The Unswung Bat

Monday, January 24, 2005
 
Study Habits

I'm beginning to arrive at a more patentable understanding of those fantasies of daring violence people go off on. And of bravery as a backlash of a glowering pride. Unfortunately, this insight takes no form other than as a dumb acceptance of the idea naked of imagination or reason. There is a droning, in my mind, of failure, its wasted splendor transliterated to an unchanging, unmelodious thud repeating forever to which I draw closer until incited to animal fits in denial.
. . .
"I'm beginning," he began . . .

"I'm beginning," he began, "to arrive at a more patentable understanding."
"How's that?" asked one that was usually quiet.
"Hopefully it doesn't come from experience," interjected one more than was necessary.

Loathe to turn around and read a plodding story weak of creativity, equally unwilling to face forward and write my own, I settle in, stuck between, for the night.
I am trying too much at once, walking with every expectation at my side and getting jammed in doorways. When my typewriter's legs get caught together like a crushed spider's I freeze and gently push them down, and the machine advances one space with an implicit moral to concentrate more.
Don't tell: show. Don't think. Don't finish the thought.

Exhausted, Tod put down the textbook and rubbed his eyes. A dull admonition throbbed between his neck and his head to tell him he had kept on too long. Sitting across from her, he hadn't noticed when Keatridge left.

With a yawn, he rediscovered Susan in the kitchen. She had a sandwich made and pushed the plate with half on it to him, with the trailing implication that she had half intended for him to eat it.

There you are, he told her, and while taking a bite she agreed.

Finally got tired, ah?

Finally tired of her affectations, her unshapely 'ah' and ambiguous sandwich, thought Tod with undeserved malice.

She knudged him as she walked.

Don't forget to put the plate in the sink, she reminded as she rounded the lower post of the banister. He thought that without the words 'don't forget' he would have let out a breath and relaxed. Instead he didn't forget.

Tod wished for a moment that Susan would ask him if he was alright and he could launch into one of the soliloquys he'd dreamt of delivering if the world happened to have a spotlight sympathetic to him. She would be quiet the whole time, or else interject when and as prompted.

Upstairs Keatridge was neither restive nor listening. She had put down the monster of a textbook she and Tod had been reading, crushing her notes with it, and was flipping through a magazine slid from a stack of many. Without idleness or contemplation she twitched blankly through it.



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