Writing Prompt: Serially Lost

Today’s Prompt: Write about a loss: something (or someone) that was part of your life, and isn’t any more.

Today’s twist: Make today’s post the first in a three-post series.

Part 1: The Backstory

It was a pretty balmy morning for March, even for Arkansas. I hadn’t been outside running in several months, as the winter weather can be such a motivation killer. But this morning seemed like a good time to “restart.” The past few weeks had had their share of yelling, weeping, banging fists against walls. It seemed as though things were at their lowest and were not going to get better.

Three years ago about the same time, my faith took a huge leap when I was given my 30 day layoff notice. A job I hated. Money I loved. And now I was about to lose it in a month. The opportunity to trust Jesus became abundantly more obvious, and little did I know that it was the start an expansion of my faith, being stretched beyond any limit I’d ever experienced. A few weeks after losing my job, my wife and I learned that after months of trying, we were pregnant. I think I literally laughed out loud. I spent the next two months waiting for the opportunity to finally present itself, believing that my next occupation existed with one of two jobs.

On June 10, 2012, I began my journey as a multimedia designer at a company that I was somewhat familiar with, seeing as they subcontracted under my previous employer. Two weeks later, the reality of the financial utopia I had lost became reality when I got my paycheck and saw it basically chopped in half. Trusting Jesus with significantly less while my family was preparing for one more seemed par for the course at this point. Trust manifested itself in a second income from my wife, who went from volunteering at a local non-profit to coming on staff. It wasn’t much, but I was grateful, a word that has come to be a regular part of my vocabulary to this day.

CJ came along in January of 2013, two weeks before his dad’s birthday. I believe it was the first time I genuinely cried in a long while. This would serve as a prequel to what was to come just over a year later.

Year one of fatherhood brought adjustments, as it should. Year one with my current employer brought with it a small bump in pay but nothing close to what I was seeing in years past. A good reminder to embrace my reality and keep trusting Jesus with it. September of that year was tough, as my bride and I made the decision to leave our church of five years in favor of a new home close to our neighborhood. That church is and will always be family, and in a way it was like leaving to go away to college or getting married. I wasn’t going to be around those guys who were such an intregal part of my spiritual growth for the last half decade, and I genuinely grieved it.

After several weeks, we found a home with our current body of believers and by the time the Autumn leaves were turning, we were settling in. Of course, past history has shown me that my faith was becoming less like a rock and more like play doh. K’s job had allowed her the flexibility to bring our son to work with her, but as he was getting older and more mobile, it became increasingly more difficult for her to do her job, and so she was forced to resign.

My faith had taken a hit, and so did my pride when, in December I reluctantly asked my parents to help support us until something changed with our income. Grateful for their support and agreement to help out, I didn’t notice what the situation was doing to my heart and mind, not until a couple of months into the new year, when the “incident” happened.

Writing Prompt: A Room with a View

If you could zoom through space in the speed of light, what place would you go to right now?


I hear it from just outside the brick and mortar walls separating me from the sanctuary I visit every summer. I walk up to the man with the tattered pouch around his waist, greeting everyone with a half smile, half squint because of the warm July sun glaring down at him.

“Tickets please,” I hear him say, and smile back with a look of anticipation. I hand him my folded piece of paper. He tears it down the middle even though the pre-formed perforation was clear to the naked eye.

My nostrils begin to flair as I take in the familiar smells of sizzling franks napping inside their warm glutenous cocoons and artificial cheese blankets covering crunchy, salty discs inside a plastic tray.

“Not til the 5th,” I tell the obsessive compulsive inside and make my way inside.

I am greeted by an empty row of glossy green seats, their mouths closed and waiting for anyone to come and be cradled in their tough plastic embrace.

C1 is what I’m looking for. In the solar system of stadium seating, this is Earth. Not too close to the action, not so far that I miss something. The perfect place, within the perfect place.

I settle in to my home near “home” and look out at the green and brown palette in front of me. The symmetry of the lines going out from the plate to 1st and 3rd tickle the mathematical nerd inside,

“Cracker Jacks! Cold beer!,” I hear behind me. A young man, already dripping with sweat and combating it with a familiar team towel wrapped around his neck, carries his large wooden tray filled with the traditional goodies that make their way into the lyrics of a popular 7th inning tune. I look back and notice the sun is smiling directly on my face. I squint a bit and smile back. The warm breath of this bright star is juxtaposed against the rare cool breeze bouncing off of the colorful canvas in front of me.

In this moment, I’m reminded of why I love this game so much. The meticulousness, the preciseness. Human chess between managers, trading players for runs, communicating through the craziest of physical comedy with their various “signs.” The methodical ritual a batter goes through between each pitch and the equally methodical ritual a pitcher goes through between each throw.

This game is a story that takes it’s time, slowly revealing tidbits of it’s plot and character with each hit, run, strikeout and walk. Each inning, a chapter full of action, romance, drama and comedy. And like any good story, it’s not always about a happy ending or even a resolution. Sometimes stories are just enjoyed in their telling, and this game tells a story through its sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touches. For me, this is a story worth telling.

Baseball is a story worth telling.

(Feedback is appreciated. Questions I’m asking: 

  • Does my post feel too long? How could I make it more focused?
  • If you were interested in basebal, would you find this post interesting? 

Writing Prompt: Building a Blogging Habit

Today, take twenty minutes to free write. And don’t think about what you’ll write. Just write.

I write because I think about things and I want to write them down. I write because putting something on paper is more significant that speaking it. I write because I want to say things that may or may not be new (mostly not) but speak to myself and people in different ways. I want a voice that matters and that makes someone think about something differently. Words make up sentences, sentences paragraphs, paragraphs chapters and so on. What do I write about? What do I say that matters? I have no idea. Maybe I’m taking myself way too seriously. Maybe I should just write whatever comes to mind and let it all go otherwise. This isn’t significant and doesn’t have to be. It’s a world of competitive words that makes me intimidated to even start. I have to start. Have to. Maybe It means just putting it out there, getting torn to shreds for the sake of knowing where I stand and where I don’t. I may never be the next great author or blogger. I may just write my thoughts and the six people that favorite my stuff on twitter and the blog are all of the feedback I ever get. But maybe this is the start of something fresh and new.

Writing can seem so intimidating but at the same time so incredible. So much good can come from words on paper, translated into books and screenplays, poetry and prose. I don’t know what kind of world I would unlock if I don’t just try. I want this to matter though, to know that I have something important to say, even if it gets someone thinking about something differently. Maybe I won’t be agreed with, maybe that’s a good thing. It IS a good thing.

Being a good storyteller appeals to me. Being a good teacher appeals to me. I am aware that I have a long way to go, but I just need to get started. My world is filled with stories told through movies, books, comics and music. I’m connected to it and feel like there’s something more to me when I embrace those forms of stories. What is it about that stuff that makes me fill up with excitement to talk about. Soundtracks, scripts, story beats, exposition, plot. It’s all so incredible to talk to someone about, to share what I think and hear what other people think, to agree and disagree why The Dark Knight is one of the better movies in the last 10 years and why Heath Ledger brings to light what it means to truly be evil in his depiction of the Joker. Taking the surreal and making it real. Wow. You go Chris Nolan.

What do I want? I have no idea. Maybe I want to write. Maybe I want to direct or criticize. I just love the world that storytelling lives in and the different mediums that it embraces. Such a great thing.

Yet I can’t bring myself to write about anything. “Write what you know” I hear people say. This is so true, and yet I don’t feel like I know anything. HELP ME KNOW SOMETHING!

I wake up from these thoughts thinking maybe today, maybe today is the day that I start? Today I will do this. I will put it all out there and be criticized and get better. No, maybe not because there’s nothing to put out there. Not yet at least. Why do I struggle with this? What makes my life so frustrating that I can’t think of anything to write about? Why is there a block? I don’t want to be a consumer of stories. I want to tell them. I want to make people laugh and think and get pissed. I want a response to my writing but I don’t even  know where to begin.

Hands are getting tired now.

Maybe, maybe maybe is what holds me back. Maybe puts me in my place, creates the doubt that I won’t reach whatever that is that I’m seeking with my creativity. DON’T BE AFRAID, JUST EMBRACE IT.

Will I post this to my blog? Maybe