Somewhere along the way — maybe amidst some very heartfelt responses to stories like The Fish of the Desert and Cat Fisher — I found my standards being raised.
There are a few stories on this site that maybe don’t live up to what I want to do but for the most part everything I post needs to answer a very simple question: “Why am I writing this?”
I wrote Kristi’s Mom because I wanted to tell the fullest possible story. It’s not “deep” but it’s certainly not shallow. I wrote Partsexchange because I wanted to do a gender-related story that had nothing to do with the outside world. I wrote The Princess Awakening because I was and am fascinated by reincarnation and wanted to do something with that (even if sales indicate that nobody else is quite as enamored of it.) I wrote A Holiday Wish because I had deliberately held off on writing a story about pregnancy until I felt it was time. I wrote most of my short stories because I felt they would challenge or tweak something that needed to be examined, either in myself as a writer or in my readers.
But sometimes I just want to write something to have fun.
At the beginning, I really thought it was going to be a lot more simple: just write silly stories about people changing genders and make sure they’re good. Then I wrote one or two things that I felt were great, and suddenly I felt like everything I wrote had to be “great.” (Trust me, I am well aware it’s not all great!)
Don’t get me wrong, I want everything I write to be good, but that doesn’t always mean it has to be ambitious, and I’ve lost sight of that a little bit. Sometimes you can just write a fun sexy story that will appeal to people on a basic level, and as long as it doesn’t turn them off, it works. At least that’s my hope. I often write in this mode when I do captions, which give people that quick thrill, but turning that perspective on an entire story or novella can be hard, harder than it should be for me. I worry that attaching my name to something a little more basic will somehow ruin what I’ve built, but if I’m honest with myself, I don’t think people will mind.
I have a lot of stories in various stages of development right now. Some of them are clever, some of them aren’t quite “there yet” and some of them are aforementioned dumb fun.
What I’m looking to do in 2023 is to give myself a break, to get back to square one and try to have fun with my writing and not worry so much about hitting the heights I have before. If it happens it happens but I also want to give myself permission to aim a little lower. I don’t want to have to hide, or obscure the fact that I was the one who wrote something just because it isn’t as brilliant (in my opinion) as Steven: A Love Story or I Changed Sexes With My Wife or The Writer’s Dilemma. There will be stories of that nature in my future, but if that is all I ever concentrate on doing they will be few and far between as I tear my hair out trying to top myself.
You’ll hear more about what I’m up to right now soon. I hope that whatever I do in 2023, you follow with interest.
Thanks so much for your time and remember to be kind!