X’s lost novel

X tells me he’s just lost a novel he was writing. It was going wonderfully, he was portraying his protagonist, a character much like himself, feeling his feelings and thinking his thoughts, capturing them exactly, when his words disappeared from his screen. They just disappeared. I’m shell-shocked, he says. He’s not sure how many pages he’d written. Maybe fifty, maybe ten. It might have been fewer than ten, he says, what does it matter, it’s not like he was counting pages, he was in the haze of inspiration, when you’re in the haze you don’t count, the haze is beyond counting. But it was important, he says, what he was writing was important, and now he’ll never get it back. It’s true that if he read it back to himself now he might not find it important. In fact he might find it embarrassing. The point is he doesn’t know whether he’s better off having lost it or not, how could he, he lost it. If only he hadn’t lost it! he says. Then again, maybe it’s for the best, he says, maybe he’d feel embarrassed, maybe what he’d written would turn around and judge both the person who wrote it and the person who looked back on it, because you can’t trust words, he says, they turn on you. That’s why getting a new computer is first on his list. What’s the most stable product out there, he says. I paid for quality and that’s not what I got. I was writing something unique, something no one else could have written, quite possibly the best pages of my life, in the haze of a unique inspiration that’s beyond counting, and I deserve a stable product that won’t just lose my words, that won’t turn on me.


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