She’d searched long for the place where her grandfather had finished his novel. History was unkind to Jamie’s family legacy, for they were not conventional victors, but thieves that played at lives unearned. Her grandfather had assumed so many identities over the last three decades of his life, but here now she’d located his final residence, the remote farmhouse situated on the banks of a quiet river that spent three quarters of the year frozen. No livestock and with a climate inhospitable to almost any crop, he’d tended to words instead, writing long historical essays for university presses under the assumed name of a decorated laureate. Years later the family of the real Yves Bartlett would have the papers destroyed, to the embarrassment of several schools. Yet one novel, named for Jamie’s father, lived on. She held her copy tightly as she walked through the cold rooms of the abandoned home where he typed each word. Gelman Sapowitz, his real name. And “Michael’s Song” was the only thing he wrote that stood against the challenge of his compulsive lies; a love for a son he never knew haunting each sentence, paragraph and thought through 437 pages. And now the granddaughter he never knew stood in his lonely space, wondering if she’d ever love anything enough to stop lying and hiding. She placed the book on a wrathered endtable next to a rotted out couch and sighed. She thought maybe here she’d feel something – some connection to her lineage that was absent her and her father – but she was still empty inside. When she closed the door behind her, Jamie felt a small worry that snow might fall through the cracks in the window, ruining the book. Then she realized it didn’t matter, and that the only story she’d ever write would be about how nothing is precious.
On a collaboration kick of late, and @erinseule was kind enough to offer me a cool shot that I did some editing in and then wrote the above piece. You never know what’ll happen when writing to others’ images. Thank you, Erin, for the gift.
(at No Story)