Today was one of those days when things just wash over you. It’s the best part about being a writer. That’s when the writing does it self…kinda.
After having some jolting (in a good way) experiences before 10 am this morning. I thought I would share.
I hadn’t thought about a story I started in January since, well, January. It was beginning of a series with new sleuths and what not. I started writing their story on a plane ride home and it was difficult. The prose didn’t flow as freely. I let it go and decided that one day, I’d come back to it.
Remember when I wrote about how characters have their own lives and the jump into yours? Like when they start talking to you. You know you’re not crazy but it ain’t normal either.
Well those two characters started talking to me … in the shower. Other writers know what I mean. It’s the craziest, spookest thing that happens. They just pop into your head and they tell you everything–who they are, their accents, what they’re about, etc.
I don’t know why Ella “Sugar” Montgomery and Janice Brown decided to talk to me today instead of back in January but I’m glad they did. Those are some crazy ladies. Can’t wait to talk to them.
Okay, but talking I mean getting their character down. I do this character interview thing which helps me work out bugs. I mean, I’m a reporter by trade. Might as well use those skills.
By interviewing them I can also learn about what drives them and how they relate to each other. I may just do a goal, motivation, conflict chart. More on that later.
Future Writers of America, i.e. the untainted writers
So the reason I was up so early, wasn’t to channel my two characters but to cover an assignment for work. The gig was about a new program at the local university that teaches kids going to third grade to read.
In the course of my job, I’ve covered several of these kinds of programs. These types of stories, along with festival/event type stories, I can do almost in my sleep. After more than six years of doing the same thing over again it comes natural, I guess.
After I did my interviews, the teachers settled the kids down for some journal work. The process: write a prompt on the board and scribble for 10 minutes.
I LOVED THAT EXERCISE IN SCHOOL. Just adored it.
Watching the kids do their thing, it made me happy and stirred some deep emotions in me. See, these kids are not reading on grade level and are behind. One child in particular, a lanky, knobby kneed, bad hair havin’, little girl who loved to socialize, had trouble reading and only wrote for 5 of the ten minutes. That little girl reminded me of … me.
She was a bit awkward but loved to smile. She was me during the beginning part of my life. See, I had trouble reading growing up. My teachers thought I was slow. But my mom told them different. She said I wasn’t slow, that I was very smart. My mother, who barely knew English herself, would sit me down on the hammock in the backyard, and make me read to her. This happened nearly everyday after school.
I owe my writing career to my mother.
If it wasn’t for her insistence on me reading, there would be no way that I would be able to write a sentence, much less be a journalist and writer. She’s the reason for my life. She’s the reason I can aim high.
On my way out, a little boy said he liked to write. I told him I was a writer for a newspaper.
“I write everyday.”
“But there are other things you can do as a writer. Do you like watching TV?”
He nodded again.
“Well, you can write television shows and movies.”
He smiled and I walked away.
It’s not my mom in a hammock but it was the best I could do for now in the paying it forward category.
Published by Icess Fernandez Rojas
Icess is a writer, professor, and blogger. She is a graduate of Goddard College's MFA program. Her work has been published in Rabble Lit, Minerva Rising Literary Journal, and the Feminine Collective's anthology Notes from Humanity. Her nonfiction has appeared in Dear Hope, NBCNews.com, HuffPost and the Guardian. She is a recipient of the Owl of Minerva Award, a VONA/Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation alum, and is also a Kimbilio Fellow. She's currently working on her first novel.
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