A to Z 2017–Y is for YOLO

This story isn’t my usual fare, but I like how it came out.

Y is for YOLO

“You only live once,” they said. “You’re thirteen… you can do this! It’s just like going off the high dive at the pool.”

I really didn’t want to do it, but I let them talk me into it. That was my first mistake.

I climbed the cliff with my sister and her boyfriend. Del. What kind of a stupid name is Del? Frances Arthur Delacroix. Ha. I guess if that was my name, I’d go by Del too.

Anyway, so Del and Barbara showed me the path. It took about 15 minutes, and I was hot and sweaty by the time we got up there. My legs were covered with nasty yellow-brown dirt.

I stood there breathing hard at the top of the hill overlooking the lake. I could see Trev and Sandy and the whole group down there swimming.

I wished I’d stayed down there swimming, too.

Instead, I was up there with Barb and the goon. And they wanted me to jump off a freakin’ cliff. Great.

The water looks greener from above than it does when you’re in it. Somebody told me once it’s because there’s a lot of copper in the dirt. So my sister’s creton was really kind of egging me on to jump into a pool of pennies from up high.

I kind of thought I could do it. Just get it over with. But once I was up there my heart started racing. Not just from climbing the hill, either. I was shaking all over. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. My knees locked up.

Overwhelming terror. That’s what it was.

“I changed my mind,” I told Barb. “I don’t want to do this.”

It was the muscle-bound maniac who answered me. “Don’t be a baby,” he said. “Nothing bad can happen. I’ve done this a thousand times.” He turned to Barbara. “Is she always so chicken-shit?”

“Shut up, Del.” At least she had my back. For a minute. Sort of. “Listen, Teena, if you don’t want to, fine. But if you don’t, you’re just going to beat yourself up over it. Once you do it, you’ll wonder what you were even afraid of. Seriously.”

I don’t know if I thought she was right. I don’t know if I could think at all right then, I was that scared. But I also didn’t want my sister to think I was a wuss. My friends either. They’d apparently noticed that we were up there, now, and they were all staring up at us.

Waiting for a show.

I took half a step closer to the edge, then another half a step. I got close enough that I could look straight down at the water. It really didn’t look as far as I thought.

The green was darkest right below the cliff. Deeper water there. Deep enough that you couldn’t hit bottom by accident when you jumped. That was good.

I edged a little closer again. My heart was still pounding, but my breathing wasn’t so bad now. I thought maybe I really could do it.

As I stood there, right on the edge of everything, Del started to say something. I don’t know what. He stepped closer to me and something shifted. Loose dirt. I took a half step backwards, but my feet were slipping.

Then there I was, out in the middle of the air.

I think I yelled. Not sure. I couldn’t hear anything over the pounding in my ears.

I couldn’t see anything, either, except the blue sky above me.

I hit the water, back first. All the wind rushed out of me.

The heat from the sun gave way to the icy fingers of the cold water as it wrapped around me.

And now I’m here, watching my friends pulling me out of the water. Barb and Del are running back down the hill.

You only live once, they’d said.

I need to decide whether to prove them wrong.


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Feeling stressed? Overwhelmed? Write something!

I’ll admit it – I’m not the world’s most organized person.

  • Sometimes I’ll start a project and realize halfway through that, oops, that other project I started has a deadline.
  • Sometimes I’ll completely forget I have something to do until it’s too late to get it done well.
  • Sometimes I’ve got something I really want or need to do, but I get stuck and frustrated, letting writer’s block keep me from moving forward.

brain-954823_1920And on and on.

And I know I’m not the only one. I hear similar things from other writers (and non-writers too) all the time.

Some of it is bad planning and time management – not really knowing how long something is going to take. Some of it is ADD, or should we call that Creative Brain Syndrome – just about every creative type I know suffers from this to some extent. And some of it is probably also fear – not trusting myself to be able to do something well, and so putting it off until I have no other choice.

Since my procrastination is very often in the realm of writing, I’m going to use writing to break my procrastination. In other words, I’m just going to do it, even if I feel overwhelmed, scattered, or nervous and afraid.

And I’m going to invite you to come along for the ride.

Get Writing Promptly

I have a story that I have to get written for the Blog Hop planned later this month. So here’s a writing prompt that I’m giving myself for that story:

Write a 500 word story about someone who gets in completely over their head.

If you want to play along you’re more than welcome! And if you don’t want to write fiction, feel free to turn it into a non-fiction prompt:

I couln’t believe I’d gotten in so far over my head… Write 500 words about a time when you discovered you had too much to do and not enough time to get it done.

I’ll be sharing my story at the blog hop on July 27th. If you want to share yours, feel free to post it in the comments below!

D is for delayed. And dog. And dentist.

I haven’t written yet today, so I decided I needed to say something about the delay in meeting my challenge.

I’m a little disappointed (another D) to have slipped a little so early on in this process. But today, there are good reasons.

Oreo - 2003

Oreo – 2003

Oreo - 2015

Oreo – 2015



Oreo - 4/4/2016

Oreo – 4/4/2016

This morning we had to take Oreo, our almost-14-year-old border collie, to the vet for the last time. She was old and sick. She had arthritis and cataracts. She was mostly deaf, and had a hard time walking. So we took her to the vet and sat with her as she escaped the prison her body had become. I have no doubt that she is now enjoying flowered fields, barking at birds and clouds and rainbows. I’m sure she’ll have steak for every meal. She’s better and happy now, but our hearts are more than a little broken.

It’s hard to write when you’re feeling broken.

This afternoon was a little less traumatic, at least for me. I took my husband to the dentist for a tooth extraction. May as well get all the crap out of the way on the same day, I guess. He’ll be uncomfortable for a couple of days, but at least it’s the end of the ongoing discomfort of a broken tooth. And we stopped on the way home to buy yogurt and pudding – soft things that he can eat easily. We never get pudding, so yay, pudding. 🙂

So here I sit, fairly late in the day, thinking about what D could possibly be for. Maybe David. Or Danger. Or even (dare I attempt it?) Dog.

I don’t really know yet. Check back later to find out what I (D) discover.

Wordy Wednesday – Whelmed by my week

I had such good intentions.

After my success in keeping up with my April Challenge, I thought I was heading into May with great momentum.

I was going to start on Monday with a blog post. (fail) I was going to get one up today also. (near fail… it’s 11:30pm as I type this)

So what happened?

First I felt a tremendous need to just take the weekend off from writing altogether. I was drained and exhausted from a busy April, and I needed time to recharge.

Then Monday we had some family business to take care of. That meant getting up earlier than usual. (Not outrageously early, mind. But I do tend to be a bit of a night owl, so it was earlier than I prefer.) Once things settled down and I had my time to myself, I completely forgot about posting here. Almost excusable. Sort of.

Then Tuesday, I overslept. (Can I blame my sleep cycle disruption from Monday?) And I had a pretty massive project that I needed to get done – layout and printing of 50 different greeting cards from pictures that I’ve taken. They were needed for someone else’s part of an event I’m involved with, so it wasn’t a project I could really put off. I spent the better part of my afternoon and most of my evening on that, then spent some time in the evening with the husband. So much for Tuesday.

Today (Wednesday) I drove a friend to a doctor’s appointment. A few hours turned into all day when we met up with some other friends for coffee in the early afternoon, and then discovered she was locked out of her house.

By the time I got home today, close to 5:00pm, I was spent. I felt run over. Buried. Whelmed.

Or overwhelmed if you prefer. It’s not that any particular event on its own took so much out of me. But I am decidedly an introvert, and I like my schedule. When I’m around people for too long, doing things I don’t have much control over, … let’s just say it takes it’s toll.

So here I am, 3 days into my week and nothing much show for it. I’ve fiddled with some words… have a story idea that I think I like. But when whelmed by life, my brain doesn’t work well. My muse runs to hide. All I can do is drain my phone playing Candy Crush.

Not good. Not at all. I am singularly underwhelmed by my writing performance this week so far.

Here’s hoping for better focus tomorrow.

Interested in knowing more about the etymology and meaning of the word Whelmed? Go here!

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Now, where was I?

Ok, so I blinked and 2 months went by.

I almost wish I could say I’d been sitting around eating bon bons and just “forgot” to be blogging, writing, and getting on with things because I was having too darn much fun.

And if wishes were pages, I’d have written a whole library by now.

The reality is that my “real job” doing desktop publishing got crazy for a while. Plus I was off the grid for a bit visiting family. Add to that some stress over how I was going to wrap up my work in progress, and you’ve got the trifecta that is the bane of every writer’s existence: unplanned busyness, personal obligations, and writers’ block.

*insert a heavy sigh here*

I do want to say, though, that I was, in fact, having fun. I mean, come on. Creative play on my laptop and a trip to California? How much more fun could I have? It’s just that those sorts of activities tend to sap all my creative energy and there’s not enough left for writing. Especially when I’m trying to figure out some piece of my story. :-/

But that, as they say, was then. This is now. And today I’m here on my blog. Today I have a finished draft for my short story. FINALLY!!! Today I’m really happy with my world. (My story world, that is. Actually, I guess I’m pretty happy with the actual, real world too.)

So yeah. Today. Today was a good day. And very soon, I will have a free story available for you to download, if you so choose. Hopefully that means today is a good day for you, too. 🙂


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