Bubble

This one is autobiographical.

I despise where I live. I want to move back to Washington, where communities have grown more organically, not as much of a bubble as where I live now.

I don’t belong here.

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Traffic at one o’clock?

Undoubtedly. The schools get out at 12:58 PM on Wednesdays. Everyone is picking up their children.

There are three elementary schools within a mile of my house.

I gave directions to the sweet lady at the grocery store. Which way to the Marriott? Oh, just take Street 1 to Street 4 and turn right. The road will bend, and you’ll see it on the right.

Yes, ma’am. Very efficient.

Yes, ma’am. My husband’s commute is only fifteen minutes. Everybody in this town also works here. No reason to look elsewhere.

Master-planned lives in a master-planned community.

©2018 Heather Stephens

Bath

The prompt was bath.

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Candlelight glimmering. She closes her eyes and tilts her head back to rest against the back of the copper tub.

He lifts the heavy bowl of warm water and tips it over her head, careful to make sure the water flows over her long, lustrous hair instead of over her face.

He runs his hands through each lock, squeezing the lavender-smelling suds out of it. The water gleams with soothing, scented oils.

She opens her brown eyes, meeting his black ones. He doesn’t smile; neither does she. There is no need for it.

They know to whom they each belong.

 

©2018 Heather Stephens

Library

I don’t want anything on an enormous scale (except time). I don’t want an enormous amount of money. I don’t want an enormous amount of fame. I just want to be heard. I want people to see my books at Barnes and Noble, even if they don’t choose to buy it. I want to be heard.

Most of all, I want my books to be available at libraries, free to access for anyone. I want people to find a friend in me, solace in me, even if they never talk to me personally. I want to help.

Maybe someday.

This week’s prompt from Thin Spiral Notebook is Library.

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Rustling papers. A whisper. The pitter-patter of a toddler’s feet as they try to find the book about giving a mouse a cookie.

There. Spreadsheet done. Now she can work on her passion project—her first book.

Maybe someday it will be available here, in these sacred halls, accessible by anyone in her community. Maybe someday a teenage girl will stumble across it and it will change her life.
Maybe someday a shy college boy will read it and realize he could be a better man.

Just a dream, for now. Attainable, but not yet.

Eventually, someday will be today.

©2018 Heather Stephens

Windows Update lost my files.

 

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Over the years I’ve heard all sides of the Mac vs. PC debate. I’ve never been a fan of Macs, being raised on PC at both home and school. I’m 30 years old, and I’ve been loyal to PC the entire time. Microsoft has never screwed me over, to be honest, and in fact, I’m even a fan of Windows 10.

Until.

A recent Windows update over the past week gave me a fright when I couldn’t find my folder of documents for my collection of flash fiction that I’ve been working on for a year. I know, I know. I can hear you screaming at me to back up my work. I will from now on.

The update made it harder for me to find documents saved solely on my PC, only giving me quick access to my OneDrive documents.

“But Heather,” you ask, “If you can save to OneDrive, why wasn’t that folder saved there too?”

Good question.

And the only answer I have to that is I suffer from extreme laziness. A byproduct of disability. When you spend so long not even being able to do anything, you grow accustomed to it. So while I am physically incapable of doing things like workout for an hour or go to work consistently, I also have developed a preference for the quick-and-easy solutions to all of my problems. It’s a learned mindset, and one I do not want to teach my children.

But the good news is I found the folder and I’m back at work on my Little Book of Flash, as well as my horror short stories. While I intend to finish the two novels that I’ve started, I think at this point of time in my life, big projects that are easily broken up into smaller pieces are the way to go. Each 100-word story I finish will boost my motivation to write more, which will lead to the bigger victory of finishing the book. Every horror short story I post and narrate will do the same.

I feel good about this. My body may not want to cooperate most of the time, and my mind is even less generous, but at least I have goals.

Maybe someday I’ll reach them.

New Adventures in Writing

I want to broaden my horizons.

I am working on my fantasy novel as well as a literary fiction novel. They’re both going fairly well (for first drafts, anyway). I’ve always wanted to be a novelist, ever since I was a little girl.

But these years I’ve spent writing 100-word stories has taught me that I excel at short stories. I get overwhelmed easily in most aspects of my life, and writing is no different. When being concise is necessary, I thrive. It is a completely different experience than trying to organize a novel with 15 characters.

‘I could choose to accept that maybe I’m just not gifted at novel writing, but I don’t think that’s the case. I think it’s merely a symptom of my BPD–I want to please everyone, so I’m trying to write books that will please everyone. Intellectually, I know that’s impossible, but here I am.

So here I am, thinking about my short-story writing abilities that I feel far outmatch my novel-writing abilities. In my free-time, I read a lot of horror, both published works and user-uploaded stories on the internet. I think I’m going to try my hand writing those. Short stories, serials, etc. I think I could do well.

I’ll still be posting 100-word stories frequently. Even more frequently than the past six months have shown. I just also might be posting links to my horror stories as well.

Join me down the dark path.

 

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Spring

I’m sorry it’s been so long since I have posted. Executive function is something I lack immensely, and I haven’t been motivated to write. When I have been motivated, I’ve worked on my novel. It’s shite, but I’m writing it anyway. I’ll post more often. It only takes a few moments out of my day to write a 100-word story, so I can. I will.

The prompt was springpexels-photo-156203.

The stirrings of the season made themselves known in the beat of her heart. Crocuses pushed through the earth, birthed like other forms of carbon-based life, yet different in subtle ways.

Yet like the green things that blanket the planet,  she too draws sustenance from the strengthening sun. The light is not a meal for her, but it gives her energy of another kind.

Deep within her heart, a seed of magic is beginning to grow. Now is the time for forging her own world into existence, leaving the shadows for later. Their time will come.

But for now, life.

© 2018 Heather Stephens

Past

The prompt was Past.

This one is autobiographical.

 

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It weighed upon her like so many rocks, stifling her breath, taking away her ability to think straight.

It wasn’t painful. It was more like breathing in toxic air every time she inhaled.

She inhaled more anxieties. She inhaled more poisonous memories.

Without an acute sense of identity, she was lost. Fallen to the ravages of time not well-spent.

What did she have to show for it? Not much.

A home of strife, burnt to the ground. It was never perfect, but it had been hers.

Her life was like that. She’d never build a better one on broken foundations.

© 2017 Heather Stephens

Diary

The prompt was Diary.

This is my favorite thing I’ve written. It is very dear to me.

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She didn’t weep as she wrote her miseries onto the paper. Her tragedies were her own, internal, and she had no desire to give them up. Speaking them out loud would set them free, and that would end her.

She held on to those miseries as if they were lifelines. Her regrets were strength. If she could build up a kingdom for a life on top of the ashes of her dreams, she would truly have won.

She didn’t feel like she was winning.

And as she scribbled down her melancholy, she swam in the warm comfort of her struggles.

 

© 2017 Heather Stephens

 

Spoons

It is said that those with chronic illness or mental illness only have a certain amount of energy with which to do tasks, needful tasks, like personal hygiene and housekeeping. That is why so many with such afflictions either can’t work or perform poorly when working or attending school.

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I personally struggle with several debilitating illnesses and afflictions. Some days I can’t brush my own hair, other days I can’t shower. The sicker I get, the more often these days occur. I need help preparing my food. Some days I can’t even feed myself and I need my husband to spoon my food into my mouth.

It’s too much.

But other days, like today, I am capable. I can write, I can think clearly. These days are gifts and I take advantage of every single one.

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A messy room. A dirty kitchen.

Lessons in tidiness never heeded.

She stepped over the piles of clothes on her way to get a glass of milk.

It had gone sour.

Of all the reasons one might have to keep a house neat, she possessed only two that kept it filthy.

Her mind. Her sorrows.

Should she obtain a way out of the muck that grimed the kitchen countertops, she would feel a new sort of responsibility. To keep it that way. The thought exhausted her.

The burden of freedom. ‘Twas too much to bear.

She resigned to her suffering.

 

© 2017 Heather Stephens

 

Adventure

I can’t find my antidepressants, so I felt I should write this little beam of positivity to try and fake it ’til I make it, so to speak. So it goes. The prompt was “Adventure”.

 

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Where should she go?

She has her whole life ahead of her. Never felt better. Armed with a degree and a car, she can only move up from here. Crippled with debt she may be, but she is young. She can crawl and claw her way out from under the mountain of obligation sitting on top of her.

She just has to figure out what she wants to do with her life. The life that belongs to only she. She, the arbiter of her own destiny.

She’ll find her way, eventually. She’s always had the knack.

Where should she go?

 

© 2017 Heather Stephens