|Photo: Debby Hudson
My first publication came as a complete surprise. It was something that hadn't been edited. Something that hadn't been submitted. Something I hadn't expected anyone would want to read.
The piece was actually an exercise for those of us enrolled in a class at the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning in Lexington, Kentucky. Writing Practice was taught by artist and writer Laverne Zabielski.
For the exercise, Laverne instructed us to begin by writing on whatever came to mind for ten minutes without lifting our pens. This practice was supposed to free our internal editor and to help us go with the flow.
We were encouraged to put down random thoughts and feelings. At least, that was my take.
When we were given this in-class activity, I felt a little panicky and didn't know what to write about. Writing off the cuff scared me. And ten minutes seemed like such a long time. What could you possibly write about for ten minutes straight?
Feeling pressured, I pressed my pen to the paper and began scribbling some random thoughts about my workplace. In a short moment, the words began to form a pattern, a scene, and a theme which revolved around my relationship with a co-worker and the way she made me feel.
Class time was over when we finished, so Laverne asked us to leave our work with her. As I left the building and walked down the sidewalk to my car, she hurried outside to catch up with me. Laverne was smiling and all bubbly with excitement. She waved my paper and said, "Randi, I want to publish your story."
Laverne was assembling an anthology of work from Lexington women writers titled A Sense of Place. This became my first publication and it gave me the confidence to pursue my dream of writing as a career. In fact, my piece was published in the same anthology as Crystal Wilkinson, the award-winning author of Blackberries, Blackberries and The Birds of Opulence. My story was published as "Untitled." At that time, I didn't understand the importance of titles. Today, (slightly edited) it would be called "Rebirth."
And the petals came floating in a free-fall from the apple tree covering the ground in a dappled white.
Our friendship had soured. Time after time, she tried to pull me deep down into her negativity. And I needed to distance myself from her.
We had worked together too long, known each other too well.
I am who I am. Not better than her. Just different. More positive. Upbeat.
This was something she couldn't grasp.
Something she couldn't stand.
It was an accident—a murder by accident.
And the petals come floating in a free-fall from the apple tree covering the ground in a dappled
What made her follow me? Her eyes on my back.
Jealousy has no boundaries.
And she was much too close.
I whipped around, reached out to distance our bodies.
How was I to know that a push would end so tragically?
Away, away she fell. It seemed like an eternity until she hit the pavement, awkwardly.
And the petals came floating in a free-fall from the apple tree covering the ground in a dappled white over her hands and face.
I felt more relief than panic. Relaxed. Calm.
She was gone.
Funny how a reaction ended one life, but renewed another.
✌ and ♥
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