A lot has happened in the world
of Shadeauxs since I last sat down to write something for this column.
I'd be dishonest if I said they were all good things, but then, what would
I judge the good against without the bad? If nothing else, life gives
one reason to pause and think, to put things into perspectives that wouldn't
occur to anyone in a world where everything just worked.
I recently finished a short piece for a project my friend Brian Hopkins
is working on with Garret Peck, Personal Demons. The piece was short,
and very personal. I titled it, simply, The Embarrass, which is the
name of a river in southern Illinois. When I was finished writing
this, and re-reading it, I began to see that my own writing is falling
into a trend I have sought to avoid. This piece broke that mold,
and that is how I caught the trend.
The advice I am always giving newer writers is that you have to let
go. You can make a small career out of writing "neat stories" and
you can follow the trends of themed anthologies and forumlaic fiction quite
a ways down the road to success, but at some point you have to stop.
You have to look at what it is you want to do with your writing, at the
talent given you, and choose a path. My own path has been full of
things I now see as either "learning experiences," or flat out detours.
The work I did for Personal Demons is exactly what it sounds like it
would be. A personal slice of my own life, my thoughts, my mind at
work against the tension and conflict of the world I live in. It
is myself, in words, painted roughly, I'm certain, but painted in a way
that is true to my "voice."
I can write to a themed anthology like nobody's business...