pages 40 and 41
“I’m planning to get lost and deathly ill, chasing a religious cult in India after I discover that my Mom was born a man and I have an identical twin I’ve never met.” I tell him and he smiles. I do as well, though now I’m slightly concerned about the free criticism that has been offered to me by His Highness. He smoothes his left eyebrow with his thumb.
“Essentially Kate, what you need to do is you need to inject tragedy or comedy or action into things that are typical and ordinary. This is of course if it is indeed tragedy or comedy or action that you want to convey. If that’s your theme and if your predominant emotion is say, a grief-stricken one, then you’re half way there. For what that’s worth misery is what sells books.” I’m totally nonplussed.
“How do I do that? I mean, what if nothing about me is even vaguely tragic?” I pause for a moment, embarrassed for saying something so inane. Jamus casts his gaze to the open street at the front of the restaurant. He rubs his bottom lip with the same thumb used for the eyebrow. He’s planning something. It’s percolating—hitting the back of his tongue and waiting to spill out in a genius tapestry of prose …I’m right.
He begins: “The sun was often so hot, so dry, that even in the very wet city, things, inorganic objects even, seemed to disintegrate and shrivel up before my eyes. Each day existed solely to me on the plus and minus of my pay-cheques and on the trivial fantasies of my waning (or truthfully, my entirely diminished) love-life. And, though the year had not been a good one, and though the sun continued to evaporate life out of the glistening city and out of myself, I couldn’t help but think simply, ‘if she returns, I promise I won’t ruin it again. I’ll be good. I’ll behave. I promise I will.’” I can feel a vibration move through my being. There’s an excitement in my groin as well, telling me that the words I just heard were something special. I haven’t blinked for over a minute. Jamus clears his throat then sips his sake and I can smell the acetone fragrance of it wafting toward me.
“Where did you even come up with that?” I ejaculate the question onto the table and just now call to mind that breathing is an essential function.
“The hostess, she walked out of my field of vision. Something ordinary became tragic I suppose. Injection.” I consider how Jamus, by simple observation is able to make dumb, pedestrian things profound and by doing so is highlighting what a shitty writer I am. He can do what most writers and filmmakers can only dream to do. The hostess is now talking to the cute waiter. I wonder if they’re dating, or if she knows how fascinating she really is to us, to Jamus. Even more importantly the gears in my head spin and churn to try and concoct some tragedy or profundity of my own.