So, this happened.
I’ve been kicking this around in my head for almost a year now. Not the idea of writing something for publication. No, not that. You know I’m working on a novel. And a few other things, too. But in the meantime, I’ve been going a little stir-crazy to put something out there.
A few months after moving here, I found a great writing group. They’ll never know how instrumental they were (still are) to my becoming acclimated to Pittsburgh.
We critique two or three members’ work each meeting. It’s a chance to sharpen our skills (and wits) and sample some new genres. (I’m not a fantasy/paranormal romance/science fiction reader or writer, but I’ve never read as much of that as I have before these Tuesday nights.)
But for our October meeting each year, in celebration of Halloween, we change it up. We bring a piece that we’ve written for the occasion, no more than 1,000 words, and read it aloud.
Extractions was my short story last Halloween. A few days after our meeting, I told a friend I was thinking about putting it up on Amazon. What the hell, right?
But I didn’t. Because there’s a fine, sometimes blurry line between procrastination and fear. Between perfection and paralysis.
Sometimes we can over-think things, get trapped by the what-ifs.
What if people hate it?
What if people think I’m pretentious for charging .99 for a short story?
What if someone actually reads this … and likes it?
I’ve come back to Extractions on occasion during this past very difficult, change and growth-filled year. Tightened a sentence, thought about expanding it into something longer, wondered what to do.
And still it sat, on my laptop, doing nothing.
I took another look at it the other night and realized It might be good enough, just as it is.
Just like all of us are good enough just as we are. Or better.
And I thought, why not? Why the hell not? If people don’t like it, fine. We’ve all lost more than .99 on more frivolous things. I’ve read plenty of published things I don’t like. And somehow, people go on. We’re not defined by every word we’ve ever written, so that doesn’t mean I can’t – and won’t – write something different. I think that’s the hallmark of true writers, to not be afraid of trying something new, finding our voices, discovering what resonates in our souls and in the world.
Sometimes we need to throw caution to the wind, not obsess about whether if it’s okay to put a little story (it’s a thousand words, give or take a few, to quote the Beatles) on Amazon.
This is meant to be something a little fun, a little dark tale for these autumnal days ahead, perhaps a little thought-provoking. Something to hide behind instead of an outdated People magazine about Justin Bieber in the doctor’s waiting room so no other patients will give you their personal medical history and advice on yours. Something to pass the time while waiting at Starbucks for someone who may have screwed up the date. Something to do while in the pick up queue at practice when you’ve already scrolled through everything possible on your phone and you don’t want to make verbal or eye contact with any other parents.
(What, you’re saying I’m the only one who does this?)
(If you don’t have a Kindle, download Amazon’s free Kindle reading apps here for Android phone or tablet, iPad, iPhone, Mac, Windows 8 PC or tablet, Blackberry, or Windows Phone.)
For those who have already downloaded Extractions, you have my forever thanks and gratitude. It means more than you can ever possibly know.