It’s Come to This

I suppose it was bound to come to this, sooner or later. I had hoped this blog would be primarily fiction, and not just a lengthier version of the kind of extemporaneous thinking I post on Facebook, but here we are.

Last night I posted about the coast of Maine and the ocean, and then I wrote a very short story set on those rocks. I left it up on the blog for about 12 hours and then took it down because I felt too exposed. Well, that doesn’t totally cover it completely. What I was so uncomfortable with is that I took a deeply personal, intense experience and used it in my writing, but I used it in a piece that felt ever-so-slightly like a throwaway piece that I was posting just so I had put a piece of fiction out there into the world. And that did not feel OK — like I want to hold on to that particular experience and only use it for special occasions. I don’t want to lessen the emotional power of it by overusing it, because the emotionality of it is so easily accessible.

Is it really possible to toss out a piece of quick fiction, day after day? I mean without repeating the same story over and over just dressed up differently. And not just imagining the stories, and writing them, but actually publishing them, even if only for this microscopic audience. Maybe I need to go back to the prompts from the writing class I took previously.

The Coast of Maine

I was at a wedding on the coast of Maine in May of 2013. I was happy to be there, but at times the pressure to be social, to make polite conversation, felt suffocating. I was delighted to discover that if I wandered away from the celebration into the fog, I was quickly on the rocks at the shoreline. I was dying to sit down on the surprisingly sturdy bench placed there, but to do so would have meant instantly soaking the seat of my dress clothes. It felt daft to be in such a wild place in such fussy clothes, but one has to take such opportunities as they present themselves. The fog formed into droplets on my eyelashes and felt like a kiss.

Being next to the ocean has always simultaneously drawn out of my heart a longing and an excitement. The fog only increases the sense of mystery and anticipation, like some delicious adventure could be hiding just out of sight. The ocean is never completely still. Not only is it always moving, it is always moving vigorously and decisively. If you sample a drop of water with your tongue, there is no wondering if maybe the water is salty. If only all of life could be so alive, so aggressive, so definite.