That’s right, I am once again sharing my story, Creases. But wait, this is a revised version of the original story, with a number of changes (improvements) throughout.
For those of you who may not be interested in me rambling about the story, here is the link to the free PDF:
And for those of you who don’t mind my ramblings, huzzah! We are the A-team.
Where to start with Creases? Well, I wrote it sometime in 2017, I think. It was originally two very crappy poems that I combined into a narrative. I had published nothing of mine at this time and I considered myself to be a lover of literature, but only as a reader. The stories I would write were just for fun—a little private hobby I had, with the intent that nobody else would ever read my stuff.
Then in 2018 I started to consider publishing some of my stories. Afterall, what did I have to lose? Plus, I thought it would motivate me to improve, in that I would feel a (good) pressure to produce something better than the last thing I put out. (Aside; on reflection, this is a tactic that worked; it did help me improve, and continues to do so.) So, I went through the stuff I had in my ‘Completed’ folder and got to thinking about which stories had the most to say. I settled on Creases. I made a few revisions, and because we live in the wonderful digital age, a few days later, there it was, published and available to everybody as an ebook. I was super happy, and I received a small (but significant to me) number of wonderful reviews that I found very encouraging. I think without that early encouragement, I probably wouldn’t have continued writing and publishing stories.
I was initially motivated to write Creases because of my own personal experiences with living with depression, and the chaotic and, at times, woefully dire help from the NHS available for such problems. I was also reading a lot of short stories published in lit mags about mental health and found that so many of the stories were either too afraid to really go heavy with it, or had this ‘I got better by accepting love from those around me’ feel to it. Now, I’m not saying those stories are not real and don’t paint an accurate representation of mental health problems, but they never matched my experiences. They all felt a little too polished, and it seemed nobody was prepared to write something that didn’t have a happily ever after feeling to it. Here, in the real world, an estimated 703,000 people die by suicide every year. Where are their stories? Is their account not worthy of being told because it doesn’t end well? I also felt like I had not read many accounts of intrusive negative thoughts that I could relate to based on my own experiences. And so, I wrote the story I wanted to read. Which is something I have, in many ways, been doing ever since.
Creases has been labelled by some readers on Goodreads as non-fiction, and some people I know IRL who read it thought I was writing my own story. At the time of publishing, and in some writer interviews I did, I was adamant that I was not the main character of Creases, and that it is a work of fiction, and that I was just writing what I know. I think now, on reflection, I would struggle to defend the view that the main character is not just a proxy for myself. I stand by the point that Creases is a work of fiction, but I acknowledge it is grounded in reality. The conversations that occur in the story are very heavily based on real life conversations I have had, and many of the events that take place are based on my own experiences. I tried to write an authentic account of what living with depression is like.
So why do we have a 2022 revised version of Creases? That’s a bloody good question and I’m glad you asked it. Bro, you are so smart. Well, as of late, I have been struggling a little with motivation to write. I have lots of ideas, I have an A story, a B story, and multiple short stories I am working on, but I’m just going through an I’m shit at writing, everything I write is crap, and I’ll never master this writing malarky phase. Nothing to worry about, all writers go through it, and not just once. It’s a regular stage in the cycle for most writers. Part of how I deal with this imposter syndrome is to go back over some old short stories, and rewrite them. I can then contrast and compare and this helps me identify areas that I have improved in, but also focus on which areas I need to give more attention to. A few weeks ago I decided to look back over Creases, and decided it isn’t as bad as I thought it was. It just needed some minor revisions here and there, a little more exploration of certain thoughts, and tidying up with grammar and syntax etc. Could the themes of Creases be explored in a more traditional three act novel/la with a deuteragonist, an antagonist, and greater pacing of dynamics? Yes. Would it be a different story to Creases? Yes. I think one of the things Creases has going for it is its punch. It is quick, short, there is no fluff, it is heavy hitting and doesn’t really let up from the start. I like those things about Creases, and therefore instead of rewriting the story entirely, I decided to just make those previously mentioned revisions and put it back out there.
And that’s it, that’s where we are now. Although Creases is not really a story someone may enjoy, I hope if you are reading it for the first time you can find some truth and maybe something helpful in it.
Anyway, I’m off to write a short story about a buffalo and a sheep that get turned into trees by a witch. Until next time, peace and love!
Jack CJ Stark
Amazon Author Page