Last night I got caught up reading a New Yorker short story before bed. It caused me to think briefly, while brushing my teeth, about why I don’t seem to be inclined to write fiction. I wondered if I’m afraid of it. It feels huge and god-like, full of overwhelming choice. I think writing, like all art, seeks truth in different forms. Truth–meaning that a piece of writing captures an experience, an emotion, a presence, in a way that resonates with its reader.
And right now I feel most comfortable with the microcosmic construction of truth in poetry. Or the (somewhat) more objective truth-seeking of journalism. Or the (hopefully) educated truth-telling of criticism–where I tell you my experience of a performance, and I draw conclusions about its effectiveness at truth-telling based on my understanding of its form, intention and execution.
Fiction feels like the uber-truth, a substantial construction from your experience but not of it. And how could I possibly choose among all possible paths through a story? How could I feel comfortable wielding such ultimate authority over characters and their actions?
I’m not ready for it, but sometimes I see it glimmer down there, fish in a shaded pool.

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