Wednesday, September 1, 2010

In Which I Revisit an Old Love

Yesterday, I promised I was going to try something new. And I did. Sort of. I tried something old, that I hadn't done in so long, that thinking about it felt new. Does this count? I think it does.

Before I wrote novels, before I could even envision writing something that long, I used to write short stories. In fact, I used to love short story writing so much that I swore to myself I would never see the need to write a novel (Are you getting the theme of how resistant I am to change here?). Then, about eight years ago, I wrote a novel, and I loved it so much that I swore to myself I would never feel the need to write a short story again. I haven't really thought about them much since.

Short stories are what originally made me want to be a writer. I read Lorrie Moore's "People Like That Are The Only People Here" when it was first published in 1997-ish. I loved the story so much that I re-read it, over and over and again. And I'm pretty sure that was one of the main reasons I really seriously started writing stories of my own.

But, back to yesterday. It's been a good seven or eight years since I've written, or even, read, a short story. I am fresh off finishing up two, rather lengthy, novel projects, and so yesterday, it occurred to me, that I could write a short story. Just for fun. It's been so long, I wondered, would I remember how? I opened up a file of stories I wrote back in 2002, and it felt strange to read these little pieces of my life from so many years ago, when I was such a different person and different writer. And then I remembered why I used to love short stories, because, in a way, they're like photographs, tiny snippets of life and time and the people living it. Just glimpses. I love novels for their expansiveness, for the way they consume you. But stories are good, too.

So now for my trying something new: I started working on a new short story yesterday, for the first time in over eight years.

What do you like better? Short stories or novels? Have you ever tried something for the first time in so long that it felt new again?


  1. I like both short stories and novels. Something I tried after a while of not being able to do it was writing. Though to most it wouldn't have been a very long time not being able to do it. But a whole two and a half months are way too long for me. I was working for my brother as his live-in nanny / housekeeper and didn't have the time to read or write much of anything. I'd spend all day cleaning the house, taking care of kids, playing ref., making sure their dog didn't eat something he shouldn't have, making lunch and folding laundry, watching Spongebob. {shudders.

    It was really depressing for me not to be able to just sit down and read something or sit down and slip into my own little world and escape with my characters. Because even when my brother and his wife got home from work or school they'd hide in their room or go to the gym or go out and leave me with the kids. On weekends when I thought I'd have my own time I'd be guilted into going to their friends house or church. And when I got back home I found myself unable to get back into the groove. I was just so exhausted that I actually only caught up on my lost sleep. lol. Which was a lot because I have the schedule of a vampire, I sleep during the day and am up at night writing, reading or updating my blog... all of which I started { other than reading } to keep me occupied while I was awake by myself.

    So anyways, even when I got home it was hard to concentrate on reading because my mind was so frazzled that I just took a a few weeks off and when the time was up I sat and the computer and forced myself to type. Even if it was "What the heck am I doing? I don't know what to write." and somehow it flowed into a short story and now I'm working on my novel. lol.

    { wow that was long. Jill just so you know you have an award on my blog if you'd like it. I like this blog and think it deserves an award :)

  2. I don't think I like one or the other better. It just depends on my mood. :)

    And yes on the trying something for the first time again, it felt new. Reading and writing. I guess because of college and reading or writing things because I HAD to, I forgot how much fun it is to do it for fun. Read what I want to read and write what I want to write. I forgot how amazing it is to get lost in a story, whether your own or someone else's.

    And, because I really want to read The Transformation of Things, I recommend reading Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. It's amazing. I also read an arc of her latest book, Delirium. Wow, just wow. Definitely something to check out once it's released.

  3. Thanks, Jessica! It's great you were able to get back to writing :-)

    Thanks for the book recs., Lena. I've heard so many good things about Before I Fall and haven't read it yet. Must read it!