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Sunday Stories: he

He flat out forgot what he wanted to write about. The only thought that came to him was that ‘flat out forgot’ had quite a nice ring to it but that ‘that ‘flat out forgot’ had a quite nice ring to it’ didn’t (have a nice ring to it). That thought was disappointing he thought. “Keep it simple!”, so he was told; and he wondered whether that was what they said to his son’s friend, who killed himself the other day. It must have gone splash. That would have been simple enough, comic book simple. Not that it wasn’t well meant advise or anything. He was sure it was even good advise. Like ‘show, don’t tell’ which he got from some literary agent website advertising master classes for aspiring writers. He was an aspiring writer but he didn’t want to be taught, let alone recognize a master.

Maybe they both overcomplicated things. Maybe only one of them recognized it was due to aspirations that they couldn’t possibly fulfill. He felt like a one armed pole vaulter but he knew this was just complex self-deception covering up simple self-deception. Diversion was needed. Like when you are in a moving vehicle and you wonder what the person living over yonder in that house beyond the grazing cows is feeling like. She could have talent without aspiration. It was easy for him to fall in love with her because shelooked smoking hot and they could make it last putting his aspiration to work on her talent and her simplicity to cure his complexity. Or so he thought. Then he realized it was too simple. She wasn’t going to take his sexist take on relationships lying down. She didn’t need to be loved (emphasis on subject of sentence; if necessary, read again). If there was a need for a truly global party aiming at giving each and everybody the chance to live decadently, without any compulsion to work, or strive to have stuff that was not readily available, she was fine with it as long as she didn’t have to devote herself to the cause. In fact, the only thing she vehemently avoided was to be combined as subject in an active sentence with causes or devotions. Activism not only scared her but it made her physically unwell. Engaging was something she did with him and that was more than enough.

She was perfectly fine not being listened to. There were occasional doubts for sure (and it didn’t help that he tried to make a deal out of it) but, all in all, these vanished as soon as she pictured herself having success. He on the other hand didn’t vanish nor would she have wanted him to vanish. A truce needed to be called. He resigned to his inner necessity of trying to change the world whilst minimally interacting with it, she being his main contact point.

She never really read what he wrote, which was to be expected because he didn’t like readers in general. Self-loathing is something you can live with. He had himself as proof for that. Living with somebody you don’t like on the other hand was unthinkable for him. The little she read she found too explicit, over the top and overly grandiose. She said so and he knew she meant it. He agreed. ‘Readers,’ he thought whilst thinking, ‘want something on which they can coast along, something like a roller-coaster, or …’ and then he stopped thinking whilst thinking because, to be honest, it hurt to realize that even this metaphor would have to remain unfinished or become totally ridiculous. He couldn’t even re-read his stuff. This one time when he did the painful pruning thing people say great writers go through in order to produce the evidence of their greatness, he felt pain all right but he couldn’t make sense of what the point of such pruning could be. To make it lighter?

He felt heavy realizing that he wrote a lot now and that he started it all with a lie,, just because he thought ‘flat out forgot’ had a nice ring to it. He paused. It was too late to kill himself now. He was committed. He had a son.

Also, he loved her and she loved him. Although that would never be enough, she was something else.

Turns out it works either way. Well, ‘works’ is saying a lot. It passes time not unpleasantly.

‘It is as it is’, is what he learned from her. She was his master and he her bad student.


November 27, 2011 - Posted by | Solidarity, Sunday Stories | ,


  1. a nice story, GN, just i don’t like her in there one bit cz firstly, it’s like so accepted literally and literary that a woman should be smoking hot to be loved easy by someone, without that quality she’s considered like not worthy of being someone’s passion/paramour/or just a protagonist’s love interest, i recall when i saw Musil’s wife’s image she looked just an ordinary woman and that was nice, though what to do, maybe that should be like that cz one’s face is that, the largest part, biologically, to attract the opposite sex in humans, like some musk in animals or something
    secondly, she seems to be someone so self-absorbed to refuse to do anything, to be a subject, huh? it’s enough for her to be on someone’s pedestal and be worshipped, meanwhile reproaching that attitude as sexist to that, so the poor guy is already like destined to unhappiness, it becomes a depressing read from there, else i am afraid the woman could unsubject herself from attentions to her own future offspring, a very common trait in beautiful self-absorbed women or maybe you meant an object and her objection to being an object of his devotion could be then all that, legitimate and be like some kind of counteraction to not only his but all other people’s reactions to her appearance
    but sure, you meant what you meant and if i’m not interested in the people i read about in a book i usually drop reading the book, that happened with Musil’s novel for me, couldn’t read past his annoying women, then i realized maybe it’s not that the women in the book are too annoying, but that that he’s that, misogynist to depict them that way

    Comment by read | November 27, 2011

  2. I might react the way he would react, by pointing out you misread it (no pun intended). She’s fine. He’s an ass for making her up the way he does.

    Instead I will defend Musil. Sure, on the average he made up some horrible women but if read with care (sorry again) he makes a couple of excellent ones as well. The problem is that their excellence lies in what we are led to believe is awful decadence. And – at least he started to give men the justice of being depicted as what we are on the average, weak and inconsistent. Maybe over a 100 years or so people will finally accept that good & bad need to be reversed, that being passive is the moral stance.

    Comment by Guido Nius | November 27, 2011

  3. i brought up Musil cz his short story? or maybe it was from his diaries, about being in fever is the best how one can write about one’s relationship imho
    being passive as one’s choice is fine, for men especially i guess, but women need to be pro-active in this world at least in giving their love and care to their loved ones, i would dread if women multiplied as selfish, weak, inconsistent, as centuries passed being them considered weak and always needing someone’s protection or worship, but it’s like the law of nature maybe weak but beautiful women attract all the “worthy’ males and vice versa, or self-sufficient women do not need men or “expel” them by their independence or settle on the “lesser” to them bc there might be just lack of their external beauty to attract otherwise so that’s how nature balances out her gifts and how self-selection or just general species propagation work maybe
    i just think saying from the first description about her being smoking hot you risk your readers would see her as someone who might be shallow and self-centered to lose their interest in her, and i don’t see how she is fine without his building her up, just bc of her smoking hotness? cz all other her description sounds that, like, repelling, if you consider a male protagonist and say something about his looks from the first sentence, i would react the same way and that would have been like one sentence closer to my stopping to read the book as unworthy of one’s time
    not your story sure, sorry, it’s exciting i guess to talk to someone creating actually something

    Comment by read | November 27, 2011

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