We're at a little shop which sells little handmade tote bags somewhere in Melbourne.
Shop Lady: Oh, you really have goods eyes for picking up beautiful stuff! You must be an artist.
Me: Hmmm ... thank you. I'm not an artist but I'm a writer-in-practice.
Shop Lady: Sorry, a what?
Me (instant regret of my stupidity and wish I had told her what I did in my part-time job instead): Writer-in-practice as in I practice writing stories.
Shop Lady: Ah, I got you. So what do you write about?
Me (suddenly have the great urge to go to the lady's room): Strange tales like ghost stories, a bit of fantasy and horror. Hmmm, how much is this bag? I can't seem to find the price tag.
Shop Lady: Like Stephen King ... good on you! So can I get your book at Borders?
Me (I knew it!): I'm still writing one! I don't think I need another bag anyway you have a good day!
I walk out of the shop and begin to compose below in my head.
It is interesting to notice that whenever I tell people I write strange tales, people look at me as if I'm speaking Latin. O.K., maybe it's my fault to come up with such bizarre name for my writings. But it is how I see it. I don't want to pigeonhole myself as a fantasy, horror or any genre writer. Now, don't get me wrong here. I have nothing against genre writing but huge respect to them all. In fact, when I first started out writing, I had this vision of myself writing one of those big, fat literary fiction say like War and Peace. I tried but it didn't work out for all sorts of reason. Then as usual, life took over, I got detoured and only came back to writing a few years ago. Odd things happened - every story I wrote since then had something dark and / or gory in it. What do you do with it? I'd say you follow it. It's no point to resist your natural impulse. If I have a bend to the dark side, I bend even further. (IMPORTANT: The dark bend only applies to storytelling. I'm a good person. No, more than that, I'm a beautiful, fantastic and magnificent person!)
Now the other thing about my strange tales as shown in above conversation is the Stephen King analogy. Just because my story has a bit of blood and gut and I'm a writer of horror. If you ever read Mr. King's book, his writings cover lots of genre like horror, suspense, mystery, thriller, fantasy, SF and even non-ficitions. That's why I describe my stories as strange tales. It is all because of the strange things within the stories. Also I'm still learning my craft and developing my writing. Who knows what I'll become? ..... Back to Mr. King - I don't particular like or dislike his writings. I see him as a master storyteller and I'm reading his books mainly for learning purposes.
Writing to me is always about The Story. No matter what happens, the story should always come first. When I sit down to begin a new story, I always say this to myself:
"I'm not here to impress. I'm here to tell the story as truthfully as I could."
(I guess this turns out into a rant ... sorry!)
(BTW, I have decided that I don't want to become anyone or anything. I'm perfectly happy the way I am!)