I just finished my first real short story. I say it’s real because it has a beginning, middle and an end. AND, most importantly, I’m actually going to have it published. In a book. WHERE OTHER PEOPLE CAN SEE IT!! *gags, chokes, sobs*
I’m so proud of it. I want to take it out and pet it. I want to revisit my characters because they’ve just been so much fun to meet and get to know. It’s great!
And it’s terrible. Because it’s not what you’re expecting. By you, I mean people who actually know me In Real Life.
Throughout my writing life I’ve been told I’ll be “the next Harper Lee.” That my style is “elegant.” When a good friend read The Night Circus, he said he thought of me the whole time because he thought it sounded just like something I’d write. And, oh my goodness was I flattered by all this praise and expectation. Oh wait…I mean flattened.
Flattened to the point that I couldn’t finish anything. I’d start something that sounded promising, then scrap it because it wasn’t intellectual enough. I’d start another story with high flying THEMES and SYMBOLS, then abandon it because it wasn’t fun to write — or fun to read, for that matter.
But sometimes opportunities come along you haven’t planned. Sometimes they make you uncomfortable. Edgy. Some may even send you running the other direction as fast as you can. Believe me, I was tempted so many times these last few months to say, “I don’t think this is a good fit. I should pull back. I should wait.” But I just couldn’t let it go. After 20 years of waiting for perfect, I decided to make the most I could of almost perfect.
The end result is the shiny, lovely short story I mentioned above. It’s not great literature. It’s not high art. It’s a fun story about a birthday party for a teenage girl.
Why’m I writing this blog post? Maybe it’s to help me fight the urge to apologize for my sweet little story. To describe it as “fluff” that’s just a space-holder until I write the Great American Novel.
Not that I don’t still harbor aspirations to bigger things. But those bigger things might just be a longer version of my sweet little story. Something novel length I could shop to agents and maybe — someday — see my name on the cover of my very own book-shaped thing.
Is it what I expected? No. Probably not. But what’s most important to me is that something I wrote will find its way to eyes other than mine. Writers write to be read. Don’t let anyone tell you different. And I’m thrilled that my chance at being read — maybe even liked — is moving closer.
Goodness knows there are plenty of things in my life that didn’t go quite as I thought they would. Triplets anyone? Yet those surprises are what make our short time on this spinning rock worthwhile.
Can’t wait to share the finished product. I’ll update with details as I get them.