Thank you SO much for stopping by my blog!!!
This blog marks 52 weeks of stories for me!!! I started on this journey last year when I was sick of trying to get published. My spirit was broken and I couldn’t sit still and write. At times I thought I may have forgotten how.
A few years ago, I was on the board for Word|San Diego magazine. We did an interview with Ray Bradbury before he came down to San Diego for a writing seminar. When he came to town we all got free tickets to the seminar and we got to meet him!!! *boggle*
At the end of the seminar when he opened it up to questions, I asked his advice for becoming a better writer. I thought he’d recommend writing books to read, but he said write a new story every week. In a year you’ll have 52 new stories, new characters and new ideas. He grinned with a sparkle in his eyes and said "You’ll have so many books to write…"
I thought he was nuts at the time. I didn’t think there was any way I could make time to write a new story every week and you can’t sell short stories for much $$ so I set the advice aside.
Fast forward to last year. My books were in a rut. I was discouraged with publishing and starting to wonder if I could still write, when I thought… Maybe I’ll try a short story…
I found this fabulous writing group on MySpace called Blogophilia, and I wrote a little story called "Internet Dating Secrets".
It felt so good that I wrote another one the next week… And the next…
Anyway, Ray Bradbury was right! I’ve learned so much about writing this year, and also rekindled that fire inside of me to keep trying and keep creating.
For those of you who read every week and let me know you stopped by, THANK YOU!!!!! I love seeing everyone every week and I feel like we’re all friends. I share my ups and downs with all of you and I really appreciate the amazing support I’ve received here!
If you’re new to my blogs, I thought I’d pick my top 10 favorite stories from the past year…
The Bet –
I hope you enjoy the oldies from the past year! 🙂
This week, I started with a Monkee’s song. Those who are close to me know I am notorious for messing up song lyrics, and when I saw the actual lyrics for "Daydream Believer " were "Cheer up Sleepy Jean" I was shocked. My whole life I’ve been singing "Cheer up Sweet Regine." WHoops! *blush*
But it got me thinking about other names that would fit and Breezy Jean popped in my head… I hope you enjoy her story…
Thanks again for making this year fly by!!! And if you’ve got friends who like to read, please send them my way and tell them to subscribe to my blogs… I’d love to meet them!
Illumine Me – By Lisa Kessler
"This is impossible to understand!" Breezy slammed her science book shut with a huff and yanked the bright green scrunchie out of her hair. Untamed curls of sun-kissed blond hair fell down around her face as she started pacing back and forth across her tiny dorm room.
One, two, three, four, turn, and one, two, three, four steps back again. She was surprised she hadn’t walked a hole through her carpet by now. This semester had tried her patience like no other. She came to college to get her degree in Creative Writing.
So why was she struggling to pass an Astronomy class?
This wasn’t high school with state mandated requirements that the school needed to pass before she could graduate. This was college. She was paying them money to give her an education to become a writer, not a space engineer!
Yet here she was struggling to understand why atoms are illuminated by fusion. Stars, supernovas, and black holes were all way over her head. She couldn’t even wrap her brain around fusion itself. This was information she’d never use again, but for some reason she still needed to complete a science course to earn her degree in writing.
The bureaucracy behind it infuriated her.
She glanced over at her two shelves of well worn paperback novels. Those pages were her future, not fusion. She wanted to write a sweeping historical novel for the ages like Gone with the Wind, or a touching story like The Lovely Bones that haunted the reader long after they closed the cover. She could almost see her name on the spine of the books. Thanks to her parents, she didn’t even need a pen name. Who would believe her real name was Breezy Jean Sloane?
But instead of crafting the next Water for Elephants, she was stuck in her jail cell sized dorm room trying to write a paper on fusion in space. Perfect. Glaring at her science book, she snatched her hooded sweatshirt from the coat rack and bolted out the door.
"Oooph!" She smacked right into a very well-built chest, and plopped backwards onto her butt. Her cheeks reddened as her eyes traveled up from his tan legs to his trim waist, back up over the muscles of his chest, to his chiseled jaw, warm smile, and gorgeous blue eyes. He was too handsome, and she was merely a bug on the windshield.
"Are you all right?" He bent down and offered his hand.
She took his hand and got back up to her feet. "Yeah, I’m fine. Sorry about that. I shouldn’t have blasted out of my room without looking first."
"It was my fault. Will you let me buy you a cup of coffee? You can explain why you were shooting out of your room in such a hurry."
"You don’t have to do that." She shook her head. "I’m just stressed out about a paper.
"I’m a good listener."
She looked up at him, all six foot two of him, and then glanced back at her door. She should march right back in there and open that science book. When she met his eyes again, she was ready to tell him no, but something stopped her.
Here was an attractive guy, willing to listen to her spout off about a science paper, and she was thinking about turning him down? Was she insane?
"I don’t know your name," she realized out loud.
"I’m Nate. Nate Louderbrook."
She smiled. "Nice to meet you Nate. I’m Breezy." He raised a brow, but before he could ask she nodded, "Really. Breezy Jean Slone."
"I’m glad we bumped into each other, Breezy." He offered his arm and she smiled, placing her hand in the crook of his elbow.
They walked to the Cosmos Coffee shop across from her dorm building. It turned out Nate was on campus on a soccer scholarship. That explained the tanned legs and chiseled body. When he opened the door, Breezy caught the scent of his cologne and hoped she masked her reaction. Oh my God did that man smell good. He was a mixture of clean skin, freshly shampooed hair, and some sort of musk. Not old man Old Spice, but nothing foo-foo like Polo or Calvin Klein either.
She found a table in the back, a little more private, and took a seat. While Nate was up ordering coffees, Breezy people watched. Watching people and imagining their lives was the next best thing to writing. There was an older woman sitting alone in a booth, nursing her cup of coffee as she stared out the window. Was she waiting for someone? Maybe her daughter called today and they’re meeting up for the first time in twenty years. Or maybe her husband passed away and she couldn’t stand to sit in her empty house.
A man walked through the door with a bright-eyed little girl holding his hand. Was her Mom still in their lives? Maybe they were bringing home some tea. Maybe she was going to be a big sister soon.
Across the café, a couple sat close together in a booth, keeping their voices low. Were they plotting something? They could be eloping, or planning a bank robbery.
Anything was possible. That was what made being a writer magic. With the right word choices and atmosphere, she could craft a world that felt real and characters that her readers could root for. It was euphoric to wield that much power over a story, and at the same time terrifying to share your creation with the world.
Nate returned with the coffees and she smiled as he sat down. "Thank you for the coffee."
"Thank you for agreeing to come out with me."
She grinned, blowing across the hot surface of the mocha before taking a sip. "Mmmm This is just what I needed."
She started to say something more, but stopped when she heard the song playing in the background. A smile lit up her features.
"Do you know this song?" she asked.
Nate listened. "Is it the Monkees?"
"Yes!" Breezy grinned. "It’s Daydream Believer. I haven’t heard this song in years! My Dad used to sing it to me when I was little. Until recently, I thought they wrote it for me. Cheer up Breezy Jean. He used to change the lyrics and sing it to me to make me laugh when I was sad."
She should really call her folks. She hadn’t talked to them in a few weeks. Time flew by when she was buried in her courses. It was easy to lose touch, but she couldn’t let them slip away. Life was too short.
"He sounds like a great Dad."
"He is." Taking another sip of the warm mocha, she smiled at Nate. "So tell me about you."
"I already told you I’m here on a soccer scholarship and I’m studying to be an architect. What else do you want to know?"
"Well… Where are you from? Do you want to go back there after college?"
He stared at her blankly, and for a second, Breezy wasn’t sure he heard her.
"I don’t know."
Her brow furrowed. "You don’t know if you want to go back?"
"Yeah," he said, taking a swig of his coffee. "I don’t know yet."
Breezy shifted a little in her seat. This was getting uncomfortable. "So where are you from?"
Again he sat looking perplexed. Breezy frowned. Something was wrong with this guy.
"I think I may be from Texas."
"You think?" Breezy shook her head. "How can you not know where you’re from?"
He rubbed his forehead. "I wish I could explain."
"Look, I’d better go," she said, grabbing her purse. "Thank you for the coffee Nate. It’s been… Interesting."
She made her way out of Cosmos, surprised to find that she was a little disappointed Nate hadn’t followed her, or asked her not to go. The guy was obviously a jerk or had something to hide since he couldn’t answer a simple question about his hometown. But he hadn’t acted like a jerk all night, and he looked genuinely puzzled when he couldn’t tell her where he was from.
She’d definitely have to make a few notes in her journal about this. Maybe it’d work in one of her books someday. Why would someone behave like that? Maybe Nate was really a CIA undercover agent. He could be investigating college soccer doping or something. It was possible.
Anything was possible.
She gasped when she finally reached the door to her dorm room. It was purple. She frowned and looked at the doors on either side. They were still white. Was this a prank? She turned the knob.
And sat up at her desk.
Breezy reached up to rub her neck as she glanced around her dorm room. No wonder her neck hurt. Apparently she’d been napping on her open science book. So much for reading about being illuminated by fusion.
What a bizarre dream…
Her breath caught in her throat. There was a post-it note stuck next to her book that read simply:
She pulled the post it free and opened her writing journal. Flipping pages, she stopped when she got to a character bio. Male, twenty-two years old, at college on a soccer scholarship, future architect, needs name and family background. Potential names: Steve, Greg, Nate.
A chill shot down her spine as she circled his name. Placing the post it below his character profile, Breezy opened her lap top and started typing.
She couldn’t stop smiling. Nate was right. He was from Texas, and he going to be her best character yet. Her science paper was going to have to wait. Her fingers flew over the keyboard as more and more words appeared on her lap top screen.
She couldn’t stop smiling as she worked.
Finally she saved the file and reached for her journal to make a single entry.
Not doubt about it… Writing is magic.