When Stories Come Hard

Some stories slide out relatively easily, as if they are skiing downhill on freshly waxed skis wearing their designer ski wear. Yeah, they look excellent and they don’t mind who knows it.

Others wrap their arms around a tree and scream if anyone even suggests that we need to finish and move on. This week’s story is a screamer.

It’s set during Hanukkah, 1912, on a train bound for Denver. The protagonist is a nurse heading for a job at Denver Jewish Hospital for Consumptives. It’s a historical.

Which means every time it screams, what it says is something like, “You can’t write this story until you have thoroughly researched all candy types available in 1912.” or “Shouldn’t you know more of the character’s backstory?” or “Let’s review a documentary on passenger trains from the period before you write.”

Last night instead of writing, I made my own olive oil menorah with twisted paper wicks so that I could see what it felt like to handle such a menorah, just like my character does in the story. Then I accidentally sent flaming olive oil splashing across the kitchen because at the same time I was also interviewing my mother on what she knows of Jewish Denver in 1912 and setting up oatmeal. Spoiler: flaming olive oil lamps smell like fried food.

On the good side, I know a lot more about 1912, including this fun fact: Denver’s Union Station used to have an arch in front with the word “Welcome” facing people leaving the train station and “Mizpah” (Watchtower in Hebrew) facing people leaving Denver. Since I can’t really use it in the story, I’ve made it today’s featured image. Pretty cool, right?

I’ll finish the story today in Starbucks while Steve runs his long run. I just need 2,000 more words. Late last night, Max (bless their wonderful soul) helped me figure out what needs to happen next. Seriously, if you want to know my real secret to writing a story a week, it’s friends. Thank God for them.

I hope that you are surrounded with friends and supporters this week and that your stories slide down the mountain looking like a million bucks.

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