I’m moving Breakthrough Writing posts to Saturdays

I’m swamped on Mondays with my on-line copy-editing job. I need to give Breakthrough Writing – and you – my full attention. Wrestling with pitiful writing makes me furious, heart-sick at what passes for writing too much of the time these days. I’m grateful for real writers – for you. Breakthrough Writing is the keeping of a vow – a vow to the writing life, a vow to the natural world, a vow to story. I won’t let my rage at bad writing affect/infect BTW…

…The on-line service provider tech knocked on my door this morning. Denny was in his early forties, a stocky guy with a sweet grin. My internet signal has been fading in and out. I earn my living on the internet. Denny explained how company policy was to only fix the system if it was broken; as far as he was concerned, corporate really needed to authorize a complete overhaul of the system, but that would cut into their profits.

Forty minutes later, we had covered the failure of capitalism, oppression of workers, the absolute gentrification of Flagstaff, and, most chillingly, how his kids were disappearing into their computers and phones, despite his and his wife’s best efforts to set limits on screen time. I told him about the inter-net as cocaine. He got it.

As we were talking, I knew I would write about Denny and our conversation and I knew I would be writing about the real world, a world that is disappearing for so many of the young. Try this: Write for thirty minutes with pen and paper. Here is your prompt: My life is being devoured. I am offering up my life as food for an illusion. Love to see what you discover.

Heeeeeere’s Theresa…

The room is filled with murmurs. There are no windows and the lighting a  dull fluorescent glare. Some of the potential jurists lean against the surrounding walls, others sit in the few available chairs in the center of the room. Some of the jurors are either engaging in casual conversation or staring at their cell phones or both. One juror stand with his arms folded across his chest, staring off into space. I know that pose. It’s the same one as the wooden Indian in my sister-in-law’s foyer. A few are read books and some just look annoyed as hell. This is a small town and most gathered in the room know one another.

Throughout the waiting room, the common gripe centers on how this required jury duty was a hassle. Everyone is apparently busy and the time taken away from their work/appointments/ obligations is a huge inconvenience. Yet, there seems to be a feeling of pride to have been chosen.

The bailiff just came out with some hardship forms for those that cannot commit to the next 3 to 4 days. Surprisingly not that many step forward. To be excused one must have a medical release, be a sole supporter of a family, or have a pre-paid vacation. “When do the three days begin” I ask. “I have a pre-paid vacation starting this Sunday.” Well, we both know I have a commitment to meet with you, Mary. But how do I explain that the next week has been booked for my creative soul’s nurturing? Something tells me the judge won’t quite understand.

The room is growing a bit quieter as idle conversation is running out of steam. I see someone I know walk back from the bathroom. At first I noticed that a man seemed to have a disability of sorts based on the manner with which he walked. I saw that he was older and that both of his legs were covered by heavy support socks. As I glanced up at his face I realized he had been my son’s high school baseball coach. Should I wander over and make conversation or continue to stare down at my computer and not let on that I knew he was here? I opt for the latter. More and more I don’t have the patience for random chit chat. It rather hurts my head.

What is taking so long? They have had us here for an hour now. Evidently the lawyers are having discussions with the judge doing what lawyers do. At least that is what the bailiff announced. Hopefully they will resolve whatever issue is in front of them and we will be excused. If that is the word that comes through the Superior Court doors, I’m sure there will be a united sigh of relief.

This room sure could use a decorative touch. The walls are primarily beige grass cloth. The floors are dark brown tile and dark wood trim is everywhere. The posters around the room, (most duplicated in Spanish) warn of the jurors’ responsibilities regarding the internet and social media. There is a banner thanking us for our service as we are “serving justice, serving the community. There is a bulletin board filled with flyers announcing service for those suffering domestic violence and child victim support. A couple of drinking fountains and fire hydrants complete the decor. Yes, this room could use some help. Especially if they expect this many people to wait patiently to see if there services will be required. I wonder who I could talk to about the decor in this room? A nice display of Healing Images would do wonders. Imagine how proud everyone would feel as they waited to serve our community while gazing upon images of this beautiful land in which we live. I can almost feel a patriotic song stirring deep within.   —Theresa Souers

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