Today I wrote 750 words of story. I mean, it probably won’t pan out, and I know it is not very good, but the point is that I am starting somewhere, and I will find my way back.
I meant to tell you before the leaves changed colour. Then I meant to tell you before they all dropped to the ground. I had set these deadlines to tell you, that I was changing or had changed, much like the seasons. Then the first snow fell and got caught in my hair and your eyelashes. The ground was perfect with the shapes of long dead leaves just covered in a iridescent white.
I tried to bring a frosted maple leaf home, place it in the freezer. Two weeks later I swept its dead crumbs out with the same brush and dustpan that I use on the floors where the litter box is.
In a way, that explains why I didn’t tell you. The perfect crispness that fell to tiny pieces after too long out in the cold. But it only explains it in my tongue. To you, it is crumbs in a freezer, snow on the ground, and another change of seasons. To you, I have become like a stranger who does not know you, does not speak. Or won’t.
He expects the fresh air to rush in to the room, to fill his lungs, dust the thick ash from his hair and eyebrows. Instead, when he breaks a newsprint-covered pane with his only tie wrapped around his gnarled fist, the smoke begins swirling around his face and rushing out into the clean air. It forces him to return to wrenching at the wooden window frame.
He mind flashes to the time he watched a window shatter down in a wave of shards over his son. Oliver had been running through the mall, jumping down the patterned tiles and shouting. He had been letting him, because he was distracted and a little stoned. It was Sunday afternoon, and the night before, he had stayed up in the blue glare of the television drinking cheap wine. He had already shouted at Oliver. Stop running like that, damnit. Two blonde women with made up and exhausted eyes stared at him like he had just struck Oliver. He wanted to shout at them too, but it had hurt his ears to hear his own voice.
As he had finished this thought, this tiny thought, that couldn’t have taken a half a second to think, the sound of breaking glass cracked through his fog. It strikes him how each calamity no matter how thunderous the crash or high-pitched the wail seems completely silent for a little while. It it eerily quiet until sound swings through the air like a pendulum, returns to the fever pitch.
The goddamn unpredictability of accident. Now it is his turn, and he can feel the heat rising through his flattened, old slippers. He didn’t have enough time to think, but he had never been good under pressure. He hangs his head out the window, lolling from side to side, he can see the green leaves of spring through thick streams of smoke.
It is the first time he has seen spring, or breathed fresh air, in two years. It feels like a millennia living with his eyes closed. Even as he feels his vision begin to tunnel, he tries to cling to the glimpses of this great oak tree and its brilliant green leaves.
He cannot hear, see, or feel anything as he falls through the air. The weight of his whole self leaning against the window has caused the window frame to finally break. His fall is nothingness attained.
I was about to write a post complaining about how shitty it is when a short story is going really well, and then you suddenly realize that you aren’t entirely sure how to end it.
But then I figured out how to end it. Lucky me.
I have heard a bunch of discussion going around about the term “Mary Sue” — a term often used by reviewers to dismiss characters that they feel are too perfect, too awesome, and too favored by their author. Zoë Marriott gives a really good breakdown of its definition and a point-by-point analysis of the problematic way she’s been seeing it used over on her journal. I thought it was a really great post about a very overused term and made me consider the Mary Sue a bit more. Then Sarah Rees Brennan made a fantastic post about flawed characters and female identification with awesomeness and her call for flawsomeness.
Fantastic piece on the overuse and misogynistically overuse of the term “Mary Sue” in non-derivative works. Sadly, not even fictional females can get a break. What boils my blood is when the readers drag in the woman writers into the mess and rip them apart. Do we say that Aragorn was too perfect and Tolkien was writing a self-insert fantasy where everything revolved around him, and how Tolkien’s clothes look awful? No. So why do we go around making all these awful comments about the way, for example, J.K. Rowling dressed in so-and-so event? What does her (and any female writers’) wardrobe have anything to do with her writing? Let’s discuss the author’s writing, not her and not her female characters as though they are vermin that poisoned her stories.
Being a writer myself, this kind of mentality sickens and worries me.
Bicycling in the rain that day is a lot like every day of knowing you. I remain constant and determined, if a little pathetic. And you are the rain: apathetic, consuming, and unpredictable.
by Haruki Murakami
One beautiful April morning, on a narrow side street in Tokyo’s fashionable Harujuku neighborhood, I walked past the 100% perfect girl.
Tell you the truth, she’s not that good-looking. She doesn’t stand out in any way. Her clothes are nothing special. The back of her hair is…