Saturday, November 14, 2015

Stroking My Ego: A Retrospective

So, I wrote this story in a fiction writing class like four or five years ago.  At the time, I was going to college and studying literature, and falling in love with just everything that I was reading and everything that I was experiencing in my life. My then-fiance and I had just settled into a shabby little house on a hill. We were planning our wedding and really basking in the glow of our recent romantic adventures. A funny thing happens when you are feeling what you interpret as success: you start to get all nostalgic, you start living in your own history and constantly stroking your own ego. You develop your own mythology.

This story, in particular, was also none other than the story where I figured out how I wanted to write. Originally titled, "Drowning," I of course thought highly of it, even at the beginning, even though, you know, it wasn't perfect.

It started with a different ending than it has today--one that didn't really work--but then someone in my workshop suggested that I change it and, kind of, you know, make it the natural result of everything that happens in the story. While that might seem obvious, as it probably did to that person, it was a revelation to me. Prior to that, I had been coming from a more Absurdist school of thought. "The Sign," as it is called now, was my first real venture into any kind of realism.

While it is in the first person and past tense, and I now tend to write more in the third person and often in the present tense, it is a retrospect of a time in my life, and very honest, and the ending, now, kind of, makes it. While I really love the original version, after reading stories like "Cathedral" by Raymond Carver, where the characters have conflicts through the whole story but then find solutions in revelations, I knew I had to change it. It had to happen another way. It took a while to take shape, but it was, I think, worth the effort.

The last aspect that I focused on was the language, which is really what took so long. My goal was to perfect my grammar and streamline the prose, and also make the imagery as vivid as possible to give the reader a more complete experience.

Now that I am finished, my goal is to get it published in a literary magazine. I believe, if I search hard and keep trying, I will find its home. That is just going take patience, and some research.

In the meantime, enjoy this song by the Kinks:

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