I have more stories and poetry to post here, but today I am thinking about the ones that I haven’t held onto– the stories I let get lost on an old hard drive instead of transferring them to the new one.
Most of these stories held at the heart of them a dying friendship, but often cast in extreme situations. One story that I remember vividly was a conversation on a beach between two young women, whose friendship was drifting apart. One of the friends was reeling from her parents’ double murder/suicide brought on by her father’s affair, but even with such a gruesome and intense situation to convey, the dying friendship took center stage. Why did I think a story about female friendship couldn’t stand alone? Had I just watched too many crime and ghost shows with my Grandma and Bubbe while growing up?
Another story that my classmates found unbelievable and I found embarrassing, ended the friendship with fireworks after an antisemitic game of beer pong. My workshop would not believe that such antisemitism would happen back in 2010, despite the fact that much of the dialogue came from my personal experience and things that had actually been said to me. As though I foreshadowed it, years later, I would see one of my long dying friendships officially end because of a game of beer pong that was much more antisemitic than my fictional one. Luckily, I wasn’t in attendance and just saw it bragged and joked about on social media. Our messages back and forth didn’t have the same fireworks as my fictionalized argument in the street outside of the house party, but the result was the same– our friendship was over.
These lost stories tried to convey my personal experience of going away to college and losing old friends. But like many new writers, I felt as though my experience wasn’t enough–that I needed more to drive the story, so let’s add in a double murder/suicide. Perhaps I felt this way especially as a young woman writing about female friendship. So, I gave the beginner’s scoff to the old adage, write what you know, and tried to up the stakes instead. I wonder what I would think about them if I could read them now. Would my cheeks redden with embarrassment or could I find some kernel of truth in there worth saving? None of my stories about friendship have survived the multiple new hard drives since I wrote them. Perhaps it is time for me to do some digging and see what I really left behind.