I mentioned in my last post that our group blog “Muse in Pocket, Pen in Hand” was going live on Friday and Friday is now here! My story – the first short story I’ve written in ten years, and the only thing I’ve ever written with the immediate purpose of sharing it with the world – is up for anyone to read.
Here’s what I wrote about it:
The title came first for this story, which is surprising, because I’m usually rubbish at coming up with titles for just about anything. Well, really, the idea of burning love letters came first, and then the questions of who would be burning them, and why, and what if someone was receiving those burnt love letters, through some sort of weird magic? What if this person was like a patron saint, like Valentine, but for the opposite of love – for broken hearts? From there I had a title and a main character, and with a little bit more digging, a story line. Originally, the story was supposed to start with a picnic basket turning into a kitten, and while that’s still referenced in there, I think the resulting story more accurately represents the idea I wanted – a story about self-love and loss, fear and hope.
This group blog is honestly a dream come true. To be able to collaborate with some of the best writers I’ve ever met and with three of the nicest people in the world (we’re from the US, London, and Singapore), is just incredible. For the longest time, I used to hide that I was a writer. It wasn’t that I didn’t think it was cool, it was more that I never thought I’d be good enough, or that someone would read my stuff and tell me I wasn’t good enough. I’m pretty darn good at coming up with worst case scenarios for this sort of thing in my head, so you can imagine why I never talked about it.
But then, one day, I was scrolling through the responses to Maggie Stiefvater’s Critique Partner Love Connection, and Joyce’s post popped out at me. Really, it should have had blinking lights and a french horn and trumpets attached, because that’s how amazing it was. I emailed her immediately of course (how could I not?), and she emailed me back, and then, shortly after, she introduced me to Meredith and Nicole, and from there…what can I say? I’m the luckiest person ever to be in this group. Joyce inspires me daily with all of the novels she has written. Meredith got her doctorate in Scotland. Nicole works is a library and motivates me with her running tales. I don’t know where I’d be without these three amazing ladies. Please check out their bios over at the Muses blog. You won’t be sorry.
The gist of our blog is this: Each month, the four of us will write a short story based on a random prompt. We’ll then post our stories, one on every Friday of the month. I’ve never written to prompt before this and it’s turning out to be the most fun I’ve ever had writing. Nicole has posted a much more brilliant summary of what we do over on her blog, so I definitely recommend checking that out. (Plus, Nicole’s blog posts are just about the most delightful thing I’ve ever read, so you should read them all anyway. Actually everyone’s blogs are incredible. Go read them. Seriously.)
Now, before I go, I probably won’t do this for every story, but since this is the first one, I have to. I have to thank my friend Amy who read probably a dozen various versions of this story, and spent hours talking to me about the characters, and her excitement for it never flagged. Thank you, Amy, for loving this story as much as I do. Thank you to my wonderful fiance, who patiently listened to me obsess and cry over it, and graciously put up with me typing in bed when we should have been sleeping. And, I can’t forget Alice, my upstairs neighbor, who is the sweetest, nicest human in the universe, and had so much enthusiasm for this story even though she hadn’t read it yet. I’d be lost without my fellow muse-seekers, Meredith, who offered the most wonderful critique in the midst of her thesis corrections, and Joyce and Nicole, for believing in this story all along, and in me. Thank you.
And now onto the actual story. I hope you enjoy “Patron Saint of Broken Hearts” as much as I enjoyed writing it. (Or at least, that you don’t hate it… or hate me because you hate it…)