I have stories to tell

I like to tell myself I’m a writer, but I haven’t really been writing for a long time. The fact is I haven’t written anything but this column and a bunch of news articles.

I’ve been discouraged. I have been writing for years, and I’ve been lucky enough to have a few short stories published in various literary publications and websites, but I’ve not been so fortunate with my novels.

Yes, there are several of them. How many? At last count, six. But I suffer from a genetic family disorder – an overreaction to rejection.


I spent the past several years writing and rewriting a series of books with the help of a friend who has impeccable credentials as an editor and publisher. His advice, I am sure, was always correct. But the final product, I am finally forced to admit, is something I don’t like very much. So I cannot be surprised that no one else likes them well enough to publish them.

So despite some of the most glowing rejections imaginable, telling me my writing is good, that I should send something else when I have it, I haven’t been able to write anything else. I shut down instead.

But I have stories I want to tell. I have ideas for other books. And yesterday, while having coffee with a writer friend (yes, we have writers in Delaware County, too), I got excited about one of them. I was telling her the story of an abandoned house, and the people who’d once lived in it, and realized that was the book I want to write now.

I may never get a novel published. Maybe it doesn’t even matter any more.

The new book begins today. Sentence one? “The house remembered.”

It could go anywhere from there…


Read more installments of Village Voices by Susan Barnett.