February 2021

The Incident

Friday 12th Feb 2021

So we’re now two weeks into the month, the kiddos have been back at school and I’ve been smashing out them words, doing a few workouts a week, joining in for the twice-weekly Create-Alongs run by Sarah Rhea Werner, sleeping enough, eating well, drinking lots and so on, so forth.

Feeling all-round awesome.

Then this morning rolled around.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve had ups and downs, as we all do. Unexpectedly taking over two of the kid’s basketball teams as sole coach and manager was a big one! Especially since social interactions of all kinds drain me, and being handed the reins for these kids, to call the shots around something so important, it was a shock to the system.

You can safely assume my nerves were shot last weekend, there were tears and arguments and avoidance and all of it (it also didn’t help that I was reaching the end of my monthly cycle that week too, so: hormones).

But I got through it. I stepped up, and (with all the lovely support of our basketball families) I got through, and felt pretty damned good about it.

Before I get to this morning, I need to mention a story I heard from a few days ago first.

School traffic in the morning, abundant with people stressing and rushing and caring more about timing than safety, and a gorgeous family from the school were victims in a car accident. This poor family had their car hit from behind because the other person wasn’t paying attention. It was a write-off. The whole rear of the car was crushed from the impact. Young girls in the back seat, too, on their way to school.

Important side note: they’re all okay!

My heart broke when I read that story and saw the pictures. Car accidents are horrific, they stick with you for so long after, not to mention the fear you experience when it happens, the nightmares, the anxiety. All of it.

It wasn’t fair.

When I read this story, I came away horrified, frustrated, and disappointed in our community.

What could lead a person to be so careless?

I like to drive around in the zippy little car we have, it’s fun, but I’m careful. I respect the road rules. I respect that others might not be as focused as they should be while on the road. I don’t touch my phone while driving.

I’m careful.

And I still enjoy it.

I turn on a podcast or some metal or an instrumental collection to muse over my work-in-progress.

And I just enjoy the drive.

If we’re running late, I let everyone know ahead of time, I apologise, the kiddos all understand, and we still take it easy. We do not rush (a drastic difference to how I was raised). And we get there when we get there.

Now, the roadworks here are horrendous as of late. If we leave at our usual time, it takes 50 minutes to get to school drop off instead of 17.

So we leave earlier.

I get up earlier, I help the kids a little more than usual, I make sure we all sleep enough, make sure everything is ready that can be ready the night before, and we leave a little earlier to beat the build up.

And it works.

So, today. Here I am, all proud of myself. I dropped the kiddos off early, they have time to settle in without pressure, I’m headed home, cruising through the back streets, ducking and weaving around the building school traffic queues, always sticking to 40km/hr in school zones, or slower, never faster.

I’m ahead of it all. I’m doing awesome. This parenting thing is working for me. I’m feeling excited to get home early and get started on writing sooner than usual. I’m feeling proud.

And arrogant.

Now, I should feel proud, I know this, I accept this, I embrace this.

But today I took it too far. My teenage arrogance of old reared it’s ugly head.

So, there’s this set of lights, where everyone queues to skip all the traffic on the main road, trying to get back out of town. I stop in the queue and wait, the queue isn’t as big as usual because I’m earlier than usual and I’ll get through the lights with the next sequence then be on my way. Cruising home.

On top of the world.

Next moment, I see this patched up bogan car come to a hard stop right behind me and it scares me for just a moment, thinking there’d be an impact. But it doesn’t come. I breathe.

I’m looking, thinking they’re so close because they just want to be out of the way of the roundabout, so then I think sure thing and I inch a little further forward, giving them more room. Being the helpful community member that I am (more pride, feeding that arrogance).

And- they don’t move. They don’t even notice.

But I brush it off.

The light goes green and the rest of the queue moves through the light efficiently and without incident. I drive forward, keeping up so I don’t hold up the queue, and the light turns amber. I merge across to the second, now-empty turning lane and come to a stop as it goes red.

The patched up car? Yep. Still there.

Turns out they wanted my lane and were going to run the red light to get through and around the corner, if only I hadn’t merged across before them.

In their same hard-stop fashion, they weave sharply into my lane then back to the one we started in, no indicators, in one aggressive movement. Angry that I’d ruined their plan, that I added yet more hardship to their morning.

And me, in all my arrogance, now realising the driver is pissed off and in a hurry, I turn around in my seat and clap with all the sarcasm I could muster.

Congratulations! You got exactly nowhere and almost ended up in my boot, twice.

Smug look and all.

They see this, roll forward and wind down their window. Yelling out, they confront me on the mock-applause.

They knew the answer and, already being angry about traffic, and running behind and all the rest, they were just ready and looking for a fight. And I presented them with the perfect opportunity.

So I rolled down my window.

Now, I’m an introvert. I avoid confrontation. I clam up when in an argument, my mind shuts off if I’m just feeling anger from the other person. I can’t talk, can’t move, can’t look at them, none of it. I’ve gotten better as of late, but still. A stranger, with an angry look, fist waving, willing to ram their car into whoever ticks them off, and I choose this moment to be a hero(ine).

What compelled me to roll down my window and answer?

Pure arrogance.

I’m right and I know it and they’re going to hear all about it and fix all their horrible actions and then thank me.

I thought I’d grown out of that part of me. Turns out we all have sides we try to hide from, or squash down, and eventually, given all the right circumstances, they’ll come barreling out when you least want them to.

This is not to say we can’t work on these parts, and learn and grow.

We all can, all of the time, every day of our lives we can choose change and growth and kindness.

It’s never too late.

But yes, I rolled down my window, and leaned to look at them as they asked again, why?

And I said well, you’re in a rush, stumbling over my words like the introvert I am, and starting to feel a little out of my depth.

My arrogance dwindled, along with my pride.

As it always goes, for people who are struggling to keep things together as an adult and are angry at the world to protect themselves (we’ve all been there), they don’t hear anything you say.

So I argued for the 5 minutes of that red light, back and forth, they screamed and yelled, and made up bullshit to find any possible way to make me back down and apologise, which didn’t happen because I was angry now too.

I was arguing all of their bullshit with logic that they just didn’t want to hear. Slowly realising I’d made a bad choice, I’d gotten myself into that shit situation and I wasn’t feeling quite so proud anymore.

By the time the green light hit, my heart was pounding, my entire body shaking, and still, the other person heard none of what I said.

They were in a hurry, they were trying to get on top of their horrible morning and fix it the best they knew how.

Who was I to tell them they were wrong?

Never-mind the risk to other drivers, especially at school times when kids are sitting in the back seat of most cars.

Never-mind the horrific accident a few days prior.

I had no right.

The light turned green, I took off, as I usually do, swiftly, carefully getting around the corner, letting the car beside me (the one in front of the angry driver) have space to feel comfortable as they came around the corner too.

Despite what had just happened. Pretending so hard that it hadn’t made me nervous as hell.

But also, not knowing the full extent someone fueled by anger would go to.

I drove off, as I normally would. Already replaying the argument in my head, breathing deep to calm the shakes. Wanting to be off and on my way, to wipe it from the record, move past it, and vow I’d never do it again.

And then that patched up car shot up another lane, ducked in front of me and slammed on the breaks. Hard.

I stopped in time. Only just. And I’m sure they were laughing at this young, new driver who thought she knew better. No matter my achievements that morning.

I stopped in time, but it shook me.

The only thing I could think of was that they had a kid in the back of their car and their anger allowed them to go that far.

We can guarantee I won’t be so arrogant again, however. I’d never learned a proper lesson about arrogance as a teen, but today taught me well.

And I’m glad no one got hurt.

The thing I wrestle with now; will calling out a person for their harmful actions result in the same risks?

But we need to. In appropriate forums. And without sarcasm.

Not shouting between cars, when the person is already overwhelmed, anger the only way they know how to survive.


Current Project – Novel

I’m still going strong with handwriting my first draft. Up to 15k words already, reaching (and exceeding) my page goal each day and brainstorming outside that. My characters are feeling more real and the incidents they find themselves in are complicated and steeped in emotion and are a blast to write.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard, every day it’s hard just to sit and write, but putting in the work helps.

I’ve whittled my sprints down to 5mins each and am rewarding my brain with a dark-choc-coated roasted chickpea from The Happy Snack Company range for every 5mins I achieve. It’s helping.

I’ve also been joining in the I Am A Writer FB group hosted by the amazing Sarah Rhea Werner in their twice-weekly Create-Alongs.

In this event, the group chats through Sarah’s live stream on twitch as Sarah follows along, celebrating our wins and helping us through our losses as a creative community for a magical 2 hours, twice a week.

In the middle, we all get creative, or practice some self care (where ever we’re at, it’s all valid) for an hour and then come back and chat about how we went. Did we reach our goals? Why or why not? While Sarah and the community help us work through it.

It’s been such an inspiration to have so many creatives together in one place, feeling completely at home and supported and empowered, no matter what we achieve.

Thanks Sarah for creating this community. It truly is a blessing.

As for next month, I’m looking forward to getting another 15k done for this draft. August is my self-imposed deadline, if I get there early, I’ll be over the moon.

Though I know still the hardest parts are yet to come…

Revision and beyond.

But the story can only get better, fuller, richer, deeper, and better.

I hope you all achieve or learn something in February, despite ever changing unpredictable situations still lingering around the world.

Whether it be words, drinking more water than usual, tapering your own arrogance while still maintaining your pride, or taking a moment to breathe.

What have you learned this month?

Leave your comments, thoughts, goals and lessons below, I personally respond to each and every comment here and can’t wait to hear from you.

I’ll have another update for you in March.

For now, remember to:

Explore, create, repeat-

Then thrive.

© 2021 Rebecca Glaessner

Lost

The man took his eyes off his son for a moment, vision filled with the semi-transparent, augmented display of his son’s latest medical assessment.

They still didn’t know what was in his son’s head. What had changed him.

Then his son was taken.

The man looked away for only one, single moment.


Years passed. Labelled as grief-stricken, helpless, the man never stopped searching.

Not for one day. Not ever.

Then a woman came to see him, with her own daughter, and an air of hope surrounded them.

“My daughter’s been changed too,” the woman said, “she’s heard your son.”

© 2021 Rebecca Glaessner


January 21, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that rephrases “light at the end of the tunnel.” Think of how the cliche replacement communicates a hopeful ending and aligns with your character or story. Go where the prompt leads!

Find the full compilation here.

Phasing

Phasing began.

Tahvket donned the cloth to be worn to Center. House-family fitting it while praying for energies to take and seeds yet unformed.

Elders braided Tahv’s endless white hair.

Hair to be shaved if one’s seed fails. If one doesn’t phase at all.

Shaved to free the energies within.

As few seeds take form and even fewer are granted life. Energies are never spared.

Would Tahv’s fail? At nearly twenty-two cycles, hope of phasing had waned.

Yet here Tahv stood, before Center, heart pounding, hands rippling over smooth, now-fitted cloth, the outfit offered all the strength Tahv needed.

© 2021 Rebecca Glaessner


January 14, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about dressing up. It can be a child or another character. Be playful or go where the prompt leads!

Find the full compilation here.

Raven

> 2237 – 03 – 07

Starship Raven.

Departing Earth orbit.

Onboard systems reduced.

Power rerouted to propulsion system.

Maximum acceleration.

Destination arrival time: 42,327 Earth years.


> 44,564 – 07 – 23

Destination reached.

Asteroid mining drones dispatched.

Planetary entry sequence complete.

Metamorphosis protocol activated.

Generational fleet arrival: 27,424 EY.


> 57,309 – 04 – 14

Sea levels 62%.

Atmospheric composition: 12% oxygen, 81% carbon dioxide.

Surface vegetation 77%.

Habitation modules 4%.

Fleet arrival: 14,679 EY.


> 71,988 – 10 – 17

Ecosystem 100%.

Habitation modules 100%.

Human fleet population 72%.

Starship Raven shutdown.


> 73,651 – 03 – 07

“Raven, help, activate.”

Systems rebooting.

Ecosystem: critical.

Human population 2%.

Repair protocols activated.

© 2020-2021 Rebecca Glaessner

Boots

I searched his spaceship quarters for his favourite brown pair amongst the futuristic interior.

But I wasn’t supposed to be here, authorities had my signal logged.

My team gained access to locked drawers via external game code changes.

Highly illegal.

I sped up my search.

Proximity alarms sounded as I found the pair beneath some spacesuit underclothes. I scanned their size, colour, scuff marks, everything, and uploaded the data.

“Now,” I said, via comms.

My external team deactivated the program, waking me before authorities gained a visual.

His real world funeral was perfect, replica in-game boots and all.

© 2020-2021 Rebecca Glaessner


This piece was inspired by the Carrot Ranch’s Jan 18th Flash Fiction Challenge.

I dedicate it to my Father, who passed away Jan 24th, 2017. It was inspired by his love of gaming, and how he was the first one who, through Dune, truly introduced me to the world of sci-fi, a genre which soon became my utterly consuming creative life’s passion.

Thanks Dad.

Fireweed

My private aug showed ages beside every face in the room, but maintained each digitally overlaid, customisable appearance.

“Miss-“ the one hundred and forty-three earth-year old who didn’t look a day over twenty.

“Doctor,” I corrected.

Doubt flashed across all faces.

“Project Fireweed will be swift and precise,” I announced to the group, “replacing current programming with our new system. Individuals deserve privacy once more.”

Everyone sat up in outrage.

“A complete overhaul is insane-”

“Do you even know if it’ll work-”

I raised a hand for silence.

“Can anyone see my age?” I asked.

None could.

© 2018-2021 Rebecca Glaessner

Gathering the Harvest

Picturesque Earth lay peaceful, to the untrained eye. 

One final pod slid up its cable to a ship in orbit.

I peered down from the viewing deck.
A streak of fire. Then an explosion. The cable rocked.

Another streak. Closer.

Pod integrity lost. Passengers compromised.

Ship sirens wailed. Incredible engines rumbled to life. The cable detached and drifted loose.

“Human harvest complete, hey?” a man stepped in close, watching the Earth shrink away.

“Failed, more like it,” I said, distancing myself.

“Ah well,” he winked, “I’m happy with the new Mars crop.”

My stomach turned, where’s the training deck?

© 2017-2021 Rebecca Glaessner

Red

Dirt caked her soft dress. She’ll wash it later. For now, though self-assigned, she had to complete her mission before the sun set – she had to find it.
Laughter reached her, drifting from the house at the bottom of the yard; soon it’d turn to cries.
She had to hurry.
She sped over the ground, eyes darting.
At last she spotted it, red fabric peeking out beneath the roses.

Hiding behind the gum’s roots, she held her breath as her charge’s carer emerged, collected a red blanket, disappeared and all became quiet inside, as the lights went out.

© 2015-2021 Rebecca Glaessner

Protector

A scream cut through her from across the meadow and she raged into action, dismissing her injury and climbing up the nearest lookout.
Her arms trembled, not used to her own weight, but she needed to ensure her charge was okay.
Her heart pounded at another squeal and she cursed her clumsiness; she would’ve been on top by now.
Silence.
Finally up, she peered through the crisp fog and relief washed over her as she saw the dancing figures, twirling around a ring of daisies.
She leaned against the lookout rose’s petals, breathing deep and stroking her torn wing.

© 2015-2021 Rebecca Glaessner

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