Lichtenbergian Goal #4

Lichtenbergian Goal #4: write one good short story

I had ideas for three short stories last year and began working on one, but in true Lichtenbergian fashion never got beyond abortive fragments, plus vague outlines for the other two.

I’m not sure why I have this goal. I’ve never been a fiction writer. Sure, I’ve written fiction (Twelfth Night, New Day, anyone?), but it’s not something I feel compelled to do like art and music.

Yes, it was very flattering when Nancy Willard said I should write, but the very thought of struggling with characters and plot and style and language terrifies me in ways that I’m guessing would surprise most people who know me. (This is cool: when you do a Google image search for Nancy Willard, guess what the very first photograph is. Go look.)

So I’m not sure why I think I need to do this. More than likely it’s just my attempt to stake out territory in every single area of the arts. It’s a pissing match, not that anyone’s competing.

Also, as I prepped the labyrinth this past Monday, I found a cigarette butt when I was raking leaves. I’m pretty sure it came from a nephew who led some young relatives on a smores outing in the labyrinth on Thanksgiving evening, but still, it gives one pause when one’s house has been broken into, and before I knew it a narrative had formed in my brain.

Now it’s a challenge: can I take the rather nice idea for a story in my head and actually turn it into an effective piece of writing?

One thought on “Lichtenbergian Goal #4

  1. I actually used the week of the retreat to spend more time on creative things at home. In four days I was able to think out, and write a complete short story based on a personal life experience. As to quality, I can’t attest. But if I could focus like that all the time I could test Dale’s theory that producing lots will eventually result in something good.

    I do have a sequel to the short story already in mind, or perhaps it could be a continuation into something longer.

    By the way I suck at writing dialog. My story is all narrative.

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