In the last week, I’ve had two pieces of fiction published. You can link to them from my home page or find the flash piece (that means it’s short) at the Jellyfish Review and the first chapter of my yet-to-be published novel in this month’s Richmond Magazine.
Publishing is…weird (cue the voice of a therapist of mine from a hundred years ago: “Can you find another word than ‘weird?’” No. No, I cannot). It generally takes a very long time for a story or, please-God-please, a novel to make it into print. Years and years. Even for a 1000 word piece like “Hardware” in Jellyfish Review. A friend recently asked me about that story, what I was thinking when I drafted it. I’d started it in the summer of 2015. Put it aside and picked it up maybe ten times. Changed the time, turned it into a short story (with some other flash pieces), pulled it back apart. Added and deleted words. Took out whole scenes and repurposed them in projects long since abandoned. Workshopped it, submitted it, and re-edited. What was I thinking?
In the process, the origins of the story fade away into the characters themselves. It’s like remembering your child’s birth. You don’t forget it (especially if you’re on the pushing end), but it isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of that now-adult living the Millennial dream out in Seattle. The birth becomes a story about you, not her, and not a particularly interesting or unique one as time goes by. The child, she’s become her own thing.
And so with the stories. Except unlike in childbirth, there’s no magic hormone that makes you forget the pain and be willing to blithely go at it again. I guess there’s no evolutionary value in more flash fiction entering the world. The result is, for me anyway, that I am slightly horrified at the kudos I get for publishing. Almost three years on a thousand words? There’s no way I can do that again. So much angst. What a waste of time.
What I’m reading: Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier. I’m at the classics slot in my anal reading list (see this post). I wanted to taste a classic gothic structure, plus I remember loving this book beyond reason when I was in my teens. I’m finding it, though, a tad (no, a wad) overwrought. The nameless heroine (try and get away with that at workshop these days) spends so much time creating endless imagined drama in her head and then reacting hysterically (this is toward the beginning of the book before actual drama catches up with her. I hope I remember that correctly). Of course, endless head drama, hysterical reaction…I can see why it was the favorite of my fifteen-year-old self.Read More