stopped for a breath once again to appreciate this moment, in this moment, we were a family again, a real family.

25 Things I’ve Learned in my 25 Years

Today is my 25th birthday.

Last year I decided that for my 25th birthday I would be traveling, ideally to Paris. But then I got engaged and money and PTO days at work are much more valuable when planning a wedding. I took today and tomorrow off so I could really enjoy turning a quarter century old. This morning I got breakfast in bed from my amazing fiancé, and then I slept a little bit more. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do when I woke up, so I did some of my favorite things. I wrote, I baked, and I watched I Love Lucy.

Every year on my birthday I reflect on the past year, the failures I’ve had, the accomplishments I’ve made, and the lessons I learned along the way. This year felt like a culmination of everything I’ve learned in life thus far. And even though I certainly am not the wisest owl in the forest, I have learned enough in my life to come up with 25 points. So here, my lovely readers, are some lessons I have learned that have proven to be most valuable over this past quarter of a century.

  1. Never cut your own bangs. But if you do, blame it on your older sister.
  2. Barbie’s hair doesn’t grow back when you cut it.
  3. Over time, if you hold her doll close to you when you sleep, your body heat will warm the plastic in her hair and fuse it together to look like dread locks. Your dad may make fun of her hair, but you know that it just means she is loved and she is real.
  4. People may think you’re weird, but wearing high heels all the time gives you great calf muscles. (Not to mention confidence.)
  5. Bullying can have a greater effect on people than you know.
  6. Depression is real, but you can fight it, and you can get through it.
  7. You can learn from your siblings at any age. Whether it’s how to share, how to cut your own hair (or not), or how to get $5 out of mom, they have already been through what you’re going through, and if they haven’t, they will still help you through it the best they can.
  8. Not everyone is doing it. Whatever “it” may be. And even if they are, it doesn’t mean you have to.
  9. Don’t lie to your parents. And don’t let your phone die if you do.
  10. School and exercise are very similar in that, you get out of it what you want to get out of it. (And I absolutely love school, and hate exercising).
  11. You’re worth much more than some people may make you feel, and you deserve better than some people have to give.
  12. The bad boy is fun for a minute, but not in the long run. You shouldn’t have to question anyone’s feelings for you. You shouldn’t have to wonder if you did something wrong all the time. And you certainly don’t deserve to be manipulated in any way.
  13. Going through the bad boy phase will help you appreciate the good guys that much more.
  14. Fight fairly. Don’t say anything that you don’t mean. Don’t name-call. Take a breather if you have to.
  15. People are going to let you down. And it’s going to hurt like Hell and make you question everything but just remember…..
  16. You truly are stronger than you think. You will do things that you never would have imagined, and fight things you never thought you could. When you make it out alive you’ll look back and wonder how, but what really matters isn’t how you got through it, it’s simply that you did. Just remember the sun will still rise.
  17. Speak up. If you don’t agree with something, if you think something is wrong, if you have a question, speak up. Nobody else can use your voice.
  18. If you don’t ask, the answer will always be no.
  19. When the world is shitty and it seems like unhappiness surrounds you, go to your comfort. Whether that means watching baby laughs on YouTube, watching I Love Lucy or Friends for hours, or simply listening to your favorite Christmas songs, find some comfort when you can’t find hope.
  20. Even when it’s hard to find, hope is still there behind all the darkness.
  21. It’s okay for your dreams to change.
  22. Be okay with being by yourself. Just because you’re alone, that doesn’t mean you are lonely. Get enough “me time” to make sure you keep your head on straight.
  23. Over time, you will lose friends. Some you will lose by choice, and some will just fade with no explanation. Priorities change, life gets busy, and people can’t always be a good friend, including yourself. Hopefully, you’ll make some new friends too!
  24. Family can be complicated and messy. But at the end of the day, they’re the only family you have. And if you’re lucky, like I am, they will be there for you night and day, and for any reason big or small. Learn not to take people who care about you for granted and show your appreciation as much as you can.
  25. You are loved. Even when it doesn’t seem like it, even when being alone feels lonely, even when you can’t see the hope behind all the darkness, you are loved. 

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Sunday Short Stories

I am thinking about adding a new feature to my blog called Sunday Short Stories. I bought a book called “Complete the Story” that gives a few lines of a story and then leaves the rest of the page blank. I had seen it multiple times at Barnes and Noble, but never actually bought it until recently. I hope to at least twice a month post the story that I wrote based off these prompts. The prompts will be in bold, and my completion, or start of completion, will follow.

I need to be creative more often. And I want to push myself out of my comfort zone to write things I wouldn’t necessarily think to write about, so I finally just bought the book. Yesterday, I color coded the prompts by: Favorite, specific plan already in mind, easy, medium, and challenging.

Some of the prompts will lead to just short stories, and some may be bigger than I imagine. As always, I welcome feedback, so if there is something you love, or hate, about any of my posts, please feel free to leave me a comment. The first one I wrote was the first prompt I read that really spoke to me, and I’m thinking maybe this will be another novel someday, but for now, here is what I wrote today.

           I closed my eyes. The sound of people clinking glasses was beautiful, almost like wind chimes. Why then, did I feel so unbearably sad? When I opened by eyes and looked around the table I saw half eaten plates of filet mignon and salmon sitting in front of strangers, family members, and childhood friends. And there, sitting next to me was the bride. She looked flawless in a pale blush, beaded ballgown that only she could pull off and not look like a flamingo. My little sister had finally found the prince she had been looking for. The prince she deserved. And I was thrilled for her. But I couldn’t help thinking, Why can’t I? I wiped a tear from my eye and raised my glass yet again, Thank God everyone will think that was a happy tear, I thought.

“To the bride a groom!” Danny, Ken’s best man said. With that, I downed the rest of my champagne and thanked God that was the last speech.

Just as I was about to excuse myself and head to the bar, I saw him. He was wearing a white button down with the sleeves rolled up just enough to see his impeccably toned forearms, and a black pinstriped vest that gave him a cool guy, friendly bartender look I had always loved. His dark hair was spiked in the front; not on purpose of course, I could tell it was because he had been running his fingers through it, a move I remembered a little too well.

Charlotte must have caught me staring because suddenly she tugged on my arm and pulled me back down into the chair next to her.

“Oh my god, the catering company told me he wouldn’t be here tonight. I specifically asked them to tell me if…”

“Charlotte, stop!” I interrupted. “There is nothing to worry about. This is your wedding day, do you really think I am going to let the likes of an ex ruin that? Need a refill?” I grabbed her glass.

“An ex fiancé, you don’t need to do this alone, I’ll come with you!” Charlotte replied.

“No no, you and Ken have to do your rounds. Go, have fun, and I’ll be right behind you with a fresh glass of champagne. Don’t worry about a thing.”

“You’re the best. You’ll tell me if you need me, right?” she said with a look on her face I had seen a hundred times.

“Of course, sister.”

I turned around, adjusted my bra just enough to add some more oomph to the girls, and walked over to the bar with confidence. False confidence, but he doesn’t have to know that.

“Well well well, look at you. In that dress you look like Cinderella herself.” Johnny said with a wink.

“Two champagnes please.” I said and turned my back to the bar.

“No Patron for you tonight?” He chided me.

“No. Just the two champagnes please. And try not to get drunk and confuse one with someone else’s.” As soon as I said it, I knew it was a mistake, but that’s what he did to me. He lit a fire inside that I always try to smother to seem perfect.

“Chels, please.”

“Champagnes. Please.”

“Here you go.” He handed me two flutes and I walked back to my sister, my heart racing and my mind going a million miles a minute.

Charlotte and Ken were talking to a table of his work buddies, so I tapped her on the shoulder and she turned around looking relieved for the distraction.

“How was it? Did you tell him exactly where he could go?” She asked taking her glass from me.

“It was fine, sis. I told you, you have nothing to worry about.” That was the truth. She, my perfect little sister, had nothing to worry about on this perfect day.