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June 24, 2018

Well, this writer/musician is now a full-time restaurant-working professional again, and man - how was I ever able to do this much work AND author and compose the wide range of material that comprises michaelaba.com all those years before?… Whew - I just finished a 9 out of 10 day stretch that included two 11-hour shifts for weddings - very memorable and lovely ones, I might add - and I barely was able to think up what to write in yesterday’s monthly email. Now I’ve got my fingers to the keys for this blog and all I really want to do is get on the floor to do these much-needed back stretches that enable me to run with the young guns who are my new colleagues. I’m already dreaming of November, when I’ll likely be an out-of-work writer once more…


Though this doesn’t mean I’m not entering into some kind of groove here, necessarily. In fact, my nights bartending have already inspired what I think might well be my next story collection. The working title is “These Stories Are True”, and let me take a few paragraphs to explain why I’m suddenly thinking of taking a temporary left-hand-turn from my normal writing style.


As most of you know, I’ve always tried to keep my fiction separate from my real life, mainly because the power of the imagination is what draws me to writing in the first place. Also, I’ve always hated to think friends and family would decide I was writing about them and watch people dear to me silently absorb whatever insult/compliment/non-sequitur they might mistakenly believe was directed their way. I realize that much of contemporary fiction goes in the complete opposite direction; if someone is writing about a grandfather, you can be reasonably - and boringly, to me - sure the subject was indeed that writer’s actual direct relative. But then, from my point of view, the narrative would flow in the direction of what actually happened, rather than where the story itself might want to go. I’m not saying at all that great writing doesn’t come from this approach, but the one aspect so appealing to me - imagination - is stifled in many ways. You can become lazy. Endings never surprise this type of writer, because you are aware of the entire story before you jot the first words down.


I actually have looked through the 90 stories that comprise the six collections in michaelaba.com, and only one is almost completely true, with another five or six based on real events that turn into complete fiction almost immediately. The vast majority are simply made up. Now, the narrator is almost always some version of me: if I was dumber, shorter, more intelligent, fatter, more belligerent, and in one case, if I was an even-keeled woman (“Your Song” from the Washed Clothes collection). But the narrator is almost never the real me. It’s funny how so many friends who read these stories have trouble accepting this fact. And slightly insulting, as well…

However…


When website genius Kyle had me writing these blogs and sending out monthly emails, I found that suddenly I AM writing with my own voice. Or, as I like to see it, the character I’m creating to flesh out these little missives is actually me. Which brings me back to the stories I’ve been sharing with new friends at the bar. I’ve had a fairly crazy life… Well, let me be more precise. Lots of crazy things have happened to me in my rather ordinary life. And maybe some of these stories - some brief, some long - should be written down. They all stand on their own, although not one would probably even make an appearance if I ever attempted an autobiography. No incriminating or private details of my family life or the relationships I have with friends/old girlfriends/COOP Shareholders/insane bosses would be divulged. And I’m already growing more comfortable writing in the voice of the “real me”…


Hmmm… It might be fun.


Most of the six collections available on michaelaba.com are comprised of 15 stories, and I’ve already carved up 15 possible entries for this new one. “These Stories Are True”… Yeah, I can see myself doing this as soon as I get back to NYC…


But not before. I’m solidly back in the restaurant life, and man - it’s hard!

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