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I’m in kind of a weird place right now. I don’t mean at this exact moment, although I’m not exactly a bright ray of sanity; I just mean that for the past five weeks I’ve been in this weird holding pattern, like I’m sitting around waiting for something and I don’t even know what it is. Something authentic, I guess. That got me started thinking about doing some serious writing, because there are lot of things I just won’t have the opportunity to say in day to day conversations. I mean, who’s the one person in this world with whom I have a deep, intimate relationship? Yuri Broze, and Yuri, I love you, but that’s a little sad. Plus I’m narcissistic enough to think that maybe I have something of value that other people might benefit from hearing. So here are some ideas I’ve been kicking around:

This guy in his early 30s always wanted to be a writer but never quite made it and at some point he wound up writing obituaries for the New York Times or something equally semi-prestigious; he has the technique but never quite found his voice. So one day a death notice comes across his desk and he doesn’t have any information on the decedent (never thought I’d use that word in a sentence). Nothing too unusual; just another anonymous New Yorker. But none of his usual sources have any information either. He takes the afternoon off, talks to the landlord, neighbors, and no one knows a thing. He takes a whole day off and follows a thread to… Iowa, or North Dakota or something. Small-town America anyway. And the days become weeks and then months as he arduously tracks this intensely private man back in time and he discovers that for the first time in his life he can write. The words just pour out of him, faster than his hands can keep up as he tells the story of this everyman who turns out to be a World War II hero, or maybe take it the other way and he was a Nazi who changed his identity, or he had an illegitimate daughter and the writer falls in love. No, better yet, he turns out to be an escaped convict and the writer despairs over whether or not there really are any good stories left to be told, and then he sees a picture of the convict and realizes that it isn’t the man he saw buried; the man he’s been following switched identities so that the criminal could have a fresh start and with that one selfless act condemned himself to a lifetime of isolation and loneliness. If this was a movie then each new discovery would be followed by a flashback tracing the man back in time and the last scene would be him in a rainstorm discovering this man he had the opportunity to save.

Someone about my age (college senior) goes back to the town where he grew up, but it isn’t really his home anymore and his parents have even moved away, so he’s staying with his friend and his friend is throwing a party in /his/ parents’ house. All the action of the story takes place in this one 12-hour period as he runs into all these people who aren’t really his friends anymore and yet it’s still emotional because they’re all about to graduate and will probably just never see each other again. And as he talks to these people he realizes that to a one they all feel like something is missing from their lives, and they try all kinds of things with drinking and drugs and maybe an escapist video game if it can be worked into the party setting. And some of them get depressed about the situation and some of them get manic and some are just numb, but in the end they’re all going the same place and the only difference is going to be how they interpret their individual journey. Ultimately it winds up being a message of hope because he realizes that even if the only thing he has to count on are these people, or other people like them he’ll meet, that’s enough. And we close out with him watching the sun come up as a girl he met at the party sleeps in his arms – “I came here, we all came here, looking for something, or trying to find something that was looking for us. But looking at it in the light of day, I think maybe all there is for us to find is each other. And I think maybe that’s enough.”

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