I'm sure others have said this many times before, and much better, but I'm a bit slow and it has only just occurred to me.
I'm trying to select stories for my forthcoming collection and since they are all themed, and they all interact with one another in a way (in my mind, at least), the running order is absolutely critical.
And it came to me that this collection is like an LP. The stories that I'm happiest with as stand-alone stories - the ones I've submitted, entered in competitions, etc. - they're the singles. The others, the ones I'm still happy with but feel they need to be read in their correct place, feeding backwards or forwards into others, setting up resonances and contradictions... they're the album tracks of course. They don't need to stand alone; in fact they shouldn't. For one thing, they can provide some interesting shading for the so-called stand-alones. And, sometimes, they benefit from a bit more freedom, not having to carry the weight of expectations that a stand-alone story might.
Often my favourite track on an album has not been one of the obvious ones. Or if not strictly my favourite then the one I come back to time after time, perhaps because - informed by and informing the others - it's both perfect in its proper place and beautifully fragile as an orphan. I'm thinking Teenage Wildlife on Scary Monsters, although there all comparison with the ever inspiring and sorely missed David Bowie will have to end.
So, you know, I feel a bit reassured, a bit more hopeful.
Although I still can't decide on the right listing...
I've been writing for as long as I can remember (I think my first letter was a P). I got a degree writing about other people's writing and ever since then I've earned a living writing commercially, one way or another. But I never stopped writing and refining my own stuff. I just didn't do anything with it, until now.