I’m picky about the fiction I read. I open myself and let the stories march straight in. The characters move into my heart and I feel pain when they make bad decision. I feel anguish when life crushes them. I live those stories through them and obviously, that’s the point.
The problem is that I carry those emotions into my life. I still feel unsettled when I’m cooking dinner because Catherine and Heathcliff are tearing each other’s worlds apart. Or- my word- how will Harry live feeling responsible for Cedric Diggory’s death? Really, there are enough situations in my life and the lives of people I love that I don’t have a ton of emotions to throw away on “fake people.”
I’ve always been intrigued at the idea of writing fiction. I just finished reading Stephen King’s On Writing and it had a writing exercise in it. I was reading after the boys went to bed one night and got drawn into the prompt so I closed the book, opened my computer, and started typing. Over 1,000 words later, I felt satisfied with my ending to the story. Of course, it ended with blood pooling under the refrigerator but it was a Stephen King writing exercise.
I enjoyed that writing.
I’m aware how much writing fiction would require of me. I would have to adopt new people. I’m a tad obsessive and it’s hard for me to compartmentalize. If I were to write a fiction story, I would live the happiness and despair of each character. I would carry it with me the entire time I was discovering and writing a story and that’s the only way it would be real. It would be necessary to do that. If the people weren’t alive to me, how could they live on the pages for anyone else?
I’m not sure if now’s the time to pay that price. Hard stop though- there’s never a “right” time. There will always be something that compels me to wait until next month or next year. There will always be a voice that whispers that it will be easier when… (this is true of all good, hard things in life, having a baby for instance.)
Maybe I’ll attempt to breathe some spirit into some characters that only live in my head now. I know the power of story; nothing has made me more overwhelmed at the thought of going to heaven than the end of the Chronicles of Narnia. (Maybe that was unspiritual of me to admit; now you know.) Can I harness that power? Maybe not, but the trying won’t hurt.
Please don’t come ask me about my novel. I don’t have a novel right now. But maybe I’ll start with a short story. Or maybe I’ll write that children’s book about that mouse that I actually did start last year.
His name is Ferdinand, by the way.