Happy New Year! Tough year, but you made it! I'm happy for you.
Quick question: Are fictional stories really based on invented facts, or are they stories which the real characters do not, for whatever reason(s), attest to as real after ‘The End’ had been written?
Well, ‘fun’ fact about me: I am a writer who does not believe in fiction. But isn’t that why they’re called fiction? Because they are ‘unbelievable’?
I look at life as a compilation of stories. Your story. My story. Their story. Our story. And so on. A yet to be printed compilation.
And, finding the courage to own your story while it is “still in progress”, is so underrated. I know how it feels like to have someone read your initial, rough and unpolished story; you’d wish to leave this planet to go and live in the outer dark void as a fragment of it, to not be found or seen for so long as the memory of that draft will last.
But, unless you were born a Nobel Laureate, having your story constantly reviewed is a sure way to improve it (I’m pretty sure Professor Wole Soyinka does this, too). It also provides new perspectives that you may have overlooked, and helps to build a broader and far more impacting story. And that is why, in writing, until a work is finally put in print, it’s still a Work in Progress (WIP). Sometimes stories, even after they might have been printed, are revised and reprinted.
Side news: my editors say there’s nothing shameful about having a WIP.
Now this: aren’t we humans but stories, conglomerates of letters and punctuation, building up to a full stop? Our lives are punctuated by highs and lows, good and not-so-good times, and a full stop. Just like stories.
Some of us may end up as only a word, or, if we’re lucky, a line, or a paragraph. Still, others in this same book of stories will be fortunate enough to be several chapters of long paragraphs. This is by default or divine design.
Good news: the old year, only, has ended; not your story. You're still a WIP. And hey! there is nothing to be ashamed of in being a WIP.
Isn’t ’t it true also, that words do not spell when and where they will hit their full stop? So also, rarely, if at all, can one foretell the hour of his cessation of breath. When your breath ceases, that’s it; that’s your full story, no matter the length or quality of the letters.
And so, if we must end as a word, why shouldn’t it be a watchword; if a phrase, why not a catchphrase; if a line, why not a punch line; and if a paragraph, why not be one marked for a second, third, fourth and an all-time read?
If we’re extremely lucky the words in our story will echo even far beyond the full stop.
It’s the start of a new year; another opportunity to review your story, if you hadn’t already - for a far more impacting one. Make those resolutions (ignore the people who say they don’t work) and stand by them; set those goals and go on to smash them; and find that one thing that you love the most and let it “drive you crazy and kill you”. Just keep up and reviewing your story.
I wish you a great 2021 and beyond. Happy New Year, and Happy Becoming!