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Kansas City MO 64131





Cindy Maddera

Probably the best thing I've done for myself this entire year has been to consistently write in my Fortune Cookie journal. I can't entirely say that this is something I did for myself because Michael bought me the journal. I'm not sure he bought it with the intention of me writing tiny stories based off the fortune on each page. I own that one, but it was more than the gift. He also gave me time to write in it. He respects that time I spend on Saturday mornings sitting in a cafe by myself. At first, I'm always a little bit stumped by whatever the fortune says at the top of the page. I sit there tapping my pen on the table struggling with even how to start a story, but I am always amazed at how the story flows once I get that first sentence started. Sometimes, most times, the story comes to me so that I end up packing the one tiny page full and I am disappointed that there is not any more space to write. 

I'm not writing anything amazing or worthy of high praise. I'm not going to win a Pulitzer or a Nobel prize in Literature for these tiny stories and that's okay. It's not about writing anything worth reading as much as it about just sitting down and writing and using my brain. There are stories I write where I think it would be nice to read them out loud to someone. I almost want someone in the cafe to ask me about what I'm writing so I can tell them the concept behind the Fortune Cookie journal so I can tell them all about it. I even imagine reading one of the stories out loud to them. It's silly fictional drivel but for some crazy reason I am really proud of it. I run out of room on a page and then I pat my self on the back with "you are so good, Cindy! This story is so inviting! You're the best!" Even though I know that if any one else where to read them, they'd be all "What the fuck kind of crap is this?!"

For the most part, no one but me ever reads those stories. Sure, occasionally I might post one here. Actually, rarely do I post one here. I've posted maybe two or three out of the dozens I've written so far. That's probably why it's so easy to pat myself on the back and tell myself that my little stories are so clever and engaging. It has become one of the few places where I feel like I might actually be good at this. It's sort of like being on my yoga mat. My tiny secret stories make me feel bold and creative and clever. Part of me is just vain enough to want to share those stories while the other part of me is cowardly enough to not want to share those stories. There's more of a chance that I will actually be at least clever and creative as long as I keep those tales to myself. This is a universal struggle. To share or not to share. That is the question.

I know that at the end of the day, if I confidently want to call myself a writer, I'm going to have to share. It has got me thinking about telling a story, about the organization of telling a story. I've been thinking of ways to put my story together in a way that would make it compelling enough to read. I feel like the stuff that I have written down in various word documents are just like notes on a napkin. There's no connection, no tie together, no hook. If anything, this exercise with the Fortune Cookie journal has got me thinking about hooks and tie togethers. It's got me thinking about NANOWRIMO and how I really should take advantage of that month (and right now, really) to be a writer.