say it, don't spray it

I like to write short stories, I like to read them. I like how often they encapsulate big ideas in very few words and scenes. I explore things in them that I couldn't build a novel around--not because the idea isn't big enough, but because they're often ideas I'm not willing to exhume so deeply. Short stories to me are often just the top of the sarcophagus, a pretty image of what once laid inside. But they often feel like there's mold and rotting things lingering beneath the surface. So much of what is important and essential to a short story is what isn't said. That dichotomy--the delta between ideas and words--is probably the most intriguing thing to me not only as a writer, but as a human being.

We're wordsmiths--words are our tools and tackle. But when you make the leap to realizing there are things that should go unsaid, from the basics of "show don't tell" to unreliable narrators (the ultimate in NOT telling) and then moving on to just telling a story, flat out, with no mention of theme or maybe even strong realization on the part of a character, you realize great writing is like catching fish without bait. Words are the line that pulls the hook, but what's not said often draws a smart reader in. It's leaving room for a reader's experience and mindset, yes, but it's more, than that, too. It's an unclaimed statement of trust, of faith, that you will be read and understood, and that you accept however that understanding manifests within the reader.

The only thing I can liken it to is the trust we have in our children. You can give your children your ideals and guidance, but eventually, their dreams are their own.

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