Listen to me, butterfly. There’s only so much wine. —Phoebe Bridgers
Sometimes, on a journey, you have no idea where you’re going. Those are the best types.
I’ve promised myself that I won’t publish fiction on the blog anymore. Why? Because I got addicted to the instant feedback on my writing. I experimented, tried new voices, different genres, and all of you who are here provided me with such great responses. I grew, learned, and pushed harder.
I think that period is over for me now. Whatever voice wells up in me, it’s telling me to stop experimenting and simply to cultivate whatever voice I have in the most excellent way I know how. Just write. Break hearts, make people laugh, and do it in the same paragraph. Break hearts, make people laugh, and do it in the same paragraph. That is a mantra. A good writing mantra.
I’m writing more than ever, and have some big pieces organized. One novel being planned. Many short stories. The short pieces are all being scheduled for submissions, as long as they meet the bar. Not all my pieces of late have worked, but the ones that have (let’s called it a third of them) have really resonated. They’re worth submitting, so I will.
Just a couple of ideas on what I’m writing at the moment (the short stuff; the longer one is still a mystery even to me):
–the bees of the moon. They do exist, you know.
–a shipping container floats its way to an Inuit village, containing…
–a man with a Masters degree in Hindi literature drives taxi in Abu Dhabi, until an opportunity presents itself
–a woman steals a brain-dead baby from a hospital and raises it
–a migrant worker falls in love with a native Qatari in Doha, as he helps build a new island in the Persian Gulf
–an artist suppresses his instincts in order to make money in the oil patch
–a professional decides that he will jump his car off the roof of an office building to the next building over
They sound silly when I write the out like that, but that’s the point. You have to make them work around even the strangest premise. They have to be real. The characters have to breathe. The story has to be true. This is about fiction, and other made-up stories.
I’m at my happiest when I’m with my family, and when I’m writing. Those are the times when I can blaze. When all feels like it’s light, and we can overcome anything. It’s like I’m a kid again, and everything is dreams. You dream hard. You rage hard. You breathe life into parts of you that you never imagined. You create stories because we are all made of stories. We are a story. You, me, everyone.
Break hearts. Make people laugh. Do it in the same paragraph.