Project Finish Line: A Christmas Story

A Christmas Story is one of my all time favorite Christmas movies. The tradition, the campiness, the obviously dysfunctional family, and the hilarity of it all playing out for 24 hours on Christmas Day since I was at least a teenager…I just appreciate the endurance of this classic film and that it is always predictably there, every year, like a comforting beacon of hope that some things don’t change; some things can always be depended upon. 

However, one thing is in dire need of change: This girl. 

Project Finish Line is all about getting better at finishing what I start. It’s about harnessing my busy brain and compulsive personality to see things through. 

My three goals (Size 8, Europe, and writing a novel) are all under way, and for those of you who’ve been hanging around a while you know I’ve been mostly fixated on my weight/size as most insecure people are apt to do. But it’s Christmas time, and thus I’ve given myself permission to just enjoy this one week and pay the price later. Whatever twiggy bitch said nothing tastes as good as skinny feels A) must not work out enough, and B) has never tasted my step dad’s holilday cheese ball or my baked brie. 

Or Coquito – OMG Coquito!! Imagine a creamy coconut nog spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, and rum. Lots and lots of delicious Puerto Rican rum. 

Back to the point…

We’re not talking body issues today. Or travel. Today, in honor of my fav holiday film, we’re talking my book. I started it four long years ago around this time of year. I foolishly thought I could finish it in the two weeks I took off for the holidays. Silly girl. Between just finding the time and drive to sit and write, my short attention span, and my constantly second-guessing myself I’ve only recently gottent to a plac where I feel like I might be nearing the end. 179 pages and 35 chapters in, I may wrap this thing up at last before Europe.

Below is a brief excerpt from this goofy, untitled work of mine. I’d love to say it gets better, but I’m not the one who can say whether or not that’s true – only you can. It’s intended to be a fast-moving supernatural/sci-fi thriller w/ a dash of a message thrown in, but again…who am I to say that is in fact what it is? 

If you find this first few paragraphs makes you curious to read more, I’d love to hear your feedback. It may just help me finally push this boulder all the way up the hill. 

 


ONE

Alex tried desperately to control her breathing as she crept through the darkness of the master bedroom. She couldn’t let the shock of her discovery or the fear of getting caught get in the way of her escape, but Ger slept just behind her on the bed, snoring quietly, and there would be no way to explain her midnight flight if he woke.

She opened his sock drawer so slowly it was painful and withdrew the zippered pouch that carried Ger’s two-thousand dollars of emergency cash. Having already dressed in sneakers, jeans and a black sweat jacket, she picked up her purse from the dresser and tiptoed to the bedroom door.

The moonlight cut strips of light across the emerald green carpet as it shown through the wood blinds on the French doors leading to the balcony and, with her hand on the door knob, Alex paused to take one last look at Ger, the man who would betray her in the most heinous way, though she wasn’t sure even he knew that yet.

Sometimes it was such a burden knowing the truth.

She turned back and eased the door open just enough to squeeze through. She closed the door silently behind her and leaned against it, taking her first full breath in nearly ten minutes. She turned left towards the stairway and stopped. His office was to the right, the door slightly ajar. There might be something on his lap top. Something to explain whatever possible reason there might be for what he was planning to do to her.

Quickly and without any further thought, she quietly made her way to his lap top. She sat down in his plush office chair and looked at the door, sure that at any moment he would wake up and appear as a hulking, dark figure in the doorway. Two excruciating minutes later the screen shown bright and ready. She had no idea what she was looking for. All of this was so surreal she could barely think. Finally she clicked on Start and then Search, and typed in the only thing she could think of that might find the information for which she was looking: Alexandria Graysen.

Unbelievably, this bit of amateur investigation yielded results: a password protected file labeled with her last name, Graysen.

Crap. 

She had no idea what Ger’s password could be, and she had no time to find out. Just as she began to get up, she noticed the glow cast by the lap top’s screen fell on a jump drive inserted in the side of the machine.

Could anything be on here? Would Ger be so complacent as to leave it out in the open? Of course he would. Ger had every confidence in the world that no one would dare steal from an Ostreicher. And certainly not twice in one night.

At lightning speed Alex disconnected the little, black plastic device, shoved it in her purse along with the stolen cash and leapt for the door. She hurtled silently towards the stairs, hands shaking and knees threatening to give up at any moment. Her blood was pounding so loudly in her ears that she barely heard the deep, icy voice come from behind her.

“How did you know,” he asked.

Her heart thudded faster in her chest, her breath came in weak, frantic gasps. She froze with her foot on the first step and turned to face him. 

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With Fingers Bleeding

In case you haven’t noticed, I like to think of myself as a writer. Perhaps a wannabe writer, but a writer of some kind nonetheless. The first thing I remember writing was a story in 2nd grade about a pony (Yeah, I know – ground-breaking stuff.) for which I won first place prize in whatever it was. Then it was a “children’s” book in 6th grade in which both main characters died at the end.

After that I started on a story wherein my friends (and some people who didn’t want to be my friends anymore) and I were in a band together, and once again someone was on the verge of dying. I never did finish it.

In 8th grade I had to do an essay answering the question, “Do you believe in ghosts,” which my mom said gave her goose bumps. (And, no, I’m not dumb enough to think my mom’s opinion is one I can fully trust. She’s obviously biased when it comes to her incredible people-creations.) Then I hit high school and started taking journalism. I won two first place awards in two consecutive years for pieces I wrote on site in the Editorial category.

Today most of my writing is for work or messages between friends, but I’m also in my third or fourth year of trying to write a novel. I should say I’m trying to finish it. That shit is hard, and I hate it when authors write great books and then just crap out at the end ala Hunger Games.

All that to say that I’ve been remiss in writing as regularly as I’d like on this blog, and with as much passion as I have for writing, I’ve been marinating on why I’ve been such a flake. I figured out that it’s because I actually think I might have a reader or two, whom I’d like to keep, and a lot of things I want to write about tend to be a bit broody. I’m a brooder – albeit probably the most bubbly, gregarious brooder on the planet – and who wants to constantly read depressing, deep, dark, or uncomfortable stuff, right? It’s much more fun to read light, funny, quippy pieces that have Joss Whedon-like wise-cracking dialogue.

Even I think so.

But here’s the thing: I started a blog for me. To have a place to come and sit down at my keyboard and bleed. To channel my inner Ernest Hemingway or simply word vomit until I’m temporarily empty again. There’s nothing more enticing to me than a blank page. It’s like life. You start with nothing, you learn some things, and then you make some choices, and then people are there, and things are happening, and conflict arises, struggles occur, and soon you have a story – comedy, tragedy, mystery, fantasy, erotica, news, editorials, human interest pieces, satire, poetry, love letters, hate mail, journals…you start with an empty white space, and you end with pieces of life in print.

I’d imagine any artists feels the same way about their craft, but in place of oil or clay I have paper, pen, keyboard.

And while my craft may seem straightforward, it’s not any easier to interpret than Michelangelo’s David or Monet’s many takes on Water Lilies and Haystacks. My voice, my intent, my tone, my heart, my true story…we writers all face the same challenges as other artists – how do we inject all of our heart into our work in such a way that it touches people?

Perhaps that is why I struggle to write for RPS(LS). I seek to evoke emotion, yet I also seek to create connection, and that’s not as easy a thing to do when I’m not a crowd pleaser by nature. And I’m also an Aries, horns and hard head included, so I won’t become one.

So, my dearest reader(s?), as I said on the beginning of this journey: you’ll get what you get. And you’ll get a lot of it. So forgive my pigheaded stubbornness, forgive my need to bleed from fingers and little black-and-white keys for all the world to see. But challenge yourself to walk away not with my tone and mood as your own, but with your OWN interpretation.

And know that I blog on prom dress shopping with my oldest nieces is likely forthcoming, and thus guarantees at least a few laughs.