Since I first began trying to work professionally, I've always defined myself as a short story writer. The novelist angle has unfolded slowly, but it still feels new. The more I do in novels, the more I compromise my short story work. I have no Year's Best appearances this year for the first time in a while, for example. (I am petty enough that this bothers me.) The sheer irrational exuberance of playing in the short form without any market expectations is a rare treat rather than a weekly pleasure.
Am I complaining? Um, no. I no haz teh stoopid. But just like career progress means trading up to a better class of problems, it also means trading away some of your mainstays. The key here is trade — the pleasures of book length fiction are much clearer to me now. The little squee at a quiet invitation to an upcoming project hasn't faded.
This is a funny journey. Sometimes I find myself regretting the oddest things. Like inventory depletion.