13. on writing about the people in my life

I started working on my fourth (well, technically fifth) short story today. It's funny how "inspiration" strikes. One day you're sitting on the couch watching Law & Order: SVU, wondering if you'll get the urge to write another story again. It takes so much out of me. What was it that Junot Diaz said? "I write like it's an organ I'm pulling out of myself."

The next day you're waiting at a coffeeshop and you suddenly think, I'm going to call my next short story, "My Second Cousin's Wedding." And you get out your notepad. And you write, "I call her my second cousin because she's the second oldest of them all."

That's how the story begins.

I shared my second story with the world today. (The world being Facebook. I hate announcing anything about myself there, but I felt a need to share.) And I saw that one of the subjects of my short story, my second cousin, "liked" my post. Which meant she probably read it.

I felt ashamed. I didn't say the nicest things about her in there. And I don't know how she'll feel about this next one that I'm writing, which is also about her.

How do you do these things? To me, the most compelling, precious part of writing is communicating to the world how I perceive things. All of my stories are based on my perception of the things that happen to people around me.

But is it okay? I can't help but wonder.

Am I allowed to tell your story?