The most frequent advice I come across for amateur writers is, “Write what you know.”
“What you know” doesn’t necessarily always mean “your comfort zone.” For this week, take what you know out of your comfort zone. Try a new genre, a new time period, a geography you’ve only dreamed of, fantasy or historical instead of contemporary fiction, try the male POV if you usually write women. Or vice versa.
Switch it up. See where it takes you.
I figure that since I have some time on my hands now I’d try to write the journey I’ve made to where I’m at now. It’s been a long road full of pit stops and holes, but there have been some sweet spots as well. It’s probably best to start out when I ran away in 1898 since that’s when life for me really started. Let’s just hope that my memory doesn’t fail me!
I rode fast & hard down the long, winding dirt road, although thinking about it now it wasn’t much of a road. It was more like a trail that cut through the deep woods and being in the shade of those trees was the only thing that helped keep my horse and me from heat exhaustion. I ‘member it was so hot and sticky out that I had to hold on tight or I’d slip off the horse ‘cause of all the sweat.
As I road on into the night I kept thinking will they miss me? Will they even know that I’m gone? The answers didn’t matter to me anymore because the only thing that mattered was my freedom.
Freedom. It sure did mean a lot to me. It was something that I had never experienced in my life… I bet that it had a taste so sweet that nothing could compare to it. Not even one of mama’s prize pies!
The only thing I knew was hard work and the back of my daddy’s hand and while I can work hard and sometimes didn’t mind it I hated my daddy. He’s a mean son of a bitch that couldn’t handle his whisky. He drank every day, even on Sunday as soon as we got back from church.
My mama was gone. She’d been gone for a couple of years seeing as she died while trying to give birth to my baby brother. It was hard on me and I think it was on daddy too because it was the only time I’d seen him show some sort of emotion, but he got more mean after that. It’s sad to say but it was a happy time for me because daddy didn’t come after me with the belt all that much for a while.
I think that if it weren’t for my mama he’d a killed me. I miss her a lot.
He got over mama fast & started bringing women ‘round. Not the good kind either and he drank more and beat me more. You can only take so much, right? So I took off on my horse with everything that I could and left our farm in Mississippi. North. That’s where I was gonna go… somewhere I could get lost in the crowd, where people didn’t know me, and where I could find freedom.
I never got lost since I didn’t know where I was most of the time and nobody seemed to pay attention to me. Guess it wasn’t odd to see a boy my age riding alone. I was happy though and eventually stopped looking over my shoulder.
I think it took me damn near two weeks to get outta the south and by time I made it to Michigan I knew I’d be safe.
That first week there was one I can’t forget. There was a huge lake… bigger than the Mississippi River and cold as all get out. Man… it was beautiful I just sat there in the warm sand for hours staring out at that water and all the different shades of blue.
It wasn’t long before I knew I was home.