Positive Writer is hosting Writing Contest: Writers Crushing Doubt which finally made me write a story I was planning to write since a long time ago but had never really done it. The story about my grandfather:
My final year at the college. The real life left its door ajar for me to squeeze through. Final exams were near, and I had to spend weeks upon weeks studying. No time to rest, no time to do anything I liked. I was tired…
In the middle of all that, I received response to a query for my short story. The e-mail response was polite in a typical, sterile manner: ‘…your story is not quite right for us…’ Those words slammed me like a hammer. My best story, polished and rewritten at least a dozen times received its fifth or sixth rejection.
I had no time to rewrite it again, or will… My initial response was anger. I attached a memory stick containing all of my stories to my computer and deleted everything. Then I stuffed the memory stick into trash bag. That done it – I won’t waste my time rewriting the same story a thousand times. I’ll never learn how to write.
Later that night, I couldn’t sleep. Deep sadness replaced the anger – I have just killed my dreams. I willed sleep to come, but it never did. My reasoning that I have to sleep, so I could study tomorrow, didn’t help at all. Everything has lost its meaning. Did anything ever have any meaning? Turmoil of thoughts rushed through my head. What it was like to swim on the ocean of despair and to hear depths, calling for me, I dare not even try to explain. We all had those moments and have done our best to forget them.
I’ll say this much, lying there alone in the dark, I thought about how life was unfair. Everything good comes to an end, yet a string of bad is never-ending. Then I remembered every bad thing which happened to me and everything I had lost. My grandfather was the best person I ever met. He never yelled at me. Grandpa wanted to live, but he got cancer and died. He was not like me – he loved life till his last breath. I never understood it, but I loved him for his optimism and kind manner.
That was the last time I cried – when my father drove us to his funeral. He was in the casket, but it was not him. A strange wax doll lying there, devoid of life was exact opposite of his joy. As they lovered the casket in the hole, the priest sang a passage from the Bible. At that moment faint smile escaped my lips – I knew he was still living inside of me.
I remembered the funeral I visited with my grandpa when I was maybe two or three years old. There I asked him why do everyone cry and only the priest sing? He made an anecdote out of it, retelling it to his friends and later to me on various occasions. My grandpa could make a story out of anything. Like when I started going to school, he escorted me and shared with anyone who greeted us how I have seven years and he exactly seventy-seven.
He would make popcorn, covering the pan with a plate or roasted the young corn opening the door of the stove and told me stories. About his days in the war fighting Nazis, about his first visit to the Capitol on the pram, about our ancestors, about his music teacher and his violin, about anything… Every story was magical, bringing warmth and transporting me into another world where everything was better and more interesting.
Before he would read a new book he would turn to the last page and read through the ending. When I asked him why he did that, he said ‘to see if it’s any good.’ I didn’t understand back then, but now I do. If the book isn’t worth reading if you already know the ending, then it isn’t worth reading the second time. You should never read the books that ain’t worth reading for the second time.
There in the dark of my bedroom I understood the reason I had desire to write in the first place. I wanted to share that feeling with others. I stood up from my bed and dug out the memory stick from the trash bag. The next day I retrieved the lost data – my stories were alive again. And I’ll keep writing them, no matter if anyone will listen what I have to say. They are the vault, in which I will store most valuable treasure of my childhood. The voice from the past which will never go silent.