A Hard Story to Write

I’m not sure how much of this blog entry is going to make sense, so I apologize for that up front.

Ever since I was a kid and first expressed my interest in becoming a writer, I heard over and over again that the best stories are the ones that come from inside of you. To me, that’s always meant that you take parts of your real life and use them to craft a more fantastical story so that no matter how far out the story gets, it has an anchor in reality.

I don’t know if I think that anymore. I just finished the final edits on a new short story, All the Stars in the Sky. This story was different than all the others that I’ve ever written. This one actually hurt to write.

My wife and I have four children, two teenagers and two young ones. Abby is five now, but when she was born she gave us quite a scare. She was born premature, so much so that she spent the first month of her life in the NICU. She was very tiny, and there was the very real possibility that we could lose her.

The absolute worst moment of my life was when she was born and there was no crying. That was followed by the best moment when she eventually yelled out after the doctor and nurse worked with her for a few minutes.

Things ended up working out, of course. She’s now a wild and intelligent child that can melt your heart and infuriate every bone in your body in equal measure.

The thing is, I don’t think that I ever really processed those feelings of fear and helplessness from her early days. There just wasn’t time. I had to keep working during the week to support my family, and between that and driving back and forth to see Abby in the hospital I was in a perpetual state of exhaustion. Then she came home and there wasn’t time to sleep, let alone think.

All those forgotten feelings came bursting up while I was writing All the Stars in the Sky. It isn’t a similar story to the real life experience, but there was something about it that unearthed everything from inside of me. Even now as I’m sitting at my desk I feel emotionally and physically drained. I’ve never written from this deep within before.

I’m not going to spoil it so I’m going to be vague here, but I think that’s why I put two returning characters in it that I didn’t originally intend to. I needed some old friends to take the journey with me.

I’ll be releasing All the Stars in the Sky soon. I think it’s one of the better pieces that I’ve ever written. I also think that, for me, it’s one of the most important. Hopefully the people who read it enjoy it, but even if they don’t, I’m glad to have written it.

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