I really felt middle-aged then. I wanted to write a story where something otherworldly happened, whether wonderful or terrible didn’t matter much to me, I just craved a sense that something unexpected might punctuate someone’s time. I failed. I sat staring blankly at all the empty space in front of me, chewed a finger nail then another. I wrote typed a word then backspaced over it, then another, another. No magic here.

I remembered a remark by Borges (and remembered that Borges references induce twinges in respectable readers in a way rivaled only by unnecessary self-awareness) about how he couldn’t write fiction at first. To get started he wrote reviews of books that didn’t exist. I decided I liked the idea of a first person piece from the perspective of someone who wanted to write a story and couldn’t. In the story the protagonist would sit missing a loved one away visiting family, sit in a too small bed in messy bedroom strewn with books and dirty laundry, lit by a too dim lamp, sit wearing an arm sling and a neck brace because of an injury too banal to narrate, sit typing on a laptop radiating an almost painful amount of heat from the bottom side, sit typing fitfully with little enthusiasm and less success until a rush of energy would swell in response to something like a setting and would wash through the fingertips which would hammer out one long run on sentence, a sentence never to reach real completion but only to come to a stop anti-climactically just before an equally unsatisfying ending.

The above is the last attempt at fiction writing I ever made. I fell asleep typing and dreamed of an angel weeping as she read over my shoulder. She kept repeating “this is His perfect creation? this is what he sent his son to die for?” Between sobs she stammered that she thought it particularly bad the way it presented an ambiguous religious image then just sort of stopped. She made me promise to save it as a reminder any time I felt an unsavory urge to rub words together. And to do this on the morning of Easter, for shame.

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