I always try to find ways to improve the quality of my writing. This includes working on different forms or genres. I don't want to say that I'm experimenting since, as far as I'm concerned, my writings aren't exciting or beautifully strange enough to be called experimental. But I can also say that I've suffered from avante-garde surfeit. While I like Dada (and it's child-from-the-war-rubble Surrealism), I don't wish to mingle with the intellectually weird (in it's contemporary form).
Fiction was the first form which I worked with. I was around 13 at the time and I suppose the preference for writing fiction reflected my reading preferences at that age. I liked to read novels and general information books. Not that I don't read novels now, but I've expanded to poetry and some books on theory. What drove me into writing was this novel (a good mix of Philosophy and Young Adult, if you ask me) by a Norwegian writer named Jostein Gaarder: Sophie's World. Though it was a great book, it only helped by way of inspiring me. I can still remember how awful were the things I've written back then, all those clumsy attempts. I mean, I'm not any good in fiction now so what makes me think I was good at it back then? (Well, what makes me think I'm good at anything? But then, that's why I persist.)
It wasn't criticism that stopped me from writing fiction, though, since I still do write a few, from time to time. When I turned 15 or 16, I encountered a poem by Yevgeny Yevtushenko. I can't remember the title, just that it was about this boy fighting a bully, and how I found that something about the poem lit me up inside. I began to read more poems, working around the European Romantics, and the Poles (Szymborska and Milosz are my forever favorites). In college, I encountered the Russian poetess Akhmatova, who never quite left me even when the others did. There are others, whose names float above my head like stars on a lightless night. I suppose, too, that my shift to poetry was something of a convenience--- it was difficult and intense, yes, but it was also shorter.
Also, the poems makes me cringe less. When I go back to my personal archives, I find myself actually enjoying my juvenile poems. There's summer there and the smell of fresh paint, reminding me of adolescence, the beginning of the school year.
Recently, I worked on a series of short pieces called Lovers. (Another thing I'm not so good at are titles.) I consider the pieces as short fiction or flash fiction, although there are still leanings on prose-poetry, a form that some of you might not look kindly upon. From these pieces, I try to ponder the question of what qualifies as "flash" or "prose-poetry".
What I ended up with, though, was a set-piece that can be described as having a fluid form. I wrote without any conscious effort for those pieces to be short fiction or poetry. What I mean to say is that, freed from its container (being genre or label), it's free to flow in any direction it wants. It can be perceived by some as flash fiction, by others as prose-poetry, some might even say it is both. And while my perception of the work is certain (and detatched from the process of how it was made), I cannot really control or impose upon my peers. They will see what they (want to) see.
It's been said that a work announces itself on the page. The from of verse are lines, words which seem to stream down on the page, turning and twisting depths and images. Short stories have lines which occupy an entire space, one sentence leading to a logical other.
But I suppose, at some point, (gentle) chimeras are allowed to appear.