I want to say a more direct, personal hello today, not my usual fiction. I hope you are ok. It is such a stressful time.
Sometimes my posts may seem irrelevant in the face of so much. But everything I write comes from a very deep place. Sometimes people mistakenly believe that fantastical work is mere escapist. Often it is not. People in pain often find their survival there.
My last fantastical post was written in a lonely time of trying to figure out how to connect during a time when covid-19 is not disinviting itself from our cities. I passed by my patio window and in my semi-hallucinatory, gone-crazy-with-loneliness frame of mind observed a stray jasmine tendril from the apartment complex landscaping seemingly reaching down to “chat” with the plants on my screened in patio. As often is the case in my fiction, an imaginative observation, a free-wheeling “what if” becomes a story or the impetus for a story.
Today in thinking about another small fictional writing project, I am considering moving on to a family of flies who insinuate themselves on my existence when I keep my patio door open. Proud flies, show off flies, flies who observe and gossip. Characters may come back such as Donkey, my succulent plant, and Katy, my Flaming Katy.
It is important to find community in loneliness, no matter how fantastically you populate your community. Over the years I have revisited Janet Frame’s “Snowman, Snowman” an amazing story of a mysterious man of snow who talks to a snowflake. I love it. And I am always inspired.
Several years ago in my previous married life I wrote of a baby shoe lying down next to a painted line on a road. I am guessing it was something I had seen and started thinking about. That was a long time ago. In my story, the shoe and line talk to each other about life, about their differing roles and importance in the world. I mistakenly opened this little piece up for critique and was accused of being inane and I won’t say what else.
People will get upset sometimes if they think you are not creating “seriously.” And yet you can create quite seriously with nothing else than what you can imagine. And the creatures and objects you can imagine can make profound “commentary” on us and our world, our politics, our behaviors. This is so much more interesting than an author telling it in a straight, didactic style. And I think it captures the attention of the reader.
Not only that it can be downright delicious and funny to write this way. I guess that may be what made my friend so mad, to think I was laughing?
I am sad to say the talkative jasmine of my last post who dreams of a primeval earth when animals and plants shall rule again has been, in my own world, literally “cut down.” I saw it coming and wrote about it in fiction.
What it meant in the story on a symbolic level is that those who speak freely and subversively flirt with danger. But flirt we must and if we can, like Jasmine, laugh.
Speak your truth. Don’t go gently.