The Perfect Paragraph

He sat at the desk, decked out as all good authors desks should be with a typewriter and a dictionary. He grappled, fought, teased, and flirted with his words. He took them to five-star restaurants to wine and dine them. He vehemently cut them with his sword-like pen after reading them.  Snip, snip here. Snip, snip there. A master barber, he became, trimming up language—trimming it so much that the body of writing never became any shorter or longer.

The man attempted the tricks of the late-great-American novelists. He added a glass of scotch to his writing table. He considered suicide via an oven or a double barrel shotgun, but he changed his mind. That method, while canonized, was only successful after the writing was done.  He married women and divorced them. Occasionally he even blamed them for his struggles… for spilling tea on his winning manuscript and forcing him to start again.  He had passionate affairs, searching for a muse, but the novelty wore off, at least for the ladies, when he would suddenly leave the boudoir muttering about exposition and character development.

Some days the man sat in silences for hours.  Other days he would walk through busy shopping malls, obviously listening to conversations and taking notes.  Once, he tried sitting with his feet in the kitchen sink, much to wife no. 4’s great disgust. His study was full of leather-bound notebooks, each one full of tiny observations, single stanzas, and pieces of dialogue.

When he was confined to his bed, he requested more paper. He wrote furiously and stared at the ceiling contemplatively. He didn’t stop to cough or take his meds. No mere illness could stop his words, nor old age or impending death. His last words were, “But, I haven’t written it yet.”

Several years later, they found some napkin scribblings from his youth in a desk drawer full of junk and they published them as genius.

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