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In Which I Discover My Own Epic Failure

How long has it been since I've done a writing exercise on 52 Weeks? Let's check the good old blog post list, shall we?

Oh. Mah. Gah.

My most recent exercise post was on February 13th, 2011.

                                                                      FAILURE in human form.

Now that that's out of my system, I do believe that the best action required to alleviate this grievous failure of mine is to - yep, you guessed it - post another freaking writing exercise, Stefers!!!

Without further ado, I present to you Exercise #185: "On the Verge."

Describe an elegant hotel room from the point of view of a character who is on the verge (about a day or so away from) of a psychotic breakdown.

1,2,3, GO!

The curtains are blowing in the open window, breeze wafting in from the outside, carrying in the loveliest of fragrances from the Italian countryside that is rolling peacefully in the distance. What is it? Freshly crushed grapes? Possibly. Or perhaps I am mistaking this scent to be something more fantastic than a simple air freshener designed to fan a subtle smell into my quarters without my noticing. Is the window even open, or is it just the air conditioner that's making the fabric of the curtains billow so whimsically?

Reality is just your perception.

I walk over to the window and explore. Yes, the window is open. And yes, the smell is coming from outside, but I cannot locate its origin.

Giving up my search, I back away from the window and nearly trip over my luggage. It is lying on the ground at the foot of my queen sized bed, stuffed to busting with clothing, half of which I probably will not wear. I was stupid to have packed that much. He had told me so, but I didn't care. I just needed to get away. Away from the familiar, away from the stress, from the work, the everyday, mundane activities that were slowly eating away at my very soul. It was all too much.


"I'll be leaving for a few weeks," I said. "I'm going to Italy. Visiting grandma's old stomping grounds."

He looked as if I had punched him right between the ribs. "Alone?"

"Yes, alone."

"If that's what you want." He would not make eye contact with me, staring intently at the coffee cup on the table in front of him.

"It'll be good for me." He needed reasoning, needed to understand why, but I couldn't give that to him. I knew just about as much as he did.

Mumbling incoherently, he stood with his mug, his wedding ring glinting in the fluorescent lighting, and walked away. I was wracked with guilt, but there was nothing I could do to make the situation any better. It was what it was.

Give up and run away.

The room as a whole is very open with high ceilings, light-colored walls, hardwood floors. It is large enough to boast a full-size kitchen and breakfast nook and a living area complete with a big screen tv, a full-size couch, and a leather armchair.

As if you'll be entertaining guests.

I might. I might call some of the family up and treat them to an American dinner in Italy. I could do it.

No. No, you couldn't. You can't cook to save your life.

I close my eyes and concentrate. Not here. Please, God, not here. I have flown halfway across the world to escape this. It isn't real. It's just a figment of my imagination. I can get past this.

You can never escape.

I reach for the hotel phone and call him. I don't care how much it will cost me.

"Hello?" His voice is foggy. It is probably around 2am there.

"It didn't help," I say. "Come get me, please. As fast as you can."

He clears his throat. "Where are you?"

He can't help you.

"Cembra. Hotel Europa."

Sleep still clinging to his words, he says, "I'm not sure when, but I'll get there. I'll book a flight right now."

He won't get here in time.

"Ok. I'll stay here."

"Good. If you, you know..." He pauses, fighting to get the words out. "If you think about hurting yourself, please call someone. A hospital, a therapist... someone."

"I will."

"I love you." The phrase is pleading. Please, don't do something stupid.

"I love you," I say, just in case, and hang up the phone.

He probably won't get here in time.


So what do you guys think? As the first writing exercise I've done in - cough cough - a while, I feel like I did a pretty good job.

Did you do this exercise? What did you think of it?

Feel free to post your results in the comment section. I'd love to see what all of you wrote.



Rancid Potato said…
Wow this is amazing, at first I didn't realize the negative self talk (or maybe its the voices O.o) that's a good thing, it's intrusive to the character but not jarring to the reader, and it gets progressively more detrimental.

It wonderful how terse, compact, it is and how this amplifies the single sentence at the end.
^ said…
This looks like a lot of fun, I'll have to come back later today when I have more time and try it out.
Web Hosting said…
Excellent information, this is exactly what I needed. Thanks. Keep up the good work!

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