I seem to do the important things in life about five years after most normal human beings. Take my first kiss–I was twenty. Not unheard of, but abnormal? Yes.
My most recent activity that falls into the I should’ve done this years ago category is probably less weird according to society’s beady eye. But as a writer, this admittance is pretty terrible–in fact, I should probably just lie. But instead, I’ll just embarrass myself: I’ve never read a short story collection*–until just now.
I recently read Patricia McKillip’s Wonders of the Invisible World. I have Thoughts on it, which will be distilled into something resembling a review next week. But I also have thoughts. Something I noticed in the days after finishing the book: even though my book-edits were done, most of the album recording complete, I wasn’t writing. Why? WHY?
This: I was terrified. I have a short story to write, but also, all these relatively good (and often, good) short stories raw in my mind, getting in my way. They were scaring me, because I kept thinking about them, second guessing my words before they were even pixilated on my screen.
But damn that. I won’t let stories get in my way–besides music, they’re really the only way I can speak myself. Collar-loppers, not cuffs. Fortunately for me, I’m obsessive enough that if I tell myself to do something, I do it (which is how I so successfully starved myself in high school, but that’s a story for another day)–even if I grind my teeth to wet dust and irk my poor partner with neglect. As soon as I hit post, I’m writing a 1,000 words on that short story. Not much, not enough, but something to kick me in the ass, at least.
And on that note, fear still on my tongue–anyone have short story collection recommendations, so I can cower from my words again (and drown my fear in copious amounts of black metal, like this time)? I’ll soon be reading Kij Johnson’s new book, At the Mouth of the River of Bees. And something by Catherynne Valente (have to, have to). But if you have anything to add to the list–something worthy–let me know.
*Though, I think that, once upon a time (when I was a vampire-and-absinthe*-entranced teenager) I read most of Poppy Z. Brite’s Wormwood.
**I’ve never actually tasted the drink–only absinthe chocolate (which I somehow got a hold of, even though absinthe was illegal at the time).