Mission Creep

As a response to the Coronavirus (but not necessarily a wise one), I turned to Boccaccio’s Decameron – 100 tales told by rich kids fleeing from the Black Death of 1348 in Florence. Why not read them, I blogged, and went to add, why not write them, or at least your own?

Of course, having made the suggestion it wasn’t long before I nagged myself into following it, so since March 23rd I’ve been posting on the blog one story each day. The plan is to post one hundred of them. They’re not all new stories, though some are, and I found myself looking through files that stretch back to before the millennium.

Mission creep is a common phenomenon. Whatever we set out to do there’s always a chance it will morph into doing something ever so slightly different. In this case, the creep was towards retrospection. Because of the date I suppose, 2020, I’ve always thought of this year as The Year of Perfect Hindsight. It’s also my 70th, which perhaps tosses a pennyweight into the scales. So retrospection was always on the cards.

Trawling back through those hundreds of stories, looking at the ones that were never published, often never even submitted anywhere was a curious experience. With some it was like meeting old friends after a gap of decades. With others it was like meeting strangers. In some cases I was driven to make corrections; to see answers to problems that at the time of writing I had been unable to find. In some cases I tidied up a bit, or gave the story a polish. In some I left them just the way they were, warts and all. There can be an integrity in a flawed story, like the beauty in an asymmetric face.

That mission creep had also something to do with a question that’s been on my mind for a couple of years now. That is the question of when one should quit; of when one can quit. My writing buddy Kurt Tidmore, quoting someone I think, tells me that ‘you ain’t beaten till you quit’, and I sometimes turn that around to ‘you doan quit till yore beaten’, but there’s also the idea of ‘quittin’ when yore done’.            

One alarming feature of the exercise, reading all those old, forgotten tales, is that despite years of striving to learn how to do it better, I still like some of them just as much as and maybe more than some of the ones I’m writing today.

Mike’s blog is at www.Bhdandme.wordpress.com/ 

Do you have something to say? Submit to The Write Life.

About the contributor

Related Articles

Pushing for Change by Maude Washington

'It’s up to EVERYONE to push for change.' Author Philip Fracassi and the Horror Writers Community Raise More than $24K for the Black Lives Matter Movement

This Tilting Earth’ by Jane Lovell -Reviewed

This Tilting Earth’ by Jane Lovell -Reviewed by Stephen Claughton

Emerging Author Kate Mahony speaks to Dave Kavanagh

Journalist and now emerging author, Kate Mahony speaks to Dave Kavanagh about why she is drawn to writing fiction.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

More Like This

The Gates of Horn and Ivory – contemporary poetry and the Instapoets

“Stranger, dreams verily are baffling and unclear of meaning, and in no wise do they find fulfilment in all things for men....

4 poems by Oz Hardwick

Oz Hardwick's chapbook 'Learning to Have Lost' (Canberra: IPSI/Recent Work, 2018) won the 2019 Rubery International Book Award for Poetry.

PETER BOYLE IN CONVERSATION WITH DENISE O’HAGAN

Sydney-based poet and translator, Peter Boyle talks with Denise O'Hagan about his early experiences, what inspires him and why it is important to 'let go of the hunger for fame'.

Poetry by Cătălina Florina Florescu

Using raw, sparkling language, the poems of Cătălina Florina Florescu boldly address the body and womanhood, by blurring the lines between expectations and ownership.

The Monkey Temple

The streets of Kathmandu made no sense to me. A neophyte in the ways of travel, I looked down one street, studied my map,...
YOU ARE VIEWING AS A VISITOR. PLEASE .LOGIN. OR .REGISTER. FOR THE BEST BROWSING EXPERIENCE
Close