Balance: A Ten Minute Write

Jean-Louis Forain's, The Tightrope Walker

This free write is all over the place. In a way this is what I have been trying to do, allow my mind to wander. I so quickly slip into story mode. Honestly, I’m not sure if that is a problem or not. Does it mean I lack creativity if I don’t just ebb and flow from one thought to another? Does it mean I am restricting my mind or I am disconnected from my true inner self because I automatically go to story? I’m not certain, but I think a bit of that has to do with what is the writer’s the objective. I would think that if I am writing for therapeutic purposes, then I would not want to slip into a story because the story would be deviating from connecting to my own issues. But I am not writing for therapeutic reasons, I am writing to write, to find stories, so then maybe it is fine for me to hook onto a story if it comes to mind. Who knows really, the main point is to not beat myself up just because the story I wrote in ten minutes isn’t any good. The point is to keep exercising my creative writing brain. When you do that sometimes you get stuff like this:


What will come out of this? What will come out of this balance, balance, balance, balance… a tight rope walker, pink slippers, and a white horse with a great feather. The horse pranced like a ballerina, up, on her toes, as her rider, a girl of ten, stands on the saddle. The girl grabs the ladder of the rope and climbs till she reaches a platform-

100 feet off the ground! Yells the master of ceremonies. He yells through a giant bull horn and the crowd goes- WoW.

I see a field of flowers and golden wheat, it takes me to nowhere, it is my attempt to open something up, but there is nothing there. Hello brain? I could go back to the tightrope and write something contrived, but she has already left me. Left me on the streets of Manhattan.

I had liked Manhattan. I liked watching the people, like a tsunami, spread onto the streets after the fireworks ended on the fourth of July in 1995. If roads and streets are like veins then the hundreds of bodies were like blood. Or, at least they started like blood until they left the arteries and spilled onto every part of the city like locusts- man there are so many of us stomp, stomping around, jumping like heavy impetuous children. I want! Stomp! I Want! Give IT TO ME! Bang! Bang! A trolley car spins by…

We were twelve, thinking we were so grown up, standing in downtown San Francisco, and waiting for the trolley car. Jeanette had been staring at the punk who had been standing across the street. He had a giant mohawk like the tail of an agitated bird. He might have been as young as seventeen, but when you are twelve teenagers can seem as old as adults. We had never seen a mohawk before. We were from a small town on a class trip into the city. I didn’t see him till he was standing in front of Jeanette screaming into her startled face.

What are you looking at bitch!

He screamed and he yelled another profanity I’m not allowed to say yet. His hair arched over his head like a bending blade, and almost pierced the top of her forehead with its point. At first, I wanted to say- leave her alone, she’s just a kid, your too old to freak out on a kid- but then I remembered Jeanette was popular. One of the most popular girls in the entire school. Her family doted on her, everyone thought she was wonderful, all because she was pretty. I knew that’s what it was because she wasn’t really nice, she wasn’t super mean, but she wasn’t kind-hearted either. It wasn’t for her smarts, she wasn’t stupid, but she didn’t make much of an effort to use her brain, especially since she didn’t have too. In fact, life was pretty damn easy for Jeanette. As the punk yelled at her, and she froze, and her popular friends froze around her, I realized that this is probably the first time in Jeanette’s life that she had ever been talked to like that, and it would probably be her last. Not because she wouldn’t stand for it, but because Jeanette often was in a comfortable surrounding, she was in a controlled surrounding, and she would always be in comfortable controlled surroundings. There was only this window, when this big, dirty mohawk haired, inappropriate, punker on the street of SanFrancisco, who managed to poke his head into her perfect world because he saw her snicker at his hair, like she snickers at many kids at school who don’t dress right or don’t fit in, like me, and he bit her with his frightening words. When we got on the tram, Jeanette began to cry, and it took a few minutes for her friends to find themselves, and console her, but in that minute I thought, there, there it is, that is what it feels like to be me. Only, back at school when Jeanette and her friends make fun of me or snicker, she wont recognize that she, once, for a few minutes, had stood in my shoes on a street in San Francisco, publicly humiliated in front of all her friends.

As you can tell it took a long time for the story to get started in this one, it wasn’t till the third random thought that I started getting into a story, and the story has nothing to do with balance. Which is fine.


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