I’ve been wanting to write a short story for a few days now and I had this idea that I thought could be really funny in spots with a lot of wise-cracks and stuff. But over the weekend I couldn’t make it work and almost thought about abandoning it altogether. Then this morning I took my dog for a walk and came back with the realization that’s not the kind of story I want to write right now. Maybe some time in the future I’ll be able to put out something funny and goofy but right now, that’s not going to happen.
I hate to think I can’t shut out a dark and edgy mood but now I realize I don’t have to. As I’ve said before, I don’t have to do jack-shit but I also don’t have to feel a certain way if it isn’t working for me. Writing helps me peel back the layers that build up sometimes inside me, layers that I pull over me because I’m getting close to something.
Now please understand this isn’t some dark and terrible thing inside me. It’s a swirl of emotions about the world we live in right now. But it’s not just the news feed that’s feeding this swirl, but the realization that it’s the same damn shit all over again. It’s not that we don’t learn from the past. We just get bogged down in the daily grind of life and lose hold of the things that can take us above that.
This short story I’m working is the first time I’ve tried to write a story with a post-apocalyptic setting. I’ve been a fan of that stuff since I was a little girl and I also grew up in the 1980’s and remember feeling like the world was on the brink of being blown to Kingdom Come with all the nuclear warheads that had been amassed. But what if it doesn’t go like it’s been said it would? And how would people react to that? That’s the premise I’m starting from and I’ve got about three-thousand words to tell a story to that.
When it comes to my writing, I know whenever I don’t want to work on something I need to figure out why. What I’ve written could be good but if doesn’t feel soul-deep to me I can’t make it work. Because if I pushed through and wrote something that didn’t have that soul-deep feel, it wouldn’t be as good as I thought it should be. And I won’t put out work that doesn’t make me feel that. It doesn’t have to be super-powerful in feeling, but I have to feel the emotion behind it. Because if I don’t feel it, my readers sure as hell won’t.
So how does my current bout of writing-neurosis apply to my life in general?
Although I like to laugh and do so on a daily basis, I know I can’t run from the darker and edgier things in life, too. I don’t think anyone should be forced to either smile no matter what, or be down-and-out gloomy all the time either. A balance is possible and sometimes I have to remind myself of this. I think we might fear those down-and-out gloomy times but to me, they’re like storms. Even in deserts on this planet, or on the frozen continent of Antarctica storms come with rain or snow. Winter comes yes, but so does Spring, Summer, and Fall. Nothing lasts forever.
I just need to let this story, and my own thoughts and moods run their course. So if anyone reading this wants any advice here it’s this: feel the fear and go down that darkened road but remember you can always crack jokes along the way.