The following is a letter to an unknown subject, and a conversation that is yet to happen.
Why do you keep doing it? Why do you have to share all our secrets with the internet?
I don’t have a satisfactory answer for him/her/them, but I don’t have a satisfactory mind for fiction at the moment, either. All I have right now are memories. So many of them are ripe for retelling, reworking and reinterpreting. There is nobody else living in my head right now, so I only have my own stories to fall back on.
You don’t have to tell everyone everything. You don’t have to write something every day.
Oh, on the contrary. I’ve let myself lie idle for far too long. I need to practice everyday if I can. I need to experiment with form and the way I think about stories, and oil the cogs so they can start turning more easily, all so I can get back to trying to tell the stories pulled from the lives of other characters, rather than being stuck in my own musings.
I don’t need to publish, certainly. But I do need feedback. I need criticism. I need advice and guidance. I’m not going to get that by keeping it all to myself, or by keeping it to those who think I’m already doing well.
Strangely, it’s a lot less confronting throwing it into the online ether than finding a one-on-one mentor. That said, I probably need one of those more than anything else. Until I find one and the courage to ask them, I will simply continue to practice in the public space. I am sure it will open more doors than it closes.
I don’t want to get caught in truncated, unstructured, rambling memoirs, but that’s where I am and I’m running with it. You work with what you’ve got, and these memories are what I have.
Can’t you write non-fiction about other things? You could write about politics, or famous people, or music! You’ve done it before. Why does it have to be about us/your family/your friends/yourself?
I will, and soon. But those things take time, research, resources, passion, and more. Again, my supplies are limited, but I’m trekking towards solutions for most of them. Baby steps, baby. Itty bitty baby steps.
And anyway, nobody even knows it’s you. Nobody knows how many lies are interwoven with my truth. You gave me these moments and I gave you fair warning that they would visit us again from time to time. And here they are.
I know that some will hurt, but maybe some will heal. Perhaps there will be a new peace now that it’s all been pulled apart and laid out like bike parts on the pavement. Maybe you’ll learn something. Maybe I will.
Don’t worry, baby. Don’t let it cloud your thoughts. Let it darken your opinion of me, if that’s what you want, but don’t fret about the marks on your screen. Nobody is paying attention.
Through it all, remember this: it’s just a phase. It will pass and soon I won’t need you to fuel my musings any more. There’s a box of letters under my bed, and that is where I’ll put you, along with all those other wonders, and once you’re there I promise I’ll never share you with strangers again.