The Story I Heard - Blind Pilot (mp3)
Dial - School of Seven Bells (mp3)
The title of the first story I remember writing was called "100 Leprechauns." I think it was first grade. This group of 100 leprechauns took count of their group before they left the house in the morning, and they took count again before they went home at night. One day, they only counted 99. The group searched and searched only to find out they had counted incorrectly.
I stole from church. The story of the lost sheep. I mixed in a little bit of my love of Lucky Charms, and for my dramatic climax, I took a lesson I'd learned from my dad about checking your work, something I'd continue to struggle with for at least the next 35 years.
Pretty much every bit of the story was cribbed in one way or another, but it was mildly amusing, and for my age it was quite a snappy piece of writing. So it got an A+ and was posted on the wall outside the classroom door, all by itself, for a whole entire week.
That's all it took, really, for me to keep writing the rest of my life. Who knows how our lives might diverge with the slightest of changes? If she had given me an F on that paper, would I have kept writing? Maybe. Probably. Who knows?
My whole life, the only genre of creative writing where I feel I have failed, consistently and repeatedly, is in writing fiction. Short fiction ends up lacking bite or confidence. Long fiction never quite gets finished and rarely even gets remotely close to even a halfway point. Part of me panics, as if every day I wake up means one more day of potential kick-ass fiction writing gone.
But y'know what? Raymond Chandler was over 50 when he published The Big Sleep. Richard Adams gave birth to Watership Down when he was 52. Annie Proulx was 57 when Postcards hit the stage. Laura Ingalls Wilder didn't even start her damn Little House series until she was over 60. I find just enough comfort in this not to panic.
This blog was, for me, in many ways, borne to maintain and hopefully improve my writing chops while building up my consistency, an ability to write and keep writing week after week, even when the ideas dipped or faded.
But lately we haven't had many comments. Some of our once-loyal readers have become too busy and burdened with life to stop by and read as often, and I totally understand. Feelings aren't hurt, but it's always a little sad to go week after week with a mere handful of comments.
So, I'm taking advantage of this commentary dip to flex my emaciated fiction muscles. I'm going to work on the I Don't Know If This Is A Short Story Or A Novella Or Something Even Bigger project I started last year. I'm going to go all Dickens on it and post a chunk of it at a time. I can't promise it will end with any kind of finality at all. It probably won't. But something about this particular project continues to swim around my head and haunt me, so it's time I give it a little of my attention.
Feel free to offer advice, suggestions or even harsh critiques if you feel so moved. Otherwise, I'll return with something goofy or opinionated to say in October.