Where have you been? Where are you going?

These are two very important questions. We wonder them about everyone we meet, to some degree. The more a person stands out to us, the more deeply we consider the person’s upbringing, the path that brought them before us, and where their bring them next. From the jerk who cuts us off in traffic, to the cashier behind the counter at the coffee shop, everyone has a backstory. Everyone has a concept of what tomorrow will hold for them. Of course, we never have the whole story, even on ourselves. How deeply can we know anyone indeed, with such a flawed self image? But we go on because what else can we do? We exist on minimal information, gathered by weak senses and stored in unreliable media. So we must be aware of these failings in ourselves, in others. We forgive more easily when we know the story. We accept that this person is in a bad mood if we know their mother is in the hospital and they haven’t slept in days. This is their story. We’re by and large persuaded not to burden others with our story, not to “overshare” and make others uncomfortable in how much of reality we make them acknowledge. But that’s the good stuff. The depth of character, the convolutions of the story come from the details, however gruesome or uncomfortable.
Two things people often avoid discussing in “polite company” are religion and politics. These things cause arguments because we often take to them without a great deal of insight as to why we feel that way or believe this notion. When we are forced to examine our own characters, we have to deal with our flaws and assumptions, and life becomes more complicated. Our simplifications, our forgivenesses, which need to be revisited from time to time lest we forgive too much, are like armor, bulky, restrictive, and in time, soiled, and in poor repair.
Writing is often like pulling off that old armor, working over the kinks in the maille, hammering out the dents in the plates, and giving the whole thing a good scrub down. To write, to express oneself truly through any artistic medium, is to be forced to look at oneself naked in the mirror, note the stretchmarks, the scars, and find a way to present them to others in a way that reminds them of their own scars and wrinkles just the right amount. Too much and people will turn away, unable to bear the light. Too little, and the connection won’t be there. You end up with another piece of entertainment that means little, if anything. It’s our job to always mean something.
Recently, I published a novelette through Pro Se Productions. This story, Harridan: Sacrificial Lamb, is one of a woman who has spent her life looking at the uncomfortable. It follows her, harasses her, almost, because sometimes it seems she’s the only one who can see it. Harridan is a reporter on the occult and strange going on all around us, the scars and stretchmarks of the world, if you will, things no one wants to examine, or even acknowledge, but everyone has. I don’t know if I’ll get to write another Harridan story, as the character isn’t mine and the structure of the series is such that each episode is up for grabs, but I think it’s been pretty successful, and makes me want to publish more individual works. I certainly have the breadth of worlds for such an endeavor. There’s so much I’ve written that sits, in need of an ending or a good polish. I’m looking at a few things right now, and have been investigating Kindle Direct Publishing as an avenue for putting them out.
Should I release another story, I’ll post again. Until then, keep reading!

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