Unable to E-nun-ci-ate, and Other Story Problems

I’m at a difficult spot in the short story I’m writing: the final scene where it all comes together. The how-did-this-happen, the full circle, the change everyone says you must come to in a story, the WHY. To be honest, the story is about me, but no longer about me, it’s more personal a piece of fiction than I’ve written in a long time. This may be why I’m treading water in this scene, unable to fully articulate what it is I want to say.

It isn’t helped by the loud, drunk group two tables away. They stayed up all night and now here they are in Starbucks not yet willing to part ways to head home. They are distracting, with yelled conversations such as “You used to suck drugs?” “No, I used to sell drugs.” And the laughter. And no one will sit in a table near them, except, I suppose, for me. (I needed the outlet.)

The scene stares back at me. I don’t think I will find the way deep into it today.

I have a fellowship application to mail. I have a pile of work on my desk at work. Friends to meet for lunch, then dinner. A busy week. But I’m at the scene, the scene! How ever in the world will I be able to find the words to explain it?

In a sense, I have been writing this story since 1998. I remembered a story I brought to a grad school workshop that first spring—the story didn’t go over so well, as I remember—and I put it aside soon after and haven’t gone back to it since. But maybe this is my way of going back to it. I’m realizing that while not a single word, not even the concept, nor the character, is the same as it was then, this story has the same heart, it is trying to say the same thing.

Will I be able to finish this story this year? A single story, 25 pages, it feels like it’s taking a lifetime. I don’t even know if this version will be the one. It all depends on this one scene.

Not too much pressure, eh?


4 thoughts on “Unable to E-nun-ci-ate, and Other Story Problems

  1. LK November 27, 2006 / 4:01 pm

    I’ve worked on a story of similar length for something like two years now. Maybe we can switch and get each other’s feedback as a way to keep going.

  2. courtney November 29, 2006 / 6:43 am

    I want to invent a machine that harnesses the intense pressure writers put on themselves and turns it into something awesome. Like, the ability to write with ease in the face of pressure. Or something. I don’t know if I can get a blueprint going on that alone but oh well! I hope the scene comes together for you.

  3. scurtin2 December 1, 2006 / 4:54 pm

    Maybe your story hasn’t revealed enough in the previous scenes. You say you want the last scene to be, “The how-did-this-happen, the full circle, the change everyone says you must come to in a story, the WHY.” Perhaps, I’m just guessing, you’re out to trick the reader too much? Are you telling the story straight, or are you painting yourself into a corner and then trying to leap over all the wet paint at the end? I’m speaking from experience when I ask these questions not pretension. Anyway, good luck.

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