Stories I’ll Never Write March 31, 2011Posted by The Typist in 504, cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, NOLA, The Narrative, Toulouse Street.
Best not to bring up ghosts on a moon-lit potter’s field walk. Some carry their haunts just under the skin and it doesn’t take much–that grave marked simply: Baby–to bring them out.
I’ll probably never finish this story. An actual moment from an otherwise lovely walk, interrupted briefly by tears, through the cemetery where Buddy Bolden is buried; my own life is not half as interesting as the city it takes place in. I will come back and write about that cemetery another time, but it will probably not be this story.
That line wasn’t even a story at first, but started out as a poem and them seemed better as a sentence, the sort that suggests a story left untold. I left it this way after staring at it for a long time wondering where it led, until reading a long discussion about micro-fiction and Ernest Hemmingway’s famous want six-word, want ad cum micro-fiction: “For Sale: baby shoes. Never worn.”
If you spend too much time at the intersection of story and poetry, especially in these days of flash and micro fiction, you find youself thinking such sentences and you stop and wonder if the Holy Grail is in fact the perfect sentence (which this is not); wonder whether there could be a perfect sentence, the sort that suggests the title of a longer work but which leaves that longer work behind and stands alone like some mystic glyph in a story by Borges.
New Orleans is full of instants like this one, Polaroid moments that appear like a perfect plate laid down wordlessly before you by an assistant waiter, with a cryptic drizzle of sauce and a scattering of green, that leaves you at once ravenous and paralyzed by its beauty. Perhaps this is why the city is a famous haunt of painters and poets. The streets are littered with epiphanies the way the fields of Arles were bathed in mad, angelic sunlight.