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(looking for) the heartbreaker

It has been more than two months sitting at the little white table in the living room, writing. Pushing out pages, fixing these pages, living with these pages then waking up and chewing them apart again, then adding on a new section. It is a mill, grinding the raw ideas down to a fine powder that may somehow rise and become bread. Or it may not. So many thoughts begin with "what if". What if they get stuck in an old elevator? What if she is not home when they come the first time? What if she is coming back from the market and passes them on the stairs? What if the driver is older? Or younger? What if his brother shows up instead? The questions are greater than the results on the page, the dialogue is whittled down to nubs of something recognizable.

There are cold cups of coffee, emails that go unanswered. The light comes and goes, and most of the work is done in the dark in more ways than one. Cooking dinner helps. Playing some guitar helps. If you are not careful you forge…

the white square

It may be a form of going to church. Shouldered by the humble, there must be a flaw followed by a confession, then a naked stare. There is no room for ego and boasting in this corner of the world. Just the offering, the thin pile of pages that grows in spurts. The marks of blue ink, the subtle changes, the swooping corrections, the reprinting of those same pages now growing like a forest of saplings.

I dreamt of a great room to write in since I was a young man, a perfect replica of Frank Lloyd Wright's office, the one on display at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. How many times have I leaned against the rope across its entrance. smelling the old wood, the ancient carpet, marvelling at the low light and the expanses of wood. Ah, what books could be written in a room like this! What pages of insight and pain, of soulful revelations.

Instead, there is a fold-up table from Ikea. It goes out on the balcony when I am not working to save space. It is small, the surface already scratched, with legs that wobble under the weight of my elbows. It all happens on this tiny white square, the building of worlds, a telescope pointing back towards the earth not at the stars, looking hard at the actions of lost people, witnessing their wrestling matches.


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