I don’t even remember the last time I wrote a short story.
I think it must have been sometime in 2007 or something, when a friend asked me to submit for the first Neil Gaiman speculative fiction competition for Fully Booked or something like that. Before that, the last time I remember having really written a fiction piece was way back in 2002 when I was asked to contribute to the anthology Growing Up Filipino. I wrote The Purpose of Malls and while the style was meant to be exaggerated, it was also very real as the characters were based on actual people: high-strung, very privileged, and very easy to caricature.
In terms of fiction, I’ve written scripts, and I’ve imagined fictional situations for many of my poems but to actual sit down and write a short story now frightens me as I’ve read some very good short stories since 2002 and the standards to which I aspire to are very high.
It’s like a muscle. And my fiction muscles have turned flabby, if they are even still present at all.
And today, I’ve decided to really finish this short story I’ve been brewing in my head and taking down notes and my friend that I’m submitting the story to posts something on my Facebook wall of a short story that he’s read that was really well-written, Skin by Richard House.
I know what he was trying to do. Inspire me or something. Instead, he stopped me cold. A major surge of feeling inadequate rushes through me and I’m wondering if I have the chops to do this story — and it’s a great story, if I do say so myself — but a concept is not going to cut it. I have to write it.
Maybe I’m approaching this all wrong. I’ve been writing poems and film scripts. Maybe I’ll try using a different technique and adopt a different writing mindset to writing my fiction? Why must the paved path be the only ones that I travel on?
And to be honest, I’m sure there are plenty of writers who have just written in the way they are most comfortable in and achieving amazing results.
Okay, enough of this. It’s time to write.