Friday, March 30, 2007

PM 1: Vocation

My name is Peter MacLeinn.

I have tried several times to tell my story... never with anything remotely approaching success and I very much fear that this time will be no more successful than any of the other attempts. If I just tell it perhaps... well then maybe I can get through it.

I want to tell it, I need to tell it, but though its my story and God knows its full of everything that should make a story exciting, I'm afraid that you will quickly grow weary of me. Weary of my voice... weary of my weariness. If only there was someone else or some other voice. There are none. Its just me.

My story has an obvious beginning. I could trace it back farther but what would be the use. Do you want to know about my dull childhood, dull adolescense, dull adulthood? No of course not. It was idle. Whatever came before does not really matter. All that really matters is like Dante I came to find myself, in the middle of my life, lost in a dark wood, my way barred by a fierce animal. But I had no Virgil to save me. I had Bud Holligan. Who he is - or was - well I'll get to that in a moment.

Open the door to my little apartment in New York and see me hacking away, two finger style on a dirty keyboard. I don't know what color they call it - bisque I think. Gray-brown-khaki. I was there wearing sweatpants and a tee-shirt a can of coca-cola with a wet ring around it slowly seeping through a pile of bills and receipts. I could tell you, but it doesn't matter what I am writing, its how I am feeling. I am/was trapped by this same voice that I try and throw off. Let me embrace it. I couldn't write then and I can't write now. Look at me though, before the irridescent screen. I was so weary. A failed, miserable, writer. I had no business writing. What did I know? But I feel. I go on feeling. And I want to write. It is an itch in my mind nothing settles.

My story is falling apart already. But I'll go on scratching.

I reconsider. I will tell you what I was writing. A novella called the Sword of Constantine. A novella with some four hundred pages loosely connected waiting for me to thread them together. I add to it every night. Each word I keep. But that night frustration is high and I am confronted, for just a moment, by a vision which borders on the realisitic. A certainty of futility. And I close my document without saving. I turn off the computer and I walk away to the television. Collapsing on the sofa, I let out an exasperated breath. My mind won't shut off right away. Four hours of infomercials, documentaries, news shows numbs me to the point I can sleep.

How much more of this can you take? Writing for me is a relief. Each second of writing brings me closer to my story, closer to the end, closer to where I am now. I will find myself in this. I am in this story someplace.

The next day I go to work in a black mood. Sit at my desk and respond to an endless stream of e-mails. At 10 I go to the break room and sit down at the table. There's the morning paper. I flip open to the classifieds - to the employment section and I start to read. Mr. Daniel walks in behind me. I do not lift my head. "Looking for a job?" He asks. His voice is plain but irritating. Cheerful and too intimate. I want nothing to do with him. He makes his way to the coffee and pours it into a styrofoam cup. Three sugars and a cream. I sense he is starung at me. Several minutes pass and I flip a page. He slurps.

My dourness wins out. "Catch you later." He says as he leaves the room. He doesn't know that what happens next changed his life - mine - everybody's.

The ad was not anything spectacular. Only its proximity to another larger and more colorful one made me take any notice of it. I can almost remember every word, but to be honest, I'll just paraphrase it.

This is what I read in the break room:

"Looking for adventure? We're recruiting now. Free room, board, and training. Ample free time. Call Bud at 888-XXX-YYYY."


Xavier Martel said...

At last, the veil is lifted. I'm looking forward to the next installment.

Standifer Evasto Visum said...

No veils needed.

Perfect, as is.

A short story, with unknown resolution.

The perfect metaphor for the "short, happy life".

Standifer Evasto Visum said...

On second reflection, I too would like to know more!