Letters to Lily, an Epistolary Novella
So, I finished the first draft on this novella and I can’t stop screaming. I savoured some celebratory cookie dough ice cream, and I thought I’d share my excitement with all of you while I try to wrap my brain around the next story waiting for me to finish drafting.
While most of what I’ve been working on lies firmly in speculative territory, this piece is altogether different. The letters are part of what I often jokingly call my Therapy Writing. It consists of poems and stories that help me process difficult moments in my life.
You see, I pay my bills by working as an x-ray technician in the radiology department of a small hospital in a rural community. And we x-ray techs literally see everything. If your kid falls off the trampoline and breaks their ankle, we’ll see it. Five days worth of constipation? Yeah, that too. Suffered a possible stroke? We’ll see you too.
But if you roll into the ER on a gurney, little more than a bit of human-shaped pulp? Yeah. We’ll see you too. And we’ll do all we can to ensure your surgeon has the information he needs to keep you alive and fix you up.
But you see a lot of ugliness. People sick, in pain, dying. And so I invented characters to help me process all of that through the filter of fiction, allowing me the safety of distance as I explore the things that keep me awake at night.
Minnie was the first. A character that appeared in a few short stories. You can find those in my reading nook. Then came Jess. The writer of these letters she adresses to her friend Lily. Jess and I have a lot in common. A lot of memories and character traits. We both love dogs and horses, and we both have a thing for men in uniforms.
And we both have a lot to work through.
And writing Jess’s story–and through her, Lily’s–is helping me to develop coping mechanisms I sorely need if I’m going to keep doing this job I love.
Anyway, I hope to share more of this project with you all soon. Stay tuned for news!