I can’t write happy stories anymore.
Just recently, I’ve been thinking about my progress as a writer, looking back through all my older works and I’ve realized…there’s a stark difference between my mentality back then and my mentality now.
Flash fiction pieces and short stories written in high school all carry a certain element in them that many of works today lack. The voices of my characters have changed their tone and they’ve begun to sing a different song that my old characters can no longer resonate with. Sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint the root of such differences but I can at least trace them back to one feeling. Hope.
My stories are always chock full of conflict. But in high school and my first year of college, they all ended with the idea that the character was going to succeed. They were going to finally get the girl or overcome that internal battle they’d been plagued with for years. Fast forward to today and the only thing you will be left with from reading my stories is dread. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like everybody dies at the end or the world collapses into the sun. It’s more like…a character reaches an obstacle that they can only surpass if an impossible miracle suddenly drops out of the sky.
Possible…but, not likely.
And though they be beautiful pieces of heart-wrenching content, I’d maybe not suggest it to someone looking for reasons to live.
But why the change? Where did the hope go? My guess is that it’s hard to write hope when everywhere you look, you see none. Every thought I seem to have these days is consumed with longing but no way to satisfy it. These past couple of years, I have dealt with so many challenges and it is easy to see those feelings reflected in my art. More and more I’m realizing how art actually works. How it comes from a place inside the soul that knows what you feel before the mind does. And I’m realizing more and more that art really is a reflection of a person’s heart if you know where to look.
At this time in my life, my heart seems to be looking for hope. And so too are my stories and characters. Someday we’ll both find it…hopefully.