The story behind “Misting”

“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.

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13 Comments

  1. Congrats! Going over to check it out :)

  2. This drives me crazy — the quick search for the facile explanation of a work of art. I think this is why some directors don’t do commentary tracks. You want to understand Mulholland Drive? Watch it again — you still won’t understand it, and David Lynch is not going to explain it to you either.

    I look forward to reading your story, without explanation (but, you know, when I’m not at work :-) ).

  3. Congratulations, Kristan! Heading on over to read!

  4. Thanks for your support, y’all!

    Anthony-
    Yeah it’s a double-edged sword.

  5. I always love to know the artist’s intent — but only after I’ve read/seen/listened to the work and had time to reflect on it for myself. It’s so interesting to see how the meaning does or doesn’t match up.

    Also: CONGRATULATIONS! :)

  6. Beautiful. I especially loved your use of synesthesia; I rarely see it used (and rarer even, used well), but this is so perfect: “A woman laughed, like a cheerful splash of yellow against the green-gray evening. A man’s low murmur followed, midnight blue.” I can hear it and see it and it’s perfect.

    Congratulations!

  7. Good story. I like stories that don’t advertise what type of story they are in advance. I think it can really pull the reader in when you’re not sure if it’s a ghost story or a realistic story or what.

  8. Lovely story, Kristan. I particularly enjoyed the portion where she was hopping from house to house. I could see her doing it. Congratulations, again!

  9. Congratulations!!!

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