When I had an email address for the blog on the Honeymag.com site, I used to get hit up all the time by aspiring writers and journalists asking what they can do to become better. One, good writers are good readers. Two, good writers observe. Three, great writers, write all the time, at least once a day. I learned that in a Creative Writing class I took junior year of college. The professor gave me a B+. I argued for the grade and she told me point-blank that I was “Good, but a long way from great.”
The still loathe that damn B, even though it’s almost 10 years later and long, long after anyone’s cared what my college GPA was. I did, however, learn a lot in her class, and I still use her writing tips. When I’m not writing for work, writing for freelance, or writing a blog, and I don’t have my head buried in a book, I just write about whatever’s around me. It’s an exercise to keep my skills sharp. (No lie, the pace of my writing and my skill has quadrupled since I started blogging. In college it took me upwards of 4 hours to write 4 pages- even after all my research was done. I can do it in about an hour now. Though I don’t know if all the blogs are A worthy. Maybe collectively, they’re just a B+ LOL!)
This is what I wrote one morning on the way to work as it was happening.
Think you're having a bad day?
I was standing in the train station with a couple of other people-- two nurses in crisp whites and this kid counting the money in his wallet. Maybe he’s 15. The express train upstairs breezed through the station creating a strong wind. The money blew out of the wallet and rained onto the train tracks. About five bills. The kid paused in disbelief, took another moment to take it all in, looked right, glanced left (trains only come in one direction) then crouched to jump onto the tracks.
''No! No!!'' one of the nurses yells, providing a needed voice of reason.
The kid pauses. Thinks. Sanity returns. He runs up the stairs, his backpack flapping against him.
Thirty seconds later, a gaggle of teenage girls come down the steps and happen to peer onto the tracks. They count up the money. Roughly $10.
The kid was about to jump on the tracks for $10?!
Another minute passes before the kid runs back down the stairs. He stands next to the girls to peer at his loss one more time. I wonder what he was planning to do with money. He stares at his dollars as if willing them to float up to him. It’s obvious he's re-contemplating his decision not to jump. Another hard glare at the tracks and he walks back upstairs calmly.
I peer down the track at the bills, some folded, some delicately strewn on the track like fallen feathers.
I wonder how much money it would take for me to jump on the track.