This is an open letter to all of you who think that I should finish my fathers second novel, Adventures In The Afterlife.
The last time I wrote fiction was when I was in 9th grade. I was given an assignment to write a 20-page short story which was fictional, yet believable, and the grade would count as the final exam for the year. I used to write the kind of papers that teachers would hang up on their wall, and the fictional short story I wrote was no different.
At the time, I wrote a fictional tale of two wannabe outlaws who were high school delinquents whose harmless pranks against the general public quickly spiraled out of control and became dangerous, eventually leading up to a multi-state investigation by local police and the FBI. Today in our post 9/11 world such a story, although fictional and created with my own wandering imagination, would likely have gotten me banned from high school altogether as it might have been construed as a threat of some sort.
For what it’s worth, the story lacked a lot of dialogue. Instead of the characters speaking to one another, or anyone else, they simply relied upon the unknown narrator. The story started off with high school mischief then later progressed into all-out crime, destruction of property, and vandalism over the course of just a few pages. The story itself made up for lack of any dialogue with heaps of seemingly insignificant details such as the color of the peeling paint on the outside of an old wooden shed, for example.
In many respects, I am glad that the story got lost in the ages, never to surface ever again; if I had but one printed copy, I’d likely destroy it because it was a complete and total failure in my eyes. Not even close to my best work, or any work thereof that I would even take credit for. The truth is that I wrote fiction not because I wanted to, or felt the need or desire to. Instead, I wrote fiction because I absolutely needed to, which in my opinion is a very stupid way to find inspiration to sit down and write something. Inspiration to create meaningful work needs to come from passion and desire, not simply as a response to satisfy demand.
Over the years, my writing has evolved first from fictional works in middle school, to poetry in high school, then to research and journalism in college. The poetry I wrote in high school in and of itself received very mixed reviews, yet the feedback and the evolution of my writing led me to my very own style which is now focused upon nonfiction with a tiny hint of journalism.
I haven’t written fiction since middle school, and for good reason. I don’t think I will be writing any fictional stories anytime soon. To do so would be crossing the very genre of the writing I have worked so hard to develop. There are a select few writers who are able to cross into a different genre of writing, but very few are ever truly successful at doing so. It’s hard enough trying to become a successful writer, let alone take on a totally different writing style altogether.
I would much rather write about true accounts of the human condition through my own personal experiences in life than to try to take those same experiences and come up with an entirely different story line along with characters of my own creation. It’s not that it’s too much work to write works of fiction; writing itself can be very difficult, and most often it is a labor of love. For me, it’s just something I do, and if I had never found love within my lifetime, I think that I very well may have devoted my life to writing.
I just would not write fiction. It’s just not my style.