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  • Writer's picturecoralrivera

i'm not okay (i promise).

In tenth grade geometry class, I killed most of my friends.

They didn't really do anything to warrant such disastrous fates. They just really had to go. For the sake of the story.

I had started writing just a couple of summers before that and I had it in my mind, as was the trend in the day, to imagine up a horror, killer-at-prom mystery. I grabbed a thick spiral bound notebook and made up a story about my friends in class attending the homecoming dance and a killer coming after us. I, of course, was the misunderstood and overlooked book-smart heroine determined to find the killer, of which was one of said friends.

Every week, I would write a new chapter and bring it to class, pass it around the sets of hands in between talks of acute angles and parallelograms. I wrote in pen. I was ferocious in my storytelling decisions, told myself that there was no need for pencil if I'm doing it right the first time.

(I quickly discovered white-out was my best companion and doubled as white nail polish.)

I don't remember who the killer ended up being. It may have been a friend I subconsciously envied or held some sort of resentment toward. It was most likely a boy with whom I had unrequited feelings for. It may not have been their fault. Being a sixteen year old girl did not mean being the most emotionally stable.

What it taught me though, was my stories had the potential to be exciting. I try to remember that when I'm figuratively--and at times literally--banging my head against my desk when I'm stuck in a writing rut. Not to say that my past work was hot shit. It was just shit. But it carried a spark of something and that spark never did lose its fire. It's a matter of giving it a bit of air to grow.

I'm currently working on a genre-bending, sci-fi noir story which has been in my head in some shape or form for years. It wasn't until I thought back to that notebook, with its construction paper-covered cover and boy band lyrics written like love notes with Jelly Roll glitter pen on the inside, when I decided to keep at it simply because it made me smile. The slasher fanfiction of a story that I shared with friends wasn't a piece of art, but it was finished, and the process was fun. It made me happy. I realized my writing as of late had become work, a means to compete with others, instead of something that brought joy. Social media reminds me who I'm working with and against. That notebook reminded me of all the possibilities awaiting on the simple, faded blue lines of college-ruled paper.

Over the past year, I've slowly resigned to the fact that I may never be published by a major house, may never find an agent. I lost friends that didn't share in my dreams, didn't think it worth their time to support. Those thoughts and actions had replaced my joy with sadness, but also, reality. I think, at least for a little while, I need to write for me and for no one else. I need to write to that sixteen year old girl who relished in the smiles and gasps of her friends, but was more satisfied when she wrote The End after every little tale. I don't ever want it to feel like work again. I want it to make me feel alive, even when the people I know in its pages end up dead.

(I think I'm a sadist.)

So, bear with me if I seem like I'm withholding. This can (hopefully) only mean I'm hard at work at creating this world and making it into something worthwhile, something to be proud of, and perhaps one day if I'm lucky, a story that inspires another young kid to begin scribbling their own.

Glitter pens and all.

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