Category: behind the vignette (Page 1 of 2)

Behind the Vignette: CLICHÉD GOODBYE

The idea for this vignette is based on two things: 1) emotions I experienced moving away from my hometown nearly ten years ago and 2) a desire to write something inclusive, from a perspective other than my own.

I remember the days and weeks leading up to my leaving. It really felt like the end of something, and I wasn’t sure at the time if I was ready for it to end. My roommate moved out of our apartment and I stood in his room and cried. I had a pow-wow with my closest friends at my going-away party where we reminisced and ignored the other people celebrating. But what stayed with me was how quickly it felt like things moved on without me. I remember giving one of my best friends a hug goodbye as I packed up my truck to go and it felt like there was an attitude of, “Welp, bye.” That’s not to say he didn’t care or wasn’t feeling emotional, it’s just to say that sometimes in life there are goodbyes that feel underwhelming.

The second thing I wanted to attempt with this vignette was to write about romantic love from a perspective that isn’t well-represented. Love is love, and I want to write characters from all different walks of life that shows that. As a straight, middle-class white guy, my feelings on my place in portraying minority characters are complicated, but I also believe that people are people, and should be written as such. Yes, we all have nuances to our personalities, cultural differences that are difficult to capture without being fully immersed, but there are elements of the human experience that are universal. Like friends leaving to pursue the next chapter of their lives. And young, tentative love.

Behind the Vignette: A NIGHT NOT TO END

Click on the photo above to be taken to the story before reading this post.

When I was in my early twenties there were parties to go to every weekend. And if there wasn’t a party, there were bars on every other corner (usually the ones not already occupied by a church) in Buffalo. Some of my favorite memories of that time in my life, insofar as I have memories of those nights, was the unplanned and unexpected conversations with strangers. I loved sitting at a filthy, beer-stained and ash-littered table in some small apartment getting to know someone.

I remember often feeling like I never wanted the night to end, especially if a cute girl was involved.

I think that feeling of wishing a night could go on forever is a pretty universal feeling. But, like anything we might wish, what are the actual consequences of that wish coming true?

In this story I tried to explore that. The elation, confusion, horror, and resignation that realizing a night will continue as long as you want it. I hope it captured some of those feelings for you.

Behind the Vignette: Real Monsters

If you need to read the story, click the image above.

My childhood bedroom was in the front of our house, which meant that the streetlight on the curb threw a lot of light into my windows. At night everything created shadows that, to my overactive imagination, belonged to monsters. I distinctly remember something in my room creating a shadow I was convinced was a dinosaur. Luckily, it was a type of dinosaur I knew to be a herbivore.

Not all of the shadows felt as safe. Many forced me under the covers, convinced that I wouldn’t last the night.

Those memories were the genesis of this story, originally written years ago. But, I also wondered, what would a child do when faced with a real threat? Would they be able to conquer their fears of an imaginary one?

It’s a simple story, told simply. I wanted to layer in a few twists and turns and end on a hopeful note that not all things we’re afraid of are bad. Not too bad for just over 800 words.

Behind the Vignette: Followed

Before reading the explanation, check out the story.

Driving at night, especially when it’s raining, terrifies me. My eyesight isn’t great to begin with, and usually by the time night rolls around my contacts have started to dry out. But the thing that bothers me the most about nighttime driving is other people’s headlights. I’m convinced that everyone but me drives with their brights on constantly.

What irritates me most is the light reflected in my rear-view mirror. If the car behind me is close enough, I have a hard time gauging just how far behind me they are. It spikes my anxiety, especially if we’re on a single-lane road and I can’t somehow get them to pass me. Often, I start to feel as if I’m being followed.

What should one do if they’re being followed by a strange vehicle? Try to let them pass? Outrun them? Outmaneuver them? You can’t go home, as that’s completely giving up your safe space. You might get stuck, perpetually followed, until you decide on how it should end.

This story was borne from those feelings. Back when I played hockey at a certain rink I had to drive down Route 476 all the time, often after dark. The lanes on that road between Springfield and Norristown vacillate between two and three, before settling on two as you pass the tolls toward the Lehigh Valley. It struck me how terrifying it would be to look in my rear-view mirror to see nothing but headlights. To be followed, with no recourse, and no hope.

I hope the story makes raises your blood pressure a bit the next time you see headlights in your rear-view.

Behind the Vignette: Her Tea

Check out the story before continuing.

We all have a tendency to imagine the worst, especially if the anxiety in our lives is heightened. I do this often, usually around how I’d feel if my wife exited my life for whatever reason.

What strikes me about these worries are the things around our house that would most remind me of her. We leave such strong impacts on the world just by interacting with it, and our relationships are no different. Aside from the obvious–the pictures from our wedding that hang out our walls, the clothes in her closet, the pages I’ve written about her–there are more subtle ways we leave breadcrumbs of ourselves in each others lives.

That’s the genesis of this piece. I wanted to capture the routines that break when something changes or ends within a relationship. A favorite book that might lay out on a coffee table. A forgotten dirty glass. The small things that remind us that, holy shit, we’re inextricably tied to someone else.

If my wife were to suddenly disappear from my life, I think those are the things I’d have the hardest time with. The things she does every day that impact me in almost imperceptible ways. And it’s because those nuances of her personality are the reason I love her to begin with. Their absence would be a devastating reminder of what I lost.

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