Works in Progress
A conjuring of words
I’ve developed my storytelling and writing quite a bit since I was a child, but the essence of creativity remains as a major influence on my work.
Works in Progress W.I.P.
Any manuscript that is unfinished, technically is a W.I.P.
Clients raise their eyebrows when I use the term, whether they are working on a 200 page novel or memoir, or a three page story about childhood.
Two major projects have that label, both are novels or what they are also referred to as, fiction. These are stories that take up much of my headspace: one in rough draft form (an unfinished saga of migration from an unusual perspective). And the other, in a final rewrite after solving an issue that allowed me to go deep into the psyche of characters based on my parents that are truly fictious. In 2008, a major life shift happened when my daughter wanted to find her father who had been gone for 9 years. I wrote a rough draft in what I will call real time, and that W.I.P. waits for my creativity, maturity, and courage to revisit a harrowing time in my life. Many stories I’ve written have a stamp of doneness on them that I will call Completed Works. Some of them have been published, many are waiting the right time, the right circumstance, or the right call for something related to the topic I have written about, and those are W.I.P.s. To label work as in progress give a writer (at least this one) hope that completion will bring some satisfaction.
I stole the money for my dance lessons, piano lessons, and bought markers, paper, a bag of Frito’s and a Coke. I told my dance instructor, piano teacher that my mother hadn’t given me the money to pay. To my mother I said nothing. Stories were easy then, spawn from the lies I told bill collectors on the phone, my mother breathless behind me as I spoke, “Tell him I’m not here.” She whispered.
What is fiction if not manufactured story, something untrue, but with bits of truth. Even Memoir is not the entire truth. It’s what we, as individuals tell ourselves. Essays, short stories, these also have veins of reality laced into perception. So then, what is a story smith? We are the people who put fact and fiction together, memory and hard evidence, to get to a deeper truth. Scene creation, dialogue, setting, conflict, voice and point of view are the creation of the story smith, a person who devises a landscape, a time, and people to populate the tale to be told. In the study of components of story, ideas flow and decisions must be made. Is this true fiction, fantasy, lyric essay, flash fiction, micro nonfiction? Only the writer, the smithy can answer that to his or her satisfaction. I am one such professional, a person who crafts a story to come off the page into the mind and heart of others. If it weren’t for story and photographs, I’d have no image of my father who died 4 months before I was born. I wouldn’t have been able to convince my dance teacher that my mother had indeed forgotten to send money.
Publications I’ve been honored to have my work in include:
- Kentucky Monthly Magazine
- Awfully Hilarious anthology, Coming soon.
- Kentucky Heritage Council, National Historic Register nomination
- NPR: Songs of Remembrance
- Humans of the World
- Heroine Urban Chic
- Dayton KY Community Press Column
- Red Sunflower Farm, Community Supported Agriculture Blog/Newsletter Column
I will admit that I don’t have a good disciplined approach to submitting my shorter works. It’s a cautionary tale of not being good enough. You see, I don’t like being rejected. But in terms of literary work, some rejections mean only a few things: the work doesn’t suit the publication, it isn’t what the editors are looking for to fill a specific spot, but it is rarely that the writing isn’t good enough. In recent times, my work has been rejected with personal notes to send more. Other times, I’ve been accepted so easily that I wonder why I don’t put out more submissions.