Backwards, Forwards

Disclaimer: Given I’m always late on my submissions, I get to peek to see what everyone else is doing during the weekly assignments. I see that many folks are looking at all of the various assignments and weighing in on the entire body of work that is Confabulator. I, however, originally thought the question posed to us was intended to focus upon only our own postings, so that’s all I originally looked at while working up my answer. As a consequence, my musings below may seem a bit egotistical. That’s not at all the case. I get at least as much enjoyment and food for thought from my fellow contributors as I get from my own efforts.

I like this assignment. It encouraged me to go back through the last year of Confabulator posts and revisit them, which allowed me to recognize how much insightful commentary and inventive fiction we’ve generated as a group during the last twelve months. It’s pretty damn impressive.

Reading through my own posts, I spotted a few standouts that made me smile when I reread them. The first, which certainly shows my contentious side, is A Matter of Definition, where I prop myself up on my soapbox and proclaim, loudly and obnoxiously, that writers need not pursue publication to call themselves writers. It turned out to be the minority opinion at Confabulator, and I understand and respect that. I still stand by my statement, and I was proud to be part of the dialog.

I also particularly liked The Scene-tific Method, my post on writing scenes in stories, and how I end up acting them out in many cases while I’m writing them. Having just finished another NaNoWriMo season, I am bemused by how often my face falls into my hands during concentration, only to fly around as I imagine myself and my characters in some far-off space.

My favorite posts are definitely my flash fiction pieces. In particular, I enjoyed writing and then rereading Little Engine, a story constrained by an opening line—”I think I got everyone.”—and an ending line—”This is better than anything.” The constraints, which may seem quite limiting, were actually very useful in formulating the story idea and shaping the story itself.

My best work this year, I think, is Gravity. That week’s flash fiction was meant to focus on dreams and cooking. I used those prompts, combined with a recent trip to Sacred Valley in Peru, to concoct a far future story of forswearing super-advanced technology for a more pure life with the spirits and the mountains. It was incredibly difficult to squeeze such a dense story into one thousand words, but the end result was very satisfying.

Overall, the Cafe has definitely encouraged me to stay involved in writing year-round, which is an enormous achievement. I want to thank everyone involved for including me, for allowing me a place to share my opinion, even when it’s the minority voice, and for sharing their own ideas and stories with me. It’s been incredibly fun and rewarding, and I look forward to more in 2013!

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