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Writing Resources from Fifteen Minutes of Fiction

The following is a piece of writing submitted by Laura on February 6, 2008

The Ice Cavern Descent

It was only ten minutes ago that I was safe and sound at the top of this precipice. I was standing there on the ledge, considering how wonderful it would be if I could just make it down to the bottom, which would also be safe once I, theoretically, arrived there. At present, however, I am in neither of those places. I’m completely between them, stuck in descent, wondering why in the world the desire for one side lent me enough insanity to remove myself from the other.
The ice is glorious though. As a photographer, I found that photographing the ice caverns from the top of the ledge caused undue amounts of glare, and that if I was going for “stunning,” I would have to be at a different angle. So I took out my rope, my hammer, my spikes, and my pick, and am now slowly descending into the icy abyss with the help of my small and thin pieces of equipment. I hope they realize just how much of my life they are holding at stake here.
At times like this, in the middle of a journey, between the up and the down, I look to the future. To the way the souls of my feet will feel as they make physical contact with the ice below – when I finally reach an altitude at which a slight fall will give me a few scratches rather than a cracked head. I will make beautiful photos with my camera, full of light that hits at oddly curving angles and accents the glistening smoothness and curving in the ice. People will marvel and praise them, and beg and grovel at my feet for the privilege of reproducing them in their national magazines. If I take enough of these, I can produce a bunch of 11x14 prints and past them around my apartment, turning it into an ice cave of my very own!
Assuming I do get to the bottom, that is. At times like this, in the transit between two points, I also think of the past. Of all my good friends who tell me I’m crazy and are probably right. Of all the situations I’ve overcome to be at the place I am today - metaphysically speaking. Of my dear mother, and how she never thought I’d make a living in photography. Well, she was right. But living is overrated anyway, which might help to explain why I happen to be where I am at this moment. No! I don’t want to die! I will reach the floor of ice and sparkle alive! I will feel the ocean breeze on my face again and watch that cute McDonald’s guy smile again as he hands me my milkshake!
One step at a time, down I go. I’m careful and adept. I’m in control, and I know what I’m doing… I don’t want to die, I don’t want to die… I got myself into this, I can get myself out. Now if I can only orient myself correctly, I can let go and slide to the bottom. And here I am! Wait a minute… is that my tripod on the ledge up there?

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