Early Thoughts on a Saturday Morning

by Joni Abilene

I’ve been writing for some time now, but held off on the whole submission process until this summer. It’s very easy to get caught up looking through market listings. My main goal as a writer, this last year, was to tighten my prose. I’m almost obsessed with it. It happened when I read a particular book of short stories last summer, and the prose was so achingly tight that it blew my mind. There are many writers out there who can spew beautiful, winding, layered prose like fragments of light through a million crystal reflections. I ain’t one of those. Someone once told me I have a mastery of flow, though, and that they wanted to chop my fingers off. Haha, that’s Adrian.

With Sheet Talkers, I was trying to start vulgar and end with hope. I wanted a conversation between two lovers, a little bit absurd at times, but the message was that the woman would defy all standards of relationships and say things, create images, that were a bit disturbing, and yet give a sense of freedom. The other day I had a thought that a story should have at least one cringe moment, to open the fettered subconscious of a reader. That’s probably putting too much thought into the process, but you get my point. Everyone speaks of a story having a moment of epiphany, I just think that a cringe moment is the same thing, but it relates to the reader more. Or maybe it’s just my own strangled way of thinking. If you think about it, you’re leading a character through a story, leading them to that epiphany, and the reader is following along, then you throw in some image or statement that shoots them off the track and they hate you, they hate you the writer. But after the shock wears off, they are no longer the same human they were two seconds ago because you reached in and shook them up a little.

This is way too much thinking, and I don’t mean half of what I say. I just like to write. I don’t actually think about it this much.