Today used to be Tuesday which, as we all know, was named after the Old English god, Tiw, who was really just the Norse god of war and law, Tyr, who had the habit of sometimes wearing a monacle and pretending to be British.
It also happens to have been the day a story of mine went online at the Interstitial Arts website, here.
The Interstitial folk asked everyone to write an essay about their story, interstitialness in general, or what have you. And so I did. It ended up not being very much about the story, exactly, so much as about monsters and porn. This was surprising. You can read it up there where here is.
I tried at first to actually write about the story and why I wrote it and it never quite worked. It felt indulgent. It's occured to me, though, that for someone who writes a blog and occasionally argues with themselves, indulgence obviously doesn't bother me overly much. I think, more likely, I was just writing it wrong.
One morning, a couple of weeks ago, while in the middle of trying to write something else, something made me try again. Probably the fact that the something else I was writing wasn't quite working. Every scene kept ending with my characters being killed by meteors. That didn't seem right.
So I wrote about a story I already wrote, instead. And then I wondered what to do with what I wrote. Then I remembered I had a blog. Here is what I wrote that morning.
This story was written, for the most part, in the early morning hours after a concert featuring Jenny Lewis and Connor Oberst. The show took place at what was then a fairly recently opened venue in Oxford, Mississippi called The Lyric. It was the kind of place with chandeliers and diamond-patterned wallpaper in the foyer. It was the kind of place that had a foyer.
I got there early, stood in line, made a few new friends who had traveled to every show so far, and then we went inside, through the foyer, under the chandeliers, and we stood together at the stage, waiting for something to happen.
Eventually, something did. Something usually does.
Ms. Lewis came out wearing a fedora and a flower-print dress. She sang songs of love and bitterness and was, in turn, mysterious, goofy, sarcastic, sexy, and adorable. At one point, she touched my hand. Mr. Oberst appeared next with his Mystic Valley Band and sang songs of grief and purpose. He did not wear a fedora or flower-print dress. Nor did he touch my hand. He did wear a tuxedo, though, and he did sing as if his life, maybe all of our lives, depended on it. He's an excitable fellow.
It was a good show. It’s possible that some things came from this.
It’s also true that, at the time, I was enjoying a hopeful sort of broken heart and listening to a lot of Lou Reed's Transformer. I suppose it’s possible some bits of the story came from this, too.
You never know with these things.
Stories, like love, are a kind of magic, even to the writers and lovers. Especially to them, maybe, because some part of them, like the magician, knows that everything around them is an illusion, a carefully orchestrated system of smoke and mirrors and forevers designed to conceal the truth—that the woman is still in one piece, that the flying man is held up by wires, and that love, however true it seems, sometimes lasts for only a month, a year, or a day.
Audiences, readers, and the friends of lovers, know all this, too, of course. But they still watch. They still read. They still hope.
Maybe because being in on the act is part of the fun for both audience and magician. Knowing and believing anyway is its own kind of magic.
But maybe also because, on some level, everyone realizes that the greatest and scariest thing about magic, love, and stories, is that sometimes they’re true. Some women really do get torn in two and made whole again by the same man. Some men really do learn how to fly. And some days, some loves, really do last forever.
Don’t let anyone ever tell you different.
Unless they’re wearing a monocle. Those folks usually know what they’re talking about.
I feel, at this point, a little like those people who do commentaries and, at the end, congratulate those that listened to the whole thing for being interested and geeky and cool. So, congratulations. Way to be cool.
Happy yesterday, readers.