I started writing my first novel when I was nine or ten years old. It was a horror story about a child with a stuffed dog who started talking to her, plotting things with her behind her worried mother’s back. I don’t remember much about it. I do remember my father telling me that he liked it, that it was nice and creepy, and that he was very sad, years later, when I told him I destroyed the journal it had been written on in one of my journal destroying rages (a storm that hits about once every ten years).
Recent events have led me to the conclusion that it is necessary for me to begin dabbling in fiction writing again. What this will mean for the rest of my writing, well, hell, I guess we’re all going to find that out together. What I’ve already found out though, through the course of the day, is that I’m rusty, though the springs remain in working order.
When I burnt out on fiction, well, that was in college. That was when I burnt out on a lot of things: Ridilin, Aderol, mary j, academia, writing. My senior year I took a travel writing class that inspired me, that reminded me that once upon a time I had liked writing. But by the end of my thesis and that year I was dreaming of raising peanuts and llamas in South America, of teaching English in the Marshall Islands, of anything that would get me far, far away from the barbed-wire-lined towers of all that was academic.
Instead I started a job proofreading at a local publishing company two weeks after graduation and quickly drowned my desire to write in tired computer-screen eyes and the extra commas in the layouts of custom health publications. When I got home I went running, and after I went running I fell into bed to read, too exhausted for creativity. (Sidenote: I find that my level of creativity drops the more sports I do. Running I can empty my mind. Thus emptied, nothing remains for the page.)
It was in Germany that I was at long last reunited with my desire to combine pen to paper in a meaningful fashion, and since then I’ve been riding the non-fictional train to glory. And yet, in a world so complicated, I wonder if non-fiction is really the answer, if fiction isn’t the more capable medium for dealing with the reality we face every morning when we open our eyes.