Thursday

I am obscure. A writer and artist of no significant following, no major works or accolades. I live a small life in a small neighborhood in a small city in a small country.

There is such freedom, such power in obscurity. I am indebted to no one, likewise I am not unduly influenced by dire circumstances or trends that rise and fall like waves. I try to exist beneath the waves, in that strange calm that persists despite all the thrashing and crashing above. It is true that I will be pulled along and swept ashore but only if I am weak, lethargic from lack of work. For it is when I am working that I am the most calm, the most submerged in this life.

I am doing nothing to promote this space, this work. I have even given up hashtags, not much of a loss as I have always hated them.

I have started writing fiction again. Here, on this site, I am writing stories. Present progressive. You can find them under the heading Stories. The drop down menu will take you to each one. I am taking up the mantle of my forewriters and sharing the stories as I write, in a modern version of the serial story. They will be edited as I go so you can watch the narrative develop.

I have no expectations in publishing my stories in this manner. Simply I want to write again and since I am the lord and master of this space, I can do as I please.

The story I am writing now, Hawaii, came to me in a flash almost immediately after I had sent my final farewell to a friend who was initially supportive of my writing, but only, it turned out, if it was the type of writing he liked. I am very grateful to this friend because he got me writing again but then when the stories were less Chuck Palahniuk and more Alice Munro, he was dismissive and, frankly, hurtful. Saying goodbye to him was a long and drawn out process but now that it is over and I am free from that toxic critic, both the actual one and the proxy that lived in my subconscious, I can write what I like. And I like quiet, introspective fiction based on small, quiet lives lived within this infinite, chaotic universe.

I turn forty in a month. This is not frightening. In fact, I feel really, really ready to be forty. As if until now I have been wearing this Shirley Temple wig and it has been getting ragged and itchy but finally, I can pull it off and toss it with great aplomb into the bin. It is such a relief.

The late, great Toni Morrison once said “somebody said, “What advice would you give to young writers?” and I said, “Start at 40” .” A lot of younger writers were aghast at this advice, protesting but, but and yet, I am here to say that I absolutely agree (knowing that I am extremely biased). Whatever I have written before now was just practice for what lies ahead.