Curse This Mind

July 17, 2009 at 1:49 am (Random Writings) ()

*Author’s note:  The first assignment for my Intermediate Fiction Writing course my junior year of college.  We were asked to write a scene as long as it didn’t involve cheerleaders or vampires.  Naturally, I wanted to include the reference because I was told not to.  When given too much space for an assignment, this is literally what I devolve to.  I felt proud of this assignment.  Really proud actually.  My professor hated it.  Really, really hated it.  I got a 55 out of 100 points, quickly changed to 75 because of a mistake.  Still, 75 was harsh, and I wasn’t happy.  My professor told me that this wasn’t a story, wasn’t relatable, and wasn’t good.  I disagree with all three points, but then again, I told her my strong points are dialogue and humor, so it’s her fault.  You, however, can just enjoy.


Curse This Mind


            I’m out of time.  I’ve had a month and still, I am out of time.  You’d think that given an entire month I’d have been able to force myself to at least think about the assignment that’s been given to me; an assignment which requires me to do nothing more than decide on a story I’m supposed to write.  A month and nothing.  I blame society.

            “Okay everyone, I’m going to go around the room.  I want you to tell us what you’re planning on writing for class.”

            Damn.  I’ve got nothing.  No, that’s not true, I have too much.  Yes, that’s what I’m going with.  We have simple enough rules, and with simple rules I’m given too much space to think, and thinking’s where it gets dangerous.

            Clearly I’m unimaginative.  I’m drawing a complete blank.  “Just don’t write about vampires or cheerleaders.”  That should be easy.  It should be.  It isn’t when you’re lazy.  And yes, I am lazy.  Highly lazy.  So lazy that people fear for my safety at times.  I’m like a duck in a rainstorm.  If my head’s tilted up and the rain starts, I’ll drown before I get around to shifting my beak little more than inches to prevent death.

            How can I use that?  That’s tough, because a story about a lazy jerk isn’t interesting.  Stories cannot have a main character who goes about doing nothing.  What is that…passive, yeah, I can’t have that as a main character.  No one likes passivity in people, so why would they want to read a story about someone who does nothing?  Maybe everyone around him does something…yeah…could work.  No wait, what’s the opposite of working?  Oh yes, FAILIING.  This story concept could fail, and I cannot risk that.  Therefore, the only option is not to give an answer.

            “And don’t forget everyone, this story assignment is worth 75% of you total grade.”

            Damn.  It seems I must do this afterall.  Who makes something worth that much of a grade anyway?  What’s the point of the other 25%?  I could literally not show up and still pass the class as long as I turn in this paper and it’s decent enough to be read.  No wait, they still fail you if you miss too many classes.  That’s where they get you.

            “Alright, James, what have you come up with?”

            Shoot, no time for dilly-dallying, I have to think.  Let’s see, if James is on the other side of the room, and the professor’s going clockwise, then that gives me…3 hours?  No, wait, carry the one.  That gives me six minutes.  See, this is why I write, because I can make up numbers.  In math you have to actually know what the hell you’re talking about.  In here I’m allowed to do whatever I feel and it’s always right.  Unless it’s about vampires or cheerleaders.  Why can I think of nothing but vampires or cheerleaders?  I blame the professor.  And society.

            Allow me to run through everything I can think of off the top of my head: breasts.  There, done.  Can I write an entire story about nothing but breasts?  I can definitely try, can’t I?  If Hefner can do it, why can’t I?  Oh yeah…I’m not rich and surrounded by women.  Maybe a story involving women?  Women seem to be able to relate to other women.  I should write a story about a woman.  And this woman is a…cheerleader.  Damn.

            “That’s an excellent idea Daniel.  I would never have thought to write a story from the perceptive of the bullet waiting in a loaded pistol chamber.”

            Damn, that was a good idea.  I should have thought of that.  Maybe I did, and I didn’t realize it.  I have been preoccupied with breasts a bit too much I suppose.  For all I know I did in fact come up with that concept and Dan can just read minds.  And he stole my idea.  What a jerk.

            Hey!  An idea!  I’ll write about how Dan’s a jerk.  Yeah, brilliant.  But how can I convince the reader to believe me?  Well I’m the writer, so they have to believe me.  They wouldn’t be reading my thoughts unless they believed me.  Oh no…but what if they mistake my musings and come to the conclusion that I’m the jerk?  That’s a decent plot twist, but not one I’m willing to deal with.  You can keep your stolen ideas Dan, I’ll look elsewhere…you jerk.

            “Oh, wonderful, Alexis.  Did everyone hear that?”  No.  “Alexis says she’s going to try and write a story involving Jesus but never actually refer to him by his name.  Wonderful idea.”

            What?  That’s a stupid idea.  Stop trying to break conventions and just fall into them already.  Stupid Alexis, always stealing my fire right when I get it started.  Just like Prometheus.  I hope you’re smote by the gods for your behavior.  You and Dan.


            “YAH!”  Oh hell, my cell phone.

            “Chris, is anything the matter?”

            Yes you twit, I’m freaking stupid and I jump when my cell phone vibrates.  “Nope, everything’s fine.  Good ideas everyone, crazy stuff so far.”


            Unbelievable.  It’s like a damned rabid badger in my pants.


            Who’s calling me anyway?  Does no one understand the concept that maybe I’m in class attempting to have my thirst for knowledge quenched?


            I must know who’s calling me.  I must!  For no reason more than to begin preparing adequate outbursts to yell once I can call them back.  I’ll just sneak a peak at the phone, no one will know.


            How many rings is that?  Five?  I’ve only got two left, I must go fast.  Just slide it on out the pocket…smoothly, gently, and above all quietly…


            Jeez, this is ridiculous.  Why are my pants so tight?  This is like trying to feel up a sorority girl and what’s worse is I’m doing this to myself.  Fine, forget it, I give up.  They can die for all I care.  Shouldn’t have tried calling me in the first place.  Now back to my thoughts…


            “Chris, was that your cell phone?”

            Damn.  Why does my phone have to inform me when I’ve received a message?  Doesn’t it know this is a bad time to make noise?

            “Um…that would be my alarm for praise.  Good job on that concept!  Awesome!”

            “Actually, Robert here isn’t going to be turning in a proposal and has decided to forgo the assignment.”

            “Um…then it must be my alarm for failure.  Boo Robert!  You’re a disgrace!”

            “Robert is forgoing the assignment so that he can help peer edit.”

            Damn you Robert.  You’re on my hate list.  I know why Nixon made a list in the first place, and Robert, you are that reason.

            “Sorry, I was confused by the question.  That noise was actually my insulin regulator.  Seems I’m getting my afternoon jolt.  Diabetes is harsh sometimes.”

            “Oh, I’m so sorry Chris.  Who’s next?”

            Clever save brain.  I would never have thought of that in a million years even if I’d have wanted to.  Hah, I don’t even have Diabetes.  Dumb cooze.  Ug, that sounded bad even for me.  Besides, I don’t have time to be uncouth, I need to think and think clearly.  I must be as the snow globe and clear the snow from my gaze.  No wait…snow globes become more chaotic when shook.  Okay then, I must be like a leaf blower and clear the streets of my mind.  Does that one work?  Perhaps, but it still doesn’t give me a story concept.  Damnit.  Damnit damnit damnit.

            “Damnit.”  Oh hell, I said that out loud.

            “Excuse me?”

            “Damnit…that was a great story concept!  I was thinking of using that one myself!”

            “Chris, why would you write a story about Virginia’s grandfather battling cancer?”

            “Because I’m just as distraught as her…of course.  You can’t keep his memory all to yourself Virginia!”

            “Chris, sit down and stop banging the table, please.”

            Close call.  Is it damnit, or dammit?  I never could come to a decision for that.  The extra “n” always pissed me off anyway.  I should just spell it dammit and be done with it.  But what if the professor’s already told us the proper spelling and I’ve missed it?  Nope, can’t risk it, I won’t be swearing in my story no matter how angry the characters get.  They’ll yell “golly” and “darn tooting” but none shall utter an obscenity.  Mmm, and maybe “trouser stain.”  That’s just good fun.  And good for character development.

            “Okay, Chris, what do you have for us?”

            Oh no.  Moment of truth.  What have I thought of?  Think think think!


            No that won’t do.  You have to make actual words mouth.

            “Darn tooting.”

            And sentences.

            “Darn tooting ma’am.”

            Try harder.  Take a deep breath.  Ah, nice.  Now close your eyes, like you’re in deep thought.  Also good.  Yeah, they’re really anticipating something good.  Clear your throat, too.


            Good, that’s good.  People usually do that before they speak.  This is it Chris, you can do it, you’re the man, you’re in charge.  Time to wow them with your story proposal.  Make them cry out praises on high to you.  Make them believe you’re Jesus H. Christ descending from Heaven in a glowing light with angels on trumpets and fairies creating a laser-light show right in front of their eyes, so much so that they have seizures from being unable to make in everything you have to offer them in one sitting.  Now do it Chris, read them the Gospel like they’ve never heard it before.

            “So I’ve got this story involving a vampire who kills cheerleaders…”

            …Damn.  I blame society.


1 Comment

  1. frabjousflamingo said,

    I loved it, of course, but my guess is that your professor didn’t like it because you refer to her in your story as both a “twit” and a “dumb cooze”. Just a guess. 😉

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