So I spend a lot of time complaining that I don’t write, and I ought to write, and I feel like I really should be writing except I can’t write and woe, and swoon, and sorrow. And then I mope around because I feel guilty, I feel like I’m wasting so much time and so much of my life and what’s the point, really, and why me, and I might as well just lounge around wearing a slip and drinking tumblers of gin and smoking entire packs of Benson & Hedges menthol 100s in under an hour while I watch my soaps and clear my throat and cough, right? I will accomplish just as much, but that much more authentically.
I have lots of big projects, and I stall and hedge and make dashes at it and run crying all the way home, soundly thrashed and very embarrassed, the way I am sucking with all the suck. And then I stall and hedge some more and don’t even make half-hearted feints and then I am looking for a glass to pour my gin into and ordering cable television because Soap Net won’t broadcast itself. It’s a pattern. It’s an endless pattern. It’s a pattern that was established at the beginning of time, and as time winds down and the sun starts to cool and the end of days comes upon is, there will that pattern be, as bright and cheerful and inevitable as ever.
Sometimes, you can break a pattern, though. Sometimes, the new pattern
holds. I’ve mentioned my experiment–that I decided to write tiny little
100-word pieces of flash fiction every day. It’s been eight days, and
I’ve written eight little stories, and they are not perfect or polished
but they make me happy. That I’ve written little stories; that they are
compressed ideas, tightly wound, that could become bigger stories,
larger pieces; that they are fine just the way they are, these flashes
of ideas and I am happy to have written them; that I am writing, every
day–not a novel, not a short story, not a major, time-consuming serious
project with big goals and huge ideas, no. But every day I’m writing
Here is the amazing thing! Fictionlets are having babies–my dopey,
almost-empty Word file entitled STORY IDEAS has grown by pages and
pages and probably there are handfuls and handfuls of flash fictions, a
bunch of short stories, maybe a novel idea. It’s expanding, and my
enthusiasm is bubbling up, and I am itchy to dive in and tear
everything apart and make the magic happen, woo!
Except that habits need to be built brick by brick, and I know myself–I
know that I get scared, skittish, panicked at the idea of not being
perfect, unhappy when I think I am not being perfect and I push away
and am stinking like smoke and juniper before you know it, and I won’t
ever go back. I said I would write flash fiction for 30 days, and I’m
steadily marching toward that goal. I’m accumulating ideas; I’ve got
ideas about my large projects jumping up and down for attention, and I
am carefully noting them down and setting them aside. I’ll keep writing
these small stories, one a day. Next, I’ll get to add tiny postcard stories to my list (and send them out finally, hooray!), when the box of postcards (I gave up looking in
stores) arrives in the mail. I’m stacking up this enthusiasm and
anticipation like cords of firewood ’round back of the cabin. I’m
writing every day.