I’ve nearly forgotten that I’m a fiction writer. Oh, don’t misunderstand me: I’m as faithless as they come. I could never hold steady or true to that vocation, even though I get so taken up with a story that the world without disappears. I still stray. Every single time, satisfaction be damned.
Fiction-crafting seems like a luxury, honestly. A demanding, frustrating and scintillating luxury, perhaps, but luxury nonetheless. I can go months without noticing its absence, mostly because I write creatively every single day. I love wrangling with the English language,so malleable yet often-times slippery. Creative non-fiction is my talent’s natural home. No two challenges are the same, I never get bored and I am able to use my imagination to nearly its fullest degree. Nearly. Oh, fiction, this is how you got under my skin so many years ago. It’s why I can never quit you, not completely or without deep regret. It’s why I sit here lamenting this, your most recent absence. It’s how I came to sit here, tonight, scheming ways to win you back even though I, at times, half hate you.
It has been a year since I have attempted any fiction. I’ve been too busy with ‘zining, blogging, editing and miscellaneous writing. There are half a dozen short stories or serials ready to be started, embellished or picked up again. They’re good, or at least hold out the promise of becoming something satisfactory or worthwhile. I’ve almost convinced myself to make the leap back to you, even if it seems, at times, no more than a peculiar, near-ruinous diversion. I love short fiction. I’ve studied it, devoted countless time and thousands of words to developing a style and voice recognizably unique, my own. Sustaining the pace required by fiction is another matter. It asks for a fidelity and singleness of purpose that I am not always able to supply, not without draining myself of something vital. The result is almost always rewarding; the rush that comes from carving out a world that would not exist but for my brain matter and imagination is potent, almost stimulating.
If you think it would be worth it, you’d be both right and wrong. Whatever emotions I take away from writing fiction are beside the point, as ultimately I seem to have little power over the exercise. If it’s a laborious chore, with dubious gain to myself, it doesn’t really matter: I always find my way back, getting caught up in the throes of creative joy whilst simultaneously bewailing my iron-fisted fate. If I give in-as I know I will-then finding a way to nicely balance fiction with my other writing endeavors is super important. I’ve never been good at this, even though I am organized in nearly every other way. Short stories (which are brief in word count but certainly not in construction) command a fair slice of my day and a larger amount of peace of mind, all while insisting on being thrown front and center. They repeatedly win. I’m afraid that, for me, writing fiction will always involve a series of serious and jolting starts and stops, deep dissatisfaction intermingling with intense, unexplainable pleasure. I can always fall back on the safer comforts of creative non-fiction. Will I feel entirely content? Nearly. Here I go again.
Just do it. Send it out to the world. It will end how it will end, and then you’ll go onto the next.