I left the apartment in the afternoon and trudged, blinking at the clouds, toward Bauhaus. I ran into an aquaintance at the stoplight on Broadway. She was hiding under a black hooded-sweatshirt and we chatted about unemployment and retread our recurring, “Have you seen Sara lately?” conversation. We said good-bye outside Bauhaus and, not knowing what else to do I guess she held out her freckled hand to shake.
It was unusually crowded, so I wedged myself into the unclaimed counter seat between two little groups and cracked open the collection of John Buchan short stories that I’ve been almost finished with for weeks. After her friend left, the girl to my right got chatty. She was approaching the end of her second cup of coffee and was probably considering a third.
What would you do, if you could do anything?
I don’t know, he hesitated then repeated, I don’t know.
His eyes were dim with concentration and defeat.
We were stunned into a painful silence as we absorbed the hopelessness of his words.
I mean I really think I could do anything if I wanted. I just don’t know what, he continued hopefully.
And despite his unconfident manner – despite his unconfident answers, I think the self-assuredness of “I could do anything” was genuine. But I have to weigh that against the way he joined “anything” with “if I wanted”. What does that mean exactly? He doesn’t like anything? He doesn’t like everything?
Throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, landowners forced thousands of people off their land to make way for sheep grazing. In 1845, a group of people in Glen Calvie were evicted and ended up staying their first night in the yard of Croick Kirk. They carved their names and messages in one of the church windows.
I had a brief panic when I saw this episode of Newsradio recently:
Originally aired 9/25/96
Dave (Dave Foley) has his hands full when Matthew (Andy Dick), feeling neglected at work, becomes obsessed with the worker bee comic strip character “Dilbert” and quits his job at WNYX to work at a coffee house.
I thought that I might have lifted this idea for a silly little comic strip I sketched out way back when. That wouldn’t be so bad, except that I’ve based the beginning of my silly little novel on that comic.
A quick check though, finds that I drew the comic seven months before the episode aired. So I’m not guilty of plagiarism. I’m just guilty of recycling an old idea that wasn’t even very fresh when it was fresh.
Things borrowed from me and not returned:
- red Goretex jacket (Scott)
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Scott)
- David Byrne – The Forest CD (Eventually replaced) (Sarah)
Things I’ve borrowed and not returned:
- 25 cents (Wayne)
- VCR tape of last year’s seadon finale of ER with a label on it that says “Boston Public” (Kreg and Adriana)
- television (Chris)
I was getting my tea at Cafe Vita and across the room I saw someone I used to work with. I went over and said, “Hey Faulkner.” He glared up at me and I realized it wasn’t him. “Oh, I’m sorry. I thought you were someone else.” On the way upstairs I realized that he probably thought I’d said, “Hey fucker!”
A man in a green winter jacket and matching baseball cap hops up the stairs and looks around. He walks up to a girl sitting in the window. “Excuse me. Do you know what time it is?” She answers. “Okay. I’d better get going.” He makes for the stairs. At the top step he pauses, turns back to the room, and yells out, “Bye everyone!”
Five truths & five lies about The Novel:
The first day’s writing ends with the phrase “fax machine”.
After yesterday’s particularly productive writing session I’ve been able to continue with no loss of momentum.
I’m using material from a comic strip I sketched out in 1996 as a springboard.
The afore mentioned recycled concept is as timely today as it was five years ago.
Adam Sandler is mentioned on the first page.
The second most used noun is “meeting”.
I often type my own name when I mean to type my protagonist’s name.
Elves are used whenever possible.
Excluding tenses of “to be” and “have”, “read” is the most frequently used verb.
The most frequently used adjective is “slap-happy”.
“I wonder if they call each other ahead of time and coordinate their outfits? Did you see this? Colin Powell and the Russian guy are wearing the same suits and ties. Oh, no they aren’t. Powell is wearing a double-breasted suit.”