A few years ago I was fortunate enough to take a nonfiction workshop from Francois Camoin. He told us to be honest, and to just worry about the next word, not about the story, and that nonfiction didn’t mean just saying what actually happened. There were some people in the workshop who tried very hard to tell true stories that weren’t completely honest. Their pieces were intended to be narrative and inspirational and moralizing, and they kept trying to hide from some very obvious (and obviously uncomfortable) truths lurking right beneath the surfaces of their stories. They frustrated the hell out of me. So I wrote a piece meant to follow, as closely as I could, Francois’ instructions, and to make those dishonestly moralistic storytellers as uncomfortable as I possibly could. I didn’t think they deserved their smug comfort, their simple morals, because truth is complicated, and discomfiting, and full of questions with no easy answers, or without answers at all, and it’s subjective, and half the time it’s a lie anyway.
The visceral horror 0f my father’s slow decay from metastatic cancer, and the concomitant emotional upheaval in my life, had made me angry, and confused, and I wanted to lash out, and I wanted to be in love, so I followed my words. This is what I found.
This essay also constitutes the first of five essays of a novella, No Window, which tells the story of my father’s death (and of a sex-doll, a space-whale, a troubled robot, a black hole, and some other stuff) and attempts to explore the connection between loss and invention. Hopefully I’ll find a home for No Window soon, but for now I’m happy to see this first piece out in the world.
You can read it here, and while you’re at it you should check out the rest of the quality work available in this nascent publication.