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The Garden of My Mind 7

Posted by Dr. D , 07 September 2012 · 315 views

I am a merchant of words.  I keep words in the warehouse of my mind and pull them forth when needed, assembling them into phrases and forms to represent a meaning.  The words join forces until they are paragraphs and then become legion that some call my books.  But words are the workers; I am only the person pushing the keys, placing them in order.  At last the words are read by assistant editors and passed to editors.  Editors then present their short list to publishers and then the presses roll.  After that are the telephone interviews with small town talk shows.  There is the typical hawking of the publicity department, nudging book stores to give me one more try.  All that is followed collecting frequent flyer miles with signings in book stores and counterfeiting smiles for people who lie about having read my last book.

“Please write, ‘To my good friend Gladys,’” she asks and I shamelessly comply.  A stranger buying the book can be my friend on paper.  She is pleased with her trophy and shakes my hand.  I will never see my good friend Gladys again.

I tire of the process.  It takes me away from something far more important, my life.  It forces me to be who I am not.  It is being inserted into that society I never wanted.  It is to chat, dine and mingle with people who have had a million experiences in their life while I dream of my village where I have one experience a million times.

The University of Michigan at Ypsilanti wants me to speak to their students pursuing Law degrees.  The theme will be a book I wrote in 1985 and I want to refuse.  “You have to,” insists the publisher, “they have your book as required reading.  Those kids buy your book every year, year after year.  You have to go.”  And so I stand before a theater of gleaming faces, each forming a question and I have to hope to remember the answer.  It was 1985 for God’s sake, how many words have I written since then?  But there are questions and somehow I answer.  Yes, they are obligated to buy my book and need I guess why it’s in Amazon at $200.00 a copy?  Publishers are a cruel, calculating lot. There is applause and a dinner in the faculty dining hall.  Then there is another flight that takes me farther from where I want to be.

At last, the tour is over and I am returning the last key to the reception desk.  The hotel van will take me to the airport where I fly to Mexico City.  My car is waiting there.  I sometimes think that it is sad that no one waits for me there.  I wheel my suitcase past the throngs with their hugs and kisses and pass the groaning doors toward the parking lot.  No one opens their arms to me.  No one is happy to see me.  But I know, somewhere inside my warehouse, that thousands await me.  They are the characters I will create from fragments of everyone I have known.  I will be the god of letters and breathe life into them and force them to do my will.  I will place them in danger, in love and in hardship.  I can rescue them or abandon them as I wish.  Their lives will move through paragraphs, pages and chapters as if they were weeks, months and years.  They await me and somehow it is enough.

By night I turn the key in my door.  Oliver and Olivia scream with anticipation.  They leap and cry with joy.  I have returned and they are not forsaken after all.  I am at home.  My heart is at home.  I will need a year to complete the next work before it all starts again.  I will be free for twelve months to create, to think, to endure, to wait and to wish.

I am no different from others except that I put my lies in print.  What I invent is part of what I wish or feel.  I am sheltered from emotion by pretending that my words are fiction.  I am a vendor of illusion, a merchant of words.