2005-02-28 - 7:44 p.m.
I wish I could write short stories.
It doesn't seem like it should be difficult; my argument against journalism or letter writing was always that its a different *type* of writing. Not truly like fiction at all. But for a long time, I don't think I understood that short stories--short fiction--is also a horse of a different color.
I have nothing but admiration (and occasionally envy) for those who can carry them off. I think my best effort is prolly Will the Real Shane Destry Please Stand Up?, and it's more of a novella than a story, clocking in a 67 pages as it does. My ideas are not short ideas, let's face it.
And there's a certain irony to that, given how Ms. Banks (putanesca that she was/is--I suppose its too much to think/hope she's dead) always said that my ideas were too brief; touched on and moved on before being fully fleshed out.
So is this her fault? It would certainly be nice to blame her, but even so, I'm not comfortable laying the blame at her door. It may be a reason, but not an excuse.
Novels are so much easier for me...time to develop, time to delve, time to explore... That's largely excised in short fiction; short stories are so much more about 'gimmick', although I don't mean that in a bad way. Taking the pejorative context from the word 'gimmick', I mean simply that a short story is a flashbulb, rather than an incandescent, a "Eureka!". And at the bottom of it all, I'm a plugger. I may illumine for years to come, but my flashbulb moments are few and far between.
Which raises the question of talent vs. something that can be learned. I suppose I *could* write shorter fiction, but at heart, that's not the issue. The issue is can I write *GOOD* short fiction? Having waded through amateur (read: unpaid, unpublished) writing both on and off the net, I am aware as any publisher as to how much truly awful fiction is out there. I don't aspire to join the ranks of the truly awful in any arena, particularly one that involves writing. It's why I gave up poetry.
And that, I guess is my answer. Obvious as the nose on my face--which it usually is, when I give myself the leeway to talk myself through it. I'll never know unless I try. Or, to quote the joke: Practice, practice, practice. But like Ada's advice of: "Then stop.", it is an answer obvious, but evanescent and more difficult to accomplish than the words.
But what of Storm Moon? Every moment that I take away from it feels like betrayal and failure. I must have focus; I must keep focused, until it is finally, truly DONE. I will never publish if I never finish anything; a truism self-evident as the ice of Homeland. 8) At the last, it always comes down to those twin stars of Time and Love. But at least, somewhere between them, seems to exist the tantalizing fragment of Possibility.