Writing this piece taught me three things.
One: in medias res. This is a tactic in storytelling that introduces a tale “in the middle of things”. Like any writer, I commiserate for longer than probably necessary over my characters and their backstories. Before I pen the first sentence of any tale, I know their wants and fears, their ticks, their favorite color, and so on. It’s tempting to vomit all of those details in the narrative as an introduction to these people. In a similar way, the beginning of a story can fall prey to a taxing dissertation of worldbuilding details in the hope of establishing a visceral setting. In medias res forces you to begin instead in the thick of the action and pepper the subsequent scenes with all those developmental details in a more organic way. The Snow Globe was the first time I wrote something—and then hacked in half in a later draft with a cleaver. It made it better.
Two: it is never really done. The Snow Globe has undergone more revisions than I can remember. It’s a piece that, because of its straightforward theme, can be squished and pulled and remolded like clay, over and over, and the thrill of it never seems to go away. I forget the exact wording, but there is a cute, self-deprecating saying we artists have—a thing is never really done, you just stop working on it. Recently, I had the idea of submitting it to HitRecord to see what another artist might do with it.
Three: ending is harder than beginning. I remember the first time my sister read The Snow Globe. Our grandfather was in hospice and it was Thanksgiving. She remarked that the ending felt cliché, but that she liked it. That feedback stung, as it always will when “cliché” is used, but she wasn’t wrong. What am I trying to say with Ophelia’s refusal? With the gift of Kiernan by Pan? By the muddied snow globe? Am I inspired by Death’s gift to Susan in Meet Joe Black? Am I making an argument for the strength it takes to turn away from whimsy? Is cliché even necessarily a bad thing?
Could the ending be strange because it feels like a beginning?
You can find The Snow Globe here.
Enjoy! All feedback is welcome.