Retro Tuesday 1-21-2020

Daily Post One Word Prompt – Gone -January-3-2017


He’d been gone for two months when she realized he wasn’t coming back. The thought confused her. Why wouldn’t he come back? Was something wrong with their marriage? Her? Was something wrong with her?

Hadn’t she cooked his meals, cleaned the house, everything he didn’t have time to do when he was working so hard. Eighty hours some weeks. He never listened when she tried to talk about working less, being home more. They didn’t talk about anything anymore. He ate alone, often at 10 or 11 at night. He worked weekdays. Weekends. Holidays. Sometimes all night.

Has she not done enough? Was it her fault?

Slowly, she realized he had abandoned her, abandoned their home, their life, but mostly her. She’d nagged too much. Fussed about clothes left on the floor. By the hamper. Dishes left on the kitchen counter. By the dishwasher. Towels on the bathroom floor. The way stress was wearing him thin.

She’d tried to do right. Tried to support him, to help him. God knows, she loved him, even if he didn’t seem to want her anymore.

It occurred to her he had met someone, some woman, someone who listened to him and loved him, who wasn’t too tired when he got home to have sex. It didn’t matter what she wanted, at least not in the last year. Before then, everything had seemed perfect.

She loved him with all her heart and soul and life. He’d provided for her, for them, given her a huge house, two fancy cars in the garage, a pasture and barn for her horses. Romantic trips to far away places. Parties. Gala openings for movies and the theater. Anything she’d wanted, he’d given her.

Until this year.

She must have changed. He didn’t love her anymore.

She spent the next few weeks crying, frantically looking for him. Calling his cell. His office. His family. No body knew where he was and he never answered his cell. When his voice mail got too full to take any more messages, she stopped calling.

His boss told her he’d quit his job months before he’d disappeared, but couldn’t tell her why. He’d come in one day, given notice and walked back out the door. That was the last time anybody in the office had seen him.

It was then she realized he’d been planning to disappear for a long time. Had he lain in their bed late at night, thinking about how he was going to leave her? Anxious to be with the other woman?

Was the woman one of their friends? Somebody at his Office? A chance meeting at the Coffee Shop? If she just knew who and why, she might be able to accept his loss. As it was, his leaving left a hole in her life and her heart which she knew would never be filled. He was the only man she’d ever loved. The man she’d given herself to on their wedding night, the only man she’d ever been with.

After six months, she woke knowing she had to go on with her life. Either give up and die or move on. She’d tried to kill herself once, speeding around the narrow mountain curves, planning to drive off the road, but she been too afraid to go through with her plan.

She bought a farm out in the country. Sold the house and everything inside. Sold the fancy automobiles and bought herself a second-hand car. Donated all their fancy clothes. Sold her jewelry, the silver, all his things. Moved herself and her horses to the farm to start anew.

She adopted a dog from the Shelter. And a cat. Bought chickens and built a chicken coop by herself, complete with banged thumbs, frustrations, screaming fits, crying, mis-cut boards, broken nails. Back to the lumber store time after time, determined to succeed. It wasn’t perfect by any means, but she’d done it herself. She even thought about getting a cow. Maybe some fainting goats.

At the end of the first month on the farm, near the end of the first year since his disappearance, her phone rang at midnight…

Part One of “Gone,” a novella by CS Knotts

Retro Tuesday 1-14-2020

What Kind of Writer Are You?

I don’t mean do your write fiction or nonfiction, fantasy, thriller, romance.  I’m asking a more fundamental question to you, and to myself. What kind of writer am I?

For one, I am the kind of writer and person, who needs physical evidence of my accomplishments. I can’t look at my computer and say, “Wow, I have 54,000 words. I’m the bomb.” 54,000 words isn’t a real measure for me. One thousand words a day is a goal, an accomplishment, but I still need something physical.

I am the kind of writer who needs physical proof. I need printed pages in front of me so I can see and hold and understand, which is why I am one of those writers who print out all my blogs. To know I have written 600 and some posts is one thing. To see the two huge binders full of those 600 and some posts is another.

Some would say printing my posts is a waste of paper, but it isn’t. I’m failed most often by those things that cannot be physically seen. Math. You can write problems down to solve them, but you have to understand them in your head. My head doesn’t work that way. Instructions on how to do most anything mechanical. Written down but understood in the mind.

Again, my mind doesn’t work like that. Do you remember those math problems which began:

Trains A and B are traveling in the same direction on parallel tracks. Train A is traveling at 60 mph and train B is traveling at 70 mph. Train A passesa station at 12:20 P.M. If train B passes the same station at 12:32 P.M., at what time will train B catch up to train A?”

I can read the words, but my mind has no idea how to arrange the words and numbers to find a solution. I can’t see progress. I can’t stand back, even if I solve it, miracle of miracles, filled with pride at what I’ve done because there is nothing to see.

Put it this way.  At one of my jobs, I chose to work in the warehouse instead of answering phones.  In the warehouse, I could stand back at the end of the day and see what I had physically accomplished. ‘I moved all the Portmerion (china patterns) to this set of shelves including all the boxes from the new shipment.’  On the phones, I could talk to fifty bitchy customers, unable (mostly) to offer them any solution. (It was a factor of the business at the time so move along). All I had to show was scribbled notes, exhaustion and frustration.

I would be exhausted after slumping all that china from here to there, but I would be content.  Happy, even.

So what does that say about me as a writer? I need concrete. I needs solid pages to hold onto so when I don’t print them I feel as if I’ve done nothing.  5000 words or not, I have no way to understand what I accomplished. So if I’m not printing pages (as I haven’t been), I need to.

If I don’t have a tangible grasp on my characters and plots, then I need to find physical markers of their reality. There are some characters in my world that, if you asked me what they had for breakfast, I could tell you without thinking. There are other characters for whom I would be stumped. So why am I trying to write about characters that aren’t so physically real that I can feel them, that their brain answers questions before I even need to think?

And here is what I am getting at with all this talk. If I am the kind of writer that needs physical closeness, physical proof, then why would I try to write without it? All I can do is fail because I am not allowing myself the chance to succeed. If I know how to succeed, why don’t I?

This goes much beyond writing. It’s what life is about.  If I know how to make my life work, why aren’t I doing it? Why do I fail myself by doing the very things I know won’t help me, won’t get me to where I want to be?  To where I am meant to be just because I am alive? There is no entrance fee for being whole or being human.

It comes down to fear. Most of us are afraid of failing , but we are more afraid of succeeding. We do the very things we shouldn’t in order to make ourselves fail. Succeeding is too much like hubris; putting ourselves too far above those around us and they might be hurt or anger at our successes. So we fail and tell ourselves we were never meant to have a good job or find love or live in peace or get that car or…… fulfill the promise inside us.

So, I ask myself again, what kind of writer am I? Am I the writer who will allow herself to fail out of fear of success? Am I the successful writer who is just too afraid to claim my own gifts? Think about that for a moment.  I know I do. A lot.

So what kind of writer are you?  What kind of writer do you want to be? How are you going to fearlessly claim your gifts and shine your light out into a failure-ridden world?