This Morning–A Creative Writing Exercise

Once upon a time, in the good ol’ elementary school days, we had to do a creative writing exercise where we alternated “fortunately…” and “unfortunately…” statements to make a story. I want to recreate that exercise for just a moment: 

Fortunately, the second semester of grad school had finally ended and the papers that had kept Katie up tossing and turning were now out of her hands and waiting for a grade.

Unfortunately, Katie had one more essay to do that was not for a grade.

Fortunately, it was for money. The former professor and now government researcher had generously taken her on as an employee and asked her to watch some informative videos to get caught up.

Unfortunately, the professor/boss did not tell her she would be writing an essay on the videos until after she had watched them and neglected to take notes. (In her defense, she was prioritizing completion over record-keeping in light of the one week deadline to watch all 10.5 hours of lecture video.)

Fortunately, the professor/boss was understanding about school and gave Katie an extra week to pull the essay together.

Unfortunately, Katie must have developed PTSD with all the other essays she had labored to write because this essay also kept her from sleeping. She didn’t even realize that her pajama pants were backwards until the next morning.

Fortunately, Katie has developed a logical method for such cases of anxiety where she will talk herself off the edge. She starts with the reminder that in the eternal perspective, this essay is not even a dot on the line. Sometimes she feels like a crazy person talking to herself, but she can’t argue with the results!

Unfortunately, Katie was still racing the clock. She had to talk to herself faster or she was going to show up empty-handed again.

Fortunately, Katie finished her essay the morning of and made it to the metro on time!

Unfortunately, Katie didn’t have time to shower. And it was raining outside. Stupid Katie still hasn’t bought a proper rain coat or rain boots. (Katie assumes she is still lives in the desert.)

Fortunately, Katie had an umbrella–an item that has recently become one of her most cherished possessions.

Unfortunately, the umbrella is rather modest and she still showed up to campus looking like a half-drowned rat. An un-showered, half-drowned rat.

Fortunately, Katie had arrived early enough to get to their usually study room/meeting room in the library and make herself look presentable.

Unfortunately, the room was taken. And the one next door. And every other study room. Darn finals week.

Fortunately, there was still time to email the professor/boss.

Unfortunately, upon logging in to her email, Katie realized she had missed an email from the professor/boss. His email (sent 2.5 hours earlier) wanted to know if she had to commute in to the meeting. Katie worried she had missed her chance to cancel the meeting.

Fortunately, she emailed him back casually stating that she would be fine if they rain-checked the whole thing and the professor/boss agreed! No meeting until next week when her other two “coworkers” would be back and able to back her up.

Unfortunately, now Katie is stranded on campus with wet feet and a reluctance to go back out into the merciless wind.

Fortunately, Katie can’t make the most of her situation and complete her final for General Hayden’s class now.

Unfortunately, it is an essay.

Fortunately, it only has to be 350 words. Katie is blessed with the easiest of easy finals. She won’t have to talk to herself for this one.

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(Essays are my kryptonite.)
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