21  Writing what you want?

Have you ever felt that you wanted to write one thing, but your imagination kept pushing you in a different direction?

Lately I’ve been wanting to work on novels: for someone like me, that’s about the only sort of writing for which one can actually get paid (and even that’s a maybe).

But I’ve gone on a short-story binge instead.

If you haven’t seen it yet, please look up kristydeetz.com and scroll down to “The Adventures of Rabbit and Kitty Boy.” The paintings are the best part, of course, but beneath each painting you’ll find a quirky little story where two characters respond to the paintings and discuss their own adventures–light reading if you don’t mind finding a little art criticism sprinkled in. You’ll find twenty paintings with accompanying prose bits.

In addition to the adventures, I finished two ghost stories for a collaborative project with my sister and four new pieces to complete a collection of eleven Harmon Falls stories to accompany the little book of poems you’ll find on the main page of this website. Yes, I know story collections are hard to place–that’s why I’ve been trying to write novels instead.

When students ask me about how to shape a new piece of writing, I always reply, “Let it become what it wants to be.” I’ve been finding myself taking my own advice: I’ve let the stories come along as they wish and take the shape and content they seem to me to be aiming for.

A short story always brings its own challenges, because the writer has only a small space to accomplish not only situation, complication, and epiphany, but also a little character development and at least a movement towards some sort of theme or purpose.

Most of us, when we started writing, probably began with short poems and short stories: we could conceive them and finish them. But as I get older, I need more words and more pages to say what I want to say, to tell stories that I want to tell.

But as long as the ideas are taking shape as short stories, I’ll let myself be glad with that: a certain charge always comes with finishing something, with having made it into a complete and self-actualized whole. Good short stories are hard to write, but when we think we have one, the sense of satisfaction appears even as it does with long works–we just don’t take quite as long to get there.

As always, happy writing!