1000 words. Every day.
That’s what real writers say you should do: write 1000 words every day. Honestly, it seems like it isn’t enough, and at the same time, it seems like a real challenge. Where am I going to find time to write a thousand words? Where am I going to find enough ideas to express with that many words?
Jon tentatively reached out toward the bark of the tree, placing his hand on the hump worn smooth by the caresses of thousands upon thousands of other hands which had been placed in the same spot. He inhaled sharply—involuntarily—as the wood grew warm under his palm and his neck began to tingle. Suddenly, Jon was in a field, vast and green, surrounded by butterflies. At least, he thought they were butterflies; they fluttered and shimmered in the air around him; now seeming to flap their wings, now seeming to float on the light breeze without flapping at all. It was beautiful. The most beautiful thing he had ever seen. Jon laughed.
Turning toward where his father had been standing, Jon asked out loud, “But how do I get back?” Instantly he was in front of the tree again, mouth open in astonishment, hand still resting on the tree. The palm-polished knot had been glowing softly, and as he pulled his hand away, the faint light quickly faded.
“Good,” smiled the old man, ignoring Jon and speaking to Arto. “This is good,” he repeated. Then he walked away from the tree, muttering happily to himself about preparations and ceremonies—Jon wasn’t sure exactly what it meant, but he saw something on Arto’s face that made him excited. It was a look Jon hadn’t seen before. Part of it was happiness, which was rare enough, but the other part, the part that filled Jon with hope and wonder, was pride.
Arto said nothing. He just stood there and smiled quietly for several minutes. Jon began to fidget. Finally, he cleared his throat and ventured, “Papa?” Arto nodded, and finally spoke.
“Well, let’s go home and get you ready.”
That, Jon knew, meant there would be no sleep tonight. First, there would be the cheers, and the hugs, and the congratulations. Then there would be a bath—a head-to-toe scrubbing with scalding water, harsh soap, and pumice—that would leave Jon clean but probably sore. While he was bathed, he knew his grandmother would be cooking a celebration dinner while his uncle, the master tailor, whipped up a fine outfit suitable for the occasion. All through the evening and late into the night, people would be stopping by with small gifts, well-wishes, and more food as word spread through the village. Sometime after midnight, after the cooking-fires had died down, everyone would gather in the main room of the little house to sing songs, tell stories, and probably shed a few tears. Finally, just before sunrise, all would wearily make their way back to the tree, with Jon at the head of the procession: the place of honor.
Well, that was barely 500 words, and only if you count the stuff I said before & after. That block is part of a story concept I’ve had in my head for a while, and it’s the first time I’ve tried to write some of it down. I’m not really thrilled with it, but I am at least pleased that I wrote some words today.