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[Commentary] Should've Been Home Yesterday

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Leah: when did you realize that this idea was moving from "haha what if nolan held a sheep" to you writing in our 20k planning doc, "the longest tk/pat fic is only 60 so i think it would be fun to beat that" lmao. and like, do you think there's an alternate universe where we / you could have written a short fluffy little farm fic (and if so what would you zoom in on?), or was it always going to be a big thing?

 

Honestly, I don’t know when that happened, or if there was a specific moment. I’ve always loved longfic, but I don’t think I consciously thought about the length until we already had a pretty damn long planning doc. And then, I think once it had come up, I just never tried to keep stuff short? As long as the pace is good, length is happening on its own lol

I think there are a lot of alternate universes: There’s definitely one where this was just the short, funny story it started out as, but I think maybe that universe is one where I don’t feel as strongly about the setting, where so much of my history and my dreams don’t connect so deeply to a place like this. I don’t think the me of this universe was ever capable of keeping this short and light. Didn’t really realize that until we were in it, though 😅

 

Leah: there are so many lines in this that i can't tell who wrote, but this one feels so you to me (omg now i'm worried you didn't write it?? but i'm like, positive you did). i think our writing is similar at times, but one way i think we differ a little (idk, maybe you disagree, and actually, as another question, i'd be really interested to hear if you have ideas on how our writing is different from each others' and then how it works together?) is that you are really good at knowing when to switch up the very conversational internal monologue that we usually do, and to write these more intense and poetic and heavy moments, that really contrast with the rest of the narrative and stop you in your tracks for a second. if that makes sense? like, another example is the flashback scene with law in the truck. and, idk, i'm just curious if that's intentional or something you've noticed? do you have certain writers / fandoms /etc that have particularly influenced your style? and also, what are your favorite elements of your writing? (re: “He’d left the second he got the chance; pretended he didn’t miss it every day since.)

 

I did write this line! I also have a lot of lines looking back that I can’t remember the original author of, even ones I know we didn’t really touch in editing.

I do think our writing is pretty similar! I think that’s something that drew me to RftS and made me feel confident in beginning this story with you: I could see it playing out in your voice before we even started.

I appreciate the compliment!! I think that (punctuating the casual conversational with the big and poignant moments) is something I am good at, but it both is and isn’t something I actively try to do? I dunno, like. I think those moments are more about taking the ordinary and making it profound, than about anything inherently special about them. It’s kind of.... (trying to find the right visual here) It’s kind of like playing tetris with feelings: slotting words together in the right shapes and orders to take a pretty normal thing and make it give you the exact right amount of feeling at the exact right time.
The thing is, I wouldn’t say that I put a ton of effort into this in writing fiction. I’m pretty practiced at this point, because I do this with my word choices all the time, at work, at home, etc. I honestly think it’s somewhat of an anxiety thing for me. I have this deep and fearful need for people to understand what I’m trying to tell them. 😅

As far as influences for my style:
I think there was a turning point in my brain when I read The Raven Cycle, and then again when I read The Scorpio Races. The way Maggie Stiefvater uses words was just revolutionary to me.
Next up, I think is Andrew McMahon? From Something Corporate to Jack’s Mannequin to Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, his lyrics have always found a way to catch me in their emotion and atmosphere.
I should also say that my voice in this story is primarily just the way I think and talk, which is heavily influenced by the communities I’m part of, particularly online, and by my partners. I think there’s a certain creativity to thinking that grows when you let yourself and others just unabashedly say weird shit and be goofy.

 

Leah: i'm really curious about a couple things about like your relationship with writing in general. like, how did you get from the, "i'm not sure how much of the writing i'm comfortable doing" space to now, where you're writing at least half? are there things still that you're more comfortable writing and things you're less comfortable with?

 

Oh, man, yeah I don’t know when or how that happened. I tried to write fic once or twice several years ago, and it was all very bland and soulless. I realize now that I didn’t play to my strengths at all. I’m good at feeling and introspection, and I’m not great at action. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to create and move through plot. I needed a little hand-holding lol. I still don’t think I’m great at action, but I’m more confident that I can at least attempt it and then piece together the decent stuff later.

 

hackysack: please tell me all about the goats!!! i'm also very interested in the vibes of the farm and the small town, where you drew your inspiration and how the whole place came together.

 

The goats! Okay, to be honest with you here, I don’t actually have a ton of experience with goats? When I was a small child we had a singular billygoat named Skipper. We didn’t get him dehorned though, so when we got a pasture all fenced out and brought my pony over from where we’d boarded her before, my dad sold him to a family down the road as a safety precaution. We also had two old nanny goats, (Ba)Nana and Cocoa. They just................. grazed in a pasture............. kept the pony company............. stole her grain. That’s it lmao!
I do dream of having goats though! Idk what kind, but this little farm Nolan and Kevin start up is kind of my dream and is heavily inspired by a little queer goat and sheep farm in Georgia! You can find them on insta at @crookedcreekfarmanddairy, although they don’t have wifi, so updates are irregular.

I’ve been so, so lucky (and I am so, so thankful) that Leah has let me run pretty much wild with (and project literally SO much on) this story. The town and Flying G’s are both formed out of the place I grew up, a 500-person town and the local businesses and people. The setting of the farm is more of a mashup between the 30 acres I grew up on in the Piedmont region of Georgia and some reference images and memories from the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The general vibe is: Community. This is a place tied together by its people through time, for better or worse. The townspeople are far from perfect, but the ones this story is populated by care deeply for the place and each other. This is a hopeful story that toes the line between “small towns are difficult for queer people” and “queer stories don’t have to be super good or super bad.” This is a story about what I want.