Thomm Quackenbush, author

" Directionless | 2008 | Proof "

09.07.08 11:23 p.m.

I want to write but more than that I want to bring out all kinds of things that lie buried deep in my heart. 

-Anne Frank

 


Writers Anonymous

I'm sorry, but I consider my writing anonymous and don't care to be reminded just how wrong I am. I am keenly aware that I use pictures and real names these days - either from laziness or the profound awkwardness of reminding people that I will write about them - but my assumption is that no one reads this outside a tight circle of acquaintances. (The truth is, most of the people I write about don't bother reading this. I don't mind anymore. I don't need more than your facelessness to be satisfied.) I can ignore the comments I get on the various sites where I make myself available, as most are random and show little awareness of the content of my writing. I can likewise excuse the thousand people subscribed to my mailing list, as I don't imagine most of them read my postings. I think better of speculating about the motives of these subscribers because I might otherwise be forced to acknowledge why they might care. I am publicly noting private things, trusting the lack of explicit sex, gratuitous violence, tumultuous events, or strong opinions to insulate me from notice.

You might think the point of this is to expose myself, however you wish to take that. I see it as an exercise of my literary skills (look back at the old entries to see just how effective this has been) and a method to hold myself accountable to my personal evolution and authenticity. That I do this by transcribing the heartbeats of loved ones - rendering them fiction for mass consumption - is a niggling inconsistency I try to forget and encourage you to as well. I consider my written devotion complimentary, akin to the portrait artist who uses his friends as subjects, no matter how little they may wish to be painted in that light or in the nude.

What is all the worse is how subjective it all is. My memory is fallible, as I am reminded when I confuse dates and timeframes to a misleading (and wholly accidental) effect. Also, I may dote on or dislike someone for a reason I doubt I can ethically transcribe or even explain, so you can only ever know the fragment of a person on whom I lavish my description.

Owing to all of this, I am half horrified when Hannah tells me she was approached by a stranger when she was separated from us at the Renaissance Faire. This woman, wearing rennie garb and wielding a cheesecake on a stick, told Hannah that she knew her owing to what I have written and "really likes her story". (Forgive me if I get the meeting wrong, this is my third hand retelling.) Part of me wants to state that it is technically my story, she just happens to be living it, but it does not feel like the right time to assert my ownership of her life. The story is tainted when the characters are reminded their dear narrator is fumbling with a voice recorder in his pocket or just mouthed something beautiful they've said so it will make an impression on his lips.

I apologize to Hannah, uneasy. I have to actively fight off bashfulness when anyone makes reference to my writing. Every time my father brings up where he is in reading an old iteration of We Shadows, it is all I can do not the change the subject. Yes, I wrote that. Yes, I tried to do my best and I want it out in the world for others to experience, but could we kindly ignore now that I did? My analogy that I write like a biological process becomes especially keen here, since I would no more want someone to draw attention to the contents of my bladder as website. I'll just quietly expel it upon the wall, if you don't mind. If you have an opinion about it, forgive me if I want to flee as though your comments were blows.

I am particularly self-conscious given that I happen to be relying upon Hannah quite a bit in this narrative lately and will have to stop if she asks me. Daniel had previously mentioned that he has kept his distance from me because I, like his dear roommate, am a writer and am not to be trusted. I didn't argue this point when he brought it up. And, while I consider the fact that I draw loved ones (or simply liked ones) into my art to be a great tribute, I have more than once had to make amends to one of them because they did not feel flattered or because I'd mentioned something they'd evidently mentioned to me in confidence. Usually with something that I wouldn't have mentioned anyway, I have been expressly asked to promise that I won't recount some crush or misdeed. I almost always abide that for as long as I can stand keeping a secret.

Jenn, one of my other companions at the faire, later mentions that her friend's friend recognized us and I hope it was the same person who approached Hannah. That one stranger has read my story is a forgivable lapse in the cosmos, but that I am rendering friends into Persons of Interest on a grander scale strains statistical possibility and my limited coping ability with my writing.

Soon in Xenology: Jobs. Aydan. Eviction. Dating. Skating.

last watched: The Tick
reading: Spook
listening: Highly Evolved

" Directionless | 2008 | Proof "

Thomm Quackenbush is an author and teacher in the Hudson Valley. Double Dragon publishes four novels in his Night's Dream series (We Shadows, Danse Macabre, and Artificial Gods, and Flies to Wanton Boys). He has sold jewelry in Victorian England, confused children as a mad scientist, filed away more books than anyone has ever read, and tried to inspire the learning disabled and gifted. He is capable of crossing one eye, raising one eyebrow, and once accidentally groped a ghost. When not writing, he can be found biking, hiking the Adirondacks, grazing on snacks at art openings, and keeping a straight face when listening to people tell him they are in touch with 164 species of interstellar beings. He likes when you comment.



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