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Wednesday 1/9/19

Of the new story. The story is to make two stories, "Dunedin" and "Done Eden," the second of which will use rewritten, recast portions of the first, blended with different events from a different time, both stories being autonomous and also linked, paradoxically, but rendered in such a way that if one read one of them, the conclusion would be made that the subject was treated definitively, only to then be presented with the other, and left quite agog/taken aback--and more open than prior--as to what definitiveness can be. I'm creating the works as works that challenge how we think we perceive. As if to say, You don't think as you think you think you do. This is something that I have been mapping out for some time. I must go no further for now, for I see--and I did not expect this--a third possibility. And perhaps, too, a fourth. I feel like I have discovered something new in my evolution. I must let it have some time in my head. I am very tired today, I do not know why, and I'm not doing a great job of starting things. I need some good news. I just simply need some good news. I should get some coffee.

Post-stroke I found my brother in a garbage dumpster about once a month. I treated this as an unofficial conscription of being fifteen. No stipend included, no parents told.

We didn’t know what had brought on his condition a year prior to the last time I found him in a dumpster in the spring of 1987 when we were going to Florida for the school break. He was jackhammering around on the floor of the room we shared in the middle of the night. His head sounded like a rabbit’s foot drumming against the baize-colored carpeting, like the rabbit had a bus to catch and was pissed that it was late. So I turned on the light, open to the possibility of a rude bunny prick tapping his watch. I had been dreaming about Sarah Claire at our school. She had rabbits. Lots of 4-H stuff, which was why I was mulling signing up.

But the spittle at the edges of Maxwell’s mouth made him look like a rabid otter the way he was contorting. No scut. And like he didn’t have a backbone. Or possessed an exceedingly pliable one, as otters do. I think I said “go, Max, go” even though I knew something was well past wrong and death could be here, actually in the room, maybe behind the bygone Darth Vader alarm clock we had retained for some reason. I said it to calm me.

Then I screamed when that didn’t work, a “Help!” that in my ears had more of the timbre you’d use when you screamed “Fire!” I wouldn’t have thought my dad would have known what to do. It was like he and my mom had done drills for this, the way we did reps at baseball practice. She broke for the phone, he pried open Maxwell’s jaws, got his finger in there, which started bleeding over the baize-colored carpet. “Keep breathing,” he said. Repeatedly, more calmly each time, until you could hear the ambulance men running up the stairs, upon which point our father got out of their light and their way like he was a piece of metal pulled to the powerful magnet that was the wall, where my mom was waiting for him to hold her up instead of relying on the subgrade.

I slept in the hospital on a cot next to my brother. I refused to go anywhere else. Partially because I was ashamed I had turned sessile before. Mostly because I considered his life more valuable than my own and thought this was the most protecting I could do, given the circumstances. It was like we had taken our slumber-time show on the road, or were doing a second set of the evening, only now there were spectators, because it’s not like grim-looking doctors walked into our room at night, though sometimes I had a dream about a female one who cupped my balls and said she wanted to try something.


It is several hours later now. I have had one of the breakthroughs of my artistic life. I can take something like the above block, and from it I can create any kind of story, altering the entire essence of things that mean definitively something where they are first situated, but then re-definitizing them elsewhere. I have learned to make a seemingly small change, in terms of effort, a massive change, a sea change, like you have mastery of elements, dominion over sunlight, weather, whatever it may be, but here they are characters, sounds, linguistic architectural forms, voice, colors, geometries. Doing this, I can create an entirely new work with my range, creating from adaptability where there seems no possible adaptability, because of the definitiveness. But just as I have established the latter, I can write my way beyond what would seem to be a law you can't get beyond. It is a matter of always being able to invent from anything, to be 100% original from any starting point (which can be anywhere, not principally a beginning), even that which you yourself wrought, or what was wrought from what you first wrought, and so on. So you have something both preexisting and definitively done, but also something else in a sense canceling out an existence and a reality in the making of a different dimension of a reality, but with the realities still fitting under the one reality. Like different reality chambers. I knew I was on to something with that planned diptych. The immediate upshot is that I have a new story 1400 word story called "That Night." My mind is buzzing. I will go to Starbucks for a steamed apple juice. Damn that is a big deal. I hadn't come this far before.


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