Monday, June 26, 2006

The Easiest Things To Do, The Hardest Things To Say

Dear A,
The worst thing you can do, so they say, is start a letter with a cliché, but I have to: by the time you read this it'll be too late to stop the series of events that'll end with you walking into the kitchen, reaching across the smooth granite surface and removing the large carving knife from the walnut block. Will your hand tremble?

By now, you'll have concluded that it's my handwriting; the doctor's scrawl that no amount of detention could ever turn into an elegant, flowing script. Perhaps you'll nick the side of your hand with the knife? Maybe, right now, you're rinsing it under a tap - cold, of course - or sucking hard with your mouth to stem the flood of curses and blood? Even if you hadn't cut yourself, would you have lain the envelope on the solid oak table, simultaneously drawing a sharp breath that cuts not your hand but deep into your heart?

It's all questions, the answers to which I'll never be privy.

However, I can't ponder. There are things I need to get done, things I need to get written.

How I'm feeling, it's not something I can sweat out, cough up; it's innate, like the ability to suck air into lungs, to throw punches.

I think my mother saw it too. Like her, you'd always known it was there, buried somewhere beneath the brash - yet, brittle - skin of my personality. Once, a long time ago now, you'd said, "What, I wonder, is it? What is shrouded by that melancholic cloud?" Do you remember my reply? I do. The exact phrasing, the measure. What struck me was that my mother had said the same thing to me, as a child.

I was only nine. An insignificance, I thought, with my lazy eye, my cow's lick that made the hair on my head go punk, ten years too early. I didn't know that neither of you were reinforcing that notion. I'd been too young to understand. Even twenty years later I hadn't learned the lesson, I couldn't accept.

Of course, acceptance has never been my strong point. I've resolved to change that.

This letter is the beginning.

With love


purplesimon said...

A letter. I wanted to have it sound like one of those dire notes people hate to receive, perhaps a Dear John letter or a suicide note, but in the end have it twist into something positive.

I have spent a week trying to get that across, but it has never moved beyond what you read here.

I think this is because it's enough to get my point across. Whether it means the same to you as it does to me, well, I don't know. You'll have to tell me.

That's what comments are for.

purplesimon out...

Tanya said...

Well. NOthing like shifting gear. I love how your writing style - no matter what it is you're writing - has the ability to just yank the reader in and keep us mesmerised. At the end of reading your work I sit there, blinking, realising I was in a trance, but curiously, wanting more.

The piece sounds like an introduction to something bigger. Not sure what...

ginab said...

Hmm... the letter, the nearly oligatory letter, to 'A' (for?).

What mostly I find interesting is that as a reader I do not end up knowing what the confrontation is. Not that you have to name it at all, but by making 'S' particular--in language, in memories of certain incidents--the confrontation can become clear or apparent. Based on the one incident, e.g., the reader can sympathize and connect fully with the tone (of cool revenge?) and intent of 'S'.

I like the letter format. Not sure if we've talked about that already or not. Poets often write letters--from the earth to the sky, e.g. And so if your S could remind the A of something, what would it be? If S has a favorite food, what is it? Has he spilled it? If S has an affection for the movies, what kinds are his fave, what scenes, what actor(s), why?

hmmm. And so based on the answers and more, what would he say to A?

I'm just asking for more!

as ever,


ginab said...


It's interesting the way you have blogger set up. I guess you receive Email notifications of comments? Lazy bones me, I comment back on my own site or I do come in I have here!

I'm grateful for your own sake you have the mindset of an actual writer. Meaning, comments make sense. Three weeks is not a long time to spend on a piece, and then there's no required timeline. I have a story that's taken 15 years. I have another that took reasonably about thirty minutes. You can't know, but I know you know that you cannot know the pulse of a story dependent on hours spent scribing.

I think tho you need to know the S on the letter. The tone is there, but know his/her habits, what would rile that person; some instance that might seem nothing to anyone else or no, could mean a great deal. Perhaps A could at least feel reminded.

It's always great to start to write out characters as tho we're aware of their whole lives because this is the way writers gather them in a kind of boquet, work them into stories later, age them, and so on, as a story needs. I really like the tone in this letter. It suggests that you do know where the voice comes from.


lryicsgrl said...

Perhaps you'll nick the side of your hand with the knife? Maybe, right now, you're rinsing it under a tap - cold, of course - or sucking hard with your mouth to stem the flood of curses and blood?

Did I get deleted??? I am such a duntz, sometimes. I really should re-read before I comment.......

....."simultaneously drawing a sharp breath that cuts not your hand but deep into your heart?"

lryicsgrl said...

Yes, I liked these lines.
They give us insight into how S thinks A feels about him.......he thinks she would grab the knife, maybe cut herself, but his hopes that the sharp breath from her pain (his pain really) would cut her heart, almost more deeply then the superficial wound on her hand..he hopes that it would hurt her more....

So, I never heard of the Silver Jews??? (OT, I know, I know.....sheesh)
Tell me more ;)

ginab said...

wanted just to send a hello to you and yours, Simon.

and as you say, "over and out".

our best and on,

ginab said...

neat new mug!