It’s hard to make out what language they’re speaking. At first glance I think they might be Italian. But as I eavesdrop further, take them in from behind my hopefully opaque-enough sunglasses, I realize I’m mistaken. None of the…
I am always trying to figure people out. I want to understand why we do what we do, why we are how we are. It’s a curiosity but also a survival mechanism of sorts. Know what you’re dealing with, get the lay of the land and maybe some answers.
Obviously, the personal histories, interior details, and long-held secrets of any given person aren’t always readily available. So, we take whatever clues and evidence are at our disposal to come to conclusions or use our imaginations to make them up. This story, “Yo Te Veo,” is born from that seed of motivation. This intrigue with human nature fuels most of what I write. Homo sapiens, we can be anything.
Along with all of that, this story is about being seen and seeing, coupled with the desire to connect and communicate, and the obstacles we come up against along the way. This is definitely a reoccurring theme in my writing. How we express ourselves, the hurdles of language, misunderstandings, assumptions, things left unsaid, things that shouldn’t be said but are, lies—or, as a character I’m thinking about might frame it, embellishments—and telling people what they want to hear. Throw in a little baggage from the past and it’s a wonder we ever get to know each other at all. My stories may not fall into the over-the-top, plot-twist category but they do have complications. Internal struggles tend to be quiet. Until they aren’t.
A really fun project was born from this story. In early versions I had a flashback scene. The main character recalled another time, in a similar setting, where a certain thing happened that then colored her vision for how things might go this time. It became clear that removing the flashback from this piece would benefit the story. So, I did. But I didn’t kill this darling, instead I honed and made it into its own story, narrating from a different point of view, and voilà, one became two.
This happy divergence got me thinking about linking stories either by character, setting, or theme using an aspect of a story to prompt and start a new one. Now I have a series of stories, that stand alone but also inform each other, however subtly or overtly, with the aim of building a collection.
I worked on “Yo Te Veo” on and off for a few years. Characters morphed, got quiet, shined through, made me laugh. Overall concerns and themes lurked in the depths below, then breached the surface. There were moments I wasn’t sure I would get it to where I wanted it to be. But time, feedback and encouragement from others, and letting the story breathe and settle gave it the chance to say what it wanted and needed to say.
RACHEL POLLON is a writer from Los Angeles via the San Fernando Valley. Before getting down to it and focusing on the writing, she worked in both the music and television industries. Her short stories, humor pieces, and poetry have been published in The Coachella Review, The Nervous Breakdown, The Rumpus, and The Weeklings. Other works were included in The Beautiful Anthology and Teen Girls’ Comedic Monologues That Are Actually Funny. She is @RachPo on Twitter and @rachpowills on Instagram. Her website is SeismicDrift.com.