The short story I published earlier this month was not published under the illusion of wealth and sales. Seldom can a single, disconnected, self-published short story by an unknown author make it into the hands of anyone but her own friends and mother. I know this. Rather, I published it as a beginning, as a dare to myself to make my fiction available and see what happens.
The unexpected result is that I feel naked, knowing it’s out there. I don’t feel such over news articles or blog posts I’ve written. Somehow, “Ba’byl” is a different piece of me, a more raw piece, a more real piece. Somehow, the truths of my short story are deeper and more personal than the truths of events that really happened. It is not a record of events, but it is a record of the musings of my soul.
“Ba’byl” is a true piece of me that people can own, buy, seize for themselves, and then read, ignore, publicly review, enjoy, despise, praise, lambast, casually dismiss, forget. It is a piece of me in a way no nonfiction prose is, and it’s the first piece of my fiction that has been made widely available. I feel terrifyingly vulnerable.
Those who would judge “Ba’byl” have the opportunity to judge me. They judge not merely the writing. They also judge me. And I let them. That is what the writer does. She opens her soul to the world, permitting judgment, hoping someone will see the beauty and value therein, hoping someone’s day or life or self will be made better or brighter because of it.