Weather and Neck Beards

I have recently assembled a chapbook, a collection of my flash fiction pieces for potential publishing opportunities, and for grad school applications. This also means that I have recently gone through much of, if not all of, my fictional work from the last three years. Reflection is always fun, especially if you’re looking back on angst-filled teenage writer years, which is my favorite and most humiliating type of reflection. This was quite different, because while my writing has certainly developed and grown over the last few years, my style has become more consistent.

This arduous task gave me an unprecedented glance at what I write, and I learned some interesting things about myself through the content I choose to describe. Here are some of my findings:

– I love the weather. Apparently. I write about it constantly, about temperature and the qualities of autumn. I write about the way damp ground sounds and feels, and the clothes people wear when it’s cold, the drinks consumed when it’s hot.

– Change fascinates me. That sounds overdone and very, “you and everyone else,” and it is. But change, that is to say, the difference between summer and fall (damn that weather), the difference between taking the bus and when your parents would pick you up from school. The difference between the beginning of college and the end, the beginning of friendship and the end, the beginning of life and the end. Subtle changes and the observations that coexist with them.

– The statement, either exactly or in variations, “And she said it just like that.” I have written a similar sentence in probably five different pieces over the last couple years. Who knew? Taking this observation I was originally naive to, and transforming it into information about myself as a writer, I would say that I am very interested in the way memory works. That is, what we remember, and when we remember things perfectly, and perhaps why.

– On more than two occasions, I have written about neck beards. This really just speaks for itself.

It’s always exciting to discover what gets us going as writers, and if nothing else other than a brutal, exhaustive beat-down, grad school applications have granted me this.

-JP

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