It’s time to start writing creatively here because I’ve been writing most of my life, favoring poetry since childhood and excelling in academic writing since high school. I was tinkering with the idea of doing a blog–it’s a great place to put my experiments on display, which is a bit daunting because I like to mess up in private (even if only a few people read this stuff–probably my parents and about three students). However, I’ve read enough from leaders in business to know that we learn and grow through failure. So, here goes nothing, you seven people out there!
I’m a teacher, and for the past two years I’ve had the privilege of teaching high school creative writing. A couple months ago my creative writing students came up with some parameters for a story. Usually I would have them collaborate on a group story that had to include the details they decided upon, but during this one particular week, I allowed them to each write their own interpretation of a story that contained peer generated and peer agreed upon elements. Then, a couple students yelled out, “You should write one too!” Hmmm… I had always wanted to write what my creative writing students were writing (though I never told them that), but as an English teacher and mother of a young child, I’m not exactly swimming in free time. In spite of my saner judgement, I agreed to do it. The parameters they came up with were as follows: science fiction with romance (genre), a floating city, main characters to be Marcia & Norman who are in love, but don’t know of the other’s love (either ever or until later)… “skinny love”–and the main characters can’t be killed off. I would have never in my life attempted any writing that would be labeled romantic. All I could think of is “cheesy” and “I hate romance novels.” I’d like this to be neither cheesy or romance novel-ish. Hopefully I can avoid the cheese. #failinginpublic
I started writing this story then, and my students collectively told me, “You HAVE to finish this!” I envision this as a short story, because I can’t imagine coming up with enough details, especially dialogue, to fill a novel. Honestly, I have no idea how I’m going to define “short;” I guess I’ll know when the story feels done. I’ve also read from experienced writers that it’s good to start with small writing goals, but I realize that it’s just an opinion. Since I’m great at being a little over-ambitious, I’ll go with the judgment of others until I decide to do otherwise. I’ve written a little (Prelude and Measure 1), and I already see where I need to expand within Measure 1. Prelude is my version of a prologue, and I’m going to call my chapters “Measure __.” Since I plan on expanding what I’ve already written in Measure 1, I’ll only show Prelude, for now. My story is called Floating to the Ground, and the main characters are Marcia Newquest and Norman Pierce. Enjoy.
I’m stuck here in this city in the sky – it’s my inescapable prison. I am here, and he’s deploying to land in three days. There’s nothing I can do about it, and it sucks. This place is called Ethereal; it’s really quite beautiful, even garden-like. Everything here considered flora was planted because this city is really a livable, hovering craft of sorts, enough to fairly comfortably hold about one-and-a-half million people. The city itself is open air; it kind of reminds me of a giant convertible. There are vines growing on trees, and the trees are everywhere, even inside some of our buildings. It feels tropical, but not excessively hot. A lot of people wish they lived here, but it’s not our choice where we get to live. When or if we ever move is up to officials in The Tower. The way The Tower system works is this: each city is connected to a metropolis, and each metropolis has a local government housed in its largest building called The Tower. The floating cities are not a part of any state, but instead are functions of the larger government called The Confederation. Any land states are also assigned to a Confederation. Each country has its own Confederation that answers to Earth’s government, The Dominion. We’re all used to this system because it’s all we’ve ever known, but sometimes life gives us a curveball—and when we want to leave, we can’t.
Norman Pierce and I met four years ago in high school; we were just seventeen—it feels so long ago. Norman came to school as a new student on a Friday in April. Kind of weird, huh? He came from a place called Nevada, which is on the land, nowhere near here. The Tower in his Confederation did what’s called Reassignment, and because his family’s names were on the list, they were forced to move. There doesn’t have to be a specific reason for being chosen for Reassignment, and Reassignment doesn’t have any regularity. The motto of Reassignment is “For the greater good.”
Reassignment feels like punishment when you enjoy your life, but it can also bring an unexpected joy when your new life brings you people you come to love. That’s what happened with us. Our love was kept a secret from us, by us, until The Assignment was delivered about a month ago.