What Are You Writing?

This is a couple of pages from my journal in November 1979. Of note is that you don't see any dates on these pages, meaning this was all written in one day. When I was young, I thought writing a lot meant I was a good writer, but the truth is that most of this is unreadable dreck.
This is a couple of pages from my journal in November 1979. Of note is that you don’t see any dates on these pages, meaning this was all written in one day. When I was young, I thought writing a lot meant I was a good writer, but the truth is that most of this is unreadable dreck.

When I was young, I thought I wanted to write novels and short stories for a living. I imagined, as young people sometimes do, that it would be easy and that everything I wrote was solid gold. In reality, I penned a quippy, smart-assy journal that often ignored or missed the mark, and when I look at it now, it seems like a giant waste of my potential.

Flash forward to today, and my writing has matured, though I’m not sure it is where I want it to be. I just finished a short story, Agua Fria (link), but it feels incomplete. My short stories tend to be shorter than most because I am not writing to an audience like my wife or some of my fiction-loving friends who like to disappear into long, involved stories, but to myself, and to say what I want to say in the most economical fashion.

I am also actively engaged in writing more things on paper, which to me seems to evoke a more primal sense of what I’m trying to say.

Maybe my takeaway could be that it’s okay for me to write what I want to write, how I want to write it.

One of my favorite pen-to-paper projects at the moment is this book which is a handwritten record of our travels over the years. It presents itself so differently than the source material, our travel blog.
One of my favorite pen-to-paper projects at the moment is this book which is a handwritten record of our travels over the years. It presents itself so differently than the source material, our travel blog.

3 Comments

  1. There is definitely something to be said for writing what you want when (as well as where and how) you want. That’s what I’ve been doing lately. If it turns out to be something shareable, so be it. If it doesn’t, that’s okay too.

  2. I’m writing a series of non-serious detective stories set in Little Rock, Arkansas, told in the first person by an alcoholic PI who’s probably read too many detective stories. They are utter spoofery and I love them, in part because I love Little Rock so much.

    I also write fairly competent espionage stories that attempt to comment on things happening on the world stage. Like you, I write somewhat for myself, exploring (fetishizing?) ideas, personalities, name brands, etc., to my personal satisfaction. Not sure how much psychological content I’ve just revealed about myself here ….

    I find your unconventional handwriting format interesting: names, brief lists, brief descriptions …. a good journalistic style, it looks like.

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