Friday, July 29, 2011

Dear Lynn - A Short Story

Last night I read a writing prompt to write a letter to someone you've lost. I tried writing it to my grandmother, but it was too painful. I channeled the emotion and wrote a short story. It's not polished, but I wanted to share.

Dear Lynn,

The police hesitated when they told me you died under "questionable circumstances." I know you were murdered. They held me in a small room, gave me lukewarm coffee, and asked me if you were suicidal. I told them, "No." They kept asking. I snapped on the twenty-eighth time and told them to get off their fat lazy asses and find the person that did it to you. I guess I lost it after that because Dad had to carry me out of there.

You would never commit suicide, would you Lynn? You were happy. Weren't you?

I slept in your bed last night so I could feel closer to you. So I could try to absorb your thoughts and maybe hear your secrets. I guess you took all of them with you when he killed you because there was nothing there. And I know because I listened all night.

Maybe it was the guy at the grocery store who always tried to talk to you, or maybe it was that jerk, Todd, who spread those stupid rumors about you. Please Lynn, tell me. I have to know.

You know how sometimes I'm afraid of the dark? Or how I won't go down to the basement without you? It's amazing how all of that fear evaporated when your spirit left. Amazing because when you're in this much pain it's hard to feel fear, it's hard to care if something terrible happens to me because nothing can hurt as bad as this.


I hate Mom and Dad right now. They believe the bullshit the cops told them. How could they, Lynn? How could they fall for that? You were happy. You were my best friend.

The funeral is tomorrow. I'm trying to put myself together, but what's the point? I'm just going to fall apart. How many times can someone be put together again? I have a feeling I'm going to find out.

You would have hated your funeral. Everyone whispered about how tragic your death was. In between looks of pity they whispered things like, "Why didn't she get any help?" I hid in the bathroom for over an hour before mom came and got me. She held me in a hug and said, "I understand you need time." I told her she was wrong. I don't need time. I need to find the bastard who killed you.

It's been almost two weeks and the cops haven't even been by. I still won't go to school. What's the point? Everything there reminds me of you. How can I face that? Why are you doing this to me, Lynn? I don't know how much longer I can take the burning in my chest.

The pain you left me with is like a living thing. I feel it growing inside me with each passing day. With each breath I take, it blooms. I just want it to bust out.

Almost four weeks now. I went back to school but skipped all my classes. I stayed in the bathroom and no one bothered me. I guess the school knew because Mom asked me about it when I got home. I told her she didn't care what happened to you, so why did she care what happened to me? She slapped me across the face. I didn't even feel it.

How could you? How could you do this to me? How could you leave me? Mom was right. Dad was right. Even the stupid police were right. Mom felt it was time she showed me your note. Why didn't you talk to me? I told you everything! EVERYTHING! and you held onto your pain until it killed you! Why? I won't ever know. You will never be able to heal my broken heart.

It feels like someone threw me into a pit of rattlesnakes and the venom is coursing its way through my body. The pain is unbearable, Lynn. I want it out of me! Do you know what you did to me? To Mom and Dad? No, you don't. You were being a selfish bitch and took the easy way out.

I'm so sorry, Lynn! I didn't mean it. I swear! I'm trying so hard to understand, but I can't. I don't. I feel like I failed you. I did fail you.

It rained today. The water fell from the sky like tears, only tears full of pollution. Acid rain. I guess that's what happens when you piss God off. I hope you're up there.

I can't keep writing this. I don't want to be mad at you, but I need time. You understand, don't you? You know how much I love you. Maybe one day you'll show up, maybe in a dream, or at the foot of my bed. Maybe you'll tell me why you did it. Maybe I'll understand. I don't know what was so bad that you couldn't talk to me, your sister. I failed you, Lynn. I failed you and I'm sorry.


This is an original work of fiction -Courtney Koschel

Saturday, July 23, 2011

What My Writing Has Taught Me About Me (So Far)

A few things my current novel has taught me about myself.
In no particular order:

  • I work best with a one page outline that I can add/change as I go. I guess I am an outliner/pantser hybrid.
  • I promised myself I would not edit as I go so I could actually finish writing the draft. This also causes extreme stress and anxiety.
  • I think my writing is better if I don't edit as I go.
  • I am a very impatient person, and this novel has forced taught me to be patient.
  • No one will ever be as hard on me as I am on myself (I'm almost positive this is true for every writer).
  • I cannot edit with a red pen; I must use green.
  • My green pen has its own hashtag on Twitter #greenpenofcarnage
  • #1k1hr on Twitter is my best friend and I've made awesome friends there.
  • My husband is the best ever because he loves me no matter how neurotic I am, or how many times we eat cereal for dinner because I'm too busy writing.
  • It is possible to work 10 hour days and then come home to write.
  • Writing is the one thing I can do with sarcoidosis.
  • Papa Johns knows our order by heart.
  • My animals love when I write because they get extra snuggle time with me on the couch.
  • I have amazing support from friends, family and the writing community.
  • Writing is extremely difficult and sometimes I want to cry because I'm so stressed out and have no idea how I will accomplish everything I want to, but despite all that, I am in love with writing and wouldn't change anything for the world.
  • There is nothing I would rather do than write (even when it's driving me nuts).
Keep in mind these are just a few things. This list could go on and on and I'm sure I will edit it to add more. What about you? What is something your writing has taught you about yourself?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Review of Imaginary Girls, by Nova Ren Suma

Chloe's mom is a drunk and her sister Ruby is her idol. Ruby has taken care of Chloe since she was a baby and has always looked after her. One night when they are at the town reservoir, Ruby tells everyone that of course Chloe can swim across the reservoir and back. Everyone always believes what Ruby says, it's as if she has a spell cast over the entire town. Chloe says that she not only can swim across the reservoir, she will. Only something goes wrong. Chloe comes across a boat in the reservoir that has a dead body in it. That night changes things. Chloe leaves Ruby to go stay with her dad and Ruby desperately wants her sister back.

Imaginary Girls is full of hypnotic prose that captivates you from the first line. Nova Ren Suma grasps your attention and refuses to let you go. Ruby is such a mysterious character that you will keep turning the pages to figure out her secret. 

This book shows love, death, despair, family troubles, and so much more. I was frustrated at times because you have no idea what is going on with Ruby, but it wasn't to the point where I wanted to quit reading it. It really is a beautiful story.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Review of Angel Burn, by L.A. Weatherly

Willow and her mom live with her aunt in a small town in New York. Willow knows she's different, but she embraces her psychic abilities and tries to make a little money to placate her resentful aunt. Little does When the most popular girl at school asks Willow for a reading, she has no idea her life is about to take an extreme turn for the extraordinary. When she searches for answers, she finds Alex. Alex is a beautiful boy who knows about Willow and her power. Their attraction to each other is immediate, but Alex refuses to acknowledge her until he can't resist. Together they have a lot to figure out about the world, good and evil, and about themselves.

I really enjoyed this read. Angel Burn is not your typical angel book. The book is written from two point's of view. Willow's POV is written in first person, and Alex's POV is written in third. I was a little confused by this at first (because it wasn't expected), but soon I found I enjoyed it. It gives the reader two perspectives, and I thought the way L.A. Weatherly wrote it was clever.

I can't wait for the second book to come out. I want to know more about Willow, Alex, and their journey.


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Weekend Recap

It's Saturday and this past week was really busy! Sorry I've been MIA, my family came to visit me from Alabama, and I had to show them the glorious Rocky Mountains. It was my vacation, so I actually took some time off to do some much needed reading. Tomorrow it's back to the editing cave with a printed out manuscript and red pen (I will post pics of the red pen carnage).

I've read some really powerful books lately that have stuck with me--Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson and The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson--both are really touching reads. Wintergirls is about a girl dealing with one of her best friend's death, a dysfunctional family dynamic, and an eating disorder. I adored this book. The prose was elegant and beautiful and when I slept that night (read in one sitting), my dreams were in words instead of pictures. I love when that happens.

I finished The Sky is Everywhere this morning. I am still digesting it, so I won't touch much on it other than I really enjoyed the book. Over my vacation I read Hourglass, by Myra McIntyre, Angel Burn, by L.A. Weatherly, and Imaginary Girls, by Nova Ren Suma. I plan on doing one blog post to review all of these books next week.

Sorry this post is a bit random, I just wanted to let everyone know I'm alive and what I've been up to. I hope everyone is having a fabulous summer so far!