My husband was a forensic chemist in our county crime lab for forty years. People used to ask, “What is a forensic chemist?” Now we simply reply, “CSI.”
At first the lab had only three scientists, and they worked on every kind of case — murder, DWI, hit and run, you name it. They were the only hazmat team before one was created officially! As the lab grew, and the caseload skyrocketed, more scientists came on board. They broke off into specialties. My husband’s was DWI. Day in, day out, evening courts, day courts, it was all about driving while intoxicated. Of course, he got incredibly good at it, to the point where most defense attorneys did not attempt to trip him up when he testified. I think the judge told the last attorney that tried, and objected to Hubby’s answer, “You asked the question, Counselor.”
I tell you this because Hubby loves “same old, same old.” He eats the same breakfast every morning, and never tires of Lawrence Welk (yes, he is a senior, senior citizen). No wonder he relished analyzing blood samples exclusively. It would have driven me nuts.
I love change, even to the point of resenting holidays because it feels like they have been done to death. I once turned a Santa statue around so it faced the back of the store. In my defense, it was only October, for Pete’s sake!
My penchant for change runs through my writing as it does my life. Currently I am doing research for a magazine think-piece I want to write. I had never been assigned such an article and I am thoroughly enjoying the prep work that is leading me down interesting paths. I am still not sure if my creature will be an article or an essay. Nor am I sure yet of the angle I want to take. Previously, I knew the genre (article) and the angle (what the editor wanted). This is a great adventure for me, and certainly not “same old, same old.”
Right now, I have not queried editors because my creature is not ready to be sent out. Then, while it makes the rounds, I am off to my next article, essay, short story, or devotional.
Perhaps you prefer painstakingly creating a book for a year or more. I love that you do, because I’m a fish out of water without a book in my hand! Maybe you like to tackle a variety of subjects or become an expert in just one or two. Then there are those who write books and shorter pieces.
I do not believe because a writer writes “short,” he or she necessarily is doing so on the way up the ladder to The Great American novel or work of non-fiction. To borrow a phrase about Freud, “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.” A writer is a writer is a writer.
I think sometimes it may take a few years of travel down different roads to discover our creative home. But in the end, we writers, by trial and error, will discover who we are and bloom where we’re planted.