The moody author syndrome
I’ve been working on another short story for the past few days. My wife can always tell. Others might write off my distance from things in “real life” at such times as the moody author syndrome. Authors are, some say, supposed to be moody, supposed to be pondering death and anguish and the loss of friends, childhoods, good times or whatever.
When I’m writing a story–or the chapter of a novel–the last thing I am is moody. At best, I’m distracted. I’m not pondering the grand things authors are often accused of pondering. I’m thinking about the next scene I’m going to right and whether or not I’m happy with the last scene I wrote.
With authors, novels often take center stage. In part, that’s because novels get attention in the press. Often, the short stories get mentioned as an afterthought unless a new collection has just been released.
If you ask me what I’ve written, I will probably mention my coming of age novel The Sun Singer, my comedy/satire about a reporter named Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire, or my recently released Vietnam-era novel The Sailor. But, I’m equally happy with my short stories, including the three-story set called Emily’s Stories, Moonlight and Ghosts and Cora’s Crossing.
I wasn’t moody when I wrote them, though I’m sure I looked moody to those who don’t realize that an author is often at work even when s/he isn’t typing. The next time you see an author who seems moody, s/he just might be simply at work.