Therapy Session (I’m Back Again and Hopefully, I’ll Stop Going Away)

What do I want?

I have been trying to answer that question for the better part of 39 years.

It seems such a simple question really.  Others have seemingly answered it and either have what they want or have made themselves comfortable with what they have.

The thing is I believe I know what I want.  It’s just am I willing to work towards it and find out I’m not good enough to get it.  Am I willing to accept what I get if it isn’t everything that I want?

Since high school, I’ve wanted to do two things and two things only.  One, write short stories and get a collection published.  Just one.  Two, run a magazine like the mid-20th century Esquire.

I have a book written.  I am in the process of editing it.  Or I should say I should be in the process of editing it.  I have worked on off and on since writing it earlier this year.  I’m not satisfied with it and may do major rewrites on it.  That is what made me realize that my heart and my interests lay in short stories.  There is something about writing a short story and creating a narrative about one moment in a person’s life that extrapolates to the universal.

It is the idea that a long short story (The Old Man and The Sea is basically a long short story) about an old man fishing can contain such universal truth and beauty astounds me.  It cows me.  It makes me alternately excited about writing and depressed by it.  Excited at the idea of what is possible through narrative and depressed at the idea that I can probably never write something a tenth as good as that.

That is where I get myself in trouble.  I think too much.  I have a habit of thinking too far past the moment.  I worry about things that I not only cannot control, but haven’t even begun to happen yet and I freeze.

I get too worried about someone hating it when I’m finished and forget that the point is to finish it first.  The point is to make it the best thing that I can make it and learn to live with the consequences.  I forget that if you take an interesting story, tell it well, and tell it honestly, you will find an audience.  People will like it.

I used to think all I wanted was people to tell me, “That was good.”  That has happened.  I have written things that people have told me they like.  Things that I’ve been told are good.  However, somewhere in my mind I don’t believe them.  Maybe it isn’t that I don’t believe them.  Maybe, it is that I haven’t had the right people tell me that.

Here is the thing, however.  I can’t worry about any of that.  I do worry about it, but I can’t.  The only thing I can really worry about is making me happy with what I’ve written and who I am.

This didn’t go anything like I had planned when I started writing.


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