Yesterday I returned a book to the library that I bought on Amazon a few weeks ago. It was Stephen King’s Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption. I returned that book along with another by Sue Monk Kidd about Jesus’ wife called The Book of Longings. That one really was a library book.
Some might make a symptom out of this unintentional return to the library of a book I own. Or owned. Actually, one could make a case that I just gave the book to the library and now it’s theirs. It went from being owned to being a gift. It’s hard to regard that as a bad thing.
No matter. The point of talking about it at all, other than to come clean about this weird mistake and thus, somehow, negate it as a sign of declining capacity, is to say that I used Stephen King’s narrative device in a story I just wrote called “Margaret’s Billy.”
This is my fourth story. My little lane change from nonfiction to fiction has been very slow, like a beginning driver who keeps her turn signal on for ten miles before creeping over into the next lane. I have been stuck on the fourth story for weeks – not having a premise or characters or setting or anything. And then it came to me. Shawshank Redemption. Tell the story like Stephen King tells it in the book – a savvy narrator who sees it all but is fascinated by the main character, watches the main character, and tries to figure out what makes that person tick.
I just finished the story. It ends with a mystery which I like. I don’t like everything to be neat and straightened up at the end of a piece. ‘Left hanging’ is the feeling I’m aiming for in a lot of my writing. Often, it’s because I don’t know myself how something should end up, usually it’s because everything in my life has always been unresolved, pending, or, better said, evolving.
Anyway, I like this story, “Margaret’s Billy,” an awful lot and I have Stephen King to thank for helping me get off the dime.