Thursday, February 23, 2006

Derivation

I started this story today. It's been fun to write so far, but I stalled out. I've been reading a lot of Donald Barthelme lately, specifically Robert Kennedy Saved From Drowning. But yea, here goes.

"Isaac before the knight"

Isaac at the table. Mother is preparing a stew from the legs of yesterday's pig. A black pot over the fire. The stones of the hearth hot to the touch. Isaac drops his fork on the floor.
"Isaac!" screams Mother.
"Mother!" screams Isaac. "It fell!"

Isaac reading a book by candlelight. Fingerprint smudges on the worn pages. Black ink on his fingers. Names he can't pronounce yet. Ideas he starts to understand. He weeps from joy. Brother squints at him.
"Why do you cry, Isaac?" asks Brother.
"It is beautiful," says Isaac.

Isaac as a young man. Trapped in the library. Feet tapping, fingers drumming, watching animals outside the window. The books have become too short. The nights getting longer and Isaac can't sleep through them anymore. Laudable letters from admirers.
"Please write back," they say.
"Please stop writing me," he begs.

Days getting longer, Isaac languishing. Tip of his tongue, at the end of his fingers, right underneath his feet. The shade of the tree. Exhaustion overbearing, overcoming, hunger overpowering. Stomach twisted in knots, mind warped from slumber, eyes sore from staring. Uneventful visit to the orchard this time. An angry passerby.
"You are too smart to languish," says the passerby.
"Not enough reason," mumbles Isaac.

Isaac near the sea. He gazes at the dying sun. He knows the world goes on beyond the horizon, but he feels the doubt behind his eyes. Gypsies banging a drum inside his head. The picnic basket almost empty. The girl beside him splitting blades of grass, sifting handfuls of sand.
"Where are you now, Isaac?" she asks.
"I wish I could say," he says.

2 Comments:

At 2:07 PM, Blogger Benny said...

Between you and Adam, my little cup of creative writing posts runneth over!

I love Barthelme. He's very idiosyncratic, and (as you're aware) as long as you can actually tell a story with those staccato sentences, the style shouldn't hold you back. You have very pretty imagery, Drew.

Barthelme couldn't end his stories, either... ;-)

 
At 10:28 PM, Blogger Drew said...

I'm getting there. I'm going to submit this to my campus literary mag (ending a two year hiatus - I hate the editor), so I'm forcing myself to finish it. It feels like a poem, and I hate poetry (I know, I know, I'm a philistine), but I'm trudging.

 

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