"A Mind's Eye" took a very long time to write, and was one story that I really struggled with. In 2013 I had just moved into Dunmore Lang College at Macquarie University in Sydney. As I found my feet there it was interesting just starting to note how things travelled around in such a small place; how someone would say something about someone else, and otherwise. I had honestly never been a big gossiper at school, I was pretty much out of the loop when it came to social aspects there. So instantly, it was kind of fascinating to watch.
As I delved into it more, I noticed an interesting trend: that there would be a social exclusion of one person from another, no matter if they were exes of if they used to be friends, if there was a focus around 'history'; and it wouldn't just be between two people, often friends wouldn't speak to each other simply because of this. It really reminded me of school, which in all honesty wasn't surprising at all considering most people had come straight from school.
Me, being the overthinker that I am, really wondered why people don't hang around other people? Was it awkward? Was it that they had past? Was that person an arsehole? What was the reason?
Eventually it raddled my brain and the only thing I got out of it was that it was ridiculously complicated. Still, it was really interesting, and so I wondered what would happen if I replicated it in a story?
I firstly drew up a scenario, who was involved with who, who was excluded, because every character had a story. I studied stories that had multiple angles on an event, most notably The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas. Finally, I settled upon a story about someone who is excluded by a group, and how one person who is in that groups decides to apologise.
The first draft for this story I wrote between December 2013 and February 2014 as a novella, then I left it for nearly 11 months, because I wasn't happy with it. It wasn't until January 2015 that I decided to bring to a one voice, first person narrative. I rewrote many times, trying some things out, like the girl at the restaurant, or approaching how the narrator talks to the excluded person at the end.
In a small twist of fate, that section of the narrator apologising to Bob would have been hard to write, except that I myself had to do a similar experience of apologising to someone in late 2013. The actual cathartic feeling I had following that was stranglely enlightening, so I noted it down for this story. The conclusion of the story ended up being very easy to write.
Overall, this was a story I grappled with for a hell of a long time, but I'm glad that this incarnation of it turned out. Always remember to use your minds eye!