The most recent version shows the results of suggestions by Cherie Brooks, an editor I hired after auditioning about a dozen candidates. Cherie is a playwright herself, but she seems to understand where my stories are headed, and what they're about on a sort of macro level that I can't see. She pointed out, for example, that "Charlotte's Mirror" was at its root a story about envy - about how our commmercial culture manufactures celebrities who are supposedly superior to us as a means to sell products, and how our inchoate discontent with ourselves is a byproduct of this manufactured envy.
Of course, if I had really been thinking about that when I wrote the story, it would have turned out terribly fatuous. There's nothing worse a young writer can do than take herself too seriously. I'm glad I can pay Cherie to think these deep thoughts about both this and some of my other stories.
I still can't say I'm entirely satisfied with "Charlotte's Mirror," but I'm more satisfied with it than I was a month ago. Some day it may even be finished.
That's why I'm surprised at my own mixed feelings about a story that ran June 25 in the San Francisco Chronicle.
It was my first major-media exposure, aside from a National Public Radio feature three years ago, and just the sort of thing to impress my parents, who are none too convinced of my artistic talent. And it was certainly a complimentary piece. One colleague who read it said he thought the author was in love with me.
The author, Jesse Kornbluth, is not in love with me, although he is a very nice man. Nevertheless, it was still disconcerting to be written about, rather than writing myself. The subject of a story, I discovered, has very little control over what's in it, and Jesse didn't write what I would have written. It also bothers me that people always seem more excited about my publishing methods than my stories. The whole point of this site isn't REALLY so I can date Jock Soto and Brett from Suede. It's to bring readers to the stories.
Anyway, I've chalked it all up to experience, and I made a lot of Xeroxes for my parents and their friends. Despite all the excitement, visits to this site didn't increase much after the article ran - proof, I think, of how isolated the on-line world remains from the world of print.