Monday, April 20, 2015

You Can Do Anything for Ten Minutes

Scrolling through Facebook today, I came across this entry:
"You should read what these writers in the flash nonfiction class are creating. There's much to be said for completely letting go for ten minutes and putting words on a page."

That was all I needed to start and write --- not only can I do that for ten minutes, I would love to do that for ten minutes. Writing freely but not as SOC -- writing as nonfiction, with the urgency of a stream of consciousness.


I fought the different that I was growing up. I wanted to be like everyone else. I think all small children do. We want to blend in and not be the odd child, because to be accepted and included, you have to be like everyone else.

I was the opposite of everything I needed to be to blend in as a kid. I needed to be prepared and organized, and instead I would find myself in the middle of a morning in a 2nd grade classroom, with the teacher, Mrs. Quill, announcing that it was time for everyone to take out their salt maps.

It was as if I had just woken up from a two month coma. Salt maps? What is a salt map? When I turned around to mouth "What the heck?" to my classmates, I saw their bodies move like robots programmed in unison. Every kid around me reached under their wooden chairs and brought up re-used pizza cardboards that had somehow been made into blue and green maps of the world.

When was this assigned?
How did they all know?
I had perfect attendance and yet I had no idea about this twilight zone episode playing out before me.

I could understand English, I never feel asleep at my desk. I won a blue plastic statue of the Virgin Mary for perfect attendance, for goodness sake.

I continued this state of bewilderment shock and awe throughout my grade school days. I would walk onto the playground in the mornings, waiting for the school day to start. Me in my uniform, and the other children

in shorts (trip to the beach that day)
with  paper bag lunches (trip to amusement park that day)
and sunglasses? (trip to the zoo that day)

My heart would leap out of my chest on every single one of those mornings. School was a constant playing out of The Big Reveal, and me never knowing what the kids knew that I didn't. And why? How?

Why didn't I ever know anything?


That was actually 17 minutes, but it was fantastic escapism.
I hope you give this writing exercise a try.


  1. This brings back so many elementary school memories...ouch! I didn't know the prank of pulling out someone's chair when they stood up...until after the pledge on the first day of first grade when I landed on the floor. I swear that joke hadn't made it to the other school where I went to kindergarten.

  2. Sending you so much love. I love this glimpse into what you were like as a girl.

  3. Oooh! I love this! I'm so curious about this story. Also, I wonder if writing flash nonfiction would help me start to write again.

  4. Love the free writing!
    I can relate somewhat to the bewilderment/ WTH feelings as a child. Were we not there? Were we not paying attention? Is this a dream?



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