Saturday, September 20, 2014
Silly Questions Got me in Trouble by Vicki Batman
What do these singers have to do with me? I knew you’d ask. Lol
Several years ago, I was returning from a funsister trip with girlfriends when one of them suggested playing car games. (Yes, we groaned.) We were pooped—champagne, late nights, cake, laughs, movies, chocolate, and shopping. The fun things girls do!
So with minimal coaxing, we each took a turn answering. My reply was Englebert as I thought he seemed sexier and Tom was wilder. My other friends picked Tom. Guess they were wilder!
Then my friend tossed out this question: Write the opening paragraph of a book, using the word window.
Panic set in. I am not a spontaneous writer. And if I had some spontaneity, I wanted it to be stellar. So the others—thankfully—went first, giving me time to try to pull something together. My turn came, and all eyes rotated to me. Yikes! I still had nothing. Nothing nothing. So I shrugged.
My friend said that I could write something the following week and email it. Put on the spot, I agreed because I knew my galpals: they would hold me to it.
Two days later after I’d mega cleaned my house because my men had trashed it, I found a bit of time to sit and try. Hands poised over the keyboard, I thought and wrote the word window. Then came:
A blinding red-white, red-white strobe, reflected in my brand new Wrangler’s rearview mirror, seized my attention. The police. I tossed my hands skyward, ready to surrender. I shouldn’t have been too surprised.
I liked that—a lot. So I kept picking and piddling and editing and revising and lo and behold, I had eight chapters. Ohmygolly! But what does one do with eight chapters?
I phoned my game friend and asked her to lunch. I explained what I’d done and how I felt and here you go. Panic and surprised washed over her face, but she took the disc and went home.
Two days later, she was back, returning my disc. She said two words, “Keep going.”
I was shocked. But I did. And finished. And learned. And grew. I busted boundaries I’d locked inside of me for a very long time.
When my son was small, Handsome and I had visited a secondhand bookstore because I wanted more Dick Francis mysteries. I’d just discovered him and adored his style. Handsome asked why I liked them so. I confessed my deepest desire, “I wish I could write like him.”
I don’t write like Dick Francis, mostly because I know squat about horses. I write like me—funny and packed with emotion. That is what’s in Temporarily Employed.
And with great glee, my friend is taking all the credit.
Has a friend ever prompted you to pursue a secret desire?
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Sassy writer of sexy and funny fiction