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These are my thoughts, yo.

Message in a Bottle (but not the movie)

jasmine banks

I never saw the movie. Was it a Nicholas Sparks thing? I was never into him or his characters. I've been practicing "just writing". Hardly anything is "just_______" for me. I can't JUST have a cup of coffee. I have a process for coffee. The other day I chatted with a friend about pregnancy and the child-bearing season of life and all it entails. She asked if I was done. I responded, "I am ambivalent." "Just have a baby, then," she quipped as if it were that easy.  I complicate the hell out of things. Or maybe my baggage complicates the hell out of things. Nature versus nurture, I suppose.

So I've been practicing just writing, and to assist that journey I purchased a book of 500 writing prompts. I feel like the author, whom I am unable to credit here because the front of the book literally only says: "500 Writing Prompts," must have hated themselves by the end. The author either hated himself or was too ashamed of what he was doing to put his name on it. I bet Nicholas Sparks authored this book of prompts! This open-bound book, with its deep crimson cover and metallic silver embossed title, is a piece of trash.  It is a "100 GSM Wood-Free Acid-Free Paper" on 240 pages. The description forgot to add "tears of forlorn writers" to the ingredient list. Its suggested retail is $19.99. I feel like the creator might actually owe me something. I am doing YOU a favor, sir.

Then again, how many stuck writers walked by this gem and thought: "Yes. Exactly. Today will be the day that I stop organizing my son's Pokemon cards alphabetically in order to avoid writing that next chapter. This "500 Writing Prompts" should help me shake off this dust of complacency." Only me? Oh. Okay. Well, I already wrote in the damn book so I can't very well take it back. The first page holds enough promise to trick you into starting. The first pages reads: While at the beach you decide to write a message in a bottle. What would it say? Who would you like to find it? That first page, you'll forgive. You'll think that OF COURSE the first page is simple and pointless. It is just warming you up for all the earth shattering other prompts that will help you to fashion new ways to write. You'll believe that you are well on your way to becoming the writer you want to be. You'll believe this because you have a problem with projecting all the good character traits about yourself and others you adore onto assholes and other useless objects.  Or so your therapist says. You acquiesce.

If I were at the beach and I wrote a message and placed it in a bottle I would want it to say:

You aren't as awful as you think.

You are more loved than you think.

When you are worried that people are judging you- some are, but most are too worried about being judged themselves.

Love people when you can.

Fear is the opposite of love and faith. And if you hold too tightly to it- it will poison you.

Take the nap- work will be there when you wake up.

I turned the page and exhaled after writing that bunch of crap because I believed something better awaited me on page two. The next prompt read: Name the top ten things on your bucket list.

So I wrote: 1. finish this awful book of prompts

In hindsight I'd add something else to that message in a bottle. I'd add, "If you are reading this, I want to warn you. Please do not purchase "500 Writing Prompts" it is the worse and full of false hope. If you need me I'll be re-sorting my son's Pokemon cards into their habit specific classification, having still not written another chapter on that book."