from: Babe <email@example.com>
to: Gordon Flanders <firstname.lastname@example.org>
date: Thursday, Mar 24, 2016 at 9.30 AM
I wanted to take a long break from writing, where you don’t do it every day; instead you only write on a Tuesday when the crescent moon flies just so and then only a few lines, never letting the writing reach saturation. Because that’s the point, isn’t it? To build up a store of narratives, dam them until the concrete cracks and you know it won’t hold until two-thirty tomorrow. And when you give in, the shore disappears and water rushes inland in a single afternoon.
My neurologist gave up on me, did I tell you? My migraines are now managed by an acupuncturist from a country that no longer exists. I also bought myself a typewriter but I will never post an image of it because it is my secret weapon and it will lose its power if people see it.
Do you think it takes madness to write? This is an old question I realise. Still I want an answer. I am torn between creating and reaching some sort of peace with myself.
I know you haven’t gotten around to reading Bukowski so I’m throwing you this poem of his.
I want a mermaid
speaking about going crazy
I have been thinking about
but I can’t place them
properly in my
one problem that bothers
is where are their sexual
do they use toilet paper?
and can they stand
on their flipper
while frying bacon and
I’d like a mermaid
sometimes in the supermarket
I see crabs and baby
and I think, well,
I could feed her that.
but how would I pack her
around at the racetrack?
I get my things and then
push my cart to the
“how are you today?” she
“o.k.,” I say.
she has on a
a little cap
she rings up my
purchases. I know
where her sexual organs
are located as
I look out the
plate glass window
Maybe the question I’m really asking is: am I mad? No, don’t answer that.
On 11 Mar 2016 2:07 PM, “Gordon Flanders” <email@example.com> wrote:
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.