Elicit an Emotional Response

Time is a little tight today. I have to start work at 2:45, as opposed to my usual after 3pm start time. Add to it a late start thanks to a long overdue phone call to my mom and I’m feeling the pressure.

When I rolled into Starbucks there wasn’t a single table open. My boss watched me gaze at various tables, waiting for the moment when my face would belie what my brain had realized; there wasn’t a single open table.

“Denied!” She shouted, and gave me a patented Steph maniacal laugh. Gotta love my job!

But, patience is a virtue. Even as my fingers tweeted about the lack of space, a woman vacated the premises, and I snagged that table before my drink even made it to the hand off plane.

So, I’ve got just under three hours to get my brain in gear. With such limited time, what should I prioritize? I know I want to get some solid work done on ‘Cards’, since I made such great progress on editing yesterday, but I love editing, and tearing into chapter 2 would be so nice.

But, I can feel that chapter six is ready to get started, so that’s where I’ll begin. We’ll see how that progresses. If it comes easily I write until I’m out of time. You gotta ride that wave as long as it’ll carry you.

But, if it’s difficult, I’ll write 1,000 words and then start editing Chapter 2 of ‘Vessels’.

Ok. Sounds like a plan.

So, I’ve mentioned before that I send my mom my rough drafts upon completion. As in, I send her every chapter as I finish them. It’s an ego boost for me, because my mom loves it all, and it’s entertaining for her. Plus, it gives me a reason to keep going, because there’s someone waiting to see how it all turns out.

So, I sent her chapter five yesterday, after I finished those blasted cryptograms. I got an email this morning from her saying that she loved the chapter, which I expected, and that she spent a good amount of time trying to decipher the messages. I didn’t expect that, and was pleasantly surprised when she said she couldn’t figure them out.

So, they may have been a pain in the ass, but they work. So, I’m taking the liberty of patting myself on the back.

Tomorrow I’m going to the Portland Art Museum with my father-in-law. We’re both a little artsy, and our partners aren’t so much. So, we’re taking this opportunity to enjoy some time together and to discuss the things we’re going to see and feel on this trip. I’m really looking forward to it. Plus, any excursion out of Salem is welcome. And though a part of my brain is chiding me for wasting the time on a day trip instead of writing, I know that it will be worth it.

The last time I went to an art museum was in 2008, and I remember the wonder I felt. The Phoenix Art museum had this one exhibit titled, “You Who Are Being Obliterated by the Dancing Swarm of Fireflies”. Google it. But know that photos won’t do it justice.

Basically, its a room walled in mirrors, strung with various lengths of multicolored LED light cables. They hang straight down, illuminating the black room just enough for the light to rebound off the mirrors. You walk through the room, feeling as if you’ve been transported. You can’t see yourself in the mirrors, just the endless flecks of light.

You Who Are Being Obliterated by the Dancing Swarm of Fireflies
You Who Are Being Obliterated by the Dancing Swarm of Fireflies

Trevor was with me on that trip, and it was magical. We may or may not have made out in that room. I look back on that moment as life altering, although I didn’t feel that way at the time. I just felt exhilarated. Alive.

That’s what art is supposed to do. Any piece of art worth its salt is supposed to elicit an emotional response. Fear. Anger. Sadness. Wonder. If it does that, then it has served its purpose.

So, I’m really excited to see and feel some art tomorrow. I’m sure I’ll have plenty to say afterward.

Also, if you’re ever in Phoenix, that exhibit is still up. You really have to check it out.

Anyway, I have fiction to write!



3 thoughts on “Elicit an Emotional Response

  1. May I grammar nazi and say it’s “elicit” in the context you’re using? “Illicit” means it’s illegal, like an “illicit substance.”

    In other news, that firefly art piece looks and sounds astonishing. I’m about a day’s long drive from Phoenix, though I’ll see if I can make my way over there…sometime.

    As to the story, it always feels good to get some validation, even if it’s the simple “I like it.” Such a response doesn’t revise stories into the shape they need to be, but they easily keep us going, as you’ve shown.

    • I fully appreciate your nazi tendencies. I tried to come up with something witty about emotions and our inability as a society to embrace them. But, it was definitely an unintentional spelling error. Thanks!

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