I’m Not a Writer
By Courtney Rene
I get asked quite often if I set out to be a writer. The easy answer is, no. I didn’t. But the story doesn’t start or even end there. I didn’t want to be a writer. I wanted to be a story teller. What is the difference? A whole lot.
When I was small, my older sister was “helping” me to read the Gingerbread Man, I had left handed brain issues and struggle with reading for a long time. That day, I got very frustrated with it and threw the book across the room and refused to finish the story. That night was the first of several nights that I had nightmares. Apparently blood guts and gore didn’t phase me at all, but give me a cookie that comes to life and runs around town, well that scared me to death. I’m weird, what I can say. After a few night of that stupid-ness, I figured I would tell the story to myself and give it a happy ending that wasn’t scary. See had I finished the book in the first place, I would have known that the cookie got what it deserved, but I didn’t. That night began my story telling future.
Each night after that, I would work at a story in my head. I would begin where I had fallen asleep the night before, until I had worked out an entire story. Some were funny. Some were scary. Some were vengeful, from events that I had suffered through. You know, big sister wouldn’t let me play with her and her friends at the park, so I would create a story where an earthquake came and buried them in the sand under the big tire swings and I would have to save them all. Then they would be my friends more so than my sisters, and I was awesome. Hey, I was 6, that’s pretty salty stuff there.
The funny thing is that I never stopped telling stories to myself at night. I still do it. Some I revisit as I like the story. Some I start fresh and new. Some, I write down and create for the world to read and enjoy.
So why didn’t I want to be a writer? Because I had a hard time with reading and language growing up, writing is a big challenge for me. Grammar hates me. Spelling is a bully that trips me up, and makes a mess of my work. Tense is the anti-Christ. If I sit down to actually write out a story, it has to be awesome in my head before I even try to write it. Only then is it worth the battle of getting it down in a form that is correct and readable. I am sure my editors still hate me though. I keep trying and I keep learning but yeah, I have issues.
I can tell a story any day. I’m a great story teller. A writer…not so much, but I’m trying.
Excerpt from A Howl in the Night by Courtney Rene:
“I dried my eyes and stood up, ready to head home. That was when I noticed the guy standing in the dark shadows of the forest. He was tall and lean, up against an old oak, his arms crossed over his wiry body. His eyes were dark, to match his hair. I couldn’t read them, as they seemed empty of emotion, cold
I took an instinctive step back, but came up against the log I had been sitting on. Seeing my retreat blocked, I asked defiantly, “What?”
He didn’t respond. He did however, push off from the oak, and walk my way. He stepped lightly and with an unusual amount of grace for a guy. He didn’t make any rustling noises on the leaf-covered ground. He stalked me, slowly creeping up to me. I didn’t do anything to stop him. In fact, I just watched him come.
He stopped directly in front of me and we looked at each other. His eyes held mine. He was very attractive, but there was something about him that made me very wary.
He stepped up to me, so close, that he completely invaded my personal space. He was literally breathing down my neck like a predator, as he caged me in against the log. I leaned back away from him, keeping my eyes pinned on him the whole time. He crowded in even closer. I put my hands against his chest and pushed. He didn’t retreat an inch.
I could feel my heart pounding in my chest, hard and fast. I prepared myself for him to attack or to make a threatening move. He didn’t. Instead, he slowly, as if afraid of spooking me, lowered his face to my head, and breathed. I felt the moist heat of his breath against my scalp. Goose bumps rose along my arms in response. I heard him inhale, deeply, like he was smelling me. It was creepy and weird, but I just stood there like an idiot and let him.
Why wasn’t I screaming or kicking or something? I have no idea. Instead I stood there, with my hands against his chest, not making any sudden moves. I waited to see what he would do next.
When he lifted his head, and our eyes met, I said, “You done?”
He flashed me his straight white teeth. Then cocked an eyebrow up, and said, “Yes.”
“That’s all you have to say?”
He continued to smile, his eyes intent on mine. Yeah, it really was creepy.
Finally, I said, “Look, can you back up a bit? You’re invading my personal bubble here.”
He did take a whole step back, but that was all. I didn’t know what to say at that point. I tried to ease to the side away from him, but he mirrored my moves and stayed right up close to me.
Then with a snap of his head, he swung around and looked behind him into the shadowed woods. I peered over his shoulder to see what had caught his attention, but I didn’t see anything, or hear anything for that matter.
He glanced my way again, took in a deep breath, then turned on his heel and walked away.”
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Courtney Rene lives in Ohio with her husband and two children. She is a graduate and member of the Institute of Children’s Literature. Her writings include magazine articles, short fiction stories, several anthologies, and full length novels published through Rogue Phoenix Press. Please feel free to contact her at email@example.com.
Rogue Phoenix Press Page: http://shop.roguephoenixpress.ieasysite.com/category_v3.aspx?categoryID=38
©Courtney Rene, 2014. All rights reserved.