I’m excited today because I’ve only got TWO things on my to-do list. One has to do with a pepper. The other has to do with a carrot.
To Do List
- Write a blog post for Day 1 of NanoPoblano 2018
- Write the final revision of “Mudslide” for Carrot Ranch Literary Community
Today I’ll be able to check off both items on my list with this ONE blog post! And then I can immediately go back to sleeping adding more things to my to-do list.
I’ve been giving a lot of thought to NanoPoblano (a daily blogging challenge that takes place every year in November), and I’ve decided that the key to a good month-long blog challenge is to write about something the READERS care about. I’m really looking forward to doing that.
So, in the comments below, please leave a word or two about what you’d like to read in my November blog posts. I’ll do my best to work all of your suggestions in.
Mudslide is a story I’ve been working on for Carrot Ranch Literary Community. It’s a writing challenge designed to torture inspire, educate, and motivate writers.
The Mudslide challenge began with a 297-word story about a mudslide, which then gets pared down — first to 99 words, then 59, and then an unbelievable 9 words, while experimenting with writing techniques such as changing point of view, analyzing important “nuggets,” and interjecting words of emotion.
If you’re interested, you can read those earlier versions by looking at my previous blog posts. Or, you can just read my final challenge below, a 495-word story about a mudslide, cascading all the way to the end of this page.
I sat bolt upright and stared at the bright red numbers on the alarm clock. They stared back at me accusingly, unblinking. Two-fifteen. What had awoken me?
Slowly, it dawned on me. I’d just had that dream again, the one about the mudslide.
I’d had it four nights in a row, ever since moving in with Jake – the man I’d promised to spend the rest of my life with. I knew I should tell my shrink about the dreams, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to hear what she’d have to say about them – especially if I told her the whole story.
I looked over at Jake, snoring softly beside me. I touched his shoulder; he didn’t move. What – or who – was he dreaming about, I wondered? But I needed to stop thinking like that. Who was I to be jealous? I lay down and tried falling back to sleep, but I was still haunted by images of the mudslide in my dream.
It was strong – a torrent of devastating mud, carrying everything in its path down with it into an infinite abyss. There was no escape.
What did it mean? Was it some kind of a warning? Did I have to start watching my back – again?
I was lying still, but I felt uncontrollably dizzy. Unable to stop my swirling thoughts, I got out of bed, tiptoed from the room, and pulled my phone from my purse. Not knowing what else to do, I decided to try an internet search of dream interpretation.
I’d just Googled the words “mudslide dream” when Jake startled me, coming up behind me without a sound and kissing my neck. I jumped and dropped the phone.
It started buzzing as soon as it hit the floor. I quickly reached to pick it up, but Jake beat me to it. He stared at it a second and then held it out so I could see the screen. Caller ID said “SLIM DUDE.”
The phone continued to buzz in Jake’s hand. Finally, it stopped.
“Who’s ‘Slim Dude’?” Jake asked, not expecting what I said next.
“My husband,” I said, feeling ashamed.
“You have a … HUSBAND?!” Jake said. He’d started out whispering, but his words were choked at the end.
My mouth went dry and I couldn’t answer. Instead, I saw a vision, flashing like a neon sign in my brain. It was my husband’s nickname, the one he’d gotten in prison, the eight letters in SLIM DUDE tattooed on his fingers.
I knew then that SLIM DUDE would never stop calling me, never stop haunting my dreams. SLIM DUDE wouldn’t rest until he’d found a way to worm his way into my head again, scrambling up my happiness, and converting my life into a MUDSLIDE of despair.
And now the worst had happened. Jake knew the truth. I took one last look at him and said goodbye forever to my happy life, giving in to the power of the mudslide.