A Year Away From Life


“Make sure you have that week off,” I remember Casey* telling Melissa. “It’s always important to take a week to yourself before switching jobs.”

I was in the backseat of Casey’s car as she gave Melissa that advice.  Melissa had just put in her two weeks notice at the childcare center we all were teachers at.  Like many people in the field, she was setting up to leave ECE to become a nanny.  I was week three or four into my two-month notice, giving the director as much time as possible to find a replacement before I left as well.  I was desperately afraid that all the work I did with my students (which included a child with autism, a child whose parents were going through divorce, and a Chinese immigrant who had just started learning English and just stopped being afraid of the world) would be undone by a string of temporary teachers.  I would later find out that it took them all summer to find a replacement for me once I was gone.  Apparently very few people want to lead a packed Pre-K class filled with extenuating circumstances for less than what a full-time Hobby Lobby cashier makes.

My last day at that job was three weeks before my wedding.  I spent that time packing up an apartment, finalizing a wedding with a whole bevy wrenches in the machinery, and filling out the paperwork for my new job in my new state.  I would get married, fully move to the new apartment, spend two weeks abroad, and go right back to the rat race — with, of course, that one-week break in between. Continue reading “A Year Away From Life”


Writer’s Bootcamp, Bonus Day


Sinking Ship: You realize the boat is sinking, but that’s not the worst thing that could happen. The worst thing happened last night.

We stood there at the bow of the ship, our hands clasped around the railing as the boat careened to the left, the port side slowly sinking under water.  We were surrounded by miles and miles of quiet, dark emptiness.  The emergency rafts had already been deployed and were starting to float away from the boat with only a handful of people in each of them.

“We’re doomed,” the guy next to me said, his voice quiet with resignation. “We’ll all drown before the rescue boats ever find us.  This has got to be the worst thing to ever happen to any of us.”

I shrugged my shoulders, my feet already started to slip out from underneath me.

“It could be worse,” I replied.

“How so?”

“Last night I finished day fourteen of a two-week writer’s bootcamp, only to learn there was still one more day to do.”

“Oh, wow.  You’re right.  That is way worse.”

I would’ve replied to the man, but at that point that ship tipped completely onto its side.  I hung from the railing for a moment before plunging into the icy water below me.

Writer’s Bootcamp, Day Thirteen


Breaking Down: A tire blows out as you’re in the car with someone on the verge of his/her own breakdown.  Stuck in a small town, you’re about to do something you haven’t done in years.

We were crossing the Nevada desert when she went into hour three of her rant.

“And then she had the nerve to tell me she needed extra help on the project!” she shrieked. “Extra help!  She might as well have said that I wasn’t good enough!  You know what?  She’s just jealous.  Jealous!” She paused to slap her hands onto the dashboard. “But she’s so much prettier than me!  It’s not fair!  If there were a just God in this world, she wouldn’t be prettier than me!”

I sighed and changed lanes.

“And what is that sigh for?” she shot out. “You do think she’s prettier than me!”

“I’ve never met her.”

“That doesn’t matter!  You agree with me that I’m not as pretty as her!  She puts me through all that and you have the nerve to be on her side?”

I did nothing but shake my head and switch back into our lane after passing a big rig.

Continue reading “Writer’s Bootcamp, Day Thirteen”

Writer’s Bootcamp, Day Twelve


My Resignation: After years of unhappiness, you’ve finally had enough and have decided to quit — but we’re not talking about your job.  Write a letter of resignation to someone other than your employer: your school, your family, your favorite sports team, etc.

To Whom It May Concern,

After much thought and deliberation, I was decided to step down from my position.  I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to learn and grow as a human being, but I believe it is time for move on: effective the last day of the week, aka Saturday August 29th, I will be stepping down as a writing prompt doer-thingy.

Continue reading “Writer’s Bootcamp, Day Twelve”

Writer’s Bootcamp, Day Eleven


The Stranger: You’re walking home from work one night and taking shortcuts through a labyrinth of dark city alleyways to meet someone on time.  Suddenly, a stranger parts the shadows in front of you, comes close, and asks you to hold out your palm.  You oblige.

There is one main rule anyone who lives in the Fenway/Symphony Hall area of Boston knows by heart: you never go through the Fens at night.

The colleges in the area beat it into your head at Hour One of orientation.  Neighbors will warn newcomers the first chance they get.  It’s just not a smart move.

But sometimes you find yourself coming home late from work and the idea of going around an entire park is exhausting.  Sometimes you want to cut through.  And that’s exactly what I did one night.

Continue reading “Writer’s Bootcamp, Day Eleven”

Writer’s Bootcamp, Day Ten


Dollar Message: You’re at your favorite department store buying a birthday present for a friend.  As the cashier gives you change, you notice a message with specific instructions scribbled on one of the bills.  What do the instructions say?  Do you carry them out and, if so, how?

I didn’t get it at first.

The cashier deliberately handed me back a folded five when I was at the department store.  I watched her take the five out of the cash register, fold it in half, and hand it to me with my receipt.

“Here’s your change.”

I cocked an eyebrow at her — for fuck’s sake, I paid with credit card — and tentatively took the five with my receipt.

Continue reading “Writer’s Bootcamp, Day Ten”