1/29/09 – border

(This is the first entry in my writing journal.)



            In an attempt to get more into the groove and flow of writing, I think I’m going to do writing exercises before I write. Maybe just ten minutes of free writing or something like that. I am so rusty it’s unbelievable. Note to self: even you step away from major application of a skill in your life, keep doing it a little on the side. If you don’t, when you return you’ll find the pipes rusty and overgrown. Not exactly the condition the five wise virgins were in when the bridegroom arrived. When the voice calls for a cry, will I be ready or will I fumble for my pen, muttering quiet words about fourth grade and wishing I’d paid attention in lit class?

            Yes. So the writing exercises. Let me go do a quick search online, see if anything useful pops up, and if not, I’ll just come and pick something in my day to write about it.


            One site had a good idea: take a dictionary and look up a word, then write ten minutes about it. I don’t have a dictionary, but I have a thesaurus.

            Quick note: why am I doing this on the computer? Usually I like to write stuff by hand (not entirely true; I love writing stuff up on a computer, but it’s not as much of a tangible record as writing by hand is), but in this case, when I’m just trying to get back into the flow of writing, I want to be able to just go and not worry about my hand getting cramped or my brain moving faster than my mind. Plus it’ll save my hands for the actual writing.

            So, the word: border.


            With a tentative first step Jack moved forward. He felt his skin begin to crawl as he neared the line, but he forced himself to keep going. Wasn’t this what he had come here for? Wasn’t this the moment he had lived for all his life? He couldn’t back away now. He would keep going.

            His feet plopped into the dust, sending little jets shooting off to the sides. It was an inch or so thick, and he felt like it wanted to grab his feet and slow him down.

            He looked up. Fifteen steps and he’d be there. To the line. That dreadful point of no return.

            One step.

            Five steps.

            Then something began to happen. The dust he kicked up didn’t settle back down to the ground, but instead continued to rise. It elevated behind him, on his sides, until it seemed that he walked in a three-sided cloud, half a cone that surrounded his back and sides. At first he could see through it, but by the eighth step he found that all he could see out of the corner of his eyes was a wall of speckled brown.

            Funny. Dust doesn’t usually do that.

            And that’s when he knew.

            This was no ordinary dust.

            He dove the line.

            Too late.

            The dust formed into a hand and grabbed at his ankles. He stretched out his hands, reaching with all his might to cross that border between freedom and capture, but the dust took hold and snatched him back. It was a strange feeling, having his body pulled and flung back into the valley. Probably what a rubber band felt like. Then he realized the worst part: the mountain sloped down, and he was still in the air.

            He flung his arms and rolled himself onto his stomach. The wind whistled in his ears; it tore at his cheeks, stretching them back toward his ears; his clothes rustled and flapped at his arms. And he saw the ground, brown as the dust, rushing straight toward him, and fast.

            His stomach sank. He thought of all those dreams he had as a kid, when he woke up the moment before he hit the ground. He couldn’t believe it was actually happening. He scrunched his eyes and prayed it was all a dream.

            His eyes cracked open. The ground was still there.


            Well, no use looking away. He kicked his feet together and put his hands forward in a dive. The ground would find it hard to stay solid if he came at it like an Olympic diver.

            He was fifty feet away. The ground looked as solid as a rock.

            He stayed strong, and didn’t break form.

            The ground didn’t bunch. It didn’t even blink. Just stared right back at him.


            The ground was in his face. Then…he kept moving. He flung back his arms and slowed his descent. His legs slowly settled from behind him to underneath him, and he hung suspended in the ground, weightless.

            He couldn’t see, of course. He was underground after all. But he found that he could swing his arms and even kick his legs a little. The movement was slow – but he was moving. That shouldn’t be possible.

            And that’s when he realized: he had crossed the border between humanity and animal.

            He was a mole.

            A twitch of its nose and whiskers, and the mole skittered away from the hole, blinking away the sunlight. It had only looked up into the sky once or twice, and each time it had the strangest dream of walking on two legs, with two things called arms, and pretending that he could fly.

            Strange, it told itself, and trundled away.

            Moles shouldn’t dream.

            It wasn’t the mole way.


            Meh! Well, there you have it. About fifteen minutes.

            Well, onto The Shadows War. Ugh. Pray for me.


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