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Stray: I Kept Writing

Image: Unsplash, downloaded ( 24.04.2022.

A Novel Manifests the Only Way Possible: One Word at a Time.

I now know what occasioned the lightness in my feet, a subtle sensation of floating – unbeknownst at the time, a seismic shift had splintered the sediment somewhere deep in the ocean, miles from my witless position on the soft white sands of Wanna-Be Beach.

So, I kept writing and ignored the almost imperceptible feeling of drift.

When the tide rose higher and temporarily reclaimed the pulverised corals it had forsaken to construct my seaside vantage, I stood and watched; aware but unalarmed. I pretended not to notice – I lied to myself – when the floatation began: not having my feet firmly grounded is like the tidal flux, in that it happens so regularly it goes largely unnoticed.

So, I kept writing and ignored the fact that I was floating.

Then came the suck – that circumstantial vortex that with excruciating slowness begins to drag a person down, or under, or away. I propose this was the moment I closed my eyes. How else to explain my failure to acknowledge my changing environment? It was assumed that my breath was held fast, else the fact of being underwater would have instilled some nuance of the requisite fear. With eyes squeezed tight and a lungful of oxygen, the fractured ocean floor was pulling me out to sea and there were no witnesses on the beach to report me missing. Nor lifeguards poised for rescue, as I had specifically chosen this beach for its solitude and isolation. With hindsight, an idiotic decision.

So, I kept writing and ignored that I was drowning.

Homo sapiens are instinctually adapted for survival regardless of the environment, and inexplicably stupid to boot. Being of this species, I ignored that my location was unrecognisable and that the pace of this journey had quickened. That I no longer knew where I was, or how I had gotten there, was also ignored (we have history, bewilderment and I). Having no navigational compass, I failed to notice the downward surge had recalibrated, and I had been lifted to stand astride the crest of a magnificent wave heading back to shore. Or it would have been magnificent, had I bothered to look.

So, I kept writing and ignored that I was blind, deaf, dumb and mute.

Here the tale comes to its yawningly predictable conclusion: as the depth beneath the wave thinned, it rose ever higher - with me riding its crest in stupefaction of ignorance – and accelerated at the beach. Faster and higher and I am much amused at my limitless self-deception: did I really believe I was just the narrator?

The wave broke, smashing me face first into the gritted sand.

So, I stopped writing. But only because I was unconscious.

When I woke, I spat out a mouthful of seaweed, salt water and several teeth, checking for fractures, bruises, and open wounds.

Then I started writing again.

Obviously, or you wouldn’t be here with me right now...

Author about Himself:

I wasn’t very good at school and didn’t understand the point.

I listened to Pink Floyd’s Wall and understood. I washed dishes, became a chef, and slowly lost my mind. I sobered up, looked around, and marvelled at my fortune. I embraced my luck, observed my mind, and threw my imagination at a blank page. I wrote and published a novel – obtuse, verbose, and egocentric – and finally understood Plato: True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing. All of which brings us to the present, where I am no longer a stranger to the voice within. And rather than try to make sense of life, I simply look out the window of my eyes, write it all down, and reflect upon this unknowable journey.


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The image of Quasimodo is by French artist Louis Steinheil, which appeared in  the 1844 edition of Victor Hugo's "Notre-Dame de Paris" published by Perrotin of Paris.


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