It’s so funny, maybe not funny ha-ha, but I barely wrote a single word of fiction for 8 years and then one day last week it’s like I flipped a switch and now it’s all coming back to me, how much I love writing fiction and how exciting the whole process is. It’s all consuming and overwhelming, trying to figure out exactly how to translate into words the snippets that are playing in my head. The story has exploded into something much bigger than I originally thought was there, and I am honestly having such an amazing time working through it. I’m so happy, even though sometimes it is so frustrating to sit down at my computer with a cup of tea and know there is so much I want to say but can’t get the words right. So I dug out a book I’d bought in high school, back when I was writing a short story a week and battling bouts of insomnia with scribbling away in notebooks, “Beginnings, Middles & Ends” by Nancy Kress (I also found a faded post-it stuck inside the cover with the number of a high school boyfriend, what up!). Yes, I’m the dweeb who bought books on writing fiction. It’s actually a really helpful resource, and totally gets at what I’ve been feeling. Kress writes, “[t]here’s always a gap between the story as you imagined it –compelling, insightful, rich with subtle nuance– and what actually ends up in the manuscript […] because stories must be written, and read, one word at a time, with information accumulating in the reader’s mind to create the full picture. This slow, linear accretion of impressions can’t ever quite equal that perfect flash of inspiration in which all the parts of the story –action, meaning, nuances, insights, all of it– burst into the brain all at once. Words, unlike movies, are not a multi-sensory event.” When it’s explained that way, it assuages my terror of not being able to do the story justice. It will get there, the trick is not to be discouraged. I have 6 whole pages (totally out of chronological order); at this rate I’ll be done next year, and that’s okay.
I was talking to Aidan, my best friend since 6th grade, the other night at the Florence and the Machine concert and when I told her I was writing a book she said, “I’m so happy! I always knew you’d be a writer.” Which is funny considering when we met, our life aspirations including dressing up like the Spice Girls, ahem. With the exception of 3 creative writing courses I took in college, and this blog (which I don’t consider the same thing), I’ve taken about an 8 year break from writing. It feels so, so good to be back.