Tuesday, July 28, 2009


It's nearly 1am and my friends would be surprised to find me, the quintessential early-to-bed, 'morning person' up so late, fourth night in a row.
I am trying to finish a story that I started and something tells me it can't be done in the daytime. It's driving me mad, this thing. It started off, like most of my writing ideas, with an image. But unlike other short pieces that I've started and completed within a few hours, this one refuses to be coaxed into completion. Even as I blog this blog, I am entirely unsure that it will ever reach completion.
Two pages down, I knew from the first sentence, that this would be a story that was way beyond anything I've attempted in the past. It requires a complexity of thought that I often find myself incapable of bringing to the surface. The story has everything to do with me yet the language eludes me and makes me feel like an alien trespassing into territory that's not mine.
There are two principal characters. One is the observer, the silent spectator who is the catalyst for the second character's drama to play out. He's not so much of a problem.
It's the woman, the second (or actually the primary) character, who poses the problem. She has a painful past that she is attempting to resolve, more for herself than for anyone else. She hopes a single encounter with the story's observer will help her get there. This story is about acceptance of oneself, one's traumatic history and most of all (it strikes me now, as I write this) the power of simply being seen. This woman needs to be seen by another in order to face her own self.
These are the profound realities of my own life, as it is right now. I know that I am stuck to my past, in very unhealthy ways. It's like the wheel of a car being stuck in the mud. I'm pushing the gas peddle as much as I can but there's no give. There won't be any give until I haul myself out of the car and get someone to help me.
Which is why I struggle with this story so much. I don't want to use the frills and flourishes that I usually employ. I want it to be as stark as possible. I do this, not for the benefit of the reader, but for myself. To prevent myself from running away into my escapist nooks. I've known for 3 years now that I need to face some very big things that happened to me. I also know that I need to share those things with someone outside myself. Even if it is just one person, I feel it is time for me to get real.
And if I can't find the words, then my characters in this story will have to do the work for me. But right now, at 1 am, it's proving to be tougher than I thought.

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