I’ve been trying to figure out how to increase my reader interaction for my blog. After all, reader likes, comments and influence on writings is the gauge of success when blogging. One of my biggest issues is figuring, if it’s the writing in my stories or just me talking about going through a day in the life of being a writer, that elicits attention. I have enjoyed writing these blogs and that to me is a shock. I never recognized how confident I was with writing and my talent, just looking back over the blogs I’ve written so far gives me inspiration.
Another issue that is causing me grief is the last rejection letter I received. I entered one of my better written stories into a writing competition a few months back, but I didn’t win. The loss caused a need for reconsideration of my goal to focus on becoming a published author. I mean, ” If I can’t win a competition, how am I going to win over a publisher?” Is what I’m currently dealing with since the rejection arrived. Am I good enough? Do I really have talent? Can I make it in this game? These are all new questions of doubt that have crept up from the depths of my mind, threatening to put a halt to everything I am working towards. I still feel the unrelenting pull of writing but now doubt impacts my work.
I will continue to trudge through the murk, to a better, more confident writer. A more confident me. In the mean time, here’s a portion of the rejected story, “Fear”
Fear by Washington Thompson III
“What’s your greatest fear?” A beautiful woman asked as she took the seat next to me. I sputter when she sits down, almost wasting the beer in my mouth down my shirt. I am actually trying to take a break from school and studying. I’m just trying to reconnect with the kid in me, before the inevitable truth of adult life shoulders its way completely in. Sitting in Barb’s Bar was a new thing for me. I’d heard from classmates that Barb’s is a great place to wind down, make some new friends, and relieve the problems of school. Now I’m sitting in THE Barb’s bar being asked to think about what scares me.
The economy right now scares me more than any other thing we could comprehend, but I couldn’t say that to a woman this fine, she would look at me as if I told her I have HIV then turn to one of the other guys in the bar. I wouldn’t blame her for it, but I haven’t been laid in weeks and just watching her lips move make me readjust the seam on my pants.
“I’m sorry, I have a lot of things I am currently dealing with, school being one of them. What were you talking about?” I ask hoping that she wouldn’t be easily upset, thinking that I’m unable to pay attention, but there is something about her that is setting off several of my warning bells.
She flips her hair then smiles. She then takes a sip of her beer. “That’s ok sweetie, I understand completely.” She says, turning to look at a guy sitting at a table near us. He sat slightly leaned in his chair with his legs extended out past the table, his leather coat sat easily on his long frame while a beer lazily hung from between two fingers on his left hand. The woman stares for a moment longer before turning to look at the bartender. “Aye do you have any music in this place?” She smiles at the bartender then takes another sip of beer. “It’s so quiet in here I can hear my skin wrinkle.” She jokes, placing a hand high up on my thigh.
“Radio’s busted, but I got a box I keep in the back.” The bartender says returning her smile. I could see that this woman got what she wanted, when she wanted it. I try to keep my eyes on her face but when she turned to the bartender, her mini skirt slides up her thigh, exposing creamy brown skin that looks like it doesn’t tolerate hair.
“MmmHmm.” Was the only thing she says, causing me to pull my eyes away from her legs. I didn’t know what to say. If my skin was brighter, I’m sure I would be blushing, as it was I could feel my neck getting as warm as the beer I’d been babysitting for the last forty minutes. “I thought you were blind or something, the way you were acting.” She says. She bounces off of her barstool and walks over to the bartender, who comes out of the backroom carrying a boom box I had when I was eight.
She takes the box and plops it down on the bar. The beautiful stranger quickly manipulates the boombox and switches the radio to 97.5 KLUC. She then sashays back towards me, the beat of the music a metronome, hypnotizing. I couldn’t help watching the way her hips moved. She stops in front of me and raise her hands above her head, causing her large breast to scrunch together.
I take a gulping breath then a swig of warm beer. She is a beautiful woman with an incredible body and I am having a hard time keeping the saliva in my mouth. What would you do with a five foot eight inch woman with incredible round green eyes, pouty plump lips, high dimpled cheeks and a body like Cat woman’s. Precisely, you just watch her be beautiful then hope she will go home with you at the end of the night.
“Dance with me.” She says, bumping me with a shapely hip. I’m not a dancer, I don’t know the first thing about dancing and I don’t feel like embarrassing myself, I shake my head when she grabs my hand, trying to pull me off the barstool. “No?” She says, sounding like a child that didn’t get what they want. “Why not, I wanna dance with you.” She says tugging on my arm again.
“I can’t. I don’t know how to dance.” I say as I shake my head to her repeated attempt. She drops my hand like dead weight then starts to dance alone. She twirls around the room, shirt rising again, and then dances toward the guy at the table. He doesn’t even wait for her to get closer to him; he jumps up, grabs her hand and spins her around like a cha-cha dancer. I don’t want to feel jealous, but I had her first.
The guy wasn’t a small person, unlike me he towered over her. He had to be six foot nine but I didn’t feel like asking him, so I turn away from beauty and the beast. Try focusing instead on the sporadic bubbles that rise from this warm ass beer. I was upset when I first entered Barb’s bar because of some things from school but I was totally pissed now.
The song ends. My mystery woman steps away from the giant, whoops and claps her hands then gives the dancing Shaquille O’Neil a peck on the cheek. It was a small thing really, she wasn’t even my girl, but the kiss upset me. I wanted to be the one who got those soft lips first. I don’t feel like sharing anything tonight, not after my day, I want something that I can have to myself.
I walk over to them and grab the woman by her hand. “Hey, what the hell?” They both say as the woman snatches her hand out of mine. I look at her, then at the tall guy, then the bartender. They are looking at me like I’m running through the bar naked. I sure feel like it, raw and exposed. “I’m sorry, I had no right to do that. “ I say dropping my head.
I apologize to the giant c-blocker and walk out of Barb’s. I didn’t want to feel any more disappointment tonight, so I head towards the dorms stationed across the street. I was halfway through the crosswalk on Maryland when a hand halts me.
“Why did you leave?” The woman asks turning me around. I was shocked that she was out here, she came after me. I thought the giant was going to get lucky tonight, instead I might get lucky.”Well, I never told you my name and I thought you were cute, though that guy Simon sure did look big.” She says looking back towards Barb’s.
“Right.” I say turning to walk away, but she grabs my arm again.
“My god I was just joking, you have to lighten up if we’re going to be friends.” She says putting her arm through mine. She starts walking with me toward my dorm room. ”My name is Kai by the way and you’re Michael, right?” She smiles. I don’t know if this was a joke or not, but how the hell did she know my name.
“Do I know your name, right?” She says finishing my question. I nod at her, unsure if I could speak. ”Michael, I’m in your finance class. I sit in the row behind you, two seats to your left….Oh my god; I cannot believe you don’t remember me.” She says dropping my arm. She stops in the middle of the alum parking lot, cocks her hip and places both hands on the ample expanse. “You don’t remember me, seriously?” She ask.
I look straight into that woman’s eyes and tell her a ball faced lie. I may be dorky but I am not stupid. “Yes, I remember you Kai. Kai…“ I say letting the sentence hang. I was hoping to get a last name but Instead Kai just smiles at me. It’s almost midnight, the street in front of UNLV has few streetlights, but I swear to you I could see Kai’s green eyes light up like a cat’s when I said her name.
I couldn’t help it, I take a step back. I’ll be the first to admit that I am a coward. I don’t run into falling buildings like the heroes of September 11th, I don’t run toward gunshots like a cop. I took a cowardly step back hoping it wouldn’t happen again. Kai smiles at me as her eyes now appear normal.
Thinking I look silly, I take her arm and start walking towards my dorm room. “Uhh…Where are we going?” Kai ask. She takes her arm out of mine, stops and stares at me. “I thought we were going to my dorm room. I guess I should have asked you first, huh?” I say feeling embarrassed. She taps the toe of one shoe against the ground with her index finger stuck in her mouth.
“A your place or mine, kind of thing, right, Mike?” she says a knowing smile on her face. ‘Shit, did I say something wrong?’ I think over what I said. “Look, I don’t know how these things go, but I thought if a woman left a bar with you, then you were promised a good time back at your place. Am I wrong there? “ I ask trying to understand. “I’m just fucking with you Mike, but why don’t we go to my place? It would be a lot quieter and more private, that sound good?” She licks her full lips then adjust the strap of her purse.
I am not very intuitive, but warning bells start ringing all over the place. I try to tell myself that there is nothing to fear, but something doesn’t want me going to her place. She stands there watching me make this decision with that smile on her face. A smile that is so contagious that I can’t help but smile back. “Wow Mike, don’t hurt yourself making the decision.” She says. ” Am I that disgusting that it takes you this long to decide if you want to go home with me?” She asks placing her hands back on her curvaceous hips.
Damnit, why can’t I get this right? Is there anyone who can help me figure out what to do? I try to respond but I sputter, I try again and almost choke on the saliva in my mouth. I take a deep calming breath and try again. “No, its nothing like that Kai, I would love to go to your house. I just don’t want to screw up my studies. I didn’t know how you would deal with the fact that I have to leave early.” I say, hoping I repaired some of the mess that I was getting myself into. “I know what you mean; I have things I have to do tomorrow myself. So you’re just gonna have to make do with a one night stand.” She says, causing me to sputter again. She places her arm back in mine and leads me toward her place.
We don’t talk much while walking toward her place and after fifteen minutes of walking Kai ask if we could stop for a few beers from 7-11. “I noticed you didn’t finish yours in Barbs, so I feel like I owe you one.” She says walking into the convenience store. I can’t help but feel touched by her consideration and I offer to pay for the beers, but she declines. A few minutes later, she leaves the store with a six-pack of MGD.
“Hope you like Miller.” she says handing me the case of beer. She put her arm in mine and we continue on our way to her place. I’m starting to get a little tired and don’t really feel like going to her place anymore, when she stops in front of a stucco apartment building. “This is it. This is my place.” She says raising one hand, as she leads me to the front door. She digs into her purse while I take a better look at the building. I have been down this street several times and I have never seen this building. I don’t know if it was me not paying attention to my environment, but I know they didn’t build this place over night; hell in Vegas it takes them two weeks to build a fire.
Kai was right though the neighborhood is quiet. No cars go careening down the street, no music blasting from an open window; as a matter of fact, the only sound I can hear is the contents of Kai’s purse as she digs through it for her keys. She looks up at me with shame written on her face. “I’m sorry, I had them right here, just give me a minute.” She says. She takes her purse and upends it right here on the sidewalk.
She hunkers down on her knees and starts to search through the contents of her purse with a small penlight in her hand. “Oh you have got to be kidding me.” I say. I walk over to her and raise her hand to her face. The penlight was on a loop attached to her keychain. Her eyes bulge with shock. “Oh shit, I’m such a damn idiot.” She says slamming all of her things back in her purse. She stands with a cautious smile on her face
“You still want to come in or did I just blow it?” she ask as she places her hands behind her back. Her modesty makes me feel worse than I already feel for showing her the damn keys. I was going to tell her that I’m going home, but she looks so embarrassed and too damn sexy to just leave. “No, I want to see your place. You got me here and now I want to see where this leads. “ I respond taking her hand. She opens the door to her apartment. “After you.” She says moving to allow me to enter first.
I may be a coward, but I will always be a gentleman; my momma taught me right. “OH, no. I can’t do that, it’s supposed to be ladies first.” I say stopping in front of her and allowing her to enter first. ”How thoughtful.” She says walking into the apartment. I walk in behind her and close the door as quietly as I possibly can, in case someone was in the apartment sleeping.