Wednesday, March 24


Sometimes at work I daydream about being a writer. One side of my brain listens to the endless drink orders and my hands do what they've been trained to, staying busy, utilizing every second to make the highest quality beverage in the shortest amount of time. Meanwhile the other side is just as busy, fantasizing about story lines, dialogue, punctuation, and paragraph structure. I think about parenthetical asides (and how much I love them), what colloquialisms are appropriate, and how I can play with words to make a broken sentence feel right.

I have a pen name. A secret identity. I write novels and short stories that cut straight to people's hearts and make them break down and weep. I uplift the spirits of the population without feeding them lies or nostalgia. No one knows what I do. I get a check in the mail every other week. This cappuccino feels like a latte. I need to remake it.

I don't go to functions. Functions are a waste of time. Functions are not conducive to maintaining my secret identity. My secret identity is very important to me. I write at home, wrapped up in the warm glow of the lights and the soothing music. I write about fictional characters, but the fictional characters are always me, or someone I know well. Probably both. Why is this syrup here? This is the wrong syrup for this spot. This syrup being in the wrong spot infuriates me. Everyone should know that I would be mad if this syrup is in the wrong spot.

My characters have the same flaws as I do. My characters do the things that I am afraid of. My characters develop when they do the things that I am afraid of. I wonder if writing about my characters with my flaws doing the things that I am afraid of develops me. I wonder if I am developing at all. Someone is rubbing my back and talking to me, but I am not listening. I am reading my fan mail. The fan mail that arrives in large burlap sacks and the envelopes spill out over the top and land in piles on the floor. I have so many fans. So many people who appreciate my characters. My characters who are really me. They hate who I want them to hate. They cheer for the protagonist. The protagonist who is actually me. They are heartbroken when he fails. I am glad to read about their broken hearts, because their broken hearts are breaking for me. I am out of milk. Don't they know that I hate it when I run out of milk? Why don't they get me more milk? I am in no mood to go and get my own milk right now.

I think about words some more. Good words; like aggregate, immerse, feign, and hope. Bad words; like alot, irregardless, supposed, and kitty. And funny words; like sneeze, smack, gumption, and monkey. I think about words that don't always mean the same thing; like happy, and trust. I think about the rules that I will adhere to. I think about how funny characters aren't allowed to cry, and how the antagonist is not allowed to cry, and how the protagonist is really the only one allowed to cry, except maybe no one should be crying, or maybe everyone should just sneeze instead of crying, and how maybe everyone including the protagonist sneezing when they should be crying could be symbolic. People are getting frustrated with me because I am not talking to them. I fake laughter at everything anyone says to make them feel better. This seems to work. I am really good at faking laughter. Feigning laughter.

I think about the book. I imagine the font. The feeling of the sweep of the letters. The stability of the noble serif, and the modern clean lines of the sans serif. I think about the weight of the ink on the page, and the smell of the glue on the binding. I come up with possible cover art, but I dismiss it as mediocre. I construct titles. I become a title architect. Singular and defiant. Or vague and drawn out. Maybe a singular title with a drawn out subtitle. I decide "Coast: The telling of the story of the man who heard the story that changed the world one Tuesday" is sufficient. I assign a theme to this title. I write the novel that defines my career for this title. I reveal to the world and my friends my secret identity because of the recognition I have recieved for writing the novel of my career for this title. I am loved by everyone. I have a fan club. I go to a function. At the function I receive an award. I speak at a commencement ceremony function. I take a 10 minute break.

I go home early. I watch TV. I make some tea and put on soothing music. I close the window blinds and turn on the warm lamps. I clean my room and put on comfortable pants. I sit down at my laptop and turn off the internet, to remove any distractions. I clean my room some more, to remove any distractions. I open the program on my laptop where I am to write my first novel. I turn my phone off, to remove any distractions. I will publish my first novel with a secret identity. I decide to come up with my secret identity later, to remove any distractions. The space is serene. My mind is focused. I am ready to write. I am about to be a writer.

I watch the cursor blink for an hour before I turn off the soothing music and warm lights and go to sleep.

Sometimes at night I dream of being a writer.


Anonymous said...

why would anyone put the syrup in the wrong spot? good stuff Paul. we need to hang soon...

Teysha B said...

Irregardless of how much I like kitties (which is alot) I think I'm supposed to tell you how brilliant this is.

Anonymous said...

It does sound like you've just about made it. That was good stuff. Reminds me of my early writing days. I wanted to close in the garage, make a storage room, for all my fan mail. As it turns out a cigar box was more than adequate. Keep it up, I'm a fan already. Regards.

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