Saturday, August 22, 2020

In, or How to Get in

 Still savoring the end of a short story from a book by an author you never knew existed before. Then the voice comes, whispers to you a revise of the first line of a scene you've been working on in a venture you've called "Double Standard."

When you listen to the voice, two things happen: You realize that new line takes you to the place you want to be; you're right in. You don't need the edge of a debit card to work up the line of cocaine, You've already rolled up and snorted. Sometimes you need hours, days to get to that place, thus the metaphor about being in like the first blast. Long, long time since you did cocaine. You don't do it now. Don't have to as opposed to shouldn't.

Second thing that happens, you're slammed back nearly sixty years to the first time Rachel asked you, "Do you hear voices?" She asked you to find out if you heard voices or saw the characters in your story doing things. Huh, you said at the time, but later that night you began listening for voices when you wrote and soon enough, to your relief, you began to hear them.

So here you are, well along in the years since Rachel asked you that, but with some regularrity, you hear her voice, rasped over by her cigarettes, asking you if you hear voices. Sometimes when you have trouble getting in, you think back on that moment to get the equivalent.

In times between then and now, you did indeed try cocaine. Since that was not always easy for you to come by or you were not sophisticated enough to find ways to get it, much less determine how many times it had been diluted with more innocent white stuff, you chose booze and pot.  Took maybe five years to see how each of those was a distraction rather than an enhancement.

The important thing was to learn your way to "in," being an observer while the characters paraded about you with their agendas and difficulties.  Like reading some of Rachel's stories. Like reading the diary she wrote while writing her first novella, "Turnip's Blood," and the early drafts of The Green Kingdom.

Of course you remember her. She was your first mentor, the first to ask you if you heard voices.

When you got around to telling her you heard then, she said "I thought so."

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