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tearing the rag off the bush again
from ERRATA by Michael Allen Zell PDF E-mail
The glass implies the bottle,

likewise the text implies its author, so today I’ll address the purpose of these 3:00 A.M. writings.  Why jot down an entry a day for just over three weeks and then spend another week rewriting, in a manner of speaking?  Sure, action was necessary.  Dance or drown.  But there are other ways to break the monotony of waiting, buoys to cling to, other means to distract from private purgatory (though apparently no other ways for a sleep aid), but I’m both intending to explain how the situation came to be, as well as to decipher and amend expected misperceptions of my role in it.  Meaning, I’m not guilty.  This is desperation, not an enlightened tactic.  Don’t expect any surprising profundity or for me to unravel the mysteries of the morning.  No clinched business here.  Instead, repair damaged logic.  Readjust my presence.  Maybe help to develop eventual foresight.  In the meantime, this is a serious correction, like an errata slip tipped-in or inserted just inside the front cover of a book, although my errata go beyond the usual shifts of tense, punctuation errors, incorrect articles used, or misspellings.  Instead of typos, I’m attempting to correct evidence that points to my culpability.  Frankly, my concerns have a much larger sense and a necessity of immediacy than book-based errata, and for that reason the reversal of time has become fundamental in the early morning ritual of recording my impressions of these events.  Don’t expect a confession of confidence.  This is a specimen of afflicted truth.  The pain of advancing sour knowledge.  But no vanity of suffering.  No hyperbole of decline.  I fear though that all of this may appear opaque beyond what it actually reveals (Who wouldn’t seek out diminishing transparency after a coarse stab at revealing the tangled garden of a secret life?), that the tenuous letters are more heartily assertive than they initially seemed in declaiming a silent code of which I’m not even aware.  Very well.  Consider this a document of five characters.  Since the text seems to be a creature that launches its maker, let the letters serve as both character and key, because I firmly expect to hit a bend in the road while writing this.  My life is already at another bend, the fold of the paper cutout, which is to say the suspended middle, the in between zone, but which is not to say the roadblock of writing.  Life is not a document.  Life cannot be documented.  Documents cannot be lived.  The writing process is at odds with living sensibly.  All I can do is immerse myself and write with abandon to make sense of the situation, and literally try to write myself back to sleep again, the errata notebook a line to grasp onto for the sake of saving my neck and to be pulled back to my previous reality.  I can’t keep the notebook here in my apartment as a memento of my itch, that much is realized (I thought about using the false-bottomed box that I hide intrinsic-valuables in, but layers are slight and it only takes one person to realize what lies below the surface), but neither does it exist to burn or just throw out.  I understand full well where it needs to go, what its proper role is, but that means returning to the place, the place I shouldn’t return to, but where I need to go back and check.  If I go back to the place for a second time, my nature will likely compel a cycle of going back.  At the same time, it’s the best location for the notebook since both it and the current inhabitant imply each other.  The errata book needs to have time for stillness and rejuvenation as much as I do.  Let the book sleep, have its proper rest.  Call the burial, dirt rest.

Michael Allen Zell was recently nominated for the 2012 Best American Short Stories anthology, was a finalist for the 2011 Calvino Prize and (with two short stories) for the 2010 Faulker Fest/William Wisdom Writing Competition. He has been published in Cerise Press, Entrepot, and Sleepingfish. He has been a bookseller for over a decade and hosts the Black Widow Salon.







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