I’m standing in front of you naked and showing you every wrinkle, sag, imperfection, and fat roll. There’s no hiding behind baggy sweatshirts, makeup, or control top underwear. I’ve given my secrets names and lit a candle so you could see the dark places within me. I’ve exposed my soft underbelly and I’m vulnerable to your sharp jabs. This is what it feels like when I share my writing, but I do it anyway, because leaving the words bouncing around my insides is more painful than the fear of releasing them.
I’m an emotional writer. I want you to feel what I write. I want you to sink into the environment I’ve created and live there. I want you to feel angry, frightened, joyful, and hopeful. I want you to face your foes, fall in love, and breathe deeply after the wind has been knocked out of you. I want you to forget you are reading a story. You are the story.
I started writing as a kid. It was my escape from the pain and fear I felt every day at home. I would share my stories with my best friend, Adrienne. She was my biggest fan. I wrote until I didn’t anymore. I stopped after my dad read my diary out loud to me and I heard all the words I wrote in secret spill out of his angry mouth. I knew the words hurt him. My words became painful to see and hear so I kept them inside after that. I let fear and vulnerability shut down my creativity. I didn’t write again until I was an adult with a mortgage, two children, a full-time job, and overwhelming exhaustion. I wrote here and there and stuffed the pages away. I wrote on the back of fast food bags and napkins and left them isolated and hidden from the world. I wrote a thousand words of nothingness and stopped before they became anything other than broken thoughts and false starts.
A dear friend presented me with the opportunity to submit a short story to a new online literary magazine called the Fictional Café. It was accepted and became the first story published on the site. All Things Buried is a story about hope in a hopeless situation. I started writing it as a teenager and didn’t finish it until I was in my mid-life. It was terrifying to share but it set me free. I’ve been writing ever since. Here’s the link to the story that started it all: https://www.fictionalcafe.com/all-things-buried-by-jenny-cokeley-4/. I hope you enjoy it and become the story.