A few weeks ago, I posted on Instagram that I FINALLY finished a manuscript I had been working on for four years. It started out as collection of my blog posts, then it turned into personal essays, and finally into a collection of short stories. After writing personal essays and blog posts for so many years it was a nice change to be removed from the center of the story.
Bringing together stories inspired by my Italian and Portuguese roots, the manuscript is a collection about feminism, family, mental health, and chasing dreams. Each story follows a path to pain and explores the strength required to get to the other side. I know that the word count for this manuscript isn’t enough to land an agent or get it published, but the collection feels finished to me.
Instead of shoving the stories in a drawer to be forgotten forever, I’ve broken them up and started submitting them to magazines and online platforms. Oh, one of the stories was published on Thought Catalog in their LIFE/FICTON section. There are two stories that I want to work on as longer works of fiction – ideally turn them into novels. If I’m honest, the idea seems incredibly jarring. Since finishing my manuscript, I haven’t written or planned out much of anything. All I really feel like doing is going for drives with my husband or grabbing coffee. Thanks to lockdown 2.0 and working from home (which I both understand and am thankful for) I feel a bit awkward when I’m out of the house. The last time I went to The Roost Cafe, I couldn’t figure out where to tap my debit card to pay for the coffee. I got flustered, my face turned red, and the person behind the counter had to show me a few times how to pay.
Stepping out of the cafe with my coffee in hand (and pulling down my mask to breathe in that crisp winter air) made the awkwardness totally worth it though!