I hadn’t written a short story since high school. Literally. In high school, I chose writing over my love of numbers; that’s when I became a writer. It was quite accidental.
Two things happened: I took a creative writing course during my junior year and reality became too real. That year, I lost a few friends, 16 year-olds, to gun violence. Needless to say, I was having a hard time. Writing helped.
About a year later, I transitioned to poetry and as they say, “the rest is history.” That is, until now.
I have written hundreds of poems. That’s what I’d been inspired to write… Enter Costa Rica and my Black Writer’s Group. These writers are working on novels; a few of them are working on several, some have self-published. There is only one other sometime poet in the bunch.
I was content with being a poet. Not performing, only written word. Then, I read a short story by our writer of the week. It was wonderful.
And as I walked to that week’s meeting, I began to think: maybe I’ll write a short story! I haven’t written one in over 30 years, but why not?
I listened to the waves crash and lap the shore as I walked. Yes, I’m going to write a short story!
At the close of our weekly meeting, we share goals for the coming weeks and I shared my intention. I was excited. Now I just needed a topic…
That next week was an anniversary that I’d like to forget. It was the day that my cousin and an uncle died unexpectedly, seven hours apart. It was a Monday morning and the weight of the loss began to press down on me.
I fetched my laptop, sat staring out of the glass, sliding doors at the pool and began typing. The words poured from my fingertips. I wrote for hours. I shared it with the BWG and they loved it.
Now I’m working on short story number two. This one is about four times the length of Seven Hours. It is somehow more difficult to write; I don’t know why. But my guess is that I still have some unresolved feelings about the topic.
Years ago, I was found to be a match for a sick patient. I went on to serve as a stem cell donor. After a year of thriving, she took a turn and died. She was 14. That’s all I know. I never really talked about that.
I think writing this story is helping to sort something out for me that I didn’t know was there. We’ll see.