Saturday, April 23, 2011

Relentless


When you are a short story writer the pressure to produce is a constant companion.  First there is the pressure to compose something new and exciting that will impel an editor to buy the piece and then, when it finally sees publication, it is only before the publics' eyes for a few brief weeks before being supplanted by something else.  Worse yet is that few readers take note of the author's name, even though they might never forget the story itself. 

Short stories do not generally run into series so each must be individually crafted to make a point or express some line of thought or viewpoint.  Ideas come easily but those worthy of the effort of turning into a short story are fewer.  As a consequence I read articles on science and technology hoping to grasp something I can use.  Other times I aimlessly type random sentences, beginnings, endings, ideas until something clicks. But always there is this pressure to produce, to submit, to have something - anything - in print.

Let's be honest. Nobody holds a gun to my head. There are no deadlines imposed by editors.  There is no outcry by the fans for yet another of my stories.  The pressure I feel comes from within; a nagging, persistent voice that tells me I will be forgotten or worse, that I will be recalled as a semi-literate fin de si├Ęcle hack. Is this fear of mortality what drives me to write; that I write so that something of me will live on beyond the grave? No, that would be too pretentious.  I think I write because it is something that I can do, that I find pleasure in doing, and that gives me a great feeling of accomplishment.  That I might get a check and something to put on my brag shelf is a bonus.

And maybe that's enough.

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