When Ray Bradbury died, I decided to spend a year with his book Zen and the art of writing. A part of that, for me, meant that I would write one short story a week like he suggests. I knew these stories would be personal. I would have to dig deep to find something to write about every week. This week was all too easy.
My dog died on Monday. I've never been much of a dog person. He originally belonged to my mother. When he was diagnosed with epilepsy, I adopted him so that I could make sure that he got his medicine on schedule.
I have a lot of pets in my life. I've had numerous dogs, cats, fish, hermit crabs, and hamsters… But he was different. He was special. I think because he had spells every now and then, and that I would hold him while his poor little body shook, and listen to him cry, as I work to get the medicine in him the doctor recommended, I became more protective of him than any other pet I ever had.
His last couple days were really hard. He started having seizures on Thursday night, and at first, nothing was different. But this time they just didn't stop. The vet told us to keep giving him the medicine, until he got back to normal. Eventually Thursday night, the seizures stopped, and he fell asleep. I won't go into detail about everything that happened those last few days. I will say that I have rarely ever felt that helpless in my life.
So this week when it was time to write a story, I use that as the inspiration. I wrote a story in my new setting about the character losing a beloved pet. Since it's me, it of course became a little bit more complicated. Now, I sincerely don't know what to do with it.
I don't know how long it'll be before I can even edit the story. It is so personal, that I feel like I would be publishing pages from a secret diary if I put it out somewhere. Maybe that's a good thing. Maybe that means I wrote something so honest that if I shared it with the world, the world would see a piece, a part of my soul.
I know that sounds flighty, even airy fairy, but one of the things I've been wanting to do more and more, is find a way to make my fiction more honest.
Fiction is the arts of the well-crafted lie. The more honest that lie, the more likely a reader will be able to believe it long enough to enjoy the story. I don't find a lot of honesty in fantasy books. I don't find a lots of honesty in science fiction. And why should we? These are the genre of the imagination. But if that imagination isn't rooted in something so true you can feel it in your bones, then why should anyone bother to read, to love it, or let it infiltrate their dreams?
I suppose, that is the quest I am currently on. I am trying to find the meeting place between my imagination and my truth. There has to be a bridge somewhere that will allow me to bring these two things together in a pure and honest way. I feel like I did that with The Chain, and I know I did that with my new short. Once, I grow the courage to not only tell these stories, but to share them and live them, I will at least have done something meaningful with my life.
I wish you all luck on finding something that gives you as much meaning and purpose as my writing gives me. I would love to know what that is for you. Why don't you leave your purpose or what you find meaning in within the comments below. Thank you ahead of time for your continued inspiration.