from: Gordon Flanders <email@example.com>
to: Babe <firstname.lastname@example.org>
date: Fri, Mar 11, 2016 at 2:07 PM
subject: light in the eyes
Has it been three months? From now on I’m treating time like an animal skin. I’m going to stretch it tight over a dark hole and I’m going to pin it down with giant crucifixion-grade spikes.
A headache narrative might be worth no more than a dime, but that metaphor with the teapots and the tea bags is pure gold.
I’m trying to respond to your last letter but it’s been so long that you’ve probably moved on to new questions. Do you still find that the pain is speaking through you? Are you writing for yourself now that you have taken a break from blogging? Are you working on your novel?
I’ve been writing fiction every day for fifteen minutes for the last two weeks. It’s hard to do every day because some days I spend every waking hour at the restaurant, but I can always find fifteen minutes somewhere, on the train if necessary.
Yesterday, I actually finished an eleven thousand first draft of a fictional story, so today I started a new one. I start a lot of things. I just want to finish one thing.
The story is terrible in one sense, but then again I’ve stopped caring about that. I have been learning math these last few months and I got to thinking about literature as a whole. Sometimes I censor myself because I think that if I’m not writing something new and unique, there’s no point in writing it. But I realized that writing and reading fiction are worthwhile pursuits that don’t need to be connected to some larger field or discipline.
For instance, one might write down all humanity has learned about math in ten or twenty large volumes, but the distillation of literature cannot be written in words or drawn in diagrams.
I’m still working that out.
Today I am a robot built from lead with antique hinges for joints. I have turned my back on my heart and drowned out it’s weird shouting with breakup music and public radio podcasts. Apart from that incident with the train a few days ago, things are going well. But I find myself less able to write a good letter.
All the best,