Friday, May 07, 2010

7. Difficult Whys

We are standing on the beach.
'What time is it?’ asks Charlie.
I check my watch. ‘It’s three thirty.’


Not long ago, I heard about a novel that was written all in questions. I thought, why? Why can’t I write a novel all in questions? Why can I not write sideways or through tunnels?

I decided to write a novel quickly. I’d write it in two minutes. I felt excited. If this took off! The two-minute novel! I’d write hundreds of them. Maybe thousands.

I would let it write itself. That novel all in questions surely wrote itself, questioned itself into existence. You never need the answers if you only write in questions, and the same must be true if you write quickly.

So I wrote this novel while I brushed my teeth. Here it is:

If I had a peach there would be two of us.
I’m a man in my forties. I'm hanging white sheets on my cobwebbed clothesline, the pegs snapping from rust, and men, I’m thinking, have too much time to think. That’s their trouble.
What will happen next in this novel is, I’ll turn out to be arrogant, at large, a criminal. I’ll be a little mad. I'll lean into the wind. And I’ll have many interests, for the metaphors.
I’ll be somewhat effete, selfish, self-satisfied, complaining, somebody who likes to eat food, but ultimately, I’ll be likeable.
Sometimes I’ll surprise you with restraint and/or dignity. I’ll speak about men, and their trouble, with conviction. Sometimes I’ll speak about my author, too, about Jaclyn — or Jaci if I’m in a casual mood — and I’ll speak of her with tenderness when I do. I’ll speak of her in a soft, soft voice, for she is bruised, at the moment, bruised as an apple that has fallen from a shopping bag and tumbled helter-skelter down the street.
I suspect I couldn't sail, even if I tried — but if I had a peach there would be two of us. Me, and the peach.


Years ago, I wrote a short story and I told a friend that I’d written a short story but it’s bad, I said, it’s terrible.
That’s good, he said. Which surprised me.
It’s out now, he explained. It was in your mind there, clogging up your mind, so now that it’s out, you can write a masterpiece.
Thanks, I said.


We are walking up the hill in the dark. Charlie is wearing his green jacket. It’s a simple green jacket with a hood, and the number 8 on the front.

‘And one day I’ll go to a party,’ he is saying, ‘and I’ll wear this jacket, won't I?!’
‘And I’ll put the hood on and everyone will think that I’m a giant squid, won't they?!’
‘They sure will!’


Blogger Ellen Osborne said...

J, I think Charlie is a tiny genius.

I like your shorty short story. I think peachy is the only word I can think of to describe it.

Keep up the wonderful May vibes you're sending out.

E. :)

P.s. I think i love blogger word verification. "bingehy"?!

9:43 PM  
Blogger Elleira said...

My favourite-est part is this:

"I’ll speak of her in a soft, soft voice, for she is bruised, at the moment, bruised as an apple that has fallen from a shopping bag and tumbled helter-skelter down the street. "

It really embodies how I 'm feeling about one of my good friends right now. I don't think she's my good friend anymore now, though.. :(

On a happier note, I'm starting to eat apples! :) I used to dislike them. My mum always used to say things like "An apple a day keeps the doctor away!" And often replace 'doctor' with 'the devil'.

Do you tell Charlie the 'apple a day' thing too?

10:49 PM  
Anonymous Sarah J said...

He is adorable and so smart like his mother.

Your stories just make me sit back with my eyes closed with a little smile on my face.

It is so cold tonight (well, it is in Brisbane).
Hope you and Charlie are keeping warm all snuggled up! :D

10:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sorry you are bruised.

9:18 PM  
Blogger Jaclyn Moriarty said...

Thanks, Ellen, I think he is a tiny genius too, and maybe we should write poetry using blogger word verification. They often seem to me to be very lively words.

Elleira, that is so sad that you are feeling that way, and I wish that you and your good friend could be good friends again somehow. However, I am glad that you are eating apples. I have always felt proud when eating apples, thinking of the 'apple a day' thing, but recently wondered if that might have been a slogan developed by the apple industry.

Sarah J, thank you, and yeah, it's cold here too, Charlie said over and over tonight that he was cold, but then he asked 'what does cold mean?' and kicked off all his blankets.

And anonymous, that is kind of you. But today I am very happy, and I hope you are too.

9:46 PM  

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