I have decided to start a blog. I don’t know what to do with it but I want to write. In fact, I have been writing for years, short stories, hundreds upon hundreds of short stories. But I have arrived at an impasse.
Basically, I am rewriting the same story and all the characters are extensions of myself, versions unhindered by convention who don’t worry about new sofas or the vacuum cleaner, but mostly his inability to conform had become a burden. He is an obsessive, constantly locked into cycles of despair or grief or loneliness. He suffers from a debilitating shyness and is incapable of making small talk.
Like a ghost, he walks the periphery of a neglected city and often he will take to the road and drive, setting off without any regard for destination. He doesn’t consult a map but reads the road signs and forges convoluted and wildly circuitous routes.
But he and I have reached a stalemate and I can’t or won’t bring him in from the cold, have him face up to his demons and act responsibly. It isn’t his place to replace the broken vacuum or our tattered sofas. In face we have just one sofa and two chairs. I asked Christine exactly what was wrong with them and she informed me the cushions had become flat and lifeless and the structure inside was collapsing. My chair is the worst because I sit in it for so long without moving.
And so, for the fourth time in our life together, we set off in pursuit of new sofas. Eventually we settled on the two chairs and one sofa combo again. Mostly because we liked the terracotta stripe and it was only available on the chairs and I felt that two beige sofas wouldn’t look so very unlike what we already have.
We sat with the sales assistant as he organised our credit agreement, both of us worrying that we would be declined. I suffered in silence but Christine was quite vocal about her concern.
It was quite a lengthy process and, leaning back, I listened to Christine talking to the assistant. At one point I blurted out something about vinyl albums and both of them turned toward me for a moment and then continued chatting.
No, I am not ready to abandon my characters, not quite yet. As I had sat listening to Christine talking I thought about how difficult this would be without her. And I realise it is at moments like this when I manage to make something that should be so simple so big and unwieldy, so burdensome and I feel awkward and inarticulate, that these characters are still in my head and I am not able to to abandon them, not quite yet.