What if the Story has Bad Breath?


Many people see the writing process as a moment of genius.

In his study, the writer sits and sips his brandy.

He leans back with new ipad and lets the keys fly.

From “Chapter One” to “The End”, wit and art combine into the perfect piece of fiction.


The expectations behind this piece of fiction are real. They can suffocate any story before its first breath. The goal here is to free the story’s essence; to let it breathe and grow.

But what if the it has bad breath?

No one likes to stink (or read words that reek of cliches and mixed metaphors.)  Even as I write these words, I sniff my keyboard.  It’s a personal moment where I relive playground embarrassments.  Little Susie Snot-nose with her mob could surround me and kick my words into the mud and steal our lunch money.”    That feels  pathetic.  Even so, I still hold my imagination with a tight grip.  Silence feels safe, but the true danger is the silence.   This threat has no scent as it seeps in through the vent of our days and sucks the life out of our art.  We tell ourselves that we have no time or that one day will come.  Yes one day does come but it surfaces with regret unless we let go of the imagination, let it fly and ignore the bullies in our minds. So why do I clamp my thoughts when I really need to let them go?

Ask Nutmeg, my Husky-German Shepard mix.  She is living proof that fear has no logic She would say this because at the moment fear consumers her.  During fourth of July every Alaskan must make some noise (or risk loosing state residency), thus our neighborhood pops and crackles with patriotism.  Nutmeg hears the celebrations as bombs.  With all of her seventy pounds, she decides my lap is the only safe place in the house.  Is this logical?  No my lap is not a bomb shelter, yet this does not stop her from trying it anyway.    I am not that different from Nutmeg.  I have tried to squeeze perfection out of my imagination, but that is not where to find it.  I am flawed and so is my creative self.  A polished story comes from a step by step process.

So with this post (and many more) I will unhinge my hands off of my word.

(I reserve the right to whine about my worries)

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