Friday, March 2, 2018

Reading Old Stories

While my laptop was off to Texas for a new hard drive I spent a few days reading Dark Tales by Shirley Jackson, a Penguin Classic paperback. She was the queen of delving into the cracks in our psyches and prying loose the nightmares lying deep within them. It reminded me that some of my early writing was heavily influenced by Shirley.

Two nights ago I had to go dig out binder #9 (from a sixteen binder collection of my early work in a cabinet in the den) so I could read the typewriter written copy since the story does not exist on any computer at this time. It's a dark little psychological story about a young wife's disillusionment with her marriage. Her husband already takes her for granted and never notices any changes she makes to her appearance. Then one fateful day they wind up eating at the same diner, she alone at the counter, and he with another woman in a booth. It's quite possible from the look of things that he's having an affair and that opens the cracks in the young wife's psyche and she does something truly awful.

Another story from the 90's is about the fracture in an Irish couple's marriage. The wife runs off with another man, leaving behind two young son's and a husband who is struggling with anger, disbelief that she would do such a thing, and depression. His older sister comes to help take care of the little boys who show their anxiety over the departure of their mother by becoming fearful of fairies and pookahs and such. The wayward wife and mother, meanwhile, has become disillusioned by the man who had promised her a more exciting life- he's not exactly all she thought he was, and she's thinking about going back, but afraid of how she'll be received, therefore she delays leaving her lover. Tragedy, of course, strikes.

In another story a police detective is involved with his chief's under-aged daughter. He knows it's wrong but he can't stay away from her and she's maddeningly nonchalant about his feelings for her, and then makes the mistake of telling him she has the power to destroy his career when she becomes angry with him- and he kills her. And even though he is meticulous about removing evidence from the motel room, he inadvertently leaves one damning piece of evidence behind on the bathroom sink.

I wrote a lot of darker stories back in the 90's, and I suppose, even back in high school I was entertaining myself with these kind of stories. But, like Shirley Jackson, I have a humorous side. I also have a romantic side.

And then there are the children's stories I wrote for Kelly when she was growing up. I haven't even looked at them recently!

When I go back and read older material I sometimes can't even remember writing it. I have grown and changed over the years. Sometimes the older stories and prose pieces are more lyrical then what I write these days. Hard to believe I wrote poetry, a lot of it, from ages 12 through my early 30's...but  really don't even know where all of it is anymore.

For someone who less than ten years ago didn't think she could write a novel...I've proven myself wrong a number of times! Which reminds me, I have several novels on the dining room table again...patiently waiting for me to pay some attention to them again. Soon...

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