A Short Story/Poem For Your Enjoyment

I haven’t had any time recently to post anything new, obviously, since I haven’t posted anything new.  And I probably won’t this week either, so here’s a short story/poem I wrote based on events that happened on my birthday.  I say short story/poem because I can’t decide which it is.

Observations in Thirty Minutes

I’m exhausted

My brain feels wiped clean

And I have an hour to kill

My fingers close around

The steel handle

I wonder how it stays cool

In this June heat

The door yields easily

And the delicious aroma of coffee

Greets me as I step inside

A quick survey reveals

Four open leather armchairs

Exactly what I need

I drop my bag

Let my body fall into the cushion

And close my eyes


But I can’t sleep in such a public place

So I open my eyes

Tuck my bag between the chair and my legs

And I look around

Not many customers for a Saturday

The only people

Who really catch my eye

Are the barristas

One guy, one girl

He has blonde hair

A clean and pressed white button-down shirt

Khakis and a dark green visor

Matching his spotless apron

She has a long, dark ponytail

Messy strands stick out

Beneath her visor

A bottle-green polo shirt clashes

With her apron

She loudly tells her co-worker

A story about her mother’s cat

I watch them for a minute

She gestures widely

To emphasize the important parts of the tale

He stands still

Hands behind his back

Slowly scouring the small crowd

But I can tell he’s paying attention

To her uninteresting narrative

He looks in my direction

I turn my head

Embarrassed to be caught staring

But she really shouldn’t speak so loudly

I check my phone for the time

Only ten minutes have passed

I groan, but internally

Not wanting to draw any more attention to myself

When I look up

I’m conscious to keep my sight

Away from the barristas

Instead it lands on a young guy

Probably around my age

He’s wearing those old school headphones

Black, the kind with a rounded arm

That fits over your head

And large, circular, ear muff- like sound receivers

But he’s wearing a baseball hat, too

Tan, with no team name or logo

So the black band is sitting

On top of the hat

His face is scruffy

Three or four days worth of growth

It suits him

Makes him seem warm

Like the kind of guy

Who gives really great hugs

He’s writing, like me

I wonder what he’s working on

He has a laptop open

And a thick book beside him

Is he studying?  Taking notes?

Every now and then

He raises his pen to his lips

It’s silver and looks expensive

I compare it to the cheap Bic

In my hand

Mine writes well enough

But probably doesn’t look as good

Pressed to my lips

The slender cylinder smushes his pout

He rolls it side to side

I’m entranced

He’s completely in his own head

No self-conscious embarrassment

He’s not aware that I’m watching him

But the guy barrista is

I happen to glance to the counter

And see him looking at me

I turn away again

And the pen has been lowered

By headphones guy

Did he look at me

When I looked away?

Probably not

Did he look at me

When I looked down to write?

Probably not

I’m drawn to him

I want to stand and approach him

Sit down at his table

Smile, introduce myself

But I don’t

The headphones are removed

And placed on the table

He pushes his chair out

Stands, leaves his laptop and book

And walks out the door

Where is he going?

Why’d he leave his stuff?

I check my phone again

Twenty more minutes have passed

Only thirty to go

Am I a Writer?

What is a writer?

Am I a writer?  I’ve written a book and I write a blog and I have a couple of works in progress, but does any of that make me a writer?

What is a writer exactly?  Is it anyone who can pick up a pencil and make markings on a piece of paper that resemble letters and words?  Or is it someone who knows how to string together those letters and words into sentences and paragraphs and pages– into pieces of art.  Or is it someone who not only makes art out of words, but someone who gets paid to make art out of words?

Today, I had a horribly jealous reaction to the idea of a friend of mine beginning to work on a new book.  I thought to myself, how can this person start a new story when I’m so pathetic I can’t complete mine.  Which of course made me wonder, yet again, if Twenty-Five is just a fluke.  I wrote the one story I’ve wanted for myself my whole life.  Maybe I have nothing else in me.

I hate that I doubt myself.  I really do hate it.  But I do.  I doubt myself constantly.  I never believe I am good enough or that anything I do is good enough.  And I don’t even know why I’m like that.  I shouldn’t be like that.  I know I’m smart- I’ve never doubted that, though maybe I should.  Why does anyone doubt themselves?  Fear, I think.  For me, fear of failure and fear of rejection.  It’s a hard life, trying to be a writer, trying to be published.  I just know that I’m going to fail at it, like I’ve failed at so many other things.  And I can’t stand it.  Because I want it so bad.  I want to do something worthwhile, be someone worth while.  That’s what got me started on this whole writing kick in the first place.  I wrote a book, with a main character who is a lot like me, but I made her prettier and I gave her a boyfriend and a career with the potential to go somewhere.  And she got everything she ever wanted.  I still cry reading the ending of my book.  Imagining that a wonderful man could be so in love with a girl so like me.

And now I wonder if this wonderful book about the girl who is like me but isn’t me whose dreams all come true is the extent of my writing abilities.  Do I have any other stories inside me.  Am I really a writer, or was I just desperately seeking to make something out of the life I have but hate?

All of this doubt comes just two days after I find out that a poem I wrote (the poem which inspired the title of this blog, BTW) is going to be published in an online magazine.  That has to mean something, right?  A poem I wrote was selected for this magazine’s next issue, and yet, I still doubt myself.  Maybe because I have no one but an online community to share it with.  I told my mother and her only reaction was “That’s great.  Wait- is that a good thing?”  And nothing else.  No one is excited for me, well no one that I know in real life.  Is that where doubt comes from- lack of validation?  Lack of enthusiasm?

It all brings me back to the same question: Am I a writer?  Or am I just kidding myself?