In the interest of getting the story on the screen they recommend no edits for the whole month. Rough as sandpaper the first 5 paragraphs of my book:
The pop, pop rang in my ears as reflex instincts drove me to my knees. The hiss warned of another explosion. I pressed my hands against the sides of my head. Questions screamed through my mind. Firecrakers? Gun shots? Smoke bombs? People rushed into their little shops along the crowed down town street. Only a few cars parked haphazardly near the curbs seemed odd on market day. Though, almost everything seemed odd in this new city. From behind I heard Spanish chanting mixing in with what I decided were fireworks. Soon the droves spilled around the corner explaining the desertion of buses, taxis and motorcycles.
Their yells and fists pumping in the air communicated more than the words, which I could not distinguish. Even the graphic illustrations and iconic, blown up photographs on the ends of their rough sticks meant nothing to me. Far from a victory parade the demonstrators swarmed like a mass of angry bees. Smoke swirls around in the air gave the feel of a cyclone threatening to tear apart the buildings. I scooted over close to the scrawny trunk of a tree still on my knees.
I completely forgot about the little point and shoot camera, my faithful companion, tucked safely in my new Bolivia bag. Glancing down to make sure I still had my things I regretted the souvenir purchase. The bright colored weaves and boxy design stood out like a neon sign flashing, “Look at me!” It drew too much attention. And now, caught in the middle of angry mob, I worried about the famed pickpockets they had told us about in orientation. Sure, they tell us to watch our purses but they completely forget to mention survival techniques in the case you meet with rioting in the streets. Thank you very much.
My eyes darted around looking for a safer spot. The irony of the bright sky and midday sun against the discontented population reminded me of my own restlessness before I came to Bolivia. I started out from the tree towards the open gate of a gravel parking lot behind me. I had left the gravel roads of Nebraska, sick and tired of the same old thing. Was I mistaken to leave the good life for an adventure of rescuing poverty stricken people in the middle of a foreign country? The chipper little recruiter at my high school career fair sure did a great job selling the dream. No sooner had I tossed my mortar board graduation cap in the air did I jump on plane to get as far away from the boring, old, security-ridden routine as I could.
I became an adult the day I landed in Cochabamba on my eighteenth birthday. What were they thinking letting a kid go off to save the world? I thought for sure my year commitment would be cut short in the first week. Either they would find my body splayed on the pavement, trampled and crushed, barely alive and send me home only after I spent weeks in the hospital recovering from near death injuries. Or I would be proclaimed unfit for service because this experience would drive me crazy. Not the crazy you get over. No. The crazy of the old lady who pushed her shopping cart around my little hometown as she sang old hymns at the top of her lungs. My uncle told me once that the homeless shelter he volunteered at tried to help that lady. She told them she was perfectly content. Well, rustle up a shopping cart for me old lady, because I’m about to join you. This business can only be called crazy.