The Writing Sample

NOTE: Lucy is now in the 11th grade. She has been homeschooled for most of her school life.
She was asked to provide a writing sample for a class she's petitioning to get into.

As someone who stares at blank pages hoping and praying for inspiration to come, I totally enjoyed this.
I think you will, too.

(She wants to be a published author one day....)

Lucy first day of school

I sit at my desk, staring at the instructions:

λ Please provide a copy of a writing sample.

My hands pull back from the keyboard. A sample of my writing? Does this teacher want an old essay? Or a new piece of fiction? Something short? Long? Informative? Creative? All of the above?

Doubt appears. His seven-inch stature is barely taller than my drinking cup. His little brow is furrowed and his mouth is turned down.

He looks up at me and says, “I don’t think this will work.”

I reply sternly, “I haven’t written anything yet. How can you say it won’t work when there’s nothing here?”

He shifts his weight, and looks askance at me, “Well…” he begins hesitantly, “We just don’t know exactly what she wants… and what if we get it wrong? What if she wants an essay about…I dunno, one of your History assignments? But then again…”

Doubt rambles on, while I try to focus. My fingers rhythmically thump on the keys, and I stare at the screen until my eyes feel glazed. I shut my eyes and focus on the task at hand.

I can do this. Writing sample means a sample… of my writing. I’ll write what I like. It’s easy.

I open my eyes. Doubt is no longer there.

I smile and turn back to the screen.

The blank, empty, plain white screen.

I tilt my head to the side. I blink. I fiddle with my bracelet. I doodle on a notebook. I push my chair away from my desk…

And Procrastination is sitting on my shoulder. Leaning lazily on my neck, he says slowly, “You need a break.”

“No. Not you. Go away.”

I try to brush him off, but my hand falls through him as if it were empty air. He pulls out an apple and begins munching loudly. “How about a snack? You need energy if you wanna finish anything.” He tosses his apple from one hand to the other.

My stomach rumbles. Maybe he’s right…

There’s a loud crunch as he takes another bite. Mouth full, he mumbles, "This project isn’t going anywhere. Just take fifteen minutes. Rest. Relax.”

As he speaks, I imagine myself lounging on the couch, watching a movie. Thinking about nothing. I’m tempted.

Wiping his lips on his sleeve, he tosses the apple into the air. It disappears. “Come on, you know you need a little break. You’ll get this done… eventually.”

I set my jaw. I know all too well how Procrastination works. I’ve fallen under his influence one too many times. I shake my head roughly, take a deep breath, and pull my seat close to the desk again. 

The little being on my shoulder is gone. And now I see a new figure on my desk.

Determination, standing on my stapler, meets my eyes. His face is the very definition of his name. Lips set in a resolute line, he speaks in a steady voice, “You know you can do this. Just keep concentrating.”

As if on cue, Focus appears, sitting cross-legged on my mouse pad. Her breathing is calm and she gazes at the screen, blinking every so often. I mirror her. 

When I do, Inspiration, in all her quirky glory, bounds out from behind my computer. Her wild hair shimmers and her many skirts bustle around her. She adjusts the scarf around her neck and smiles at me.

As soon as she smiles, I have an idea.

With Determination cheering me on every now and then, my fingers relentlessly pound across the keys. With Focus nearby, I never stray from my task.

As I come to the completion of my story, Determination walks off my desk. Focus fades away. Inspiration is the last to leave. She twirls around and is gone in a flash of bright purple light.

I type the last word and lean back in my chair, grinning like an idiot.

Appreciation struts by, reading my work. When he’s done, there is a pause. Then he nods.

“Not bad.”