I am a writer.

As I was sitting struggling to write, I was writing about phantom fire ants for God’s sake, Cienna approaches.

“Sorry to bother you, but are you sketching this sculpture?”

Immediately self conscious, I reply, “No.” Have I violated some copyright law? Am I being disrespectful to the artist? I question.

“I’m just writing,” I remember to say. Shoot, I should have said, “I am a writer.”

Did they send her? Are they checking up on me to see if I will identify myself as a writer? Is she a spy?

“You look like someone who enjoys volleyball.”

I do, with a pitcher of beer waiting at my table. I mentally reply.

Thus began a ten minute conversation about water volleyball, church, God, my son, her mom, her life, my life. I resist the urge to give her my standard response I give to the people who want to braid my eyebrows, flat iron my hair, or sell me lotion from the Dead Sea, but I resist the urge. She seems nice, I think. I wasn’t writing anything particularly earth shattering anyway.

Cienna moved to Lincoln from Denver to help Campus Ministry build its following. She asks me about volleyball and if I would be interested, because I am wearing spandex running pants (even though I don’t run) and running shoes (again, even though I don’t run).

Aside from the small talk and her sales pitch for water volleyball with other members of Campus Ministry, I was most amazed at young Cienna’s boldness for interrupting a stranger swatting away phantom fire ants that turned out to be dead grass, attempting to write, to talk to me about her passion in life. This was a rare opportunity of humanity, and I’m glad I didn’t miss it.

**** I wrote this piece sitting under a tree in the courtyard just outside the Lied Center for Performing Arts in Lincoln, NE. I wrote this during my first writer’s marathon. I welcome any feedback you feel compelled to give. Thank you!

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