Henry Prize stories,. The joy luck Club, Amy tan. Lunar Landscapes, john Hawkes. Shiloh, bobbie ann Mason. Obscure destinies, willa cather. Through the safety net, Charles Baxter.
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Just like a student cook studies under an accomplished chef, youll need to study under the masters. Many of these masters are busy people. Some of them have passed on decades ago. What is the best way to learn from these other writers? They solution can come to you through Amazon or your local library. You do not need to spend a lot of money on books. You only need to make time, to have patience and to read in order to accomplish this task. Ive borrowed a list of short story collections that, if read carefully, will help you learn storytelling from the master chefs of writing. Soon, i will share with you an amazing book about reading. Best American Short Stories,.
We dont get reviews to choose all the endings, but we are asked to play the rescuers. We wont solve all mysteries and our hearts will certainly break in such a vulnerable life, but it is the best way. We were made to be lovers bold in broken places, pouring ourselves out again and again until were called home. I have learned so much in one week with one brave girl. She is alive now, in the patience and safety of rehab, covered in marks of madness but choosing to believe that God makes things new, that he meant hope and healing in the stars. She would ask you to remember. If you want to learn how to write a short story, then youll need to read — a lot. Hopefully, you like reading, because doing so teaches you to write short stories.
He is not invisible when we come alive. I might be simple but more and more, i believe god works in love, speaks in love, is revealed in our love. I have seen that this week and honestly, it has been simple: take a broken girl, treat her guaranteed like a famous princess, give her the best seats in the house. Buy her coffee and cigarettes for the coming down, books and bathroom things for the days ahead. Tell her something true when all shes known are lies. Tell her God loves her. Tell her about forgiveness, the possibility plan of freedom, tell her she was made to dance in white dresses. All these things are true. We are only asked to love, to offer hope to the many hopeless.
I have watched life come back to her, and it has been a privilege. When our time with her began, someone suggested shifts but that is the language of business. Love is something better. I have been challenged and changed, reminded that love is that simple answer to so many of our hardest questions. Don Miller says were called to hold our hands against the wounds of a broken world, to stop the bleeding. I agree so greatly. We often ask god to show. We pray prayers of rescue. Perhaps God would ask us to be that rescue, to be his body, to move for things that matter.
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Everyone has some gift for her, some note or hug or piece of encouragement. She pulls me aside and server tells me she would like to give me something. I smile surprised, wondering what it could. We walk through the crowded living room, to the garage and her stuff. She hands me her last razor blade, tells me it is the one she used to cut her arm and her last lines of cocaine five nights before. Shes had it with her ever since, shares that tonight will be the hardest night and she shouldnt have.
I hold it carefully, thank her and know instantly that this moment, this gift, will stay with. It hits me to wonder if this great feeling is what Christ knows when we surrender our broken hearts, when we trade death for life. As we arrive at the treatment center, she finishes: The stars are always there but we miss them in the dirt and clouds. We miss them in the storms. Tell them to remember hope.
She is in good seats when the magic beat the sonics the next night, screaming like a lifelong fan with every Dwight Howard dunk. On the way home, we stop for more coffee and books, Blue like jazz and (Anne lamotts) Traveling Mercies. On Saturday, the taste of Chaos tour is in town and Im not even sure we can get in, but doors do open and minutes after parking, we are on stage for Thrice, one of her favorite bands. She stands ten feet from the drummer, smiling constantly. It is a bright moment there in the music, as light and rain collide above the stage.
It feels like healing. It is certainly hope. Sunday night is church and many gather after the service to pray for Renee, this her last night before entering rehab. Some are strangers but all are friends tonight. The prayers move from broken to bold, all encouraging. Were talking to god but I think as much, were talking to her, telling her shes loved, saying she does not go alone. One among us knows her best. Ryan sits in the corner strumming an acoustic guitar, singing songs shes inspired. After church our house fills with friends, there for a few more moments before goodbye.
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Her life has been so dark yet there is some soft hope in her words, and on consecutive evenings, i watch the prettiest girls in the room tell her that shes beautiful. I think its God reminding her. Ive never walked this road, but I decide that if were going to run a essay five-day rehab, it is going to be the coolest in the country. It is going to be rock and roll. We start with the basics; lots of fun, too much Starbucks and way too many cigarettes. Thursday night she is in the balcony for Band Marino, orlandos finest. They are indie-folk-fabulous, a movement disguised as a circus. She loves them and she smiles when I point out the a r man from Atlantic Europe, in town from London just to catch this show.
The center has no detox, names her too great a risk, and does not accept her. For the next five days, she is ours to love. We become her hospital and the possibility of healing fills our living room with life. It is unspoken and there are only a few of us, but we will be her church, the body of Christ coming alive to meet her needs, to write love on her arms. She is full of contrast, more alive and closer to death than anyone ive known, like a johnny cash song or proposal some theatre star. She owns attitude and humor beyond her 19 years, and when she tells me her story, she is humble and quiet and kind, shaped by the pain of a hundred lifetimes. I sit privileged but breaking as she shares.
the touch of awful naked men, battled depression and addiction, and attempted suicide. Her arms remember razor blades, fifty scars that speak of self-inflicted wounds. Six hours after I meet her, she is feeling trapped, two groups of friends offering opposite ideas. The sun is rising. She drinks long from a bottle of liquor, takes a razor blade from the table and locks herself in the bathroom. She cuts herself, using the blade to write fuck up large across her left forearm. The nurse at the treatment center finds the wound several hours later.
Stories wait for endings, but songs are brave things bold enough to sing when all they know is darkness. These words, like most words, will be written next to midnight, between hurricane and harbor, as both claim to save her. When I meet her, cocaine is fresh in her system. She hasnt slept in 36 hours and she wont for another. It is a familiar blur of coke, pot, pills and alcohol. She has presentation agreed to meet us, to listen and to let us pray. We ask renee to come with us, to leave this broken night. She says shell go to rehab tomorrow, but she isnt ready now.
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By jamie tworkowski, pedro the lion is loud in the speakers, and the city waits just outside our open windows. She sits and sings, legs crossed in the passenger seat, her pretty voice hiding in the volume. Music is a safe the place and Pedro is her favorite. It hits me that she wont see this skyline for several weeks, and we will be without her. I lean forward, knowing this will be written, and i ask what shed say if her story had an audience. Tell them to look. Tell them to remember the stars. I would rather write her a song, because songs dont wait to resolve, and because songs mean so much to her.