I try not to talk too much about my personal life on this blog, but today I will make an exception. Today marks what would be the 20th birthday of one of my best friends, Scott. Scott was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma (a rare type of bone and soft tissue cancer) during the beginning of our sophomore year in High School. I still remember the day we were trying out for Junior Varsity Soccer, and Scott mentioned the pain in his lower back. No one would have guessed what it was, or what it would do to him over the next months. He was one of the first friends I made when I made my transition from private school to public school in the third grade. It would be a complete understatement to simply say that Scott made an impact on my life (and the life of others) for the nine years that we knew each other. He taught me many things and I am incredibly grateful to have shared the time we had together as best friends. Scott was always one who encouraged me to write and shared my interest in architecture and design as well as my passion for looking for the best in people. He also had a knack of saying what he wanted to say without the use of words.
Last summer, I came up with an idea for a short story. I quickly wrote the outline down but since then had not found the time or diligence to write the short story out. Realizing that his Birthday was coming up, I resolved to finish the short story by the 28th. I have finally managed to finish the short story, and I can say that it is a story of which I am quite proud (it is also the longest story I have completed to date). I have put a lot of my thoughts and experiences into the story, and as such, feel a very personal connection to it, and I hope that it’s readers will take something meaningful away with them after they finish reading. It is a story about dealing with death, but it is also a story about life, friendship, trust, and truth. It is definitely a divergence from my ‘typical’ kind of genre (sci-fi/fantasy) or style (blatantly writing out the moral of the story), but I’m glad that I could write it informed by personal experience and thought. This story has definitely taught me much about myself and my writing.
One thing I learned while writing this story is that there is always more that one can say. Each time I thought I had completed a scene, I felt like I wanted to include more in order to accurately portray my thoughts and feelings. There was always more that I wanted to write, there was always more I could write. The hardest part for me was learning when to finally say ‘enough’ and leave the writing as it was, and it was in no way easy. To me, my writing is always a work in progress. Even if I share it with the public I feel the need to eventually go back and edit my stories and rewrite certain scenes. This is a privilege (or curse) that professional writers do not have, as once they have sent their final draft to the publishers, there is no turning back. The story is never over to me.There is always more to be said, in my stories, and in life, the trick is knowing when to be silent. While writing this short story, I had to learn when to stop, when to write my thoughts out, and when to trust my readers to make their own conclusions. I still struggle with it, as I do not know if I accurately portrayed what I wanted to portray, even if it was my own experiences. I’m not sure how satisfied I am with the ‘final’ piece. I realized that while I was using my personal experiences, this was not a story that only shared my views. I had to learn that the characters I wrote may not necessarily share my opinions, and may come to conclusions that I did not agree with. This was definitely a story where I had to learn to relinquish my control, and trust my characters and readers to reveal the story. Even now, there are things I wish I had included.
This story is dedicated to my friend Scott, and I hope you will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Comments/Thoughts are always appreciated. I have included a little blurb about my story below, as well as the link to the download of the PDF.
Struggling with the recent death of a close friend, Nathan Searing is in New York City in order to fulfill his deceased friend’s last wishes. However, when a man attempts to hijack his taxi ride, Nathan is thrown into a world of espionage he thought only existed in movies. He finds himself caught between powerful forces and begins to question his perspectives on life, death, trust and truth.
Download: Yesterdays by Ethan Yen (all rights reserved)