“I’m bad at writing, Mr. Love.”
"You can think. Writing's just a set of skills you can learn, one by one."
“Bedtime, Little One.”
"Tould you tuck me in?" She pleads, eyes wide, her strong little fingers clasping mine.
As my world burned to ash I frowned. Checking the tiny words, the instructions, followed so religiously. "Set oven to 450 degrees..."
(Pizza Joint)Short Story
I worked at a pizza joint.
It was called a Slice of Heaven, but it sure didn't feel like it.
There was nothing glamorous about the job. Just your run-of-the-mill dough that's covered in enough grease to trick your mind into thinking it actually taste good.
I know I will never make great discoveries or save lives but the job, it pays the bill.
So caught up in my thoughts I almost missed the online order when it came in.
'Salami, Olives and Sausages'.
Sounded simple enough. I created the artery killing monster and gave it to the delivery driver.
Finn. He was a nice guy.
Young like me, but also going nowhere.
"23 South Street? That's like two blocks away." Finn said. "The guy couldn't just walk over for it?"
Turning around to face him I shrugged my shoulder's. "Hey, delivery gives better tips, just remember you owe me half."
Finn just snorts and laughs, walking out the door.
I honestly didn't find it funny. My rent is due tomorrow and every little bit counts.
It wasn't even ten minutes before Finn came back, with the pizza still in hand.
"The dude didn't even answer the door, I tried calling, no answer." He said while shrugging. "Wanna split it?" Finn said while looking at the pizza.
"Yeah, sure." I said thinking nothing of it.
"What's on it?" Finn asked.
"Uhh...Salami, Olives, and Sausages."
Finn shook his head while sticking out his tounge in mock disgust. "Never mind. It's all yours." He says while pushing the box towards me with one finger.
I pick up a slice, taking a bite. It was salty. The toppings an overwhelming choice. At least it was filling.
Soon it was time to close. No more orders came in after that. I was glad because my stomach was not working with me. I just waved it off as the pizza. But I had an underlying feeling that something wasn't quite right.
Walking home, my stomach turned painfully. It became almost unbearable when I saw the flashing lights ahead of me.
Red and blue lights danced across my face. As I got closer to the lights.
There was a bloody handprint next to the house number. and more blood stains covering the open door.
The numbers read '23.'
The feeling in my stomach dropped as I look at the street sign above my head.
I barely acknowledged the feeling of my knees hitting the sidewalk. My body felt too hot. Sweat covered my body as bile rose in my throat.
State of Mind
As my world burned, they asked for a time machine.
I shook my head and said that is why we have our memories.
“To find the journey’s end in every step of the road...is wisdom.” - Emerson
I wrote my first historical fiction when I was eleven, about 15 handwritten pages that each contained a chapter with a different narrator. All lived around Johnstown, Pennsylvania in 1889, and each witnessed an event attached to the flood that destroyed the town. The sixth-grade teacher who oversaw the writing club was deeply impressed. That story, now lost, represents my first writing. I choose it for my origin because I had never before put so much effort into a piece of writing, or experimented with a narrative in any way, or put written anything I would later remember. Since my first novel (in-progress) is also historical fiction, recollecting my Johnstown flood story also feels like drawing a circle.
It is a circle with several missing pieces and drawn over many years, though. In high school I wrote some poetry and in early college some short stories (hopefully unremembered by anyone, as they were awful), and then I did not write anything for a long time. I never took a creative writing class. Five or six years after graduation I picked at an abortive attempt at a novel for a few months; a couple years after that I labored on an essay that I submitted to a few journals, but I understood too little about both writing and publication to succeed. In the years after that piece, I dabbled with ten-minute plays.
In all these phases, I hoped for an editor to accept my work for publication. I have never expected to make a living with writing – I am a teacher, and happily so – but I wanted validation and an audience. Those desires, in hindsight, missed the point of writing because I valued the goal above the process.
Writing has provided me with a place of escape and control. I resumed writing in October 2019, and when March and the pandemic struck, writing became vital in ways I had not expected. It provided me with an ongoing project when so many aspects of life had ceased, and with time eddying endlessly and case counts swallowing attention and energy, writing presented a solvable puzzle. A sentence must be rearranged, a paragraph shortened; a bit of description must slow the pacing of the dialogue, or a word switched to further shade the phrase’s meaning. A story is unlocked one absorbing step at a time, and entering into this work with all my mind brings a clarity and a freshness that I treasure.
My writing goals have changed. I received the publication I sought: I’ll confess that valuing the process over the prize became a great deal easier with that particular primate wrested from my back. I have stories and poems still looking for homes and currently under review by editors; I hope they find the light of day soon, but beyond my willingness to prep more submissions, that is out of my control. I have 68,000 words of a projected 90,000 words of that novel written, and I want to finish. I anticipate writing the final sentences of The Ghosts on the Glass early in the summer of 2022. I’ll spend the remainder of the summer editing and sending out my first queries to agents. I do not know what will happen, but I will take my shot. Perhaps stars will align and a press will publish my novel; perhaps my search will end a couple years and dozens of rejections later, and I will publish myself. Regardless, the experience has been a rewarding one, and I will have received no less pride and no fewer moments of calm and clearness from my writing.
From the Mixed-Up Google Docs of Sinha: Crow and Key
Something precious, something strange
Someone lost and someone gained
Which is choiceless, crow or key
Who is stolen, who is free?
A wee interview
1. When did you begin to write?
Ever since I was very small, I've wanted to tell stories. I used to dictate made-up adventures involving my family and stuffed animals to my babysitter. She would write them down and I would illustrate them. I remember wearing a princess dress and walking around my house, and in my head, I was narrating my actions in the third person, like I was acting out a book. Waiting to fall asleep at night, I would always make up dramatic stories. I think at some point I realised the stories never went anywhere because I always fell asleep before I finished them, and I decided it might be good to write them down.
2. What does writing give back to you? What is your ultimate writing goal?
I think I write because it gives me the ability to be inside someone else's head. Sure, I write a lot of descriptions and poems and things that aren't necesarily character-driven, but my favorite pieces to write are things that let me experience the world through someone else's eyes. I like imagining a situation that would be normal to me and then look at it from another angle, like seeing the sun shining through an open window and describing it from the perspective of someone who had never seen the sun. My ultimate writing goal is to sucessfully write stories that are driven by a character's experience of the world.
The Summer always comes.
Someone once told me that life is like seasons. Sometimes the winter can last for years, it's so cold and dark that even getting out of bed seems pointless, an endless struggle.
But if you just keep going eventually you'll see the sun again because the summer always comes eventually.
Holly’s Jolly Christmas
Holly, a normal, down-to-earth, attractive woman in her 20s is looking for love when a mysterious (and also very attractive) man shows up at her door with amnesia. After some hesitation, she takes him in and tries to help him remember who he once was. We discover he is especially talented at some things, like working with animals and carpentry, but needs some help with others, like cooking and driving. Crazy and comical scenarios ensue involving adorable misunderstandings and genuine mistakes until Holly falls in love with this mysterious stranger, whom she calls Eric. However, on Christmas Eve, they are visited by a strange man with pointy ears who tells them that Eric, whose real name is Phineas, is Santa Claus' son and he must return to the North Pole to help his father deliver the presents that year. Deep down, they both know this is true, and a tearful and reluctant goodbye happens. On Christmas morning, though, Holly awakens to find a special present underneath her tree and we fade to black over her staring up into the sky.