The story I write always begins with having the experience first.
After living in Madrid for a year, I grew obsessed thinking that every new experience would then become a short story or novel.
Ten years later, I found myself still toiling on the the same scenes from the past.
Now I've given up The Novel of Life. One, because it was toil.
And two, because my experiences in Madrid are too far removed from where I am now. I pored over the Spain material until I could no longer see the important connections.
It was a romantic fiction based on my life in Spain, which I painstakingly tried to evoke the mood, characters, and conflicts. But time has flown beyond these adolescent insecurities, and delivered me into a place with greater contradiction, more openness, and less answers.
There are few rules here, but the rules I go by are based on the sheer daily practice of examining my thoughts through writing. I know them by instinct.
What's painfully clear to me is that I stopped believing in the Spain stories, and that's why I stopped writing them.
But I knew I could write. And so I dedicated myself to writing other kinds of stories (whether they were essays, articles, reviews, or meditations, I don't think it matters).
But I could believe in these stories. They reflected my innocence about the world, and provided me with an enormous amount of energy and interest in what I was doing.
So I scrapped my novel with few reservations. A great freedom came out of this decision, and I feel I am embarking on new territory.
I've mentioned before in On Blogging and Technology for Writers that a conventional blog can be a profoundly creative outlet for a writer. Anyone who has been blogging long enough will attest to the discipline built into the practice. This discipline builds on the dynamic between readers and writers on the web. And soon, you'll find the motivation to create a community around your words.
I call this blog a chronicle because it chronicles my life in written form. The way I write, the things I believe, my passions, my failures, inevitably seep through the text of these digital pages. But none of it will hold a set pattern, a formula, if you will.
The only pattern of this blog is Time and what Time does to me. My language, the topics I choose, and how I present myself to the reader, will arise out of Time.
The best way to tell a story is to find a comfortable place, like a sofa, with lots of light in the room. It's always nice to have a friend next to you, and that's how I imagine my reader.