My latest story finds me exploring a Coca-Cola Collectors convention, trying to explain why I, like the people I meet in the story, have chosen to collect Coke mementos. Unlike most stories, where I am typically trying to discover something about the outside world, this story finds me attempting to discover something about myself, as well.
I found an interesting cast of characters who all seemed to be challenged at making the reason behind their hobby clear. And the more we talked about it, the less we were actually moving toward the point. What I wrote was the product of a late-night reflection, not an immediate a-ha moment during an interview.
And that explains the headline (which I didn’t come up with or even immediately recognize as appropriate), What We Think About When We Think About Coke. It is a play off of Raymond Carver’s “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love,” a short story that explores just how insufficient words and labels are when discussing matters of the heart.
That’s why fiction works so much more often to explore those concepts. The inner workings of a person aren’t meant to be explained. They can only be shown and interpreted, filtered through a writer and readers and their own inner workings. And thus, I have written a rare first-person story.