Every story I've ever written has begun with an impulse—two words put together, the feeling of missing someone, a stone in my hand. I like to feel the story expanding like dough rising in a warm room, or maybe like a cancer, over the course of many weeks. The most fertile place is also the darkest place, and it is the only place in the world where I never invite anybody.
I am lucky to be loved by very modest people. They are drag-me-by-the-ankles-back-down-to-the-dirt kinds of people. So when my mother and father ask to read my writing, I tell them, "I'll send it to you," and never ever do. When I write, I become a person who takes herself very seriously, who grabs at what is beautiful, who distorts and rearranges personal family histories; I fear that I become someone that my parents would perhaps not recognize or like. I've found that as I write, I slip into my most secret, most enchantable self, and that self is often a somewhat shameless performer. She pulls fire alarms and dives into lakes. She is a bit of stranger to me, and I like it that way; it's the only way that I can write words that carry me elsewhere, and it's the only way I can live fully within my own stories.
Perhaps my parents would notice every distortion. Perhaps my mother would say, "This is not the way you actually speak," and perhaps my father would say, "This is not the way you actually act," and I would not know how to explain to them that when I write, I get to be many people in many places all at once, that the place where writing grows is open land for miles and miles. So for now, I keep that place tucked away. For now, it's wrapped up nice and tight.