The Forest

This is, without a doubt the best thing that I’ve ever written. It’s also the first time I wrote anything with a clear theme in my mind. (That’s not to say that my other stuff doesn’t have themes but I usually discover them in retrospect.)

As a missionary for the LDS church I had a companion who struggled with bipolar personality disorder followed by two companions that had clinical depression. Seeing first-hand what these emotional problems do to an individual — and experiencing what they do to those around them — changed me in some poignant and undefinable ways.

Now fast forward a couple of years to me taking a creative writing class at Albuquerque TVI. Our professor spent literal days lecturing us on how ‘genre’ cannot have any substance nor can it communicate anything of real value. Determined to prove her wrong I wrote this story as an allegory of depression.

My teacher told me that it sounded like Jorge Luis Borges — whom I had not heard of at the time. (I have read some Borge since then and I don’t see any similarities but I suppose she meant it as a compliment.)

A couple of members of the class who had depression told me that it felt so real to them that they wondered if the story was autobiographical. It is not — thankfully.

Let me know what you think.


4 thoughts on “The Forest”

  1. This is by far, one of the most emotionally powerful things you have written. I had read it before but it only seems stronger now. The allegory works and works extremely well.
    I have a question about the writing class. What genre does this fit into? Also, I’m not sure if you meant to say Victor Borge. Unless he is also an author I have not heard of, he was a very famous comedian/pianist.

  2. Maybe it’s because I knew is was analogous before reading it, but to me, it feels just that, not necessarily fitting into a genre.

    1. I think that’s why my teacher accepted it. She also saw it that way but containing fantasy elements which she had spent all semester telling us could not be used in a ‘real’ story.

      I think the reason I see it as both fantasy and literary in nature is that it never leaves the metaphor. The story consciously never drops out of the imagined reality and it is left for the reader to decide if it was real or imagined or merely allegorical. I, personally, see it as fantasy. It’s just a bit of fun. The other way of seeing it is left there on purpose.

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