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I look at the daily prompt and let my fingers begin. No pausing to think, I let the story unfold. Often I close my eyes and type blind. I have to go back and correct my errors, but I get the story down in real time. Sometimes a story that takes place somewhere I want to revisit. I wrote a short piece about a hot summer day in the California central valley when my family stopped to visit distant relatives at their ranch. I remember the heat, the bright green fields, the pulse of the industrial sprinklers, and I wrote a story about a child who mistook what she’d seen in the barn and thought her brother had murdered his girlfriend.

Sometimes a story takes place somewhere I’ll never be permitted in life. A grand house on the beach in Malibu where my characters drift through light-filled rooms and sit on white overstuff couches—and plot murders. And sometimes I fall in love with a character and must continue their story to the end.

All I need to do is close my eyes and let my fingers fly. Right now I have a character passing through an unnamed country near the equator. I feel the heat and the damp air and the unknown. I don’t know what she’s doing there but I need to figure that out. Until I do, I just hop on the train she’s riding each morning and go. She aches for some kind of relief from something that happened to her. I don’t yet know what. But I will find out.

Sometimes I feel burdened to write these stories. Why not follow other fantastic CCD writers who muse about current affairs with such clarity and humor. I try that sometimes, but the draw is too weak. What pulls me along each morning is the mystery of the characters who appear as I read the day’s prompt. I must follow them.

Each day I close my eyes, not pausing for even a nanosecond, otherwise the horrible, critical voice in my head will bring the magic to an end, fill my mind with doubts, and ruin everything. CCD gives me the key to open the door to a chaos of characters waiting to take the stage. All I have to do is close my eyes and type.

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