Creative Writing Series: Poetry ---> Short Story

The next creative writing activity in this series is the concept of turning a poem into a short story. Using the poem as inspiration, you are supposed to create a character and a situation in which the spirit of the poem is represented. 

I gave myself an hour to write and edit this. What poem would you chose?

Poem by Rumi

Oh soul,
you worry too much.
You have seen your own strength.
You have seen your own beauty.
You have seen your golden wings.
Of anything less,
why do you worry?
You are in truth,
the soul, of the soul, of the soul.


           Sarah rolls her eyes as she smushes her face deeper into the course fabric of her therapist's couch pillow. She wants to scream in the middle-aged, probable Downton Abbey obsessed, woman's face. Why does she worry? What a stupid fucking question. Its the kind of question that deserves public ridicule and mild to moderate physical abuse. Why does Sarah worry? Seriously?

Because I have fucking anxiety! She wants to scream. Did that degree hanging above Countess Therapist's desk serve an actual purpose or was is purely decorative? Asking Sarah to explain why she worries so much would be like asking a baby why it cries. It would be like questioning the nature of a lion, or the motives of a con artist. They all just...are. It is what it is.

Brain chemistry. Neurotransmitters. Neurons firing and not firing. Axons and Myelin sheaths and Dopamine and Serotonin and...who the fuck knows, honestly. It wasn't Sarah's job to know about all that crap. It was Princess Freud's, with her spotlighted degree,  gold-plated hyphenated name, and expensive ball point pen that took far too many notes for Sarah's comfort.

Sarah did know enough to know that it wasn't her fault that she worried. She has no alternative. It's just the way her brain operates. She doesn't purposely indulge her anxiety, like some of her friends do. She pushes away the cold sweat that reminds her how easy it would be to slip off the curb and crack her head open on the summer's scorching pavement. She diligently ignores the ticking clock that will eventually signal the time for the country's next massacre. Sarah is very careful as to where she allows her mind to roam, doing everything from interrupting her own speech when it triggers an errant disturbing thought, to outwardly cringing away from the gruesome images her mind supplies her. 

  Madame Tru-shrinks doesn't seem to understand this, though. Despite her fancy degree and ugly pants suit, the woman looks at Sarah with a genuine sort of curiosity. Soundlessly saying, You odd little bird. How do you even dress yourself in the morning?  To which, Sarah voicelessly sends back, You useless pile of old-lady dust. How did you even get that embossed and in-glittered psychiatry degree?

It is an impressive silent battle, much like the one Sarah fights within herself on a daily basis. She leads with a left-hook of sexist insults, her therapist counter-strikes with a jab to Sarah's self-worth. Sarah then punches her way through the therapists cold exterior, while the old lady looks on with nothing but pitied ambivalence. The throw-down is entirely confined to the inter-workings of Sarah's mind, of course, but that too is a prime example of why Sarah looked up the Mistress of Mental Health in the first place. 

Her anxiety is interwoven into every facet of her life. Her interactions with other people, her work, her daily walks where she drags her her elderly dachshund down to the neighbors yard to relieve itself. All of it is affected by a constant stream of negative consciousness, like a marquee of panic inducing notions, scrolling across her forehead. It is rather exhausting being Sarah, and she just wants it to get easier. 

Enter Her Magesty, the Queen of Royally Fucked up People. 

Sarah pulls her face away from the pillow and brushes her fringe out of her eyes. 

"I don't know," She finally answers, meeting the therapist's gaze for just an instant before the infuriating ball-point pen is put to paper and does its job of scribbling down all of Sarah's short-comings. With a smirk and more confidence than she's felt all day, Sarah adds,

"You tell me."