Saturday, 21 June 2008

The Longest Day

It’s been ages since I wrote anything decent. By that I mean when words stack up into sentences and paragraphs and pages until the whole thing resembles to me something I could skin. I once watched my brother try to skin a frozen moose carcass that was hanging in our carport. The hide came off in pieces the size of quarters. He was at it for hours - I could almost feel his fingers going numb. Blue dead of winter, out in the cold to earn a few bucks. This kind of patchwork peeling represents most of my creative life. Now I am thinking of the grandiose slick sweep of final destruction, like the single pop and pull that releases the rabbit’s soft fur from its flesh.

If I could find the story. Somewhere. All I have is a moss garden of metaphor, so complex and inviting but sure to scratch you if you rub hard enough. Over and over again, one gluey image after another. And no characters. Not one. I keep waiting for the amiable but unfulfilled waiter to peek out from behind the door, or for the non-repentant sacred whore to roll over next to me, blow smoke in my ear. Please….come out come out wherever you are. I’m here. Fingers at the ready, so willing to peck you into life.

You see, if I had a character, the story could walk, it could move, go places, fuck and repent and live and die and do it all over again. But for me, nothing is really believable. Everything has a vague dream-like quality to it, so when people talk to me I am noticing the shape of their lips. I am particularly fascinated by the thin lips of some old men, the way their mouths seem determined to be sucked into their throats, like there is a funnel in there, slowly pulling their faces inside their skulls. I am so lost in the moment, so tossed in a salad of image and sensation, that I lose the story. I fail to keep up. The threads are missing and once again I am left with a pile of fragments.

I picture myself standing on the Charles Bridge in Prague, frantically rubbing my sleeve against the small space of polished brass, but not for luck. To set the frozen people free, and hope that they will choose to follow me home.

Maybe….maybe the characters don’t want me. Maybe they see me as a risk too great to take. I am one known for not finishing what she starts. Nothing worse that to be a half of someone. To grow a nervous twitch and a softness for child sponsorship adverts, but no particular way of dressing, no specific line on your skin where your jeans sit, just exposing your hips. And no real premise to go anywhere, do anything. You have no reason for living. And that is what I can’t give a character - a reason for being. Really - would you put yourself in my hands? Would you take that risk?

Still I’m asking. But you have to tell me where to take you and why you want to go there. Because I’m telling you, I don’t know. I can’t help you. What I can do is make the process of your life feel like a metaphor for something you can’t quite understand. May sound like a curse, but there is something explosive and divine about it, trust me. So what do you say…


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