There was a meme going around, as they do, and Mercedes tagged me to reveal 13 things about myself few people know. So…
1. I rarely write love poetry because Octavio Paz did it so well. His work is sparse, yet passionate and rich. He says immense things in a simple way, decorated by lushness. Eroticism mixes with tenderness, longing straddles love and lies next to emptiness… Paz is a huge influence on my own prose, and I’d be thrilled if I wrote paragraphs or sentences that affected readers the same way he affects me.
2. When I read work I enjoy, with a strong voice, I tend to steal it for a little bit. The next thing I write will be flavored by what I just read. I know it happens and yet it’s involuntary; I haven’t been able to stop myself. (I blame my previous career as an art forger.) I plan for this by starting a new story each time I feel especially influenced by another writer, so that I can scribble out 500 words or so to shake this other voice from my system. I don’t even save those stories. Just write, exorcise, and delete.
3. I write a lot more than I publish because once I’ve worked out all the details of a story, I’ve told it to myself. Then, I know it, and don’t really want to hear it again. The problem is, that usually happens before I’ve finished writing it down. The biggest killer of my career is that if I don’t completely draft a story before I get bored of it, I usually won’t. I can write a couple of thousand words in a weekend when I have nothing else to do, and used to be able to get a short story roughed out that way, all caffeinated and focused, but since I never have two days of purely free time anymore, a story gets spread out over weeks or months… I walk away and don’t look back.
The difference between me being a writer and my being a published/read/respected/famous writer will be whether I can break myself of this habit. Continue reading