I’m enjoying the last few days of my summer break before a busy fall kicks off in the wilderness of Jasper this weekend. From there, I’ll head to St. Anton in Austria, and then Chile, which will include a jaunt out to Easter Island, one of the most remote inhabited islands in the world. It will be a special, feather-in-the-cap type trip for a number of reasons, both personally and professionally. I’m hoping to get to back over to Africa in October and also hit Hawaii, Mexico City, Curacao, and Grenada before the holidays.
In the meantime, I’m making a little more time to write fiction again. Part of that includes revisiting some of the older ones and seeing if they still speak to me. When I was 24, I had a lady at a bookstore roll her eyes when I told her my then-new short story, Till Death Do Us Part, was six pages. She thought stories should be longer, or something. So, I originally started this story, For What It’s Worth, as a short story about how unimpressed I was with word counts. “Anyone can go on and on and on.” But then once I started writing it, it transformed itself into a story about relationships. It’s probably more interesting that way.
I ended up taking up my word count crusade in another story, Allow Me to Introduce Myself . “I bet I’ve said more in that one page than your friend did in her entire book.” That one is still a little raw but there’s a lot of good stuff in there. Anyway, I think For What It’s Worth is a pretty good example of what I’m trying to accomplish. Here it is below:
For What It’s Worth
“Don’t be impressed by all of that,” he said.
“All of what?”
“The length of it all,” he told her.
“But there is a lot of good stuff in there.”
He did not say anything and looked at the girl with a very straight face.
Finally, realizing he was not going to say anything, she asked, “What’s so wrong with it?”
“It bores me.”
The words were harsh on her ears. Here she thought it had been something to look up to, something to strive for, an example of what it should look like.
Then he said, “Anyone can go on and on and on, my dear.”
“And it means nothing to you?”
“Not in that way.”
Now the girl was very quiet and he asked her, “What did you think I was going to say?”
Oh, what a waste, she thought, what a waste of time this all has been.