Why can't I write about stuff I'm going through right now?


I just got back from a vacation in one of the most beautiful places in the world. I took pictures - lots of them - but didn't write a word. Thoughts and ideas swirled in my head, but nothing I wanted to write down. Whenever I write a travel journal, or any journal for that matter, it ends up being a very plain list of events: First we did this, then we went here. The weather was weather...That kind of thing.

Yet when days or months pass, and I look back on photos of events, it's as if the memories are lit by a spotlight and I fix my attention sharply on specific details. I find themes and common traits among seemingly random events.

Someone, somewhere along the way told me that you need to distance yourself from an event to write about it objectively. That obviously makes sense, but I think that even to chronicle an event and how you were feeling and thinking at the time, you need distance to find subjectivity.

I love writing fiction because you can take those super-sharp details and strange observations and cobble them together into your story. Bits and peices from reality mix into a fictional soup, giving the author just enough distance from her subject to spice it up, kind of like a waiter hovering over a meal with a ridiculously large pepper grinder.

Wow. Completely bad metaphor. Totally leaving it in!