Last Sunday night I wrote a short story, from beginning to end, from about 12:30 to 4:00 am. I haven’t done that in a long time. In fact, I hadn’t completed a story in nine months, which is painful. It’s been a slow, rough year.
Most of those nine months I’ve been talking about displaying accurately through prose the way people talk in real life. I’ve also been trying to bring plot into my writing, which is something I’ve always had trouble with — that’s why I chose nonfiction at school, I didn’t want to have to come up with stories, just write them out with good language. Last Sunday night I gave both of those ideas a resolute middle finger and wrote a completely plotless, third-person narrated, magically-inclined story about a guy wandering through the woods to a swimming hole he and his friends used to go to as teenagers, where he inadvertently causes a tree to grow two-hundred feet tall in a matter of minutes, sucking up all the water in the swimming hole.
I did it again yesterday, but thankfully in the afternoon so I don’t feel deathlike today. It was a little shorter and maybe not as good. In it a man-made pool in New Mexico rains into the sky, drying up clouds and blowing them away. Why? Not a clue! Is there a point? Fuck no! But I wrote and that always feels better than not writing.
It’s not the first time I’ve written that type of fantasy (I wanted to describe the story as “fantastic,” but in the way that isn’t an indicator of quality). I wrote one for a fiction class in college called “He is Melting” in which a house is inflated like a balloon by butterflies that explode out of a woman’s mouth. That was three years ago by this point, though, and I was surprised when I returned to that type of story. I guess it just goes to show me that I should stop trying to write in any particular way. Turns out it might have been stifling me.