So I find myself in a bit of a bottleneck. The Rodeo is unfolding with a TUFF Free-Write contest, and that first bull is about to blast out the shoot in…24 hours and 32 minutes. I spent much of my day navigating not one but two school systems, and for an adjunct unfamiliar with any school systems, my brains are curdling.
It’s all good! After all, I counted 34 hibiscus buds on the northern-hardy geo-engineered plant out front, and that assures me winter is not yet here. Maple leaves might be flaring crimson in patches, but summer hangs on, and I still have time to figure this all out.
The biggest puzzle pieces fell into place with the Hub on Thursday and a follow up with his Vet Center therapist who might yet achieve Super Angel status. She took that puzzle piece and worked it some more. I wanted to write about it — about moral injury and how combat PTSD is a different beast than how it’s classified. We learned he suffers emotional flashbacks multiple times a day. It explains much of why he is stuck. I wanted to contrast the beast to hibiscus buds but time forces me to push through the bottleneck.
The point of a free-write is to learn to “let ‘er rip.” Sometimes, in business, you have to create copy or write an article on deadline. You don’t have the luxury of waiting until inspiration strikes. You have to go — write, write, write! The wisdom is to give yourself enough time to edit. The adage is a day or two. So after fast writing, let it sit for more than 24 hours and then edit. After you edit, then go back and proofread.
A 24-free-write is the closest approximation to that drafting without editing and the pressure to write without stopping. It can be unnerving. It’s your eight seconds on the bull. You aren’t meant to turn in a flawless piece. I’m looking for how creative you can write on the fly. How well can you craft under pressure? Can you let creativity take the reins and flow like champagne bubbles in your imagination?
That free-write is on my heels, already written and scheduled for 12:00 a.m. Saturday, September 1. I had hoped to get this post out earlier, to give you all a head’s up, but I got caught up in the details of a new class, brain matter, and stopped momentarily to consisider the meaning of hearty hibiscus. Yesterday’s trip requires pondering, and I’m leaving again in the morning to visit my son in Wisconsin.
But like a late summer flower in a place that knows winter all too well, he has some hope. Maybe this bottleneck, this juncture where too many things are trying to pass a narrow spot in time and place is the momentum we need. It might pop. It might fizzle. But it will move.
And if you miss the speed at which the free-write explodes out the chute, know that you’ll have four more chances. The next one will post September 7. Go for it!
August 30, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a bottleneck. You can be literal or use the term to describe congestion. Go where the prompt leads.
Respond by September 4, 2018. Use the comment section below to share, read and be social. You may leave a link, pingback or story in the comments. Rules & Guidelines.
Idiots on the Road (from Miracle of Ducks) by Charli MIlls
Ike passed cars like a Hollywood speed-chase. Danni put her hand on his knee, “Slow down.”
“These idiots on the road are going to cause an accident.”
Danni kept her opinion that Ike was the one driving like an idiot. You’d think he was chasing down Al Qaeda in a Humvee the way he swerved around slower vehicles.
Stands of pines zipped past until traffic ahead came to a bottleneck at Culvers Point. Ike swore smooth as opera. Tourists stopped in the road to snap pictures of a mama moose. Danni reminded Ike, “Remember, we’re in Idaho, not Iraq.”