When do you know if you reached a plateau? Better yet, when you've crossed one (risen above... jumped... what do you do to get over those suckers?)
For a chunk of time longer than I'd like to think about, I've been feeling stuck in my writing. Part of that has been the finishing of one larger project (Surf City), and waiting for another to emerge. Those others being either continuing work on another Luke Fisher novel, or returning to the big bad literary novel in the wings (B.B.L.N.).
Many glasses of red wine and way to many hours on social media, I figured a way to unstick myself - because my plateau was part quicksand... the bad stuff, like on Gilligan's Island. The solution: return to short stories. Huh, wha?
The thing that got me there was listening to a ton of interviews of George Saunders, Karen Russell, Jonathan Franzen, Don Delillo, TC Boyle, and many others... shit, almost forgot RICHARD FORD (he gets all caps).
When I listened to them talk about their writing, their reading, and really just their life, the inspiration starts bubbling in me like a pot of dark brew. It's mysterious, burbly, intoxicating, and totally what I want.
I've always loved the short story form, but had strayed away while I worked on novels. I got a chance to revisit this passion in the form of the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge. I'll say more about that contest in another post (if you follow or friend me on twitter or facebook, you already know about this.)
But suffice to say, I wrote a story that I'm really happy with. I can't put my finger on it, but there was something in this one that was different, more true maybe (a weird, but true way to put it.) Pop over to Terlson Fiction on the menu bar if you'd like to read it. It is only up there for a limited time.
If I make it to the 2nd round of the contest, I'll be deeply embroiled in another story (for three days anyway - the deadline for the 2nd round. 1st round you got 8 days). I feel like this is warming my engine to jump back into the B.B.L.N.
As always, more to come.