— Kristan Hoffman (@kristanhoffman) September 6, 2013
“Misting” started with an image of the rain. Simple as that. From there I added the girl on the roof. Then the neighbor. Then the “scandal.” None of it was conscious or planned out. I just came up with the line about the rain and then really wanted to use it.
The other night, Andy asked me what the story was about. In a literal sense, it’s about the elements above. But I hesitate to answer that question in the non-literal sense. In part because I’ve been thinking about how we no longer have to interpret songs for ourselves; we can just google to find out what the artist was going for. (I’m guilty of this myself.) Yes, it’s fun to know the backstory. But it also sort of robs us of our own role, in interacting with and constructing meaning for ourselves.
(Actually I think you can do both — know the artist’s intent AND create your own significance. But I don’t think most people do the latter if they have access to the former.)
If you really want to know what my story is about, highlight the rest of this paragraph: Again, none of this was intentional, but when I finished drafting the story, I found certain themes emerging, and I edited to enhance them. (1) The conflict between a girl’s increasing maturity, especially in her desires and awareness, yet her lingering naiveté and inexperience. I think it’s a tough stage for many teens, because so many things are telling them they’re ready for more, for adulthood, but there’s still a big gap. (2) The desperation to be special, to be different, to stand out from everyone else. I think people of all ages can identify with that.
Another interesting thing about “Misting” is that it’s the first time I’ve really been edited, outside of school or my critique group. The Citron Review’s fiction editor, Aaron Gansky, loved my writing, but he had a vision for stripping it down even further, letting the action speak for itself. I’ve been interested in that kind of narrative style for awhile — especially after re-watching Battlestar Galactica (the 2004 version), which is is just masterful at conveying depth of character and emotion through an objective 3rd person lens. So I went back and forth with Aaron, and it was a really valuable experience, working with someone on a story, particularly someone who didn’t know me outside of this one experience.
I hope you enjoy the result.