Writing: waiting for the story

There are some authors who believe that writing is therapy or bloodletting; basically turning it into some form of catharsis or other. We’ve all seen the memes that warn not to piss a writer off because you will be in their next novel or that the writer has opened their veins while writing a particular piece. I’ve gone to therapy for that stuff and only let the lab technician draw blood for my annual check-ups. That doesn’t mean that my stories and many others I read don’t capture the essence of life itself, it just means that we are storytellers of maybe a different kind.

This morning, as I washed the breakfast dishes, I had the image of a young girl and her mother talking in that strained way adolescents and moms often have. I saw the rambling house they live in that was the shell that encapsulated said girl’s profound loneliness. A few moments into this reverie, I remembered a story I began writing a couple of years ago that went into my ‘silent file.’ The characters, it seems, are no longer silent but beginning to tell me the rest of their story. I know I have the original piece in one of my handy flash drives on my desk somewhere.

This is how Covering the Sun with My Hand was written. It started out as “The Eviction” and didn’t go anywhere until I put it away awhile and the protagonist, Julia Acevedo, woke me up here in this same house. It was on another morning that I was feeling serene and all right with my world and what I do in it. I’m not angry with my mother, or my children. I’m not proving anything today. I just am, just for today. I may be those other things tomorrow but today I’m not. I think this is why the story and the main characters are reaching out to me again. I think that I’ll temporarily name this one, “Just before the Miracle,” because that is how I’ve experienced the process of storytelling- waiting for something that might all ready be happening. I’ll keep you guys posted. I’m going to dry the dishes now.


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