I've been in contact with a good friend from San Diego who is going through the worst time in her life. She is in Florida, taking care of her mother as she transitions out of living. I can't imagine. My heart breaks and shudders for my sweet friend, knowing how close she is to her mother. I keep sending her messages, leaving voicemail. I give her permission to be pissed off, to be sad, since all of her friends keep telling her to to be brave. Sure, bravery has its place but anger and grief are very natural parts of our human existence. I say go with the scary emotions, the ones with teeth. Be brave later. My friend has grace, has faith, a community of people who love and support her. But still, grief is a river to be navigated alone.
Working on this latest short story is surprisingly emotional. I haven't broken down crying while writing a short story in a long time. There were parts of writing my novel that were very intense, I sobbed my eyes out after writing the scene where my protagonist is born. (Probably my favorite scene in the whole book, tears come to my eyes just thinking about it.) But this short story is a very different vein of writing than the novel. It is not exactly in a fantasy world but in a mythological world of story. I wonder if that makes sense to anyone but me. I know setting and place are important in storytelling but in this series of stories I'm trying to get the emotional home, the different places women love from and are loved; location is irrelevant. For guidance, I look to some of my favorite Latin American writers who create worlds that are gentle, that don't force the hands of those who live there. The world of story, of mythology isn't a physical place that can be scribbled into being. Or I'm a romantic, no, I am definitely a romantic.
Part of the process I'm learning is to let go of what I think I want to say, the meaning I wanted to attach to my stories. That will take care of itself. I'm a fan of the subconscious; subtext happens. I've also made the choice to just fucking write the shit, even if it mirrors back aspects of myself that are vulnerable or terrifying to consider. Just tell the damn story. Letting go of what I want isn't particularly easy, of course I want the story to go a certain way. But as in life, that isn't realistic. The story has its own heart to master.