in a silent way as far back as he could remember, he'd always felt a strange need to make a record of all that had been said and done, and all he'd been a part of. he didn't want to be left with only vague impressions of the diatribes given by friends, family, enemies, and lovers. he wanted all of their precise words preserved, all the hesitations, all the inflections permanently seared into his brain.

he went about writing the novel of his life. he knew he would never truly finish, and no eyes but his own would ever read the manuscript, but he drew some amount of comfort from knowing that he would one day succeed in capturing the sum total of what he saw as his true life's work. he would hold a magnifying glass to the moments most people allowed to fall between the cracks of flesh-covered pavement. he would give them all their due. he would shine a light on the bit players and elevate them to the heroes and villains they really were.

the manuscript grew longer and more ambitious in scope, until it struck him that he was spending more time documenting his life than he was living it. he had become a character in the story he was writing, and the line between author and pawn had blurred to the point that he felt like a slave to a plot no longer guided by his own pen. the more he tried to write himself back to a place of balance and understanding, the less he felt he understood.

he went on writing.
in a silent way he wrote himself a great romance, but his distaste for conventional happy endings proved insurmountable. bleak as it was, the resolution he provided felt like a cop-out.

he wrote himself into depression, then indifference, then a kind of battered self-satisfaction that he knew was little more than an ill-fitting disguise.

he wrote himself a gourmet dinner. a quiet piece for a soloist with candlelit accompaniment. that was simple enough.

then he ran out of things to write. he studied a blank page and waited for something to happen.
in a silent way the pen began to move on its own, and his hand with it. he watched as the words took shape, painting scenes he could see and taste and smell. turns of phrase that took his breath away. new characters that were so fully-formed, he felt he'd known them all his life. landscapes that were startling in their vividness and immediacy.

it was the finest thing he'd ever written.

he pressed the pages into angry-looking balls and threw them away.
in a silent way he wrote himself into oblivion. darkness swirled all around him. it was everything he'd ever wanted. it was nothing at all. 130127
in a silent way he found some light. he studied the pages he'd written in the long time without it. in the light there were words he didn't recognize. in the light the writing didn't look like his. it was neater than it had any right to be. the spacing was all wrong.

he was reading someone else's story.

he fashioned the story into a coat. it fit better than he wanted it to. now it was cold, and he was remembering what it was to be warm. he didn't want to strip himself bare again. so he told himself the story that wasn't his. he wanted to know how it would end.
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