The weird, gross, shocking root of a story

They say that writing a story is a lot like pulling teeth. I think they know a thing or two, whoever they may be.  You sit down and have it planned out in your head. Open the computer. Open the program, adjust your coffee cup over the coaster. Turn your mouse pad so it’s straight. Adjust the chair. And when your space is perfect, you put fingers to the keyboard. 

There’s a little nub sticking out from a wet mess of swollen gums.  It’s been irritating you every morning until you get busy and let yourself forget. Every morning it’s there –  doesn’t go away. Then, one morning pain reaches the point where there is no avoiding it, it has to come out. 

You start out just getting through the mess. Writing like mad, tossing typos on the screen, digging into the pain a little, piercing the tight swollen skin.  You can grab that nub, finally and start to pull.

It looks dark, maybe cracked, but you get an even better grip. As you pull, blood pours out and stains your hands, mingling with saliva. You have to stop sometimes to spit. Rinse. Start again with the tugging as the stained enamel loosens, underneath emerges a long – shockingly long – hard fang that was embedded under that flawed tooth – soft as a baby’s bottom. Smooth. Pointed like a knife and revealing so much more than you thought it would be. But there’s more to come out. 

It won’t release. It’s there, you’ve gotten to the polished part, the hidden is revealed and you think you are done. But you have to keep tugging. Slowing, you pull, eyes squeezed shut, it all comes out.  Blood, flesh, pain and the tooth is out. The story is written.

You open your eyes and stretch out your clenched fist. It’s never what you thought you were pulling out. It’s never simple.  Attached to the bottom is a weird, deformed, twisted root that had been hidden, forming below the surface. It’s where your story came from and what it really means and the frightening influences that you don’t want to admit have created it. There is the root.

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