Going to Emergency, is a brutal story, in the collection of 17 that make up Claiming One.  It doesn’t begin brutally.  But it gets there in the end. Like some lives do from time to time.

The genus of the story came from an anecdote I used to tell about having a spinal tap done and no one telling me I couldn’t move after it. In real life I left the hospital on foot, got on the first of three bumpy busses and rode on home. Ouch.

What I love about writing strong fiction is the beauty of telling something with a tinge of truth in it and bringing that small truth into something totally new. Into places I’ve not been myself, but where I can allow my characters to explore as far as they can go. And in this story Rikki goes very, very far:

 What Rikki remembers is jumping up off the couch for a Diet Cherry Pepsi as the commercial started. That and a wobble-feeling that strobed behind her eyes, just before the TV’s volume rose up to a crashing level and she dropped like a corpse onto the rough carpet, face first.

The walls shook from the BAM of her contact. For a slip of a girl, 103 lbs. max, she made a big noise going down.   

 As a new writer, consider writing a story by lying though your teeth about some small thing that was true. Whip up a story from one small grain of fact. Try your chops at blowing up and taking off from a place you really know.  Jump start a story idea by asking yourself ‘what if?’ Let most of your ‘facts’ fall away; replace those facts with something you’d never do—except on the page.  Take any writing you’ve done that began as biography and find one solo fact in it. Then try removing everything else you’ve written and build a big new lie around your found fact.  The places you may be able to take your story might surprise you.

Fiction! Don’t you just love writing (and reading) fiction?