Posts Tagged ‘obstacles’




I’m learning to write tension in my scenes,

to add desire, danger and distress,

to focus on what my character wants

and all the forces keeping her from getting

it—a train arrives too early to be caught,

she doesn’t get the job she wants,

she doesn’t have the funds to pay her rent,

she loses her cat in the city again—

I am trying to let bad things happen.

Otherwise there is no tension,

and, as the book on writing says,

No tension equals boring. Think

obstacle, it instructs. Think grief and

shame and fear. But all I want to do

is make my character cheerful,

happy, glad. I want to immediately fix

all the problems I won’t let her have.

I want to make her life easier—

give her security, friendship,

great sex, true love. Is it so wrong

to want to serve her everything

I want? Create opposition, says the book,

and I try, I do, to write in her weaknesses,

let her mess up, struggle on every page.

But oh, to make her life not just happily

ever after but happily all along the way,

perfect and boring, the kind of life

that no one has, the kind of life

that no one wants to read about,

the dream job offers streaming in, the lover

ever attentive, handsome, adoring,

the sun shining as she thoughtfully sips her tea.


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and still this


I’m really getting to know it—
that big rock
in my path


dust storm
how many lives
did I just breathe


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these rocks
that look
like stumb-
ling blocks
are cairns,
and I
have, with
such diligence,
been kicking
them from
my way—
oh foolish
who thought
that she
was lost.

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