Mar 3, 2006

Words and space 1 and 2

He pushed the pushpin in. Through the paper, then the paint, and then the sheetrock, poking a pin hole holding the sheet to the wall. He looked at it and the words were there: on the paper on the wall, three paragraphs of indented words singly spaced. He put three pages up, at first, next to each other at eye level. Then he wrote another page and pinned it up too.

He wanted to look at them, he thought. Wanted to give them space and see them there when he walked by and he would stop and read them, editing commas in and out. He had a packet of pins, white heads, and the white went on white on white, all of it blending into white and words. He had 15 pages on the wall, up in three rows of five, when he took down the painting and photographs and the map. At the end of every page he'd stop and scan and print it and post it until the room was papered with pages covered with words. He pushed the furniture in off the wall and the pages went up sideways and up and down until he covered the wall and moved to the next wall and covered the room.

Words, he thought, are the only thing I've ever really been good at.

It'd all started to crowd. This crowd, this scene, this praise turned to a party lasting through the year. He didn't want to blame them though, because he knew it was his fault, that this is what he'd said he wanted. This crowd was why he'd come.

He'd started writing in the country, at home in what he called a garret but was basically just an upstairs bedroom. Come out, they'd said, they'd called him. But he couldn't really blame them because he'd been thinking all along that that's what he wanted to do. But now with the readings and the meetings and the lunches and the parties, all the words had been crowded out by noise. When he closed his eyes he could hear the television, he could hear the radio and the laugh track and applause and traffic, but he couldn't hear his story. So he left.

He left on a Tuesday. He left with a bag and the computer, without saying he was going or making arrangements for the paper delivery or the mail or the cat. He drove all day until he was tired and then he pulled into a Motel 6 and slept. When he woke up he wrote Do not disturb on the door and he sat and wrote. He ordered in pizza and chinese and he wrote for three days, until the delivery guys said hello again and then he settled his bill and left. Driving all day again until he was tired and then he stopped in Motel 6 like the last one and did it again. He made it through four states that way, and part way through the fifth. He made it through 100 pages and part way through the next hundred. And then it felt okay.

Original scenes from some poem I don't remember, Ira Glass' interview with David Sedaris in Paris, and Wouk's Youngblood Hawk.