So, I have this friend. Let’s call her Julia, because that’s her name. She is incredibly smart and intuitive and I LOVE that about her.
Last week, I started a story for a flash fiction contest. And, while I HATE stories that make me cry, the story I wrote MADE ME CRY. Ugh. Well, I emailed my friend, Julia, and had her take a look. I was extremely nervous to share my piece with her. She is well-read and like I said, smart.
Her response and critique was not only sincere and enthusiastic, but also brilliant. And, it made me second guess myself and my writing abilities. Why? Not because of what she wrote, of course not. But, because of what she didn’t write.
Let me explain.
Her enthusiasm and interpretation of my story was so on point, when I read her critique it was like she was in my brain. She didn’t miss a beat! She understood the symbolism and artistic value of where I wanted the story to go; I just needed to figure out how to get there. And, that was truly awesome. She made a suggestion that was so astute, it stopped me in my tracks and I couldn’t sleep Tuesday night because my imagination was running wild with new ‘options’ for the story.
She also told me it reminded her of the story, Irony, written by Albert Camus. I had never read any of his work, but was immediately drawn to his story, his philosophy and his writings. I downloaded his production of Lyrical and Critical Essays for my iPad. It won the Nobel Peace Prize in Literature.
Notice I used the word reminded (not compared). It’s important to make that distinction! I don’t want you over there thinking I’m an arrogant one, that my writing is so wonderful. That’s not it at all. As I read his winning story, I thought how can I ‘compare’ to this? How can I write a story that is as compelling and worthy of someone else’s time?
That’s when the doubt set itself into my mind for the day. I decided when I met her for lunch yesterday I would talk about anything, but not the story. I needed to let the ideas my imagination brought to me, and my feelings of inferiority lay themselves to rest for awhile. I needed to process it all, in a healthier way than wallowing in my self-doubt.
Last night, I picked up my iPad and read a little more of Camus’ book. The preface is by far my favorite part (albeit, I haven’t gotten too far into it yet). It offers a great introduction into the mind of Mr. Camus, his reflections and his desires for his craft.
He wrote, “everything is simple. It’s men who complicate things.” He’s right. It’s really rather simple. I just need to sit down and start writing, adding to the story and making it better. It’s me that is making the situation complicated.
The reason I wrote the story was because my heart yearned to tell it. It would be great if my ‘ideal’ and my ‘idea’ would meet, shake hands and make some magic; but, even if that doesn’t happen, I should still write it. Someone, somewhere needs to read it and cry with me. It’s that simple.
Until tomorrow –
photo credit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/64668944626213272/