13 Notes for a Story That Won’t Get Written

I shouldn’t be trusted with the internet at the moment. It’s summer and I am maudlin, and these two things do not go well together. I find myself picking at old scabs and realising that the wounds beneath them never fully healed. I find myself creating drama, simply because drama is easier to handle. Inhabiting drama makes it easier to exist.

It’s good for writing, I’ll give it that. Less good for everything else.


Two instincts wage war within me. The first demands silence because silence is my natural state, because what does not get said cannot be examined.


I’ve never hidden my heart. I’ve never placed my heart inside an egg, to be placed inside a duck, to be hidden in a well inside a secret courtyard, located in a keep on a distant isle far from charted waters.

I’ve never done this, but I’ve been tempted.


Through it all there are words, ’cause writing is what I do. My whole purpose revolves around articulation, even if I’m not sure what needs to be said. And yet, there is fear in words. There are moments when you look at the aftermath of a days writing and see subtexts you’d not intended, personal epiphanies, the ignored and unsaid seeping through on their own terms. There are days when what is written is both frightening and startling.


There is always the temptation to make old wounds public and internet makes it so easy.

Writing makes it easy too. It’s my least favourite thing about both.


Nothing I say should ever be trusted. I’ve warned you of this before.


Askesis (the impulse towards askesis) is addressed to the other: turn back, look at me, see what you have made of me. It is a blackmail: I raise before the other the figure of my own disappearance, as it will surely occur, if the other does not yield.

(Barthes, A Lover’s Discourse)


Summer is the season of heat and languor. Summer is oppressive, conquering in a way no other season can replicate.  Summer is humidity that presses down on your eyeballs, like an attacker who means you harm and wishes to leave you blind.


The servant of the frog price bound his heart in iron bands to keep it from breaking.

So much effort goes into hiding a heart. Into keeping it whole after everything says it should stay broken.


I’ve loaned my heart out several times, and it’s always been returned to me.

Better educated, yes, but also diminished. Capable of less than it used to be.


Two instincts wage war within me. The second demands speech, because speech is where the ideas lie. Things left silent fester. They do not evolve and they do not get better.

But speech inevitably becomes performance, because speech demands a listener: turn back, look at me, see what you have made of me.

Turn back, look, look at what others have done.

There is nothing proud about writing fiction. No magic to art that isn’t selfish in origin.


He had not used his heart for a while. He found he did not care for it.


I shouldn’t be trusted with the internet at the moment. It’s summer and I am maudlin, and there are no solutions within me. There are simply truths and fictions and vast unknowns. Wants and longing and memories. Things that need sorting, need words, need fictions. Summer is not a season for certainty.

I have no egg, no duck, no well. Truthfully, I’ve never needed them. Fiction becomes the best kind of lie, both true and untrue as needs require. Hiding a heart in fiction is quicker and easier than any solution offered by fairy tale and myth.

So fuck it, lets perform. Lets dance and caper and create. Lets spin it all – heart, old-wounds, confusion – into words and hide it in the places no-one thinks to look.

There may be truths in fiction, but they’re never the ones you’d think.

  4 comments for “13 Notes for a Story That Won’t Get Written

  1. 20/12/2012 at 12:02 PM

    I like the rhythm of your notes. It would've made an interesting piece.

  2. 20/12/2012 at 7:57 PM

    Some version of it will probably get written at some point, but it'll involve stripping this down to the bare bones and launching off into a new, less Meta, direction.

    It'll probably happen in winter, when I'm less cranky 🙂

  3. melinda
    20/12/2012 at 10:15 PM

    It's cold and windy here, and snow specks landed on my nose as I walked the girls to school. Does that help? 😛

  4. 20/12/2012 at 10:24 PM

    Not really. Winter here doesn't mean snow so much as "less oppressively evil humidity."

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