I’ve been known more—in terms of writing—as a poet, or a writer of creative non-fiction, usually shorter stories.
This being said, I’ve completed some polished fictional pieces, and I’ll tell you why this is so significant to me.
When I was young, I experienced significant traumas. Without going into detail, what resulted for me was the development of a hypervigilant present awareness, centered around my body and immediate surroundings, as well as fear/catastrophe-based futuristic projection.
The result of this, I believe, was the loss of space for imagination, especially playful imagination. I’ve lamented the manifestations of this for a long time—it’s hard to just drop in and play with the kids, it’s hard to be playful with myself, as examples.
In terms of writing, this has shown itself in the form of difficulty imagining other worlds, developing fictional characters, losing myself and projecting myself into creative impulse. It’s as if at some point I simply capitulated and said, “oh well, fiction just isn’t for me”.
Conversely, that hypervigilance and acute awareness of detail of my own experience (especially the somatic and how it relates the emotional/mental/spiritual), has been as incredible asset in my poetry, for example. It also makes me penetratively observant of my surroundings, which is great for non-fiction, for memoir, etc. Hence, my flourishing more easily in those areas—they’re sites in which innate talent doesn’t take as much discipline to develop.
Fiction has been a different story (excuse the pun). Fiction had been fraught with frustration, blockage, but most of all, grief. These are reasons I’ve been so hesitant to engage with it, and they’re reasons I absolutely need to engage with it. Now I do. And it is pleasurable and liberating!
Writing fiction has become play, not work. Writing it—whether historical or speculative—is being open, being a portal, and allowing the characters to speak for themselves, through me. It is a deeply spiritual experience.
And, it is a reclamation.
A reclamation of the capacity for imagination that I thought I had lost by way of the things that had happened to me in my life. And I’m so grateful.
Grateful to share this joy and this transmutation of trauma with you.
Enjoy some historical or speculative fiction below.