Stories, new and old ….

October 3, 2007

I’m pretty sure I finished a short story today that I’ve been working on periodically for months.

Believe me, I’m more surprised than anyone.

I’m also close to finishing a rewrite of something I wrote years ago that has changed a lot from the original, and have two new stories plodding along. What the heck?

One of my problems has always been never letting a story “be done,” meaning that even though I’ve finished it to the point of submission, I still end up tinkering with it again and again while it makes a few rounds until, disgusted, I tell myself that it’s NOT finished and file it away.

I still have stories from 10-15 years ago on my computer or printed in filing folders. I think a good many of them are good, some very good. Some need work. I took many years off writing for some idiotic reason, and playing catch up is like learning to ride a bike again with vestibular issues, complete with scuffed knees and sprains but hopefully no broken bones. And the air keeps going out of the tires.

It’s difficult to look back on some stories and try to recapture the “why” of their being written, or the mood I was in while writing them. As Alice would say to the Caterpillar in Wonderland, “I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.”

There are a couple of pretty uncomfortable, even harsh, stories that I don’t want to throw out there. One of Lawrence Block’s bits of advice (he wrote the soft porn books about Chip Harrison) was to never write something you didn’t want your mother to read. He’s not the only one to offer this, but he’s the one I remember right now. (Of course, other bits of advice is not to be afraid and edit yourself, so there.)

One of the pieces I really like is a long piece, almost 7000 words. Once upon a time, I think it was over 9000 words. Unfortunately, it says some pretty wicked things about God, religion, a son, and a mother who sounds far too closely based upon my own, especially as the years have gone on. This last wasn’t my intent by any means, and yet, that’s how it came out, and anyone reading it that knew me would certainly think so. So, the story stays locked behind closed doors, periodically banging the door to be let out.


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