One Second

Hello, Blogosphere, and good morning.

Here’s my first new post, as promised! The first prompt in the book: “What can happen in a second?” Here’s my answer.

Also, any thoughts on the new theme?

* * * * *

The kid shifts in his chair and reaches for his pocket. I peg him as soon as I see the phone come out.

“Hey, you.”

He freezes.

“You, in the third row. With the prissy little hair. Put the damn phone away and look at me.”

The kid rolls his eyes.

“What, you think I’m a fraud? Buddy, I promise you, if I could get out of this goddamned wheelchair I’d beat your hide right now.”

Miss Sophia puts her hand on my shoulder. I look up at her. She shakes her head.

Her hands are freezing.

“Fine,” I say. “Have a little class, would you?” I make eye contact with the girl next to him, and she nods. Whispers something in his ear.

The phone goes away.

I nod and wheel forward, going down the aisle between the rows of desks. “You kids don’t take this stuff seriously. I should know, I didn’t either.” I point at a little girl in the back row. “I used to sit in your seat. And I’d have my head down and I’d sleep. I’d pass the tests, but it was luck mostly. But why did I care, right?”

I raise my voice. “Next week, Miss Sophia’s going to teach you how to correct, when you’re driving and all of a sudden, you hit a patch of ice. I fell asleep that day, when we learned about it.”

I turn, and wheel my way slowly back to the front. “One second, guys. One second changes everything. Three weeks after I passed the test at the DMV, I hit a patch of ice going 45 on a 30. I had about three seconds to do something. Took me one to realize what was even going on. I had one second, before it was too late to do anything. Hopefully, you guys will learn how to use that one second and correct, and save your own skins.”

I lock my eyes with the phone kid.

“I spent that one second making my peace with God. I didn’t know what else to do, so I didn’t do it.”

I pause for a while. The kids look at each other. I wait for the whispers to wane.

“I thought I’d be dead. Turns out, I got lucky. Lucky enough to never play football again, never walk into school. I can’t go on boats anymore, because if they capsized there would be nothing I could do. I got lucky, yeah. Blessed with a lifetime of adult diapers.”

One kid snorts, and I fix him with a glare. He withers.

Miss Sophia brushes my shoulder again. Her hands are still cold. I nod.

“Before I go, just remember to take something from what I said today. You don’t have to take much, but my one, single request is this: Don’t be stupid.”

* * * * *

Be well and prosper,

Evan

642 Things To Write About

Hello, Blogosphere, and good morning.

My comeback is trying to make a comeback. The irony and irresponsibility flow.

Like any other book nerd, I find solace in my local Barnes & Noble. I visited a few days ago, and somewhere between finding the spot my book would take on the shelves and realizing just how often I see the kids I work with outside of their classes, I found myself in the section of the store that sells writers’ journals. The Moleskines and the little booklets, but also these big leather-bound medieval-looking things that I need to own eventually.

But anyway, I was looking around the shelves and I stumbled onto a book.

It’s called 642 Things to Write About, which, after skimming through it, is pretty much what it sounds like. It’s a compilation of 642 writing prompts, produced by the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto (which, from what I can tell, is a group of writers who have a freaking office building to themselves to just write).

I said earlier that my comeback is trying to make a comeback. This is true. It’s been too long since I’ve really posted much, and I think as long as I keep doing what I’ve been doing, I’m going to keep getting what I’ve been getting. So, Stephanie, I think I’m going to take a hiatus from InMon (despite full intentions to return soon). And the content I’m writing is going to shift, a bit. A lot more stories, and hopefully some more musing on writing, but now, when inspiration strikes.

Also, please notice the new theme, assuming it’s running by the time this is posted. It’s time to change some stuff up.

And there’s a new sendoff, too.

Be well and prosper,

Evan

Remembering: One Year Later

Hello, Blogosphere, and good morning.

Today marks one year since my town was shattered by the sudden death of one of my school’s students.

Please take this time to remember Cam with me.

For the full story, please click here.

I said in that post that one day my age would surpass his.

We were born one year apart.

But today we are the same age.

Next year, I will be one year his elder.

More than anything else, that haunts me.

I said it last year in the link above, and I’ll say it again. Take the time today to live like you had twenty-four hours. Just that. Nothing more. Say all the things today that you would, if you were really in that position. Tell the people you love that you love them. Because if you don’t today, I guarantee you, someday you’ll wish you did when you had the chance.

Sure as hell I do.

May you remain existential,

Evan

 

Rest easy, Cam.

 

PATIENCE AS A SIN

Hello, Blogosphere, and good morning.

It’s been a long time.

Sorry about that.

And also, sorry about this getting sent out twice. I hit the wrong button–I’m a bit rusty.

Well…I’m back to the world now, seeing as college applications are freshly submitted.

But anyway, it’s time for a Grand Re-Entry. Though this one might be a bit mediocre, by my methods of self-judgment.

This week’s InMon prompt is “Patience as a Sin”.

* * * * *

That couple had laughed at us.

Marriage coaches, whatever. Some coaches they were. “Can’t name a daughter Amity. Not Faith, either. Trust us, our little Verity is eager to go against her name, now that she’s a teenager. You don’t want to egg them on.”

Some counselors. Never called in, never asked about her after she was born. 

And we didn’t need them, either. We raised her right. Taught her ourselves till she went to the seventh grade a whole year earlier, went to every ballet performance, made sure she knew her piano and her violin. 

We were good parents.

More than that.

We were the best damned parents she could’ve had.

And that couple had laughed at what we wanted to do.

Too harsh, too strict, too confining. Hippies, both of them, off in their little dreamland. They were the worse parents, not us.

This can’t be our fault.

Can’t be our fault. Course not.

But little Chastity’s going to be staying at home for a very long time.

They were right. Somehow, they knew.

They knew.

That no matter what virtue we named her after, that’d be the one she’d go against.

* * * * *

May you remain existential,

Evan

On Fluid Names In Editing

Hello, Blogosphere, and good morning.

First, I would like to extend a formal apology for my lack of posts recently. Not to make excuses, but this is College Applications season.

Tufts University, in case I have any alumni reading.

But anyway, I’d like to comment a bit on one facet of the revision process which, as I talk with people more, seems to be more of a staple than I had originally realized.

So during the last major overhaul to the book, I had a rather unexpected compulsion to do some heavy-duty renaming. People mostly, though maybe a couple places here and there. But…yeah. Just a lot of names getting switched out, independent from a whole other ordeal involving a sex change on my main character (don’t ever do that. Hims and hers are awful).

And I’ve talked to a few people recently, some from the writing conference I’d mentioned a couple months ago, but this seems to actually be a common thing as people go through their revisions. Not even the general idea of renaming, but a spontaneous compulsion to I MUST NOT CALL THIS PERSON WHAT THEY ARE CALLED.

Maybe it’s growing pains, or maybe collective societal arbitrariness…but regardless, I’d love to find a reason.

Do you do this? Or is it just a trapping of myself and my fellow angsty teenagers? I’d love to get a dialogue going about this–maybe we can create some sort of new authors’ initiation thing. Let’s do it.

May you remain existential,

Evan

SAFETY IN PAGES

Hello, Blogosphere, and good morning.

Sorry about the recent lack of content from my corner of the Internet. Right now, the focus for me

is touching up this last draft before I send it to other agents, but I plan to be posting a bit more once

the novel’s sent off again.

This week’s Inspiration Monday prompt was “Safety in Pages”. Playing off a bit of inspiration I got

recently—it’s not the exact story concept, but it follows many of the same pathways.

* * * * *

Max’s fingers trembled as he poked at the keyboard.

Breath shook, frosted the screen as bits of fog

curled from the vents.

He rubbed his neck into the collar of the coat, cursing himself for the fingerless

gloves.

He reached for the mouse.

Clicked on the file, moved it. Put it into the e-mail.

Test LXIII Results. Final Correspondence.

And closed his eyes for a long moment.

The long beep sounded, and he clicked to the other tab.

“WELL?”

“SENDING IN A MOMENT.” He could barely muster the control to type it.

The nervous sweats didn’t quite freeze his skin in the cold, but they came close.

“A MOMENT?”

Max caught his breath, the hand coming back to tighten around his heart again.

“WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?”

“NO PROBLEM,” he typed back.

The blinking underscore seemed to still for a moment onscreen, and then it went back and continued

as normal.

“THEN SEND IT.”

He clicked to the other tab.

Tried once to hit the button, and failed, and tricked himself into doing it without thinking.

Message sent.

Back to the other tab, closing out the first one.

“SENT.”

“RECEIVED.”

And then:

“YOU WILL BE SPARED.”

Max breathed a long sigh of relief.

“NO VIRUS?” he typed.

“NO VIRUS.”

He waited for a long moment, thought to himself.

“THANK YOU.”

“WE APPRECIATE YOUR COOPERATION.”

Max clicked out of the window, went to turn away, caught his breath when it opened again.

“SEE YOU IN HELL.”

The hand slipped over Max’s mouth, and as the syringe sank into his neck, the computer shut down.

They’d told the truth.

It wasn’t the virus that’d killed him.

* * * * *

May you remain existential,

Evan

My First Rejection

Hello, Blogosphere, and good morning.

I got my first rejection letter today.

It’s bittersweet, I guess.

Bitter for obvious reasons, of course, that I won’t shove under the rug. It’s rejection. That part of things is never fun.

However, at the same time, I couldn’t have asked for a better let-down.

I’ve been bracing myself for a very long time, to receive a letter that would essentially tell me that the work was hopeless and it would be best if it were forgotten. And publishing isn’t an industry where people are afraid to say that, either. Time is short, and if work is wasting that time, the author’s going to know. I’ve been mentally preparing for that, read dozens of letters ranging from the chiding to the discouraging to the flat-out prohibitive.

And the message I got today was more helpful, more encouraging, than anything I could have hoped for.

I’ll withhold the details, partly because I don’t want to bore people and partly because it has some strange sense of privacy I haven’t quite figured out yet. But this isn’t just me trying to create a graceful defeat or whatever. As far as getting rejected goes, this experience was great.

And…the journey has just begun.

May you remain existential,

Evan