the elevator {a short story}

(I actually don’t love this title so somebody tell me what to change it to, please.)

I just finished re-reading Fangirl – and yes I totally sobbed when it was over – and, as always, felt like writing.  I wrote this the other day for a playwriting course I’m taking (ALL THE HEART-EYES EMOJIS), so I decided to convert it to short story form, especially for you guys.  It was ten pages as a bare-bones script, but six as a short story, so grab some tea or hot chocolate and enjoy!  (And, as always, let me know what you think.  I love hearing feedback from you guys about what I write!)


The Elevator

“Hold the elevator!”

The young woman quickly stuck her hand out, barring the doors from closing as she scrolled through her phone. She barely looked up as a young man ran in, breathless.

“Thanks,” he said, panting.

“No problem.”

The doors closed.

He pushed a floor button. She scrolled through her phone.

A few seconds later, the elevator jerked. Both of its occupants were set off-balance, but not enough to knock them to the ground.

The young woman cursed, wiping at a spot where her coffee had sloshed over the side of her cup and onto her blouse. “Perfect.”

“Whoa,” the young man said. He stared at the floor buttons for a moment. “I… I think the elevator’s stuck.”

“Great,” the young woman sighed, rolling her eyes.

“Huh,” the young man said. “I’ve, uh, never been in this situation.”

He pulled the strap of his messenger bag down, swinging the bag around to his back, and pushed the “call” button repeatedly. After a few moments, he pursed his lips and stepped back. “I have no idea what to do.”

“I’m assuming just push the button and wait for someone to come?”

“I guess…?”

He pushed the button one more time. Then, with a resolved look, pulled his messenger bag off and sat on the ground, his back resting against the wall of the elevator.

“Uh, what’re you doing?” the young woman asked him.

“We don’t know how long we’ll be here,” he told her, shrugging. “Might as well get comfortable.”

The young woman stared at him for a moment, then huffed and sat down in the wall adjacent to him.

“I’m Charlie,” the young man said, holding his hand out.

“Amy,” the young woman replied. She shook his hand, then quickly let go.

“Nice to meet you. Awful circumstances, but nice anyway.”

Amy shot him a terse smile before going back to her phone.

“Do you work here?” he persisted.

“Yeah, I’m Parker’s secretary,” she replied, not looking up from her phone.

“Parker…?”

“Jim Parker, CEO of Haywire Electricians.”

Charlie laughed – quick, surprised, partially out of obligation. “Wire. Electricians. Got it.”

“It was funny the first time I heard it, too,” Amy told him, still staring at her screen but raising an eyebrow.

“I bet you have to say it a thousand times a day. It must be annoying to get the same response.”

“You have no idea,” she mumbled.

Charlie pulled a thick stack of papers out of his messenger bag and started rifling through them, quickly reading through certain lines. Amy glanced up at him over her phone, then quickly looked away.

“Well, that’s good,” Charlie finally acknowledged, absentmindedly. “Good for you.”

Amy let out a short, mirthless laugh. “Hardly where I’d wanted to be by twenty-four, but that’s what life handed me.”

Charlie looked up over his papers. “Hey, when life hands you lemons…”

“Make lemonade while looking for champagne.”

Charlie’s brow furrowed, but he smiled nevertheless.

They went back to their respective tasks, halfheartedly working, both glancing up at the elevator every now and then.

“How long do you think we’ll be here?” Charlie asked.

Amy sighed and took a sip of her coffee. “I have no idea. I’ve never been stuck on an elevator before, either. Maybe ten minutes? Maybe an hour? Who knows.”

“It’s always ten hours in books,” Charlie mentioned. He flipped a page and started scanning it. “The characters start sharing ridiculous secrets with one another and it’s always cliché and stupidly pointless.”

Amy smirked. “Read a lot?”

Charlie frowned a little, peering closer at his paper. “Tons.” He looked up at her and smiled, almost embarrassed. “I’m a writer; I’ve gotta read everything.”

“Interesting,” Amy replied, her tone saying otherwise.

“I’m trying to get my novel published right now, actually.”

“First?”

“And only, if it takes this long with all of them. Abbot & Chadwick – fourth floor, the reason I came – is the ninth publisher I’ve visited about it.”

“You’ve visited nine publishers?” Amy asked, finally seeming to be interested.

“So far,” Charlie sighed, lining up the edges of his papers. “I’m so afraid I’m gonna have to put it on the back burner while I start my next one.”

“Can’t you submit a manuscript online or through the mail or something?” Amy asked, confused and a little annoyed at his apparent stupidity.

“Oh, yeah – I’ve done that, too. Definitely. I was just hoping a personal visit would give me a better chance.” He pursed his lips and glared at his stack of papers. “Obviously it hasn’t.”

Amy watched him for a moment, her face softening. “Hey, nine publishers isn’t bad. I heard J.K. Rowling got turned down by twelve publishers before somebody finally agreed to publish Harry Potter.”

“Really?” Charlie asked, looking up, his face hopeful.

“You’re almost there.” She watched him for another moment, then quickly added, “And, hey, if this one doesn’t work out, I know a friend of a friend who works at Grimaldi House. No promises, but I might be able to pull a few strings and get him to look at it for you.”

Charlie’s face lit up and he inhaled sharply. “Could you?” he asked, traces of a smile on his lips. “That’d be fantastic!”

“No promises, remember?”

“Got it. Thank you – thank you so much.” He started rifling through his bag again, finally pulling out a receipt and a pen. He wrote down his information, then handed it to Amy with a smile. She traded it for a business card.

Charlie looked at the card for a moment, then put it in a small zippered pocked in his messenger bag, saying to Amy with a grin, “I really appreciate this.”

“You’re welcome,” she replied, seeming to mean it. She went back to her phone, then looked back up at him, faltered, and then said, “Let me know what happens today. I mean, if you want to. You don’t have to. If you don’t want to.”

Charlie smiled at Amy, softly, as if his entire impression of her – all ten minutes that he’d known her – had changed in that instant. “No, I will. I definitely will. Thank you.”

“Thank you.”

Charlie went back to his papers, but Amy continued looking at him.

“What’s your book about?” she finally asked.

“It’s a young adult novel about a kinda dark subject: The main character’s friend commits suicide and the main character has to figure out how to move on and keep living,” he rattled off, not looking up from his paper, as if he’d said it a million times before.

Amy’s jaw went slack and her lips parted. Her eyes glazed over a little and she didn’t say anything for a minute. When she eventually did, it was hushed and reluctant. “Really. That’s, um, interesting. Does she… or he… move on?”

Charlie looked up at her with a sly grin, not noticing how her countenance had changed. “Spoilers, but yes. She gets really depressed and hits a really low point, but finds hope through another friend.”

Amy looked relieved. “Good.”

Charlie smiled and looked back down at his stack of papers – which, now Amy realized, was obviously his manuscript. It was massive. “Yeah,” he replied.

“So… why suicide?” Amy asked after a moment. “Couldn’t you have picked a happier subject? The world’s pretty dark as it is, so I doubt it needs more dark material… right?”

Charlie leaned back against the wall, intertwining his fingers together behind his head, thinking for a moment before he replied. “Well. Yeah… Fair point. But I feel like people learn more through the hard things than happy things. Right?”

Amy nodded, so Charlie went on.

“I mean, you never hear about how someone learned about the value of time and how to spend it wisely after they get engaged, right? Not that it hasn’t happened, though. It’s just, nine times out of ten, it’s the hard stuff that teaches us lessons. Sucks, but it’s true. Plus, I’ve got a personal connection with it, so….”

“It?”

“Suicide.”

“Oh.” Amy frowned, taken aback. “I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay. It’s been a while, so I’m okay with talking about it. Finally.” He put his hands together in his lap, staring at his thumbs as he rubbed them together. “It was my mom.”

Amy barely contained a gasp. Her shoulders fell. “I’m so sorry. That.. that must have been really hard.”

Charlie didn’t reply for a moment. He raised his eyebrows and took a deep breath before admitting, “It was. Harder than anyone ever thinks. And I want to show people that, if I can,” he quietly added, shrugging with one shoulder.

“Show them what?”

Charlie looked her in the eye. “That suicide always kills more than one person. It sucks that – so often – the space a person fills isn’t really felt ’til they’re gone – and when they’re gone, they’re gone, and people can’t tell them how much they miss them or stop it from happening or…”

Amy averted her eyes. She swallowed before replying. “I’m sorry, Charlie.”

For a moment, total silence fell.

Charlie continued rubbing his thumbs together.

Amy massaged her temples.

The only sounds were the occasional buzz of Amy’s phone, which she ignored, and the soft murmur of the people in the building, which they both listened to.

Charlie cleared his throat. “I once heard someone say that you should always tell people how important they are to you,” he softly said. “Not because they may be gone tomorrow, but because it’s worth saying.” He took a breath before continuing. “Well, my mom was gone before I thought she would be, and I didn’t say I loved her enough.”

Amy didn’t say anything; she just watched him.

“It took me years to figure out why my mom killed herself… and then it took me even longer to figure out how to move on.” He stopped, looked Amy square in the eye, and gave her a bittersweet smile. “Anyway, I figured that since I’ve finally felt happy again after so many years of thinking I never would, I’d better share whatever small insights I can.”
Amy listened, but didn’t nod or smile. She simply said, “I’m sure your book is wonderful. And I know it’ll help a lot of people.”

“I hope so – I mean it’d better,” Charlie replied, laughing a little. “God knows I’ve spent years trying to get it into their hands.”

Now Amy smiled, almost as if she’d been resisting it.

Charlie smiled back, then took a deep breath, stretching. “Anyway. Sorry about that. I didn’t intend for the conversation to take such a depressing turn.”

“It’s okay,” Amy told him. “I asked.”

“You did,” Charlie replied, his eyes twinkling.

They went back to their respective tasks after a moment, yet neither were interested in what they were doing anymore. Amy sipped her lukewarm coffee, staring at her phone but not doing anything. Charlie read the same paragraph three times before looking around the elevator.

“Your company’s on the top floor?” Charlie quickly asked, as if it’d just occurred to him as he looked at the floor buttons they’d pressed. “You must have the best view of the city from your desk.”

“The CEO has the best view,” she sighed, putting down her phone. “My desk is right outside of his room. In a boring, windowless hallway.”

“That’s too bad.” Charlie tapped his manuscript, staring at the floor. “Maybe you’ll have that room someday, though – right?”

“I don’t think so…”

Charlie looked up at her, his brow furrowed. “Why not?”

Amy sighed. “Honestly? I hate my job. I hate filtering complaints and hearing everybody laugh about our stupid company name – which, by the way, Jim came up with when he was drunk.” Her grip on her coffee cup tightened as she went on. “I hate sitting at a desk all day and getting home to an empty apartment. I hate the dull monotony, I hate the routine, and I hate the fact that nothing changes and that nothing ever will change. And I hate not being able to do what I want with my own freaking life.”

Charlie didn’t reply for a moment, finally saying in a consoling tone, “I’m sorry, Amy.”

Amy shook her head, looking away. “No, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have vented like that. I’m just so… so…” She didn’t finish, merely shaking her head again.

“I just vented on you,” Charlie reminded her with a soft laugh, “so I think it’s okay. Now we’re even.”

Amy turned to him, the corner of her mouth tugging up a little. “Okay.”

Charlie cocked his head, watched her for a moment, then said, “So what do you want to do?”

“What?”

“The age-old question: If you had unlimited time and unlimited resources, what would you do?”

“I want to climb Mount Everest,” Amy replied, not hesitating a second. A hopeful look appeared over her face as she spoke her dreams into existence. “I want to see Niagara Falls. I want to go to London and Edinburgh and Paris and Rome and Venice and… I want to see the world, Charlie.” She stopped, frowning. “And all I’m seeing is my desk. Every day.”

“Then quit,” Charlie casually said, shrugging.

Amy’s shoulders dropped. She stared at the floor again. “I can’t. I need the money.”

“Do you have any savings? Can’t you leave for a while, see stuff, come back, earn money, repeat?”

Amy shook her head, still avoiding his gaze. “I used it all to pay off my student loans. I probably only have a few thousand dollars saved – and I’m going to need a new car pretty soon.”

“Oh.”

“Yeah.”

Charlie was silent for a moment, then offered, “What about backpacking?”

“What?” Amy asked, finally looking at him again.

“Backpacking. You could save tons of money. Ever seen Gilmore Girls?”

Amy’s entire face brightened. “Yes! I used to love that show!”

“It’s my guilty pleasure,” Charlie told her in a hushed, conspiratorial tone. “You can’t tell anybody, okay?”

Amy chuckled. “I won’t.”

“I always wanted to watch episodes of Rory and Lorelai backpacking across Europe – you know, between seasons three and four? I don’t think the budget was big enough, though.”

“I wanted to see that, too!”

“Really?”

“Really.”

Amy and Charlie smiled at each other.

After a moment, a bemused expression came over Charlie’s face. “Do you believe in fate?” he asked.

“You think we’re in a Hallmark film, too?” she replied, giggling a little.

Charlie laughed. Amy watched.

After a second, Amy licked her lips, took a breath, and said, “I… I lied to you.”

“When?” Charlie asked, tilting his head.

“Haywire is on the fifth floor.”

Charlie’s brow furrowed and the smile faded from his face. He glanced at the floor buttons, then back to Amy. “Then… why were you going to the top floor?”

Amy swallowed.

“I was going to jump.”

Charlie stared at her, his expression half pained, half shocked.

“Jump?” he whispered.

“From the roof.”

His face paled. “What?!

“I can’t do this anymore,” Amy told him, covering her face with her hands.

No,” Charlie firmly said. He leaned forward and pulled her hands away, looking her straight in the eye as he said, “You can. I know you can.”

“I can’t,” she halfheartedly protested. Tears started to well in her eyes.

Charlie shook his head and inched forward. “Remember what I said earlier, about my mom? We couldn’t tell her how much we missed her after she killed herself. Imagine all the people in your life who won’t be able to tell you that if you do this.”

“There’s nobody like that for me!” Amy angrily objected, sobbing. “You don’t understand. I have no friends. I’m so pathetic – I’ve been in this city for two years and I still haven’t made any friends.”

“Well, now you have one,” Charlie told her, not hesitating for a moment. “You hear me? Even if you’re right and there’s nobody there for you, you’ve got me. Okay?”

Amy sputtered and bowed her head, unable to speak. Charlie just watched her, stroking her hands with his thumbs. He opened his mouth to speak several times, but closed it before saying anything.

After a while, Amy looked up, tears still streaming down her cheeks. Charlie let go of one of her hands and she rubbed the tears away. “Charlie, I-”

“Fire department!” a voice interrupted, shouting from what seemed like far away. “We’re here and we’re going to get you out. Are you okay?”

Charlie leaned back and yelled, “Yeah, we’re fine!”

“Okay, good. The elevator’s stuck between floors so we’re going to pry the door open and then let you know what you need to do. We’re going to get you out of there – just stay calm, okay?”

“Got it!” Charlie replied. Then, he leaned forward again, looking at Amy with sympathetic eyes. “Are you okay?”

“I…” Her voice faltered, so she cleared her throat before starting again. “I think so. I will be. I hope.”

Charlie nodded, looking down at her hand in his. He swallowed and blinked back tears of his own. He turned his attention back to Amy after a moment. “I’m not going to leave you until you’re through this, okay? Let’s go get lunch or coffee or something.”

“But my job…” Amy weakly protested.

“Call in sick,” Charlie suggested.

Amy reluctantly smiled a little, then looked up at him. “What about your manuscript?”

“This is more important.”

A sob escaped. Amy bit her lip and lunged forward, wrapping her arms around Charlie. “Thank you,” she whispered, crying.

Charlie smiled, hugged her back, and sniffed. “I’m glad I got stuck in this elevator with you today, Amy.”

“Me, too.”

A moment later, they broke apart, both slightly embarrassed but glad. Amy found a tissue in her purse and blew her nose. Charlie pretended not to need one.

“I never answered your question,” Amy told him just as they started to hear the firemen prying the door open.

“Oh?” Charlie said, shoving his manuscript into his messenger bag.

“I do believe in fate. At least, now I do.”

Charlie smiled at her.

“I do, too.”

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the behind-the-scenes writing tag.

(I just pronounced the word “tag” as “taeg” in my mind because I heard someone say it that way once and now I can’t remember who it was.  LOL.)

Because I recently watched a movie starring Harrison Ford (the remake of Sabrina, also starring Julia Ormond and Greg Kinnear), Eva tagged me with the “The Behind-the-Scenes Writing Tag.”  (See her answers here.)  I actually haven’t done a tag in a while (the reason being that I keep forgetting about them, lol; keep tagging me, guys!), so this should be fun!  [Edit: Duh, I just did that movie tag.  *facepalm*  My life… Ugh.]

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Is there a certain snack you like to eat while writing?

Yes, but it’s slightly embarrassing and stereotypical.  : D  Usually, right before I’m about to start writing, I put some chocolate chips in a cup and freeze them and I make some iced sweet tea (my very own recipe that a friend says I’d make millions off of).  I get my Pinterest and random internet browsing out of the way while the chocolate chips are freezing and the tea is brewing.  I really don’t drink coffee unless I’m writing in the morning because even though I love coffee *takes a sip* it honestly doesn’t really have an effect on me.  Sad but true.  (I don’t usually write in the morning, though.  If I put off school ’til later in the day, even during NaNo, I won’t get it done.)  So all that to say that I eat frozen chocolate chips and drink iced super-duper-sweet tea while I write.  *Kyle voice*  GAHHHH!  MY POWERS ARE INCREASING!

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When do you normally write? Night, afternoon, or morning?

Kinda just answered this in my last answer, but I’ll elaborate.  I write best later in the day.  I’ve been working on getting all of my school done early on Tuesdays and Thursdays so I can write at my nannying job, but I feel guilty most of the time for writing instead of doing school, so it doesn’t really work.  I usually do it around four in the afternoon or after dinner.  (During NaNo, though, it’s all over the place.  I’ve gotten up at six in the morning to write and I’ve stayed up ’til two writing.  So.  Yeah.)

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Where do you write?

I can write basically everywhere, but my go-to place is in my room.  Just wherever I can get away or wherever it’s quiet.  A few weeks ago, when half my family was gone for a week (overlapping when my dad was gone for a weekend) and it was just me, my younger brother, and my younger sister at the house (SWEET BLESSED BLISS), I moved my writing station to the kitchen and sat on a bar stool for almost the entire weekend.  It. Was. So. Awesome.  I’ve written at the library, too, and I think that’s my favorite place to write.  I’ve also written at a Starbucks with a friend and then went to her house afterward.  (July Camp NaNo of last year.  I had to write 10k in three days in order to finish on time.  I did it.  *fistpump*)

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How often do you write a new novel?

Oh gosh.  Seeing as I’ve only technically finished one… yeah.  I finished writing The Art a few months ago (see this post), and I’ve been re-writing ever since.  (I called it editing at first, but it’s not.  I’m taking out chunks and adding chunks and re-writing backstories.  Re-writing.)  I’ve done NaNo three times, though, and jump-started three novels with it – Becoming Nikki (*shameless plug* available at Amazon! *end shameless plug*), Sneakers and Hot Fudge Sundaes (*sniff* my poor children whom I left all alone in their final chapter… gosh, I’m such a bad writer), and The Art of Letting Go (which is honestly the best thing I’ve ever written and it’s only getting better and I LOVE IT).

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Do you listen to music while you write?

DUH.  I listen to music all the time, no matter what I’m doing.  (Listening to Sleeping at Last right now, actually.)  My soundtrack for my writing varies, though.  While I was writing Becoming Nikki, it was all over the place.  Mainly Josh Groban, but a little Tenth Ave and other random Christian stuff, too.  While I wrote The Art, I almost exclusively listened to Night Visions by Imagine Dragons.  If I can’t focus because I’m singing the music instead of actually writing, I’ll listen to soundtracks and movie scores, though.

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What do you write on? Laptop or paper?

Laptop!  When I got back into writing when I was fourteen, I wrote in notebooks while we drove around looking for a house to buy (bad memories there…).  I still have a dent in the middle finger of my right hand because I pressed down so hard all the time.  After my hand started cramping up, I knew something needed to change.  Then I started writing on my dad’s old laptop, which worked really well because it didn’t have internet.  (Sometimes I long for those days again.  HA.)  In 2013, I bought my own laptop so I could do my college work on it, and I’ve been using it ever since.  *pats laptop*  I used to always carry around a notebook of story ideas with me, but then I started writing down my ideas in my phone and emailing it to myself every now and then.  It works.  : )

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Is there a special ritual you have before or after you write?

Besides my chocolate-freezing, tea-making, and Pinterest-browsing?  Not really.  When I’m working on The Art, though, I like to look through the Pinterest board I made for it so I start to remember what the story’s supposed to feel like.  (Pinterest is one of my favorite writing resources, guys.  Not even kidding.)  Sometimes, if I’m working on an especially hard scene or one that could potentially have an impact on someone, I’ll pray for guidance and the right words.

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i don’t care who you are or how you feel about the harry potter books. if you’re a writer, jo’s story should inspire you like almost nothing else can.

What do you do to get into the mood to write?

(Golly Pete, I really should read all of these questions before I start answering them…)  Like I said in my last answer, I usually browse my Pinterest board, looking for the inspiration for the story.  Sometimes I’ll watch videos and procrastinate for a while.  (Not recommended.)  It’s very rare that I’ll go back and read what I’ve previously written – and I NEVER do it during NaNo.  (Protip: Never ever ever go back to what you’ve written the day before and try to edit.  You’re wasting precious writing time and you’ll only mess with your word count.  Get all 50k words down before you edit.  You’ll thank me later.)

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from ‘fangirl’ by rainbow rowell. golly pete i love this book.

What is always near the place you write?

A buncha junk.  : D  My laptop, drink, maybe a snack, headphones, and whatever clutter is already on my desk or my writing space.  I also have a few writing books and notebooks nearby that are handy when I need inspiration.  I usually have everything I need on the computer, though.  (I’m able to be more mobile that way.)

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Do you have a reward system for your word count?

I do!  During NaNo, I usually give myself a reward whenever I reach my daily word count – usually an episode of a TV show (lots of Boy Meets World gets watched) or I reward myself with a book.  Or sometimes the reward is just that refreshing feeling that I did it.  When I’m not doing NaNo, though, it varies.  Whenever I get a chapter edited or actually sit down to write (which, sadly enough, doesn’t happen as often as I’d like *shakes fist* STUPID COLLEGE), I’m rewarded with that amazing feeling of assurance that I’m a writer instead of just someone who writes occasionally.

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*coughhack* i’m finding this to be especially true with the main character of ‘the art’ who isn’t a christian and, therefore, makes some decisions that i wouldn’t. just because i write it doesn’t mean i condone it.

Is there anything about your writing process that others might not know about?

Umm… Does anyone know that I pull faces while I write?  It’s embarrassing when I’m in a public place, but I do it at home all the time.  I’ll either do the face or emotion that I’m trying to convey in order to write it better, or I’ll start singing along with whatever I’m listening to.  I do all the voices in my head as I write, so some of it must get out on my face.  HA.  #I’mAWriter

Well, that’s all the questions!  If you’re reading this somewhere in your house, you’re tagged.  (As always, share the link in the comments section, or, if you don’t have a blog, answer the questions in the comment box.)

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P.S. Before any of you guys ask, no, I’m not doing NaNo this year.  (Cry all the tears.)  I set a goal of finishing the second draft of The Art before Christmas this year (and I CANNOT BELIEVE THAT CHRISTMAS IS ALMOST HERE YAYYYYYY!!!) so since I’m only halfway done with it, I can’t rationalize starting another novel and spending all of my free time on it instead of The Art (even though I have an idea about what my next one’s going to be about… shhh).

P.P.S. Speaking of Christmas… stay tuned for a blog series centering around my favorite holiday and the most wonderful time of the year.  ; )

update on me and a temporary goodbye.

‘ello, my lovely readers!  I love the tens and tens of people reading this, and it cheers me up every time I see a new comment.  So keep them coming!  🙂

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(insert obligatory random BMW picture)

I couldn’t decide what to call this post, so don’t think I’m trying to be self-centered or something.  I want to tell you guys what I’ve been doing over the past few weeks and what I’ll be doing for the next month, but I didn’t want to call it, like, ‘ALL ABOUT ME, ME, ME!!’, so you’re stuck with that.  Okay?  Okay.  (*Eva makes a sad face*)

Soooo.  For the past few weeks I’ve been studying for my English Literature CLEP.  Have I told you guys that I’m in CollegePlus?  Yes?  Maybe?  No?  Well, I’m tellin’ ya now.  I’m a Sophomore, getting a degree in Humanities (because I wanted to get an English degree, but (1) it looked too boring and (2) I’m not British enough.  *da dum kshhhhh*).  So far, it’s been pretty awesome.  I’ve only failed one test – YAY!  I was nervous about English Lit because it was my first test since the aforementioned Failed Test, but I passed with a really good score.  (And then Big Sister Arwen went and took English Lit the very next day and blew my score out of the water.  *rolls eyes*  Whatever.)

Now I’m studying for Intro to Computing, which, judging from the book about it that I’m reading, should be super-easy.  Yeah.  I’ve discovered that I’m a bit of a nerd.  HA!

Enough boring stuff.  I’ve also been nannying a lot – like, a lot – and reading a lot.  And fangirling a lot, which has a million and one rewards.

I’ve also been listening to this song a lot.  Guys, Rory can SING!

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truth.

I’ve also been writing, and I’ve gotten more ideas in the past week than I’ve gotten in the past month, so I’m SUPER excited to see what’s going to happen in The Art of Letting Go and My Super Secret ‘Legit NaNo’ Novel.  Yay.  I’m planning on working on TAoLG at the beach…

Which brings me to my temporary goodbye.

I’m going to be incredibly busy for the next month.  Like, SO INSANELY BUSY I JUST MIGHT PASS OUT FROM THE AWESOMENESS.  We’re going to the beach – yay – and then I’ll have, like, three days at home, and then I’m going to a CollegePlus gathering – double yay – for nearly two weeks.  (Wut.)  It’s going to be awesome but I’m gonna be so tired by the end of September, I might just have to curl up and sleep for a year.

Which is why I probably won’t blog all that much in the following month.  😦  I want to – I reeeeally want to – but I just don’t think it’ll happen.

3ebf1c6b586e9b639c6126bf7cbf2958So bear with me for the next month.  If I miraculously pop up sometime in the middle of September or don’t show up ’til October… you’ll know why.  I might post some pictures from the beach, or I might not have enough time in between the beach trip and the CollegePlus trip.  (WHICH IS GOING TO BE SUPER FUN AND I CAN’T EVEN STAND HOW LONG I HAVE TO WAIT ‘TIL IT COMES.)  I have a million books to read in the next month and a million little projects to do and I just got a new season of Boy Meets World (Season Six, which means that, after it, I only have one season left – CRY ALL THE TEARS), so blogging will probably go down on my List Of Things To Do.  Not that I don’t like you guys any less, but… it probably won’t get done.  IF, however, I’m struck by the urge to write a “Hey, guys, I’m still alive!” post at three am, I’ll do it.  Because I love you guys.  🙂

Sooooo…. I guess I’ll see you guys at the end of September.  (wave)

the art of letting go: nano week four recap

29a7396d968e9c9a8f757e7d63ab1b75

THIS. PICTURE. urmagursh. it’s like the summery of taolg. craziness. makes me cry. : (

NaNo is over.

NANO IS OOOOOOVERRRRRR!!!!

I’ve gotten so much done this past weekend, it’s kinda crazy. And it’s good to be reading a lot more and doing my poor, neglected schoolwork, but… I miss Daniella and Kyle and David and Mal and everybody in The Art of Letting Go. Trying to work out how to be in college, work two jobs, read, practice piano and violin, have some semblance of a social life, and still find time to write. It’s a lot, but I’m working on taking out the things that I’m doing right now that don’t really matter in the long run. I’d much rather do things that have eternal value rather than here-and-now pleasures, if that makes any sense. Unfortunately, I get distracted more often than not, and I’m trying to get that fixed. (*dismounts soapbox*)

Anywho.

The last week of NaNo was… stressful. Like, literally THE most stressful week of NaNo – even more stressful than that week I was at my grandparents’ house, if you can believe it! I was soooooo behind at the beginning of the fourth week that I honestly didn’t think that I’d be able to win. (But then I kept thinking, ‘I’m two for two. I’m not going to fail now!’)


Monday was SO much fun, though. I went to a friend’s house and we wrote for four hours, getting a little over four thousand words done. YAY! We also had time to eat junk food (and real food), watch the new
Mockingjay: Part One and The Hobbit: Battle of Five Armies trailers (SOB) and I watched The Book Thief for the first time! (Also SOB.) It was a very feelsy day, both writing- and movie-wise, and I enjoyed it very much. Thanks a million, Frankie!

Tuesday, I wrote over four thousand words again, and then wrote over two thousand words on Wednesday, finishing off the fifty thousand (plus eighty-six) at about 11:30pm that night. (During NaNo, late nights are non-negotiable. As are things like headphones, soundtracks, chocolate, and sweet tea.) I sat back and enjoyed scrolling through my OpenOffice document of my novel, which was very gratifying.

Final statistics:

Words: 50,086

Pages: 78

Writing places: In my basement, in my room, in the bathroom, at the kitchen table, in my living room, outside, at the library, in the car…

Approx glasses of sweet tea: 37

Approx pounds of chocolate: 8

Approx hours thinking about my novel: 720

Approx minutes of crying over my novel: 20

Pages of sheet music required to unwind every day: 12

Books read to retain sanity: 4

So… yeah. NaNo’s over. But The Art of Letting Go is not. In fact, I think I’m at the climax right now. Act II just wrapped up in a gut-wrenching fashion, and Act III is opening up in a similar manner. (Let’s hope my gut lasts ’til the end of the novel…)

Excerpt time! These excerpts are mainly from the beginning (ish) of the novel, because, towards the end, there are some spoilery things and Events Which We Will Not Speak Of At This Time. Obligatory notice: I don’t edit while doing NaNo and haven’t started the process yet (I usually write the entire book before going back because I need to know where it’s going before I can edit, blah, blah, blah), so… pardon the type-os, grammatical errors, wonky phrases, etc, etc.

Excerpt one:

Kyle and I ate our pizza in silence. I didn’t feel like eating, so I pulled the cheese off my pizza, then ate the sausage. I ended up eating the crust, too, but it took me about an hour because I would eat a bite and slowly chew it as I stared out of the big picture window in the dining room. Kyle sat with me the entire time.

I help him clean the kitchen after we were done, again, in silence. When we’re done, I stand in the middle of the kitchen, not knowing what to do.

“Let’s sit on the couch,” Kyle suggests.

I slowly nod. We sit down together, side by side. A memory flashes through my mind and I take a deep breath. The last time I sat down on this couch, next to a guy, was last Tuesday, when David came over to study with me after school.

Tears stream down my cheeks. I rub them away, and the motion attracts Kyle’s attention. “Hey,” he whispers, wrapping his arms around me. “It’s okay.”

I cry into his shoulder for the second time today.

“It’s okay, Daniella. You’re going to be fine.”

I listen to it, but I don’t believe it. ‘How can I be fine, now that my best friend in the entire world – the guy I knew I’d spend the rest of my life with – is just gone?’

I let myself cry. I can’t think of anything else I can do.

Excerpt two:

The summer slowly draws itself to a close. I start getting preoccupied with school stuff… and, at Kyle’s constant reminding, college stuff. Every time I start looking at colleges and scholarships and application processes, my heart feels like it’s been ripped out and stomped on repeatedly. It kills me to know that I’m doing it without David. And I can say that now because it genuinely hurts that much. When you’ve imagined scenes of your life and then get to those scenes and certain people you’ve pictured there aren’t there… it hurts. It’s painful, and I can’t escape it. I had imagined parts of my life with David and now… they can never happen. Funny how that works.

Anyway, before I know it, I’m entering the school building again, except it’s different because I’m a Senior now. Yahoo.

I get there a few minutes early because Mr. Turner wants to show me something. He doesn’t tell me what it is, but I know exactly what he wants to show me. Turns out, I’m right.

“Right this way, Daniella,” he says, smiling at me and leading me down the hall.

I follow him down a hall I know all too well. I know I walked down this hall a million times in the three years I’ve been here, but I remember one distinctly. Half-stumbling down it, with Kyle’s arm around my shoulders, guiding me.

I shut out the emotions as I follow Mr. Turner through the door to the library. He flicks on the light just as I drop my backpack to the floor. I look up and gasp. The entire library has been renovated. The shelves start at a different end of the library and everything is moved around. There are new tables, new chairs, new carpet, and a new color on the walls.

“C’mon,” Mr. Turner says, motioning with his hand. I follow him across the library and through an aisle of bookshelves, all the way to the back, where the Bio section used to be.

And then I stop.

There’s an empty space in the bookshelves. Right in the middle of the floor stands a wooden podium with a glass case on top. Inside the glass case is a football helmet. I don’t have to go any closer to know that it’s David’s. I know every scratch by heart.

I swallow, summon my courage, and walk towards it. I want to touch it so much, but I can’t. The stupid glass is in the way. A plaque catches my eye and I read it a few times, whispering the words on it under my breath. “In memory of David Anthony Jamison, 1994-2012. You lived a short life, but impacted so many people. You will be missed.”

I finger the indented lettering on the plaque, blinking rapidly. ‘I’m not going to cry in front of Mr. Turner. I’m just not.’

“I have to go back to my classroom and finish getting ready. Mind if I leave you here?”

I purse my lips and shake my head firmly.

Mr. Turner squeezes my shoulder. “See you in class.”

He leaves and I fix my stare on the plaque. It feels as if it commands my gaze because I just can’t look away.

The plaque seems to unleash all of the memories of that day that I’ve blocked out of my mind. The way David’s shirt felt as I clasped it in my fist. The look of utter hopelessness in the suicidal boy’s eyes. Most of all, I distinctly remember the blood on my hands. I can’t escape it. I’ve had nightmares centering around it – nightmares where I can’t get it off and can’t get away from it. I shudder and block the memories. Again.

I turn around, trying to spot the place where David fell. The library is radically different from before, but, if I wanted to, I could probably figure it out. My mind instantly starts calculating where the bookshelves used to be.

I get out of the library as fast as I can.0

I’ll leave you guys with a song of how Daniella kinda-sorta feels now. She’s still grieving, but she’s past the hardest part. She knows she’s been through so much and now feels like she can handle almost anything life throws at her. (And then I think, “MUAHAHAHAHAHA. That’s what YOU think, Danni!”)

50,086.

2014-Winner-Facebook-Cover

WON.Check ^THAT^ out.

FISTPUMP.

It never ceases to amaze me how much I can write – in a month! – when I set my mind to it.  This is my third time attempting and winning NaNo and I still can’t believe it.  Crazy.

I actually finished it up last night and have been busy with neglected school and brownie-making and packing for a trip today, so I didn’t post about it ’til now.

I went to my violin lesson, then drove all the w ay to the library, got six books and the first season of The Rat Patrol (thanks a lot, Eva….  *rolls eyes*), then went to McDonald’s and got a chocolate chip frappe, then parked in the parking lot and started reading Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore.  Which is my version of celebrating.  Now I’m going to do school and then try to pack for my trip tomorrow.

Which is the reason why I won’t be posting my last update – I’m too busy to write a decent post (which I reeeeally want to do because The Art of Letting Go deserves it!) – so I’ll probably post the week four update on Monday.  Sound good?  Good.

Thank you guys SOOOO much for hanging with me during NaNo and being so incredibly encouraging!  Love y’all!  Here.  Have a Boy Meets World video.

daniella: nano week three recap

NaNo word count - 7-19-14

see that bump on day 14? 5k words, baby!

WOW.

This week has been crazy – mainly because we spent it at my grandparents’ house.  (Which was just a BLAST!)

This week, I somehow managed to I stay on top of my writing (I wrote five thousand words one day), read two books, and have fun with my grandparents and cousins!  We even went to see The Music Man at a theater near my grandparents’ house and it. was. awesome!  Especially for a community production.  The curtain went up, the guys got into position on the train, and Arwen leaned over towards me and whispered, “I’m already impressed!”  We knew a guy in the cast and he was phenomenal!  We’re even talking about going back.  YAY!

Anywho, on to the reason for this post – week three of NaNo.  No kidding, guys, my writing this week has been amazing!  SO much has happened this week and it’s pretty incredible!  I got pretty far ahead, then a little behind again, and got caught up on today’s word count (30k words!) a few hours ago (after which I made a celebratory batch of cookies – yum!).

This week has been full of inspiration – songs, pictures, little blurbs of conversations, and plot points finally falling into place.  One night as I was writing, something came to my mind and I just started crying.  I couldn’t help it – it was JUST SO PERFECT!!!  Pretty sure my cousin thinks I’m crazy, though.  😉  I can’t tell you guys what happened because I’m pretty sure I’m about halfway through – so spoilers – but I can tell you that it’s awesome.  Editing is in order, but it looks great already.  I’m falling more and more in love with these characters and it’s just been incredible.  Loving my story.

Like I said, so much has happened this week, the chief among the events being the fact that I actually settled on a title.

So here’s the big reveal.

Ready?

Here it is.

The Art of Letting Go.

🙂

Like it?  I sure do!!!  It wraps up everything the story is about and I looooove it.  I even made a picture!

PicMonkey Collage

(Eva got me addicted to making pictures of your novels – fangirling, to use a term I love – so you can be sure you’ll see more.)

So I guess an excerpt is next?  Well, I think a title reveal deserves more than one excerpt, don’t ya think?  I think so, too.  🙂

Excerpt one (warning – it’s a long one):

I work through the weekend, distracting myself. However, by Monday, I’m resolved to start moving on.

I wake up early, spending a few minutes sitting on my bed, thinking. It’s not meditating and it’s not some weird, unique form of yoga. I just sit, clearing my mind and gathering all of my strength and courage to be able to make it through the day. I might have to do this every morning for the rest of my life, but I want to do it. I need to do it. Kyle and Mr. Jamison had convinced me.

I walk into Jerry’s with a smile on my face. It may be fake, but it’s there.

Even Kyle notices. He comes in around ten, orders a milkshake, and does a double-take at my face. “Hey,” he says, grinning a little, but looking confused at the same time. “You look… happy.”

“Is it weird? After seeing me sad and lonely and depressed for so long?” I widen my smile so he knows I’m not offended, taking his money and getting his change.

“Nope.” He shoves the quarters, dimes, and receipt in his pocket. “It’s good. At first glance, I thought you had makeup on.”

I allow myself a short laugh, shaking my head. “Well, I do.” Mal offers to get his milkshake and I’m given a few extra seconds to talk.

“So… why?”

“Why what? Do I need a reason to smile?”

“No, but… I dunno.”

I stop teasing and exhale a little. “I’ve just been really depressed lately and I’ve decided to try to stop. I’m tired of crying. I’m tired of being sad. And I’m tired of not smiling.” I take the milkshake from Mal with a smile and hands it to him, my eyes lingering on his fingers. Then, my gaze slides to his eyes. “Long story short, I’m taking your advice – or, at least, trying to. I’m trying to move on. Let go. Ya know.”

Kyle grins – his signature lopsided grin. I haven’t seen it for a while and it makes me smile. “I’m really glad, Danni.”

My smile deepens. “Me, too. I just hope it works!” I add with a hint of a laugh.

Kyle glances over his shoulder, where a customer is standing impatiently. He turns back to me with raised eyebrows. “Well. Thanks for the shake. See you… later today?”

“Maybe,” I say, glancing at the customer, who is glaring at me. “Text me. Yes, sir – I’m so sorry. Annoying stalker friends. How can I help you this morning?”

“I heard that,” Kyle tosses teasingly as he leaves the restaurant.

I grin and adjust my headset, then try to listen to the customer.

Excerpt two:

The summer slowly draws itself to a close. I start getting preoccupied with school stuff… and, at Kyle’s constant reminding, college stuff. Every time I start looking at colleges and scholarships and application processes, my heart feels like it’s been ripped out and stomped on repeatedly. It kills me to know that I’m doing it without David. And I can say that now because it genuinely hurts that much. When you’ve imagined scenes of your life and then get to those scenes and certain people you’ve pictured there aren’t there… it hurts. It’s painful, and I can’t escape it. I had imagined parts of my life with David and now… they can never happen. Funny how that works.

Yep, that’s basically been my week.  Daniella’s been going through ups and downs and I’ve been right there with her.  Yes, I’m a writer and yes, I know I’m crazy.

for the love of writing.

So. You know how, like, every mother out there loves all of her kids SO much, she can never pick a favorite?  Even my mom has this problem.  Sure, after, say, my younger brother makes popcorn or I get the kids out of the house for a few hours so she can get back her sanity, she says, “You’re my favorite!”  But it always changes.  (Of course, I just try to be the one who Mom says it to the most. 😉 )  A lot of parents also say that when their first child is born, they love it SO much (which is well and fine and good).  However, they don’t think they can love a second child as much because their love feels like it’s being spent on the first child.  Then, when they have another kid, the love just multiplies and they love both children equally.

I get that now.

When I started writing my first novel, Aaron’s Journey, I loved it sooooo much.  (And I still do.)  It took a while for me to write another story that I loved sooooo much – which ended up being Becoming Nikki – but I loved it equally as much as Aaron’s Journey.

And now that I’m writing Daniella, I understand this even more.  I totally get the fact that you can invest yourself so much into a story, thinking you don’t have anything left and *sniff* this will be your last novel ever because all of your creative juices are gone… but then comes along another story idea and you start investing yourself into another story.

I don’t have a favorite novel that I’ve written.  How can I?  I love them all equally because they’ve all taught me something.

Nikki taught me about unconditional love and healing broken relationships.

Sneakers and Hot Fudge Sundaes taught me about growing up and staying close to the friends you grew up and went through hard things with.

Daniella is teaching me about letting go and what friendship really means.

I don’t know what my next story will teach me, and, honestly, I can’t wait to find out.

PS: Daniella has an official title now!  I’ll be announcing it in my week three recap, so keep your eyes peeled for that!  (But don’t literally peel your eyes.  Only… figuratively.  Hypothetically.  Ya know?)