It was my birthday and I was running off a hardcopy of my novel, chapter one to the end, and when I told some friends it sounded like it was an act packed with symbolic meaning, but it was mainly a coincidence and the fact that I took the afternoon off. I had the time and a good stack of blank paper.
Three-hundred and thirty seven pages. You understand why I haven’t before. A friend who doesn’t have a computer (yes, Virginia, there is a remnant) is willing to read it. I don’t know if I can say wants to read it. Does that mean I am finished with it after dozens of rewrites? Whatever. I decided to Print, so long as the cartridges had ink. And it was my birthday.
The Epson printer did its preparatory clearing of the throat, and got to it, belching page after page, the little engine that could, on and on in a high drone of endeavor, a sound that in its sustained monotone seemed to be a new sound altogether, the sign of imminent collapse…but the pages came out, and of course I thought of my mother in the hospital in Quinter putting me out, the 5th of what would be eight. How long did it take her? I kept feeding new packets of virgin paper into the Epson and the stack grew, an albatross, a bloated carcass, obscene. All those hours and hours writing: they didn’t feel like a waste but the amount of paper! Monstrous.
Epson counts backward, reversing time. I ran out of paper on page 30. So what did I do until I bought some more? Re-wrote the first 29 pages. Yesterday I finished the job. So now The City of Disappearances camps on the counter, and I am afraid to look at page one lest I start rewriting.