I get to slack off today because I wrote a seven-page short story!

It came about in my very very very favorite way: the idea just appearing in my head, the structure, the everything, BAM! I get hyper and jittery and excited and MUST immediately get to the computer, open up Word, and get it down as fast as my little pillow fingers can type before I lose some of the details. They just keep coming and coming, and sometimes I have to just type out fragments on the page just to keep them because another one starts forming over it, or under it, or through it to continue on a whole new direction. Over Under Sideways Down, Backwards Forwards Square and Round. It is torture to be distracted during this Miracle Of The Words, because I am so focused on completing it. I cannot let it sit, I HAVE TO FINISH IT. Lucky me, I don't ever want to write a novel.

I started at 2PM, and it was done by 8:30PM, with excruciating breaks to go pick up the kids from summer camp, cook and serve wasabi-ginger chicken, with garlic butter brown rice, and fresh pineapple, and tuck in the same two camped-out sleepy kids. I finished it, re-read for typing errors, changed a word or two around, but left it almost exactly as it came out. Professional writers would roll their eyes at me now, knowing that multi-revisions and editing are NECESSARY and LONG DRAINING PROCESSES for ALL that's ALL which means YOU, MA'AM, writers. But nyah nyah nyah to you, you old bores! GUESS WHAT? I do know that, I do know it could be better, tighter, everything you ever do could be. But I like that it is preserved in this way, a nod to the spontaneous thinking (or blabbering) like I do here. I love the idea that something creative can be DONE, BAM! and out there, and you can go on to the next thing. I am not a belabored sort; I don't have the discipline to hone, whittle, refine, tweak, or polish anything. I can barely make a bed, for chrissakes.

Another time the Miracle Of The Words happened was when I was almost finished with college. I was taking a Creative Writing class that was very enjoyable and a great learning experience -- not something I can say about 99% of my college classes. The class was really sparking my brain up. So one night I am in the bathtub, soaking away mindlessly, and here comes this story. It rushed into my head and I started thinking OH. OH! OOOOH! I have no clue why it came; the subject matter had nothing at all to do with anything my life was about, just some bits and pieces of a friend's past mixed in with sheer fiction. I flung myself out of the bathtub, didn't even bother to grab a towel. I put on a giant red terry cloth robe and ran to the computer, yelling for my husband to take care of the kid. I think I finished the story in 3 or 4 hours, and barely changed a thing.

I handed it in to my professor in the writing class, cleverly using it for a required assignment. I love double-duty stuff. She gave it back to me at the next class. There wasn't a mark on it. I was confused, maybe she didn't read it, or thought it was so bad I should just toss it and start over? I turned to the back page. All it said was, "A+. You are a writer. So go write." I looked at the words for a long time trying to take in the depth of that. I looked up at her, and she was smiling at me.

She told me the University newspaper was having a writing contest and that I should submit that story right away, because the deadline for entries was almost up. So I printed out a copy on some hideous dot-matrix printer, and walked it over to the newsroom. A week later, I got a call. I won. The story was printed up in the paper, just as it was, even with the word "shit" in it. Ha ha. I picked up a bunch of copies, and sent some to my friends and relatives. It was a nice thing.

I thought about sending the story to be published somewhere, but I never did it. The daily business of life sort of swept away the idea, the class ended, and I had no reason to keep on writing.

But here we are. It is fun to write, and OK to write even if it is not grand, or even great. It's OK to be a writer, on my own terms. I can't wait to see what the hell turns up next.