Snapshots from Real Life by Suzanne Lieurance by Suzanne Lieurance - Read Online

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Snapshots from Real Life - Suzanne Lieurance

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About the Stories

We all have personal stories to tell. The stories that follow were written by students in my 10-week e-course and mentoring program, Fearless Freelance Writing: Build a Successful Career Writing about What You Know and Love. These authors are all at different places in their writing journey. Some are just starting out, while others have been writing for publication for years. Each of these authors is continuing to hone her skills with a blog of her personal stories, so please continue to read their work online and follow their careers. You’ll find the link to each author’s blog in the bios at the back of this book.

Some of the stories here will tickle your funny bone while others will warm your heart. Either way, you’ll probably recognize something of yourself and your own life in every story. We hope you enjoy these short snapshots from real life.

Suzanne Lieurance

The Working Writer’s Coach

The Divorce Had Been Final

Lisa Marie Michener

The divorce had been final since June but still my life was in shambles. My work had taken a turn for the worse; my love life was non-existent. I was miserable. And today was no different. It had snowed overnight. The light dusting covered the already icy sidewalks making the early morning walk with Rennie downright treacherous. Rennie loved the cold and snow and ran ahead, pulling me onto a patch of sharp, cold ice. Damn, I complained to myself, a bruised knee to match my bruised soul...Lord, I could use a break.

We headed down Court Street and across to the canal. It was a favorite place, romantic, desolate, soothing. I could get my thoughts together and try to bury the past. I had to—it was time to move on. Rennie’s paws made perfect angels in the snow. The snow crunched under my boots. The crisp, bitter air and sharp wind whipped through my bundled layers making me wish I were still snuggled in bed. That was a luxury I could no longer afford since the divorce. Yes, things were different now. In some ways, they were better. But still it would be nice to have someone else walk Rennie on these snowy mornings. Or remember to get milk before the carton was empty. Like this morning. I would have to remember to pick some up before heading back home.

I got to the canal just as the Carroll Street Bridge was opening to let a barge pass through. I felt privileged to watch the grimy vessel work its way slowly along the winding canal. The canal was used so little these days that any activity was worth stopping for and appreciating. It signaled another time, a lost way of life that the city would probably never see again. Was that why I felt so at home in these parts? Were the ghosts who haunted the canal lost souls like mine? Did they want to find their way home as much as I did?

Rennie and I wandered through an empty lot. Empty of buildings, but not of life’s cast-offs. The hull of a catamaran, the shell of an old typewriter, a couple of chairs, and a desk all arranged haphazardly yet looking as if a designer had placed them just so. Weeds and brush swept through the lot, softening the harsh reality of concrete and brick. One day I would have to come back to shoot some photos—these urban wastelands were a favorite subject of mine.

Rennie barked at two stray dogs digging in the lot. Rennie was a friendly yet wary mutt, almost eight years old, but still sometimes as energetic as a puppy. A gust of wind ruffled her black coat and her ears stood at attention. She barked again, warning the others to stay back, yet wagging her tail hoping for some playful interaction. Rennie, you are as confused as I am. I laughed. No wonder our love life is going in reverse these days.

I found a dry spot on the edge of the canal and sat down to finish my coffee. Hey, at least I could laugh about my life. I remembered the line from the movie, Shawhank Redemption. If you’re not busy dying, you should be busy living. Well, like he said in the movie, I ain’t dying, so I best be living. And living was what I attempted to do every day. Only some days it was harder than others.

I would have to head back home soon but I stayed a few moments longer to center myself. None of my friends understood why I loved this neighborhood. To them it was too rough and dicey. It was just a few short blocks from my apartment, but it was like another world. I felt at peace when I came here. Maybe it was the water; maybe it was the desolation. Maybe it was the isolated solitude.

I called to Rennie who was sniffing through some garbage. Let’s go home!

Rennie leaped up and ran into my outstretched arms.

Hey, Rennie...that’s my girl, I said as we nuzzled our noses together.

As we walked, I compiled a mental to-do list for the day. There were a lot of calls I needed to make. And I had to make plans for new work ideas. It had been a slow couple of weeks ever since the holidays. Several clients had gone out of the country, so projects that had been confirmed were now on hold. Besides, my writing was getting stale and working for these same steady clients only added to the feeling of a stale life. No time to dwell, I thought. Without steady work, though, there was plenty of time to dwell. But today would be different. I would be disciplined. I would focus. By the end of today, I mused, I will have a new sense of commitment to my writing and to my life. Little did I know just how true this was.

Stay here, Rennie, while I run in quick for some milk, I told Rennie as I tied her leash to the post. It was the only store in the neighborhood where I felt safe leaving Rennie by herself and even so I was nervous. I darted into the store, almost knocking into a woman buying the papers. Oh, excuse me, I mumbled as I glanced over my shoulder to make sure Rennie was still there.

I grabbed