As the summer of 2010 comes to an end, I have little time to rest. The past few months had me exhausted with not just two significant writing classes but with a swimming class as well.

First was Fiction I, a six-week course with the excellent Tim Horvath at Grub Street, where I wrote my first short story in years, called Let. Him. Go.

That class spanned over Memorial Day weekend, when I met up with my father’s best friend who I hadn’t seen in years. An anecdote about their time together inspired me to write another short story, first called Redhead but now, in its current stage, titled Muscle.

Grub Street hosted its Spring Showcase on Monday, June 14, when spring students could read in front of an audience of their peers. I decided to go for it, even though I recalled the last time I had done so, my voice wavering as my hands shook, clasping the sheet of paper, as I recited my work in front of students at a writers conference during high school.

If you don’t see the YouTube video above, you can go to YouTube directly to watch me read an early draft of Muscle. It was shot by a fellow classmate with my Nikon D90. (Turns out the summer showcase is happening tonight. Oops, I forgot about it. Otherwise I would have gone.)

Just before the showcase, I took a one-day workshop with Tara Masih on the Rise of Flash Fiction, my second such class with her. I was a bit frustrated in my first, back in October 2009, and I’m not sure if I was just having a bad day or not being able to free-write on the spot. This time, I was on a roll and managed to come up with a pretty cool first sentence of a nanofiction.

But that actually became probably one of my cooler stories yet in my next Grub class, again with Horvath, in 10 Weeks 10 Stories, and it became my second story, called Shorn.

I wrote 8+ stories for that class. The last two were incomplete. For the curious, the (working) titles are:

  1. Bankrupt
  2. Shorn
  3. In the Market
  4. Gankoyama
  5. Muscle (the next draft)
  6. Dust to Dust
  7. Bullseye
  8. Elicit
  9. Lonely Leaf (in-class flash fiction)
  10. Fallen

A gay man recently dumped by another who opted for a woman. A girl trying to win back the affection of the boy who became a rising rock star. A wealthy couple searching at a farmers market for the Ugandan cook who up and left them. A girl turns into a tree. A man drinks with his friend who then drives home drunk. A bat-shit crazy man points at the mystery of the stars and deduces spy satellites. Everything that rides on a throw of a dart. Why paint is still stuck on a man’s wife’s jeans. A walking meditation by a widow on the last leaf held by a tree. And what could possibly drive a man to kill?

All that and more — including another Saturday flash fiction workshop, as well as an “Essays in a Flash” seminar — went through my mind this summer. A summer of writing showed that I really do have material in this wooden noggin; I just have to sit here and tap into it.

I hope to do more of that on the honeymoon. (Yep.) There I hope to join my soon-to-be wife and swim with dolphins. I took an adult beginners class at the Waltham Y and still have trouble coordinating my breathing. But at least I can float. Sort of. Maybe I’ll have time to practice between now and then. Less than three weeks.

Sigh. Not much time. So much to do. Including remembering to have fun, and breathe.