I’ve heard someone say before that no matter how hard you try to keep yourself out of your fiction writing, you will always inevitably leave small bread crumbs of who you are throughout. A simple thought a character has that you SO would have, an activity a group of friends does in the story that you love or have always wanted to do, details you find important but that maybe readers would never have thought to think of. These tidbits of myself that show up in my fiction are at times such a sweet surprise, while others make me pause and I wonder if I should take it out for fear of being “too seen.”
There are deeper darker parts of all of us we don’t have on display in the front window, but damn if some of those parts of us aren’t pure beauty and the world would benefit to see more of it.
Which leads me to writing vignettes… vignette means: a brief evocative description, account, or episode. And I’ve been writing lots of these, specifically about me during the ages of 16-18. It’s an age-range where I had some of my worst moments but also some of my best when I came into my own skin. The process of writing these, reliving some of the hardest experiences I’ve faced is emotionally exhausting as well as liberating. It’s a theraputic process and one I think most anyone could benefit from doing.
While I’m waiting for feedback from beta readers for my novel Late Bloomer, it has been really good for me to write something so completely different. I hope to turn these vignettes into a full collection to put out into the world. The idea of being so vulnerable and open about the dark moments of my life (in the not too distant past) wouldn’t even have been a real thought in my mind, but one of the driving forces behind my personality is authenticity and what better way to be so fully authentic?
With age, the idea of being vulnerable can make warning sirens go off in a lot of our heads. The past has proven people hurt me, use the information against me, ignore me! No, no. Better to gaurd myself from any of the pain that comes with vulnerability. Sure, these things are true, but I also find it so exhausting hiding from the parts of me that make me, well, me. If anything, we should learn to let the misspoken, hurtful, thoughtless words roll off our backs more easily, but not compromise to be our true authentic selves.
I hope you can take one step, tell or write even one story down you might normally shy away from and feel liberated when you do so.