Roadside Stand



I want my novels to be a solid and glimmering symbol. I see ancient languages of Sanskrit or hieroglyphics with powers like these, and I want each one of my books to be a symbol, complete but also saying more than what they represent. And every one of my books will be another completed letter in the language of my being, and so saying more together than what they can say by themselves; just like each word in every sentence and each sentence in every paragraph in my stories, each character, each story, each scene, all part of the same elaborate symbol of beauty and mystery. There it hangs from my soul like a bauble on a string, insignificant to everyone but the people who can unlock its meaning. This is what it means to write.  

I am nothing more than an old man selling my books at a roadside stand. How clever and special my customers feel when they pull over, my special people, to peek at a paragraph or two of my entire work, a sole edition of each, my entire literary imagination put down on paper. They look me over, searching my face for signs of insanity or chicanery. How much? I give them a price and they nod and purse their lips. They drop their bills in my little grey metal lockbox with no more feeling than when they came with. I nod my head to them, bidding them good day. I’m their servant. They don’t know this. It is for them, specifically that I write my stories.

They won’t understand what they’ve bought until they’ve gotten home. They’ll open to the first page and read. A woman will lose track of time, a man will make his wife a tiny bit peeved by ignoring her questions as he becomes engulfed in the story; as the words slip away and his mind shows in peripheral pictures a story unfolding. He’ll become a boy then, read to; the woman will become a girl then, read to. They’ll fall asleep reading, and dream on their own.

These are precious but fantastic things to ponder: to write about but hope not too much for. These are only images of my future, these are expectations built for only so long before reality wipes them clean like a gust of wind. If this is my fate, let it come. .

After all, what do I know? I am just a boy.

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