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  • When I used to write for fun

    I don't even know how to start this. Matt and I have been talking about writing - but that's not exactly an uncommon thing. That's like saying, "Matt got up and made coffee this morning and I woke up to the sound of the bean grinder going WHRRRRRRRRRRZZZZZT."

    Anyway, this conversation prompted me to dig through my old story files on my desktop. I pulled up "the little star wars fanfic" I wrote at the end of 2004. I don't remember how long it took me to write it - in my mind, I wrote it in a whirlwind week or two, staying up late at night in my room with a laptop and music, clacking away on the keys to my heart's content. Whether that is accurate, I don't know.

    This star wars fanfic is one of the startlingly few finished first drafts I have. I never had any intention of editing it, and I still don't. Good grief, I barely dare read the thing, because I'm willing to bet (or I certainly hope) that my writing voice has gotten a lot better since then. But when I opened it up and waited for the pages to load, I was thinking ... 30? 50?

    147. Single space. 57,449 words.

    Now, this isn't that big of a deal. I write somewhere in that vicinity whenever I do NaNoWriMo. But I wrote this much with no one prompting me to. No one cheering me on, no imagined gold stars for writing it or finishing it.

    I just wanted to write it. Badly. And so I did it.

    I'm both proud and sad when I think about it. On the one hand, BOOYAH, of course I can pump out words when I want to. I don't describe myself as a writer for no reason. However, I could write all these words over the space of a couple weeks (we'll even say it took me a month, though I'm sure it was no more than that) - and now I can't write that many words on topic in much longer amounts of time.

    Gosh. I miss writing.

    What changed?

    I still ... I still love writing, when I do it. Working on a story is like some sort of adrenaline kick like I assume runners get. But I stopped writing for the love of writing, and started trying to be an author. I tried to plan stories that audiences would like, learned the ins and outs of the business so that I would be prepared, learned about the craft of writing ... And in the process, I talked myself out of writing things I love.

    “Come in.” Halae said groggily. The door opened, and Carth slowly poked his head in.

        “Is it safe?” He asked. Halae smiled and waved him in. Carth instinctively closed the door behind him.

        “What are you doing here?” Halae asked, pointing to a spot on the foot of her bed. Carth hesitantly looked around and then sat where she had pointed.

        “Haven’t you learned how to probe my mind yet?” He replied teasingly.

        “I could…If I wanted to.” Halae said seriously, “But…You’re my friend, and I don’t. Besides, it takes all the fun out of talking to someone, when you know everything about them.”
        “Well you must be telling the truth, because I shocked you pretty badly today, didn’t I?”

        Halae flushed and laughed. “Well soldier, you took me by surprise, that’s for sure.”

        “But that’s not what I’m here to talk about,” He said softly, “I’m here to talk about you.”

        Halae looked at him in surprise. “Me?”

        “Yeah gorgeous, you.”

        Halae smiled meekly, “Well, what about me?”

        “I’m worried about you.”

        “Don’t be,” She replied slyly, “I’ll be fine.”

        “I’m not joking, Halae.”

        “Neither am I.”

        “Yeah, and I suppose trusting Bastila’s wisdom over your own intuition is fine too, right? Almost forgetting what I know you know deep inside is the right thing for a bunch of principles that the Jedi are pounding into you?”

        “Carth – you don’t…”

        “Understand? No, I don’t. I don’t understand why you’re letting them zap all the life out of you. It’s one thing to train to be a Jedi, but it’s another thing to let them destroy your personality. In three short weeks you’ve turned from the most damned persistent woman I’ve ever met to the biggest damn pushover. The Halae Star I knew on Taris would never have let me walk away from her today. She would have chased me down and beat me with a stick until she got her answer.”

        Halae sat, stunned by Carth’s accusations. Yet, she knew every word that he was saying was absolutely true.

        “What do I do?” she mumbled.

        “Without your intuition – force – whatever they call it, we would still be sitting on Taris…We would have been sitting in that apartment twiddling out thumbs when the planet exploded. Use what you’ve got. Stop trying to be a carbon copy of Bastila and be what you are – Halae. Be Halae, the Jedi, if that’s what your heart tells you is right, but don’t just be the blonde Bastila. Or else…”

        “Or else what?”

        “Or else I really AM going to have to take you over my knee and teach you a lesson! That’s a promise.”

        Halae laughed. As Carth rose to leave, she called out after him, “Hey Carth!”

        He turned around with a grin, “What?”

        He nodded and ran his fingers through his hair, “No problem.”

        “And Carth?”


        “When do I get to hear about your wife??”

        Carth laughed, “Some other time.”