Oh my God, is there a time limit? I was just watching Sunday Morning on CBS, and I was paying very close attention to an interview with short story writer, George Saunders. I’m looking for that spark of inspiration I’m supposed to get from a writer talking about his origins or the secret to writing a good short story. They mention that George Saunders came to writing late, and I’m like “Oh, good.” Because at 35, I hear another ticking clock. The literary one.
My biological clock has been addressed. It was satisfied then promptly destroyed. But that literary clock of birthing a book has started ticking louder and louder and louder. And louder. So, I have a brief moment of relief and think, “Oh, good. A successful writer who started later.”
Then. Then. Interviewer Mo Rocca says, “Then finally, at the age of 37, George Saunders published his first book of short stories.”
Me: [blank stare at screen]
WHAT!?!?! Age 37 earns a FINALLY? Oh shit.
Tick tock. Tick tock. Tick tock. Tick tock. Tick tock.
But then my rational side took over. “Shut up, K.K,” it said. (It’s very mean.) It said, “What can you do about it? Just keep on keeping on.”
Me: Good point mean rational self.
One thing I can say about this experiment, about not all the short stories I write being bad, is that it’s true. Halfway into the year, I already know it’s true. The irony is that I have ONE story that I’m happy with. ONE. But it’s not bad. It is the impetus for the book idea I am now pursuing. I did not have this idea before this experiment.
That being said, I don’t know if I have ever written and trashed so many stories in my life as I have this year. At least, not as quickly. But what am I going to do?
Answer: Write, for fox sake.