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Foreshadowing

It has occurred to me that life is like writing, particularly the foreshadowing. I suppose that I am not the first to see this. “Life imitates art,” wasn’t a Julie original after all.
So, here’s what I’m thinking. I think that I have been a writer for about a year. In truth, there were clues. I remember entering a story contest in 5th grade and winning. In 7th grade, I wrote silly plays using all my friends as the players. No one ever acted them out, but they were tattered from being passed throughout the school. In my brooding teen years, I preferred poetry which I continued to write all through college. Then, it was in college that I realized that I liked to read, not just for information, but for fun, sometimes for sport. A professor would make a reference to a book, kids would laugh, I wrote it down and headed to the library to get it.I wanted to be in on the jokes. I wanted to understand. So, I read tons of American and British literature during those years. I also found that I loved writing papers and always received accolades. I love a good pat on the back, so I kept writing. After college, I started a prayer journal. I journal now for posterity , for record, for my kids. I entered a short story to a magazine once a few years ago. It was rejected, but why would I do that? What possessed me? I started a book early in my first pregnancy because the way that I found out was so humorous to me. So, I said all of that to say, unbeknownst to me, I was a writer long before I managed to put two and two together. Foreboding is not limited to literature. The writing was on my wall well before I stopped to read it.

The Chase

I am a commercial writer. I am not a literary writer, though at times the twain do meet. Mainly, however, I am a story gal. I think up these scenarios all day everyday and most are pushed aside, not worth the energy, the paper, ink, stress, rejection, sleepless nights, etc of getting them into manuscript form. Then, there are the ones that keep going on and on, demanding to be heard. I’m forced to write them. Once the decision is made, I am scratching on anything with anything to get it out. It’s the story that drags me along in a wake of caffeine and crazy. I have to tell it. I have to know what will happen. How will it end? What happens to the..whatever is happening. I am in a full on frenzy until it’s out. This process takes me about two to four weeks. Then, the editing takes another several months. Editing is a special torture for me. But that is a tale for another time.
So, back to the writing, commercial all the way. I LOVE the story, the chase, the climax and especially the resolution. Its thrilling for me in an embarrassing way, and with a magnitude that I liken to winning something HUGE. I love to tell the story. The characters propel it forward, add interest and humor, but without the story, they simply would not exist. (Of course the argument for the reverse is just as logical, but I’m hoping to corner the win based on fervor, zeal and overall excitement for my side).

A 700 word idea that became 80,000 words fast

Witness

“I found my home address, my birthday, and a bunch of other stuff,” Pixie said over my shoulder. “I even found a mom with my name and a very boring blog. What about you?”

We had one simple assignment, Google our names.

“I can’t find anything about me at all, or my dad, or my mom’s death. I am going to fail.” My head hit the desktop.

“That’s weird,” Pixie shrugged and left.

She was finished. I was stuck.

Eventually, boredom and a supersized crush had me typing my professor’s name into the search engine. Bryan Petit was all that I could think about lately. I laughed when I saw a 92 year old man. Then I saw him. My professor stood beside this old man in a photo for the obituary. The caption said that his name was Nicholas Austen.

Immediately, I Googled Nicholas Austen and my breath caught. He wasn’t a professor. According to the internet, he was a war veteran and D.C.’s youngest U.S. Marshall.
Why was he teaching English at an all girl school? I wondered if it had anything to do with the killer that the media had been speculating about recently. Was my English professor really some kind of amped up school security?

“Elle?” A hand on my shoulder sent my flying. I slammed my thighs into the underside of the desk and then cried. “Ahhh.”

Bryan, I mean, Nicholas was staring down at me, bemused. “Are you alright?” he asked still smiling.

“Are you trying to kill me?” I demanded, utterly embarrassed. I shut my laptop immediately.

“Do you know what time it is?” he asked.

“No.”

“It’s after midnight. Just because the school library is open until two doesn’t mean that you should be here until then.” The sight of his dimple sent me swooning.

I wondered how long ago Pixie left? Was it really midnight? My watch gave confirmation.

“What are you doing here?” I doubted that he was paid to teach all day and then patrol the campus all night too.

“Can I give you a ride home?” He ignored my question.

That would be sure to send tongues wagging. Giving his student a ride home at midnight seemed like a bad idea to me. I resolved to walk before he got himself fired.

“I’m alright,” I said slinging my bag onto my arm. It disappeared as quickly as I had tossed it. Nicholas was securing it over his own shoulder.

“What are you doing?” I accused.

“I’m giving you a ride home.”

His thick red lips caused a cloud to settle on my brain. He turned to leave and I followed along, incoherent. His jeep was pulled up on the curb outside the building. Nicholas hefted my things into the back and opened the passenger door.

“What were you doing here alone?” His voice was protective and I blushed.

“I wasn’t alone.” As I said it I knew that wasn’t true, not anymore. The entire campus was deserted.

“You shouldn’t be out alone,” he cautioned, pulling away from the building and heading directly for my apartment.

“Right, the Ohio Valley is a real crime mecca.” I rolled my eyes, but he glared. His consternation was evident.

“You need to be careful,” he warned again.

“You keep saying that.” I looked him full in the face. I knew that I was blushing, but I also knew he had a secret. “Why?”

His eyes burned into mine for a long beat, and then he pulled the jeep onto the sidewalk in front of my building. This night had just gotten very interesting.

“Elle, there’s a very dangerous man somewhere nearby. You’ve seen the news?” One eyebrow rose slightly.

“What does that have to do with me?” I asked incredulously. “You can’t drive everyone home from the library.”

His face went flat. I took advantage and pressed further.

“How did you know where I lived?”

Nicholas stared. His eyes were narrow. He was thinking, struggling.

Before he could answer any one of my questions, I blurted, “I know your secret,” nearly daring him to deny it. “Why send a Marshall?” My mind was full of questions. They kept falling out.

“Why not the FBI?”

“Marshalls are assigned to witness protection details.” He didn’t deny it.

“He’s looking for a witness?” I asked about this ‘dangerous’ man.

“Elle, He’s looking for you.”

Facebook

I notice that Twitter is the new addiction in the literary world, and everywhere else, I suppose. Myself, I prefer Facebook. The ironic thing there is that I was forced to open an account after years of rolling eyes at social network users. My Hotmail and I were content together. No need for lingering one liners and unanswered questions. I didn’t need pictures and event invitations. I had it all already. Hotmail was my mistress. (My mister?)Turns out, I was wrong. I needed it.

About a year ago, I was in a position where I needed to step down from a ministry. (Yep. I’m a Jesus girl). So, anyway, I had been on a leadership team for several years and life was getting busy. I couldn’t do everything at 125% which is my goal, so I stepped down. My dear sweet new friend and replacement came in the form of a girl who lived in another city. Facebook was the logical choice for meeting and exchanging ideas, information, etc. So, reluctantly, I opened an account. I did my best to ignore the thing, only logging in to check messages and then promptly signing out. That lasted a long long while. In fact, I can’t say when I discovered the joy that is Facebook, but I did.

Now, I check in all the time. I love seeing how everyone is doing. I read the funny one liners. I respond. I update. I add my own pictures and everything. I crack myself up, and can occasionally be mildly offensive. I’m truly working on that. I’ve navigated some tricky waters, what with children of friends being my friends. Innuendos have to be disguised as covert little pokes (no pun intended). I mention lightly about my writing obsession without tipping my hand too far. I bob and I weave and I stalk and I rant. I simply love it. It’s fun. It’s easy, and I am here to advocate for Facebook. Try it, you may discover that you really really like it. I did.

Writer Wednesday Welcomes: Kathleen Koppang

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