So you want to be a writer,
But you don’t know where to start,
How to go from making scribbles
To creating works of art.
You have so many stories,
They could fill a hundred books.
But to finish even one
Is much harder than it looks.
So you want to be a writer,
But you don’t know what to do
When a block forms in your mind
And the words just won’t come through.
You sit and stare in silence
At the blank page on your screen.
You’ve discovered it’s a struggle
Just to write a single scene.
So you want to be a writer,
But you’re overwhelmed with fear
That nobody will appreciate
The work you hold so dear.
So you start procrastinating
And you break your writing streak.
Now your writing days are scarce
And your dream is looking bleak.
But to truly be a writer
Takes a dream and so much more.
And you may think you’re alone,
But we’ve all been there before.
We’ve all been through the struggles
And we’ve all endured the pain.
We’ve faced so many rejections
That we’ve nearly gone insane.
But still we keep creating
And we don’t give up the fight,
For the world needs all our stories
To be brought into the light.
So put your pen to paper
And your fingers to the keys.
Always keep the stories coming.
Write as many as you please.
Don’t let anybody tell you
This is not who you should be,
For to truly be creative
Means to set your spirit free.
And the truth is just by writing,
You’ve already come so far.
So you want to be a writer?
My friend, you already are!
I must be a terrible teacher.
Since college, all I ever wanted to do was teach. I studied pedagogy for years. I took student teacher positions at three different schools. And I graduated from my university with highest honors. But evidently, I was unprepared for the real challenge of being a full-time teacher.
I was sure my students would hate me just for teaching everyone’s least favorite subject. So from my first day, I tried to make math as fun and accessible as possible. I tried to create stories with numbers. I came up with scenarios that had applicable solutions. I made every effort to explain problems in a way even the slowest kids could understand. I thought if I made my class interesting enough, they would want to put in the effort to learn.
But I never saw any appreciation from my students. They never asked questions in class, even though my subject is difficult and unpopular. They never requested extra credit, even though I offered dozens of worksheets to help them pass their tests. They never came to my after-school tutoring sessions, even though I sat in my classroom for two extra hours every Tuesday and Thursday just to clear their doubts. By all accounts, they were utterly determined not to learn math.
Yet miraculously, as I sit here grading their final exam, they all seem to have passed with flying colors. Even without answers or extra credit or tutoring, not a single student has flunked my class. It’s as if they all banded together and studied hard on their own time just so they wouldn’t have to endure my class for another semester. Math is extremely difficult; there’s no way they did so well based on my lessons alone. They must have gotten help. Just not from me. Because they hate me.
This story is based on What If? Exercise 24: “The Unreliable Narrator”. The exercise is to write a self-deceiving first-person story containing clues that the narrator is not the person she thinks she is. The objective is to create a narrator who unwittingly reveals that her judgment of people and events is too subjective to be trusted, so readers must create a more objective version of the story for themselves. I hope you enjoy what I’ve written! Thanks for reading!
I was never one
To party the night away
I enjoy my peace
Summer’s almost through
So enjoy while you still can
Parties on the beach
Life is way too short
Choose to make the most of it
Enjoy the party!
Every day I make
Promises that I will work
To change my own fate
The fate of your world
All depends on what you choose
To make of yourself
Don’t believe in fate
Take control of your own life
Make your destiny
My first mistake was trusting him enough to give him everything. My second was getting caught taking it back.
Sanity’s a funny thing. You take it for granted your whole life, until one day you hear the neighbors calling you crazy as they watch you being shoved into a police car. Whatever happens in between is a mystery.
We started out fine. He was sweet, charming, everything I looked for in a man. I fell head over heels for him. It was after we got married that things went south. That was when he started calling me names and putting me down. At first I dismissed it as playful teasing, but then he started exploiting my deepest insecurities. The words became more painful, bitter, and downright cruel, until I wasn’t laughing about anything anymore. The worst part was that I believed every word he said, and he knew it. He knew exactly how to hit me where it hurt.
The real trouble came when he started casting doubt over everything I said and did. He was so confident in contradicting me that it got to a point where I couldn’t disagree anymore. I lost all sense of what I knew and who I was. I stopped trusting my own judgment. I became dependent on him to tell me what was real and what wasn’t. Everything that happened to me became a question of my own sanity.
So you can imagine my confusion that night when I walked in on him in bed with another woman.
My first instinct was to scream, then to cry, then to curse at him for cheating on me. But he shrugged my words off like they were nothing. He didn’t even acknowledge the woman lying next to him; no matter how much I yelled or how many times I pointed her out, he just shook his head and stared at me like I was crazy. So finally I gave up and stormed downstairs in tears, once again questioning my perception of reality.
And I might have walked away believing he was right, that nothing I just saw had really happened… if I hadn’t found her bra hanging over the banister.
When I took that foreign garment in my hands, I realized that I didn’t need anyone to tell me it wasn’t mine or that it really existed. It suddenly became clear that I never needed him to tell me what was real because I knew all along. I never imagined anything. Everything he ever did to me, he did to hurt me, to manipulate me, to break me. He took everything from me. And he had to pay.
Now when I say I can’t remember what happened next, I mean it. One minute I was in the kitchen staring at the stove, the next I was out on the sidewalk watching the house go up in flames. Sometimes flashes of candles and a lit match cross my memory, but that’s it.
I still wonder if I might have gotten away with it if the neighbors hadn’t heard the commotion upstairs or seen me leave the house minutes before the explosion. To be honest, I don’t really care. I know that’s not what you want to hear, but it’s the truth. I’m just glad he got what he deserved.
I don’t know how I let him push me to that point. But I do know why I killed him.
Whether all this warrants conviction for double homicide is up to the jury. I’m sure as my lawyer, you’ll want to spin this story in any way that makes me look like the victim, and that’s fine. I just needed someone else to know the truth, so I could prove to myself once and for all that I know what really happened.
The bastard gaslighted me. I simply returned the favor.
The youngest sister in the family
Has always known the joy of having more:
The parents’ attention for the baby
And stuff from two sisters who came before.
It wasn’t always easy for the rest:
The elder two who hardly had a say.
At being cute, you always were the best,
And never seemed to fail to get your way.
Yet ever since the day you came along,
You’ve blessed us all, a gift from God above.
You grace us with your energy and song,
And fill our lives with never-ending love.
So Happy Birthday to my baby sis!
With love from your big sister, with a kiss!
Happy Birthday to my awesome baby sister! Keep on being the wonderful person you are! I love you!
The knight had never seen a battle that surprised him.
Until that fateful day when the terrible creature appeared.
No one would survive to tell the tale.
He wondered what had made everyone freeze.
Then he smelled its fiery breath.
The entire army stared, speechless.
Nervously, he turned around.
Piercing yellow eyes.
This piece is based on What If? Exercise 93: “Ten to One”. The exercise is to write a 55-word story in which the first sentence has ten words, the second has nine, etc., until the last sentence has only one word. The objective is to show that precision and thrift in writing can produce surprisingly powerful results. I hope you enjoy what I’ve written. Thanks for reading!
For over two hundred years,
Our country has been free, the
United States of America,
Representing a beacon of light
To all those seeking a brighter future and
Hope for a brand new start.
Opportunities abound in this land of
Freedom for all who come with a dream.
Join the celebrations tonight
Under the Star-Spangled Banner!
Land of the free, home of the brave,
You will always be my home!
Yes, no matter how crazy the world gets, a part of me will always believe in this idealized image of my beloved America. Happy Independence Day to all my American family, friends, and readers! May you all have a blessed Fourth of July weekend!
Only the middle sister truly knows
The challenges of being two in one:
A mentor to the youngest as she grows,
And scapegoat for the eldest to have fun.
You always know the perfect thing to say
To make us laugh until the point of tears.
You’ve cared for us in each and every way
And brought us so much joy throughout the years.
And neither of us know where we would be
Without you there to make life such a game.
No matter where you stand among us three
We both adore and love you just the same.
So Happy Birthday, Sister Number Two!
Love always, the big sister who loves you!
Happy Birthday to my awesome little sister! Keep on being the amazing person you are! I love you!
The most important man
That a girl will ever know
Is the man who gives her everything
To help her learn and grow.
The most important smile
That a girl will ever see
Is of proud encouragement
For the woman she can be.
The most important words
That a girl will ever hear
Are the first to say she’s beautiful,
Intelligent and dear.
The most important lesson
That a girl will ever learn
Is that he’s the only man
To whom she can always turn.
He loves his daughter dearly,
Gives her everything he can.
And I wouldn’t be this woman
If it weren’t for that man.
I don’t know how to thank him
For the things he always did
To give me the greatest life
Ever since I was a kid.
But I know he’ll always be there
To catch me if I fall.
And of all the men I know,
He’s the greatest one of all.
So thanks for being awesome
And for everything you do!
Happy Father’s Day to you, Dad,
From a daughter who loves you!
Happy Father’s Day to my amazing dad! Thank you for all the love and support you’ve given me my whole life! I love you!