Personal Life, Writing

Getting Dizzy

Weee! I just finished the first draft of the “ghost dog” story. It’s definitely rough, so it’s going to take a bit of polishing to finish it into something publishable, but it’s done! So, two new first drafts finished this month, right on target.

While I’m celebrating, I’m also feeling a bit uneasy. I mean, how cold-hearted can I be, using my dog’s death as the locus of a short story?

But, “it’s all grist for the mill” goes the saying. All experiences, good and bad, will form me, and my fiction.

But is nothing sacred?

But…the story isn’t really about me, or my dog. I just tapped into that pain to feed the story. Emotional vampirism– ugh. It even sounds ugly.

So, from this head-spinning bit of thought, you can see how I’ve been whipped about. Part of me thinks I’ve done nothing unusual, and part of me is appalled. This started right away, as I thought the story out. In the end, I wrote the story. And I’ll edit it. If it comes up to snuff, I’ll send it out.

Stories are about emotional connections between writer and reader. Love and loss are universal, and I’ve felt lots of these lately, so these are the emotions banging on my skull, trying to get out. They are not unique to me, nor is the loss of an animal companion. And in the end, the story isn’t about me and my dog, not at all (no, I don’t see her ghost). It’s about making sense of the world. The story came to me, making a deep connection of emotion and sense. I think that if it can connect to another, making sense for someone else, then the story is successful.

What do you think?

2 thoughts on “Getting Dizzy”

  1. My story in Strange Horizons was about a (still living!) friend’s cancer. I think of it as honoring someone you love, not opportunism. A few times the douchebag in the back of my head asked me if I was sure, but I remembered what it felt like to write the story, and it was a management of my anger and grief–not a calculating career move.

    So I’m in favor of the ghost dog story. ❤ I only wish I could have managed something like that for my last dog, but I she got a different (weirder) kind of tribute.

    1. Thanks for the support! I know it feels right to write this story, not like crass careerism (is that even a word?), but it’s nice to know others have felt — and overcome — that nasty voice at the back of the skull.

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