The Writers Voice
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Writer Of The Universe
You wanna know who the greatest writer ever was? The undeniable genius of
geniuses? The all-round number one heavyweight of the literary and any world?
Well, I'll tell ya, it was this bloke called God. He's dead now, but his little
project still keeps on running. They've got it in one of those big old
laboratories, running all kind of tests on it they are. It's this big
freewheeling entity with untold tiny intricate parts, some of which appear to
function independently of each other, but that's the genius, they are all
governed by these things that he called universal laws.
Know how I met this bloke? No, you probably don't, I don't think I told you this
one before. Well, there I was, walking me dog through the park when I sees him
sitting there feeding the ducks. He was tearing off great old hunks of bread and
throwing them at these hungry mallards. Sometimes takin' a bite of it for
himself. He looked kinda interestin' so I went over and sat down by him. This
weren't normal practice for me, I don't want you ta think that. I don't usually
go over and sit down by someone who I've never met before, but this was somehow
different. He sat there like some curious looking magnet that I couldn't keep my
eyes off. Every time that I tried to avert my gaze something dragged my big old
curious orbs right back. After a while of sitting there wrestling with my
curiosity in a really much too obvious way, I was noticed by him.
He turned slowly from what he was doing. The ponderous nature of that movement
took so long that it wiped my head clean of all other details. Looking back now
at that one moment, I think I sensed how this person could write a book such as
that right there and then -- ! the realisation just took a while to register.
He smiled and said hello to me. For a moment I didn't know how to react, what to
say. It was the easiest thing possible to reply to the greeting, why then did I
have such a problem? Well, like I said that millennia long turn had blanked out
everything I'd ever known and the memories were slow to trickle back. Etiquette
finally did sluice back into its old channel and my dumb-cold tongue heated with
an answer. He hadn't seemed aware of how long I had waited before offering up
those few tiny words. Perhaps he understood.
Nice day, isn't it? I said. If you have a scarce reserve of profundity at a
given moment go with the tried and tested inanities. They work, well, they did
then anyway. After the first few benign minutes of banter with him, I attempted
to strike onwards with a more probing tack. The angle I was working was still
casual questions but I'm sure that he knew I was after something else. You know
how you sometimes see someone and you have this overwhelming sense that they
have the answers to the things you've always wanted to ask? Well, for me this
man was such a figure. Some people see rock stars as the holy grail, and others
pin their hopes on actors to unlock the profundities of their lives. My
all-seeing reference book was sat right here as far as I was concerned.
As if he had been expecting this spontaneous interview and this meeting with me,
he launched into an explanation. He had come here to relax after just finishing
another chapter of his work. Did he mind me asking all this stuff? No, he didn't
mind, he liked to get feedback from his public. Had I read his work? What was
his name again? God. Yeah, I'd seen it and read a fair amount of it. You see it
was fairly long, and me not being much of a reader I had difficulty wading
through all those words without my brain tangling itself up in knots. But I had
appreciated what I had read of it. It was in installments in one of those
literary papers. Not the kind of thing that I usually read, but everyone was
reading this. It was a best-seller. Not, he said, that he made any profit from
it -- he gave all his money away to a local cat home. I smiled, he frowned when
I smiled. He asked my why I had smiled when he had said that. I told him not to
take offence, but despite being a literary genius he weren't much of a financial
whizzkid. He said he was comfortable enough and didn't have to worry, he wasn't
living the life of a down-and-out artist. He was comfortably provided for.
The way he explained his work had me hooked. How he told it, there was this
state of perfection in the first instance, created by him. He said that I hope
he didn't think it was vain to make himself the prime mover. I said no, he
didn't seem the kind of guy to want to draw attention to himself. I had the
insight to understand that it was a literary device. He nodded and continued.
The first two protagonists bring about the cessation of this state by what he
termed original sin. Once this sin had happened the whole evolution ball was set
to rolling, all building up to the culmination of the first act where his son,
who he admits is largely based on himself again, gets crucified and redeems the
descendants of the first two characters. The civilisation he describes then
gradually goes downhill, gets back to the same old state of moral depravity.
There's an interesting twist here, I really like this bit, some of the
characters, there's a helluva lot of characters by now, they fictionalise all
the stuff that's gone before with this God, collect all the stuff together and
call it the bible.
Then the characters divide into two camps -- some of them believe this book and
some of them dispute its contents. Some run around with these unauthorised
versions where the names have been changed and some other events have been added
for mere sensationalism. I thought that was brilliant, and told him so. A real
nice touch. The book's about being a writer, isn't it? I ask him. He smiles.
That's a really effective way to convey the self! -doubt I imagine most writers
feel at one time or another, I tell him. He smiles. Says he has to go.
I stood, looked down at the dog and notice for the first time what it's doing.
Then I stop looking and try and ignore what it's doing. I asked if I would see
him again. He said sure, next week in the park, at the same time if I would
like. I said I would like that.
The week was slow to go, as it always is if you've got an appointment that
you're looking forward to. I forget what I actually did through each of those
elongated minutes though. They seemed to fall away from memory after they'd
passed. Each new minute erased the last. I walked around like a goldfish for the
full six days until I went to the park again. My family wanted to know what the
hell was up with me! . I'd be damned if I could tell them. The only thing that
sat there in my head and remained constant was that conversation that I had, it
was if I didn't have to remember it, it had become part of the physical make-up
of my brain's physiognomy.
The eager anticipation which filled me as I approached the site of the
rendezvous was overwhelmingly heavy, like an elephant on my back. But I would
have dragged a mountain to get there -- an elephant was no problem at all when I
thought of it like that. I knew he was there before I saw him. I saw him before
my brain registered his presence. He was sitting in exactly the same position,
performing exactly the same action, the bread and the ducks looked like they
were a replay of last week. When I got to him he looked at me and smiled an
I wondered if that last week had actually passed. After sitting down and his
recommencement of the story I had serious doubts as to whether even a second had
elapsed. But, as he said that he had completed the last piece of his work I had
to submit to the notion of a week gone. It was very difficult to overcome the
paradox I felt while hearing the contents of his last week's endeavours and my
amnesia concerning my own.
He told me that he had resolved his story by a return to the original state that
he had depicted at the start. Because some of the characters in the story had
disbelieved in what he had done they were denied access to this state and were
locked up with the first doubter who he called variously: Old Nick, Satan,
Lucifer, Clootie, and a handful of other names. He said he was quite pleased
with the way that this final chapter tied up all the loose ends. The story
followed a well-established tradition, but he thought that he'd put a new enough
spin on it to keep people's imaginations going. I had to agree, there was a
metaphor for everything in that book. Was he thinking of working on anything
else. He said, how could possibly tackle anything after this? How could he
follow his first act? I knew where he was coming from, it's a similar thing to
that difficult second album syndrome which seems to plague most musicians.
The conversation slowly wound down after we had covered as much of the subject
of his work as he wished to pay attention to. Our second period of chit-chat sat
down there like a book-end to encapsulate that period of time. I had a funny
feeling that I wasn't going to be seeing him again. As we slowly mirrored the
end of our last meeting I knew that something had passed. Time, which had
appeared to have slipped out of its socket was re-set, and the odd air which
wrapped me up in itself dispersed.
I didn't see hide nor hair of him ever again. I wasn't expecting him to get in
contact again either. There had been something final about that last time in the
The last I heard from him came in a letter seven weeks later. He said that he
had read and re-read the part where his characters had lost faith in that book,
the bible, and he had caught something from those words. He said the text was
like a clump of germs which he had inhaled. The doubt had snowballed to
something worrying in him. He claimed that not only did he feel insignificant,
but that he was becoming physically insubstantial. A ghost of his former self.!
He was sending me this letter so that even if no-one ever read his book again, I
would still be there to remember and anchor his life there in existence.
It left me feeling somehow blessed. I read a few pieces in the papers about how
this reclusive writer had withdrawn further and further from the public gaze
recently and now appeared to have completely vanished. His friends were at a
loss as to where he might be hiding. I had an idea. He was in that unique
project of his. It sat there in a lab' doing what he had suggested to me it
always had done: it was writing itself. Even if the things which dwelled inside
didn't believe in him the fact that he was the subject of their doubtings kept
I would pass on what I knew to those that wanted to listen. I myself would pass
away and my experience with me, but I could translate the feeling into words,
leave them for other people to pick up. That's what I did. Here they are. If
you're interested enough by what I have said here, then please search out the
original, I promise that it's worth at least one little look. You'll feel
changed for it.
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