I've been sorting through my critique notes for these dissertation stories, and I just threw out all the comments on "Season of Marriage". I ought to feel bad about it -- at some point, years and years ago, people took the time to comment on this story, because I asked them to, because I was thinking of revising it. And now all their work, just tossed. But it was the right thing to do -- "Season" was the second story I ever wrote, and to try to revise it, so that it would mesh at the same level with the others in the collection -- it just wouldn't work. If I need another Raji/Vivek story, I'll write another one, and if I have to, I'll just write that one over again, from scratch. I'd want to put so much more into it, if I were writing it now. Foreshadow what will happen in "Tightness", for example -- give more of Raji's history, so that the events of that story make more sense. And this is also an opportunity to really see Vivek, visually, and I don't make much use of that in the story, as is. And yes, I could do that in revising the story, but the new patches would be just that, patches -- my writing has changed enough over the last nine years of writing that it just wouldn't match up.
Strange. And hopeful, in a way. It's good to get reassurance, every once in a while, that my writing is getting better. Mostly I just trust that somehow it is, that it must be -- that the more I read and write and think about writing, the more it improves (heh -- I wrote 'approves' the first time, by mistake -- that's a nice idea too, that the writing might approve of being written...). I think that's true. But the incremenets of improvement are so small, so imperceptible, that mostly I can't see the process, and it takes something like this, comparing two stories from almost a decade apart, to reassure me that, yes, it works the way I hope it does.
I started writing fiction in 1993, started putting stories on the net. I don't know when that first post of "American Airlines Cockpit" to the newsgroups was -- I imagine someone could look it up. But sometime in '93, I think. So this is my tenth year as a writer; I've had ten years of working at it, off and on. So far, so good. I hope I get at least a few more decades to keep at it. I want to know what kind of fiction I'll be writing in 2043. I hope it's good. I hope some of you will still be reading it then.... :-)