Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Friday Story Bazaar ~ Tale Fifty-One


Story as Seed

by
Alexander M Zoltai

~~~~~~~~~

She was an aspiring writer…

“Aspiring” in its original sense, “to breathe on”…

There were the breaths of her poetry on her website; those of her essays in various magazines; and, some works where she was holding her breath—most dearly held was the novel, tentatively called, We All Fall Down….

It was to be a “moral tale”—ethical lessons taught through the lives of its characters.

She was hyper-aware of the supposed “sin” of “didactic writing”—“…work that appears to be overburdened with instructive, factual, or otherwise educational information, to the detriment of the enjoyment of the reader…”.

In fact, her hyper-awareness acted such that, in every line, through each paragraph, breathed into the whole story, she worked to present some “…detriment of the enjoyment of the reader…”.

If “enjoyment” meant pure unconcerned pleasure and carefree entertainment, she was aiming to lure the reader into an ethical “trap” and let its jaws snap shut on the reader’s heart…

The one “catch” was her own moral state…

She’d been working on the novel for eleven years, seeming to make no robust progress; yet, the progress was happening—happening in her soul as she lived the life of her characters; those sad folk populating the pages—people she was torturing and tormenting for her own good—making them suffer so she could learn how to be truly moral in a world run amok—a planet that was growing sick of its human inhabitants—dear Mother Earth, pregnant with abominations of greed and lust and every variety of injustice…

The novel was to be an “atonement” for her own sins:  leading certain men into grief and heart-break, leading others into near insanity from her playing them against each other, her stealing from her parents; and, worst of all, abandoning her only child…

Finally, after a few more years, she reached the stage of needing at least one other set of eyes on the manuscript, one other heart judging the work, one other soul sharing its point of view…

It took six more months to be sure she’d selected the right person.

She asked them to be her “Beta Reader”.

They assented.

They took the manuscript and didn’t share a single comment—seemed to disappear from the face of the Earth…

First she was mad, then frightened—what if the story had deeply harmed her reader’s psyche?

She finally took an extreme action—registered a missing person’s report.

Many months later she received a phone call:

“Miss Monaghan?”

“Yes…”

“You filed the missing person’s report on John Grigore?”

“Have you found him?”

“Well… Yes and no…”

“Huh…?”

“One of our resources made contact which led to his calling us; but then, he only mailed us a message for you…”

“What’s the message?”

“It’s a number of pages and he requested we send it to you—not read it to you…”

“O.K., send it; and, thank you!”

“You’re welcome, ma’am…”

~~~

She received the message, nine pages long—read it over innumerable times…

In essence, he’d told her, “Thank You!”…

In words he’d pleaded with her to publish the novel, gave her many clear ideas for minor improvements, told her to definitely keep the title, We All Fall Down; then, asked permission to send her $50,000 to help her promote the book…

Finally, she called the indicated phone number:

“Hello?”

“Yes, hello, may I speak to Mr. Grigore?”

“Who’s calling?”

“Amy Monaghan…”

“Ah… Mr. Grigore wishes for you to provide a post office box number for him to send you the cash.”

“I can’t speak with him?”

“I’m afraid not… He said you have his opinion and his eternal thanks; but, he must remain hidden for his own reasons…”

“Oh… Well, thank you. I’ll get a P.O. box and call back…”

“Very well.”

~~~

Amy got the money and put it in a safe deposit box.

She went back to the novel and “wrote in” John Grigore—tried to immortalize the man who proved to her that she could release the book to the world.

He, as the character Phillip Goshen, was mentioned briefly near the beginning as a friend of the female protagonist—appeared briefly near the middle of the story with an example in action of supreme morality—was referred to multiple times in various settings—appeared one more time on the last page, uttering the last words of the novel—words taken from his nine-page letter to her:

“I’d lived a life of corruption and lies, lived out dramas of incredible woe, played people for all they were worth, traded my soul for cash.

“I’m in hiding now, hiding from the world that welcomed me into its con game, made me rich, spawned a thousand mental diseases called failed relationships.

“I’m healing in my hideout, praying mightily for Grace…

“My enduring anthem has become, ‘Heed me, oh wretched Folk—those who ignore their humanity. Clean up your act, be kind to your Dear Mother Earth; because, we all fall down; but, the World needs those who always get back up…'”

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For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

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3 responses to “Friday Story Bazaar ~ Tale Fifty-One

  1. dgkaye July 10, 2017 at 10:01 pm

    Wonderful story Alex. I especially loved the last paragraph. :)

    Like

    • Alexander M Zoltai July 10, 2017 at 10:05 pm

      Thank you, so much, for such a lovely comment :-)

      Liked by 1 person

      • dgkaye July 11, 2017 at 10:30 am

        Thank you. :)

        Like

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