Yesterday I went into the back closet and pulled out my red folder of short stories I wrote in Creative Writing. First, I was taken aback by the year these were written—2002—was it that long ago? I remembered a couple of the stories quite well, but a few I had forgotten. The comments that instructor and classmates wrote were still there for me to learn from. I thought that maybe, just maybe I could choose a story that had potential and work with it. But as I went through the stories and the comments, I didn’t feel the same for them. I clearly had problems with dialogue among other areas. My descriptions were ok, but the short story container did not appear to come easily for me. When I came across some other writing: essays, free writes, reactions, an unintentional poem or two, I saw more of a flow, a sense that I was in my element. I felt frustrated.
I decided that I needed to take myself to the bookstore and get a copy of Writer’s Market and try to see if I could find my way through the writing forest. Although, I feel as though I need to start with a fresh story, I did notice that similar themes came up. Now that time has gone by, perhaps I will be able to treat the stories with a gentler stroke. If I take a step back and try to look objectively at what came up off those pages to me yesterday, I can see that I was very much working through something—I was in a processing mode, especially since that was my first creative writing course. It was new territory and bits of me were coming out. My free writes and whatever issues and happenings were ingrained in me were taking on a life of their own— and they were battling out on the page sloppily. I was trying to give them a voice and a landscape that I had control over and trying to make sense of them. Yet, that is one of my biggest obstacles: the need for control. I know that I must get out of the way, and if an idea presents itself to me, I must get it down as it comes and I must let it take form and sit on my critic, sit on the editor, until I am ready for that step.
An image of a little girl keeps coming up, she wants to be in a children’s book. I can see her and I can see her mother and end of the story, but now I’ll have to see what’s in between and how it begins. I have read that writing a children’s book is not an easy task—and really my chances for publication seem to be null. And if that’s the case, so be it. I will still try to write the story and see what happens from there.