Day 7 of #1000wordsofsummer 2022
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Today you will write 1000 words. Because it’s about you, this is all about you, and you are motivated and ready to do this for yourself. This is you, rolling up your sleeves, sitting up straight, cracking your knuckles, and getting down to business. This is you, showing up for the work, the writing, the words. You have a complete sense of ownership of your ideas and dreams and feelings and they are all heading in one direction. The page.
By the way I say all these things and I absolutely mean them but also I should acknowledge we’ve been doing this for a week at this point and I know: it’s hard. But still, I believe you, we, all of us can do this. You’re here for a reason. So don’t stop. You got this.
Our guest contributor today is Chris Gonzales, who wrote the one of my favorite debuts in recent memory, I’m Not Hungry but I Could Eat, which destroyed me in the best possible ways. His stories were messy and sad but funny and full of hope and heart and just absolutely my favorite kind of fiction to read. He is also great on twitter. His charitable donation is going to Black & Pink.
Here’s Chris on why he writes fiction:
“Of all the questions I get asked about my writing, two are the most common: How much of it actually happened? and How did you start writing fiction?
To which I usually respond:
1) All of it’s true; none of it happened.
2) I am a failed essayist.
Lately, I’m not excited about documenting the narrative reality of my own life. It’s all fairly mundane. I wake up most mornings groggy and irate about the world, tend to my 9-5 job out of obligation and financial need, and then, if I’m lucky, I might spend time with friends, drinking, laughing, sometimes crying. Mostly, though, deep pockets of my day are devoted to swapping Tweets and TikToks or bonding over little heartbreaks in bubbled chat boxes. Wash, rinse, pop a melatonin, and repeat.
When I write, I’m searching for meaning in all this bland, everydayness. This fog of same same, dear God it’s all the same.
I choose fiction because with it I am able to crack the mundane wide open beneath a microscope. I can study its pulsing threads, the connective tissue between seemingly isolated events that have occurred across my life. They are the thorny bits that stick to the back of my brain or lodge themselves painfully in the fibers of my heart. I tweeze them out and begin the process of fabrication, expanding upon fact-checkable truths. I smudge and blur; I obfuscate. I create pathways for my characters where in real life I only remember a dead-end. I step into the space of what-ifs and what-might-have-beens, navigating alleyways I’d never dare go down but now find myself braver, bolder. I confront past heartaches and loneliness and longings and despairs to find joy. Real joy.
I suppose I’m saying that writing gives me a second chance to live unfettered by insecurity or self-doubt. To do away with years of regret. To manage an anxious brain that never stops rattling. It’s not about catharsis or suppression; it’s about embracing all the mucky parts of myself, holding myself steady when the world feels anything but.
Writing keeps me going.”
You are reading Craft Talk, the home of #1000wordsofsummer and also a weekly newsletter about writing from Jami Attenberg. I’m also on twitter and instagram.
Not familiar with Chris but love love his sentiments here on why fiction! Thx Jami