The best stories I ever wrote as a kid– and then later on, too– were all about death or murder or scary things. That’s what I was drawn to when I picked books to read, so that’s what I wrote. Naturally, I’m a bit crap at writing much else. I mean, you can see it in the one attempt at a “happy ending” that is sitting there in the fiction section of my blog. It got a bit slapdash at the end because I was on a deadline for a class that demanded that I turn in something finished. As it is with most of my stories that get forced endings, I can’t go back to it. I want to. I had a concept I wanted to run with and I fell in love with the tea shop and bakery I’d written. (On a separate note, that shop is an idea I’ve been kicking around since high school that I’d love to bring into being, but I’m not sure how to go about it and I don’t feel I know enough about tea yet for what I’d want to do.) But the story itself, having been cut short, feels wrong. It feels like I’d be trying to resurrect the dead and it would come back like the son in the “Monkey’s Paw”as a thing that is no longer what it once was and could never be what it might have been. I keep that story posted there as a reminder to try harder. I don’t want to only write scary, dismal, morbid stories, as much as I love them. There’s a whole 360 degree scope of human experience, most of which I know nothing about even in the periphery, and it can all exist together. It all frequently exists at once as a little emotional cosmos inside each person. That’s what makes the stories of other people’s lives– fictional or non-fictional– so compelling. I want to write all those stories. I want to write compelling stories. I want to be compelling.
I feel limited in my imagination by my lack of knowledge. I once wanted to study history. I wanted to be an archaeologist or an anthropologist because I wanted to know the stories as they stood from every point of view. I wanted to explore every facet of the lives that no one thought about anymore, but that had been a part of what shaped the here’s and now’s all over the world. And then I realized I just wanted to be a story teller. Maybe a travelling one. But there was that “lack of knowledge” thing, and I felt– I feel that I need to see and do more to be able to fully grasps a lot of things that drive people. I want to understand the internal states and the external possible circumstances that affect even the least considered factors of day to day existence. That’s why I’m happy as a waitress. That’s why I’ve done a lot of things the way I have. It’s hard to explain, and I think harder for a lot of people who worry about what I’m doing with my life to understand, that I’m deliberately not aiming for the structure that is supposed to lead to “success” as it is mostly understood to be (i.e. the safe job with the steady income, carefully managed for a wealthy old age, etc.). I want to be content. Not perpetually happy. Happy happens in between everything else. Happy happens when you strive for who and what you love, which may or may not be always exciting. I want to simply be content with where my life is, okay with where I’ve been, and eager to take on what’s coming my way as much by my own hand as possible. It really is an adventure, and that’s exactly what I’m aiming for. Structures are stationary. I want to keep moving.
I’ve had a number of bits of information shared with me recently about the lives of people I love that take my little heart and twist and makes it shiver from the strain of caring. A lot of it isn’t really anything to get too worked up about, but that there’s the potential for those things to become so much more, so much worse terrifies me. So I write. Except then I have that problem where, like in dreams, the doors start appearing that seem to require opening, and that I can feel I really don’t want to open. The stories start trying to go in directions I didn’t initially have in mind almost of their own volition. And so it’s that problem again. The one that goes like this:
“My characters keep trying to jump off bridges. Perhaps I should make a cup of tea and then try writing again.”
And so I make some tea, maybe a nice chamomile, and try again. And sometimes that means I manage to make the story move past the door. And sometimes it means the words stop playing nice and I have to go sit somewhere to sulk with my tea and watch episodes of “Supernatural” or watch “Lilo & Stitch”, feeling rejected until the words get lonely and want to play again.
Anyway, all of this is really to say that I’m having trouble carrying on with “Beasts” right now. It’s happening. I know where I want it to go. I have scenes playing out in my head. But I’m having trouble forcing it from my hand down the funnel that is my pen. It’s frustrating and it’s making me think about a whole lot of other things that are frustrating, which, of course, just makes things worse. Bother, indeed.
Well, I suppose it’s not an adventure without falling into a few holes and walking into a bit of mental poison ivy. Scrapes and bruises are to be expected. Right, more tea, then off to work.