I’ve had this song on a loop for the past hour while I’ve been working on finishing the rest of the outline for the book.
There’s something that gets me in that line she sings in the pre-chorus.
“Because we experience the love that we think we deserve. And I guess I thought I didn’t need much from this world.”
The whole song is about the consequences of falling in love with a broken part of yourself.
It’s a familiar sentiment.
As I was outlining and listening to this song, it got me to thinking about the difference in the kinds of things I’m putting in this story versus the stuff I typically put in stories.
I joke around sometimes with my friends that if your only knowledge of me is from having read the stories I’ve published, you would never guess those stories came out of me.
When I was starting out writing, the strongest emotions I was having at the time were all negative. Depression. Hopelessness. Despair. So I wrote a lot about sad people.
After a few years of not selling stories, I started writing about people who were angry as well as sad. I’ve never really been an angry person, but there’s not much drama in sadness by itself. Despair is a pit that saps the motivation to act, so my stories would be full of angst, but nothing much would happen. Adding in anger allowed my characters to do things. Adding in the anger is what helped me to finally start selling stories.
But if you meet me, I’m never outwardly angry or sad. I only share my best parts when I’m interacting with folks outside of my close friend group and therapist’s office.
Earlier this year, I started wondering why the hell, then, am I always only writing about the broken bits? It took the better part of this year working on a few different short stories to slowly pull myself out of the habit.
I’m not mad about how long it took me to have that epiphany. I don’t think I would have been capable of it before now. I’ve been struggling with existential questions about how I wanted myself and my life to be ever since I left grad school. It takes a long time to figure that shit out, and I’m not saying I’ve got everything figured out, but I’ve figured out enough of the big stuff that I’m finally in the headspace that I can write consistently without getting sidetracked by my depression.
So I made a conscious decision to put some of my favorite parts of myself into this book alongside the broken bits (everybody’s got broken bits). And once I finished the rest of the outline, I have to say, it finally feels like it might be the book it always deserved to be.