Thursday, April 24, 2014

If I could write....

...I would write about an older guy who, at his wife’s behest, cleans out his closet of items that can go to Goodwill, but as he takes long un-worn garments off the rack and gazes at them, opening unaccustomed windows of memory, he is overcome with emotion.

…I would write about the same guy doing the same thing with his old clothes a week later and not giving a shit.

…I would write a story about how last week an asteroid struck the earth and destroyed it, but we don’t know because we're an afterglow.

…I would write about a man who suddenly discovers that he has aged.

…I would write about a young man who wishes he were older.

…I would write about a man who wonders what it would be like to be a woman. Would it be easier, more powerful?

…I would write about a woman who wonders what it would be like to be a man. Would it be easier, more powerful?

…I would write about tardigrades, animals the size of pinheads who live everywhere on earth, in space and at the bottom of the oceans, and all over our bodies.

…I would write about what would happen if you tried to kiss a tardigrade (it would eat your face).

…I would write about a man who inherits his son’s dog when his son goes off to college. This man only liked cats, but now he has a dog.

…I would write about the same man with the dog, who realizes that he loves the dog but would rather have a cat. “What are the ethics of this?” the man wonders.

...I would write about a high school English teacher who, for years, wondered, “Is there value to what I teach? Will this 14 year old boy who wiggles in class and dreams of freedom on the bonny green be nurtured and guided by 'Great Expectations'?” “Why not?” the man concludes, “It’s as good as anything else.”

...I would write about the same high school teacher thinking about the earlier years when he taught elementary school. “Am I as useful now as I was then,” he wonders, “I taught kids to read and do arithmetic. Now what do I teach them?” The man answers his own question: “I teach them what it’s like to be 70 years old.”

...I would write about a man who wanted to be a novelist and one day he has an idea about why it never worked out: His thoughts are most comfortable when expressed in short outbursts, rather than ongoing narrative. “I don’t have enough to say to fill a book, “ the man thinks.

…I would write about this same man whose friend told him that in heaven he would be talking forever, because he likes talking so much, this man who does not have enough to say to fill a book.

…I would write about the sister of my friend, a professor of rhetoric, who used to tear out pages of books after reading them. She did this in the front row of her university classes, letting the pages drift down before the professor. I would write that my friend’s sister was a Zen master.

…I would write about enlightenment, without a capital “e," and I would write, “All humanity is waiting for it,” with a capital “A.”