The Child Kills the Man

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Over the last several weeks, I’ve struggled to write a scene for my work in progress where my main character, twelve-year-old Blue’s little sister has been attacked by one of the moonshine still watchers whom the girls refer to as “the dirty man.” Thankfully, Blue hears her sister’s screams, but she doesn’t know if she reached her sister before he hurt her. Blue’s little sister’s shorts have been torn off, and the dirty man is on top of her when Blue rushes in. Blue has a gun and knows how to shoot. The question remains, does Blue shoot him? If so, does she kill him, or do she and her sister just get away? This is the second time the dirty man has attacked the girls, and he’s crazy, so Blue knows he will follow them and try again.

When I asked my trusted Facebook friends “what should Blue do?” they all said, “Kill him!” Since this is not the end of the book, Blue has to move on with her life. What would life be like for a twelve-year-old girl who just killed another human being? Could she live with the memory? Could she continue to protect her sister from other dangers in the world?

Well, I wrote the scene. I won’t tell you what happens, but I think I’m going to write the scene again. Maybe I’ll write twelve different scenarios to see where my words go. As Mike Kimball told me once, “As a writer, you have to walk through the fire, not just stand beside it.”

Can I make it as a writer?

Can I do this? Am I able to pull off being a writer? Do I have what it takes?

A couple of weeks ago, I graduated from Stonecoast’s MFA program that consistently held me accountable for two years. There was always a deadline, always work to be completed, always someone waiting for something.

            Now— No one watches over me. No one tells me when my words don’t make sense. No one will write “Wow!” or “Slow down” on my manuscript. No one, except me.

            Now, I have to do this all on my own. In the past, I haven’t been great at keeping up with the activities I enjoy when I am the only one who’s watching. Taking running for example. I love to run. I love how my body and mind feel when I’m out there on the road, and I never regret a run. I’ve always wanted to be a real runner, someone who races and doesn’t come in last or someone whose name doesn’t appear on the walker’s list in the Lewiston Sun Journal. Even though I want to be a real runner, there’s something stopping me. Is it just me? I guess since I’m the only one involved. So how can I make it as a runner? How can I make it as a writer? The simple answer— “Just do it.” The difficult answer— the know-how is out there somewhere; I just haven’t found it yet.