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Kansas City MO 64131





Cindy Maddera

I wrote a tiny story about a woman in a yoga class. It is a fictional story, one I wrote in the Fortune Cookie journal. The prompt had something to do with silliness and I was genuinely stuck for a good five minutes before I started writing about a woman who cracks herself up when she accidentally releases a colossal fart while in yoga class. It may or may not be based on actual events. It sounds juvenile and it is, but I couldn’t really think of anything as silly as a fart. God, I remember when Quinn was really little. We were playing in his room when he farted. I said nothing because we were at that stage of trying to teach him that passing gas was nothing. He gave me that squinty side-eye thing that he does and said “I farted.” in a tone that implied he’d done something sneaky or funny. He really just wanted a reaction. I played cool and said “yup.” and then went about my business of putting Legos together. I had to leave the room a few minutes later because I could not hold my laughter in another second. I know we’re not supposed to teach them that farts are funny, but sometimes…farts are funny.

I was a little surprised that I could write so much on this topic. The story, not the fart, wrapped around the page and my handwriting is so horrid because I kept trying to write my letters smaller and smaller in order to fit more on the page. This happens every time I start writing something in the Fortune Cookie journal. I’ve talked about that here before and so you’d think I would be used to this happening every time I open a page to a new fortune prompt. I am not. I am not ever prepared to have so much to say or make up about a fortune cookie fortune. I am not ever prepared for the story that falls out onto the paper. Nothing I write is really any good. Sometimes they sound like the kind of fairytale you makeup while trying to put a kid to bed because you couldn’t find an age appropriate book to read them for bedtime. Sometimes they have a dark and sad tone. Apparently, sometimes they’re about farting in yoga class. I just keep thinking that the actual story is not as important as the practice of writing it.

Michael mentioned recently that he thought I should write a book of fiction first before I write something of non fiction. Michael thinks I should do a lot of things. He’s got lots of opinions, most of which I just nod my head in agreement and then say in a noncommittal way that I agree. I am not ambitious or driven enough to write a book in any form right now. Honestly, I don’t think I have it in me to write more than a thousand words on one topic. I have a google drive full of starters.

Elizabeth boldly stepped into what appeared to be a living room, though it was cluttered with the most random bits of things. A gramophone sat in one corner with some sort of skirt stretched over the cone. Even more piles of books and papers. Jars of odds and ends scattered all over. Elizabeth couldn’t quite make out their contents, but one of them appeared to contain eyeballs. She stopped looking and thinking too much about it. She really needed this job. Then she saw a man sitting near the fireplace, his head tilted back and resting on the backrest, elbows resting on the armrests. His eyes were closed, so he still didn’t realize Elizabeth was in the room. She cleared her throat. His eyes snapped open and sharply focused on her. “You’re not Maggie.” He said in a very matter of fact way. Elizabeth replied “no Sir.”

I started that one the summer of 2012. I wrote 3007 words before I just stopped writing. I wrote over 6,000 words for a story that was based on a dream I’d had where I was a magician’s assistant. Every night he turned me into a tree with golden leaves that would dissolve into golden butterflies and then fly out into the audience. It was a great trick. There was an idea for a children’s book about an egg with four yolks, but the story grew to a length that was not kid appropriate. Too long for a 5 year old, too simple for a 10 year old. I didn’t know my audience. I don’t know my audience. All of the stories have one thing in common and that’s how they sit there, incomplete, waiting for more words. The ideas come to me and then flutter away like butterflies. Or attack like seasonal allergies. It’s all about whether or not you think in half full or half empty terms. At least with the Fortune Cookie journal I know there’s not going to be an ending to a story only because I don’t end up leaving any room to write one.

My creative writing is more like creative farting on a page.