This originally appeared in the Left Hand Valley Courier
American fiction writer Lorrie Moore said, “A short story is a love affair; a novel is a marriage. A short story is a photograph; a novel is a film.”
While Niwot resident Gabriel Merithew’s ultimate goal is to write and direct a feature film, this past November he said, “I decided to put aside the novel I’m writing so that eventually, I would be able to do it justice. I had reconnected with a good friend Emma Schaefer [who did a 30-day songwriting challenge] and I was very quick to use that to create my own 30-day challenge,” explained Merithew.
His self-imposed rules boiled down to this: a story had to be created and written on the same day.
He said the writing process was an interesting one–there were days where stories just came to him, but on others, he’d sit staring at his computer, waiting for inspiration to hit. “On a particularly challenging day, I went and sat on a bench at Coot Lake with a notebook ready in my lap. I told myself to not feel discouraged, and by the time I got back, I had an idea I was incredibly excited about, it became one of, if not, my favorite of the month.”
While he did have a six-day series of children’s stories, a number of them fell within his favorite genre of dark comedy. He said his creative writing journey began in a high school history class, where, instead of writing down notes, he wrote poetry and short stories.
“My passion lies in storytelling. It is of the utmost importance to keep chasing the next story,” he said.
Merithew shared some stories with friends and families as they were written and has been posting the stories on his personal site as well as wattpad, a site that aims to connect readers with writers in a community-centric setting. He also plans to have his series of six children’s stories illustrated and published.
“In the past, I’ve struggled with the endgame, but completing this challenge was proof to myself that I can not just start but finish these stories.”
It’s a good thing too that he did finish this challenge. Merithew writes in a delightfully odd style: full of twists and turns; switching between past, future and perhaps some sort of alternate present. Some of his stories do have some swearing, but other than that, none that are currently on his site are particularly gruesome or inappropriate. In fact, they are reminiscent of the slightly scarier stories from the Brothers Grimm, or the weirder Twilight Zone episodes.
Based on his 30-day challenge, Merithew is a talented author with a bright future ahead of him. To read some of his stories, you can access them at https://www.gabrielmerithew.com.