Sunday, March 05, 2006

It's not enlightenment but it will have to do for now

Looking out to see if the real world is still there: A man in a black knit toque limps slowly towards a van the color of taupe dipped in milk. He is carrying a white plastic bundle under his arm. Two blurred shapes are posted at the bus stop – one in a red jacket. I don’t have my glasses on, so details, like whether or not they have facial features, are unavailable. A seagull stands sentinel on the roof of the building twin to mine. In the air, they are shining miracles – majestic and breath-taking. Standing still, they are a last minute thought of the Almighty. Oh. They’ll need something to prop them up when they land. Hand me those sticks. Never mind. Put them anywhere. About the middle. Do I have to do everything Myself?

I have spent the better part of the weekend writing fiction. I am not, generally speaking, a fiction writer, and I may suck at it very badly, but it’s an oddly engrossing occupation. Dangerous too. I find myself growing more omnipotent by the word. My character, the narrator, can be anyone or anything. And seeing that she is me, without the annoying restrictions of an actual life, I consider making her life heaven and then smiting her with bad skin, and a mother in the mold of Olivia Soprano. Plagues of locusts, rains of toads. Poor thing. It can’t be helped though. No one wants to read about anyone’s perfect life. It gives rise to homicidal feelings of envy and resentment. Be honest with yourself.

I could be a fictional man. Whoa. A
man! Now there’s an idea. Think of the money I’d have saved on therapy and divorce proceedings over the years if I’d been able to gender-bend myself halfway realistically into the head of a fictional man! Think of the men who could have avoided all that suffering!

Why, you may (or may not) ask yourselves, am I suddenly writing fiction?

Because of this blog.

Because I have begun to feel that now and then, writing
true stories, someone out there is taking from it a message I don’t intend. Now this means that I’m a really crappy writer or that reading 700 words about someone’s life doesn’t actually give you a clue about the overall picture, or it means we all look through our own life experience.

( Please, those of you I actually talk to – do not take these 406 -to this point- words, to mean that I’m talking about you. I’m talking here and there. Not the comments that make me think constructively, but the comments that make me go back and reread. Did I say that? I didn’t think I said
that. In honesty, I think I return the favor on other bloggers' pages, typing the secret code, hitting "publish" before I question whether the writer will recognize that I'm joking, or understand my hamfisted remarks as heartfelt empathy.)

On the proverbial other hand, writing all weekend has demonstrated an indisputable truth: I spend a lot of time as a fictional character. Writing as myself, whoever the hell that is, hour to hour, I'm a fictional character on the internet. Might as well let go of little drawbacks like age, place and personal history and be completely fictional. My character's skin fits as well, or better, than my skin – in spite of the fact that I’m dreaming it all up and smiting her with great glee and lots of adjectives. I even envy her a little. And she’s no Paris Hilton. (That’s a joke. Please. It’s
just a joke.)

Minute to minute, day to day, month to year to decade – life shifts and changes like weather. Today’s virtue is tomorrow’s fatal flaw. Tomorrow's goal is the next day's Very Bad Plan. And of course, for all of us, there are days and events that mark "before" and "after" in our lives. We are, none of us, who we think we are. Not really.So I might as well write fiction.

Love to all. From all of us.