Hannah Givens challenged me to a Freestyle Writing Challenge…. Which, I’ll admit, kinda scares me. The writing that I’ve posted so far has been draft-material… but it’s still been REVISED drafts! This calls for a full blown rough draft! Free-write material!
Hannah gave a prompt, which I read as I started the clock for fifteen minutes of writing… The prompt:
“Write a scene of inconvenient emotion.”
So many ways I could have taken this but… here’s what ended up coming of it. I’m not sure it’s exactly “inconvenient emotion” but… it’s what came:
Cara looked out over the crowd. They were all cheering, happy and excited to finally have reached this day. She pasted on a smile, trying to conform to the expectation, trying to fit in, trying to be all that they expected her to be. As she always did. But she hated it. She did not want to be here, in this itching cap and this heavy gown. Sitting under these bright lights as the crowd all cheered and chatted. They were supposed to be paying attention to the speaker, a woman who stood at the podium talking about great opportunities and reaching for the stars. They had voted for this woman to speak, asked her to speak, but now that the day was here they were too busy whispering at one another and trying to contain their excitement to pay any attention to what she said.
All these years, trapped in a classroom, and they spent their last hours together trapped in a hot auditorium listening to dull lectures about the future, and hope. But that wasn’t why Cara didn’t want to be here. That wasn’t it in the least.
She knew that she was supposed to be excited. So much hard work to reach this point. She had earned the honor of speaking to her peers, to sit up here where she had a view of the class, a view of the back of the speakers, while waiting her turn to share her words. Words that had been carefully thought out and spoke of how they were the future. Words that had been edited, revised, and approved. And she would deliver them with a smile, with enthusiasm, because that’s what she was supposed to do. That’s what was expected of her.
Cara took a deep breath. She could see them all out there. Her friends who had whispered behind her back while being nothing but sweet smiles to her face. The popular kids who ignored her, at best, and taunted her at worst. She should be happy. Happy to be leaving this place where she never quite fit in, happy to be on her way. Happy to be honored for her achievement.
But she wasn’t. All she wanted to do was stand up and scream. She wanted to yell at them all, all those proud parents and grandparents. She wanted to throw things at the classmates, her peers. She wanted to ask if they really believed any of the crap that they were being fed here, any of the ridiculous messages that they were the future. It was all just rhetoric, replayed over generations to wide-eyed and eager graduates. They really couldn’t do anything to change the future, they were so mired in the world that had been shaped by generations – how could one group of graduates change that? Why were they so naïve to think that they could change anything?
She pushed the anger away, it was not the time. It was not the place. She should be happy. The tears that began to well at the corner of her eyes, they could be tears of happiness. They could be tears of sadness at leaving her friends and the place she knew. That would be a reasonable way to feel here and now. Plenty of people cry at graduations, right? No one needed to know that they were tears of anger, at holding so much inside. She should be ready to leave this place. Even if they knew all that had happened, how much she wanted to get out of this school. Out of this town. Just take off and never come back. But the anger was full. Why did she have to leave? Why did she have to never come back? Why did she have to be the one to take off, as though she carried around some sort of shame for things beyond her control?
Cara took another deep breath, the woman speaking was coming to a close, her message of hope for the future. In just a few moments it would be Cara’s turn, to stand before her peers and friends and family. To speak of the great hope that they all carried for the future, how they would always have this place and time in common. Hollow empty words. But they were the words approved. And she always did what was expected of her, so they would be the words she would say. Cara would stand up at that podium, she would tell them the message they expected, the approved words they wanted to hear. She would wipe away her tears and choke back her emotions. She would not look at the crowd, but beyond them to the back of the auditorium. It was the only way she knew that she could hold back the emotions she truly felt. It was the only way she knew she could keep from speaking from her heart and telling them how angry she was at them all. How they were blind and caught in their own world, unable to see and understand what was right before them.
She would do as was expected. There was no room for anger here. There was no room for her to scream and yell and throw things. There was no room for her to share how she would not miss any of them, not even her so-called friends.
Standing Cara approached the podium, carefully laying her papers on it and closing her eyes. Hands gripped to the sides of the stand she turned her face up, focusing over the crowd, and began the speech. She would be sad. She would be happy. She would say what they expected. And then, then she would be gone.
954 words in 15 minutes.
I probably won’t do much more with this free-write, I have been focusing on fantasy stories more and am honestly not sure I want to dig into the untold story here.
I’m supposed to nominate people — but am always pretty horrible at actually figuring out who to nominate…so instead I challenge you ALL to this. If you do participate, go ahead and let me know in the comments and I’ll come see what you’d done!
Here are the rules:
1. Open a new document.
2. Set a stopwatch or your mobile phone timer to 5, 10, or 15 minutes, whichever challenge you think you can beat.
3. Your topic is at the foot of this post BUT DO NOT SCROLL DOWN TO SEE IT UNTIL YOU ARE READY WITH YOUR TIMER!!!
4. Fill the word doc with as many words as you want. Once you start writing do not stop.
5. Do not cheat by going back and correcting spelling and grammar using spell check (it’s only meant for you to reflect on your own control of sensible thought flow and for you to reflect on your ability to write the right spelling and stick to grammar rules).
6. You may or may not pay attention to punctuation or capitals. However, if you do, it would be best.
7. At the end of your post write down ‘No. of words = ____” so that we would have an idea of how much you can write within the time frame.
8. Do not forget to copy paste the entire passage on your blog post with a new topic for your nominees and copy paste these rules with your nomination (at least five (5) bloggers).
And here is your prompt:
“The first day nothing went as planned. The second day things got even worse.”