fiction, writing


Many, many thanks for all your encouraging words on Monday’s post. I was talking with my sister yesterday, and we got discussing the difficulties in finding that proper balance with any artistic vision (she is a silversmith and jeweler) – do you lower your standards to create what’s cheap and popular, or what’s going to be popular in five months, or do you create what you love even knowing that means nobody else might ever see it? How long can you keep working at something if it’s only a private passion, when can you stop justifying the time spent on it? If you are working at something only for your own enjoyment, does that mean you lose some drive to make it as close to perfect as possible, do you need that hope of outside consumers to force you to keep polishing until it’s practically perfect?

Not a lot of cut-and-dried answers in this world of artistic creativity. But mostly, it’s nice to know I’m not alone. Support systems are great.

And last night I took a break from editing to brainstorm ideas for characters and plots for short stories – given my tendency to ramble without ever giving much information, I think short stories might be a good way for me to practice writing concisely, and keeping a plot tight.

This opening is my favorite out of all the ideas I got down last night (admittedly, there weren’t many. NCIS was a good one, hence it was very distracting. Usually it’s more just in the background on Tuesdays):

At first, Darcy was more interested in the book she was reading than in all the other people in the park. That was why, after the muttered warning breathed almost in her ear, she couldn’t have told who had said it—the mom in yoga pants and a ponytail pushing the stroller down the path? The slender man in the long brown duster, looking at the tree leaves with a magnifying glass? The teenage skateboarding menaces flashing by, causing the baby in the stroller to shriek in indignation? The kindly old grandmotherly type shaking her head and knitting needles at the skateboarders? 

None of them seemed likely. Then again, the message itself was utterly bizarre. 

“Your life is in danger. Leave at once. Tell no one.” 

What could it mean? Was it even serious? It had to be some crazy joke. Darcy brushed her bangs out of her eyes and bent her head back to the book. 

It wasn’t a very funny joke. What if she was the nervous type? She’d be paranoid now, afraid that some unknown peril was lurking behind every bush and trash can. Good thing she was more sensible than that. 

She glanced up again and scanned the area. Nothing seemed out of place. 

Of course, if she was the too-serious type, she would report this to the nearest police officer. That would teach the would-be prankster! 

The police would probably just dismiss her anyway. Once again, Darcy tried to focus on the words on the page, but they blurred and danced away out of her understanding. She slapped the book shut, dropped it in her bag, and stood up, slinging the bag’s handle over her shoulder. Stupid fake warning. She wasn’t scared, but she was annoyed, and she just couldn’t pay attention to reading now. She’d have to go back to her apartment, and actually take care of that house-cleaning she’d been postponing ever since the warm weather had started a week ago. 

Maybe that was the warning’s purpose. Maybe it was her subconscious reminding her that if she didn’t clean soon, she’d run out of clean dishes and clothes, and the dust bunnies would take over her life, hold her captive. That was danger enough for anyone. 

Cheered by that thought, Darcy went on down the path with the bounce back in her step.

I’m not even sure where to go from here – who it was who warned her, or why she’s in danger, or if it’s all a big mix-up, but I’m gotten rather fond of Darcy, just from the short time we spent together last night, and I’m looking forward to figuring out what happens to her. In a short story, Louise, not a novel! Too many novels in the works already. (I have to keep reminding myself of that, or else I get carried away. Rambly writer, rambly plots!)

I am mostly posting this snippet to prove conclusively that even though I have my times of discouragement and overwhelmedness, I do, in fact, always pop back up with pen (or computer) in hand, and keep working at it.

I can’t seem to do anything else, and I wouldn’t want to anyway.

6 thoughts on “Encouragement”

  1. Hi Louise,I read your Monday post first before coming to this one.We all have those “not good enough” demons sitting on our shoulders. Nasty little buggers, aren’t they? And if I listed all of the “psst, Tracy, I see you weren’t good enough for…” whispers that crawled through my brain when I’m frustrated, well, we’d be sitting here two days later with our eyes glazed over. As a writer, I know I’m not Stephen King – or Judy Blume, or Yann Martel, or Mark Twain, etc. But I am Tracy Brown and it’s important that I honor my writing by challenging myself and doing my absolute best. I might not please everyone with what comes out of my pen, but I know I can please me. Do I want to be published and see my books on the shelves at Barnes & Noble? You bet I do. But if I don’t get there, it doesn’t mean I wasn’t “good enough.” It means it wasn’t the right time for me to be there.You ARE great enough, and your story snapshot above? Caught my attention. I’m wondering if it wasn’t an outside voice. Does she have a budding talent for clairvoyance? Or maybe it’s divinely related. Hmm… the possibilities!See? We don’t know each other, and we don’t owe each other anything. But I want you to keep going, keep writing. Remember, the one who finally achieves his or her goal, is the one who went one more step after the last disappointing letdown. I believe in you. Hope you are feeling better. Looking forward to learning more about Darcy too. :)

  2. Thank you so much for your encouraging words, Tracy – and for telling me you liked the snippet of story! That really does mean the world to me. In the end, sometimes I think I keep going because I'm just too dang stubborn to quit. And maybe that's not such a bad thing.Thanks again.

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