About six years ago, I made a point to write on a daily basis, and with this fixation came a voice. I had one, it was obvious, honest, a bit jaded and sardonic, but it existed. I could send people a piece of fiction blindly and they would know it was mine—not by the content, but the stylized voice I had developed. But back then I was a mid-twenties, searching for purpose and meaning, lost in the cliché of my own existence type guy. Movies such as Almost Famous and Garden State captivated me (in many ways they still do). Then poof, life intruded, the dream of being a writer danced into the back of my brain, hid, and took a long time to return.
Today, as I have renewed my focus on writing and pursuing my dreams, I have been going back through my material. I want to know if there is something there worth working with, or if I should dump it and start anew. The unpublished stories are laced with the same ideas as the two movies mentioned above, the same conquests of self-discovery, the constant the dead end to said quest, and the overplayed personal melodrama such moments bring. Perhaps why they remain unpublished? At 25, working full-time, newly married, one always wondered and considered the purpose of it all. The mortgage could not be the life dream. The vacation could not be the goal. The odd moments spent walking, running, or perusing social networks, the moments where one felt alone, isolated, and unwanted, could not be what defined life. Yet, as I read the work of a man in that age group, that apparently was life.
I remember when I consulted some of college professors about the prospect of applying for an MFA in Creative Writing. They all had the same message: get out there, live life, have experiences, and then, once you are a real person start writing again. Let that person, a person who has something legitimate to both say and share, decide if they need an MFA and if they want to be a writer. Now, looking back, I find that this advice was spot on. While I like some of my old stories, they scream of the MFA story. No one wants to read them. No one wants to wander through the halls of lost existence, especially those that are lost.
Today, after nine years of a professional career, eight of marriage, and three of parenthood, life seems different. I have things to say and I am not sure I need an MFA to do it. Thus, as I look for a literary voice, a new one not divorced from the past but evolved from it, I am trying to find the honesty in humanity, the sense of who and what I am, and how I see the world. This post exists as the first of many on the subject. What this voice is and where it will lead is the question.