madbeyond
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Written by madbeyond in portal Poetry & Free Verse

Sweet

life is good

buzzy as a cherry cola tic tac

you need to taste it

’cause it's new

part of the next

generation of tic tacs

known as mixers

that go from peach

to lemonade

in one artificial

tasty bud explosion

that is GLUTEN FREE

(I started gluten free, 

by the way,

I coined the term)

and amenable

to exotic

gum arabic

(no one loves gum arabic

as much as I do)

and pussy grabbing

carnauba wax

Hey, sugar, you

look like a 38

I’m a hard mint guy myself

small small small

kiss them all

most beautiful hands

believe me

I don’t even wait

all those nutjobs

me and you

what did Tic Tacs do

to deserve us 

to deserve you

Skittles too

they’re killing us 

we're being persecuted

so unfair

don’t tell me you don’t

want some candy

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Written by madbeyond in portal Poetry & Free Verse
Sweet
life is good
buzzy as a cherry cola tic tac
you need to taste it
’cause it's new
part of the next
generation of tic tacs
known as mixers
that go from peach
to lemonade
in one artificial
tasty bud explosion
that is GLUTEN FREE
(I started gluten free, 
by the way,
I coined the term)
and amenable
to exotic
gum arabic
(no one loves gum arabic
as much as I do)
and pussy grabbing
carnauba wax
Hey, sugar, you
look like a 38
I’m a hard mint guy myself
small small small
kiss them all
most beautiful hands
believe me
I don’t even wait
all those nutjobs
me and you
what did Tic Tacs do
to deserve us 
to deserve you
Skittles too
they’re killing us 
we're being persecuted
so unfair
don’t tell me you don’t
want some candy

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4
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Written by madbeyond

Raven*

I do not let go of the bird

Until I am forward and imminent

A periphery of nascent wings

Black and loud as a sea-birth

Raging after cubits, a choiceless

Launch of God

The raven is out before the dove

This is the dream I have:

There is no place to land

The tides meets in a surge

Of morning stars -- no vegetation

Claws the sky

Or tailors the impossible yards of clouds ...

To think I'd be the one

To find the world!

I am sent forth when there is no land

But days of years of twilight

Beating on the sea

 

I wake surprised by cliffs

The dove found more than willows

In a single hour's excursion

*One bird poem recalls another, T_E_Trueman. This is my earliest bird (I think), all heaven-sent and shit.

 :-)

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Written by madbeyond
Raven*
I do not let go of the bird
Until I am forward and imminent
A periphery of nascent wings

Black and loud as a sea-birth
Raging after cubits, a choiceless
Launch of God

The raven is out before the dove
This is the dream I have:
There is no place to land

The tides meets in a surge
Of morning stars -- no vegetation
Claws the sky

Or tailors the impossible yards of clouds ...
To think I'd be the one
To find the world!

I am sent forth when there is no land
But days of years of twilight
Beating on the sea
 
I wake surprised by cliffs
The dove found more than willows
In a single hour's excursion

*One bird poem recalls another, T_E_Trueman. This is my earliest bird (I think), all heaven-sent and shit.
 :-)
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Written by madbeyond in portal Poetry & Free Verse

Virginia Dare

Because her blue eyes

gazed at him so steadily from

the cradleboard

as he tied the knot

three turns ’round

the hand, three

turns across,

three more inside,

whip the end

to the standing part

he held it out to her

and then, when she

grasped it firm and laughed,

and would not give it back

called her Little Monkey Fist,

which stuck.

“That knot,”

her mother said,

“will surely bring us luck.”

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Written by madbeyond in portal Poetry & Free Verse
Virginia Dare
Because her blue eyes
gazed at him so steadily from
the cradleboard
as he tied the knot

three turns ’round
the hand, three
turns across,
three more inside,
whip the end
to the standing part

he held it out to her
and then, when she
grasped it firm and laughed,
and would not give it back
called her Little Monkey Fist,
which stuck.

“That knot,”
her mother said,
“will surely bring us luck.”

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Written by madbeyond in portal Poetry & Free Verse

Matins

Death is the mother of beauty

-- Wallace Stevens

She could have

loved him in

the broken moonlight

of November

or the lava spill

of oceanic bone

or the city’s

splintering

devastation

or the terrifying

death of

other suns

but she loved him

instead

in the indigo

shadow

of time’s

placid glance

and the sparrow

that lived

for one day

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Written by madbeyond in portal Poetry & Free Verse
Matins
Death is the mother of beauty
-- Wallace Stevens

She could have
loved him in
the broken moonlight
of November
or the lava spill
of oceanic bone
or the city’s
splintering
devastation
or the terrifying
death of
other suns
but she loved him
instead
in the indigo
shadow
of time’s
placid glance
and the sparrow
that lived
for one day


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Simon & Schuster is one of the world’s leading publishers and we are always looking for fresh new voices. Write a story, chapter, or essay about whatever you like. The 50 best entries will be announced by Prose and read by our editorial staff for consideration.
Written by madbeyond in portal Simon & Schuster

The Retreat

The first house on the road, before there was a road, before the road was Laurel Lane, was built in the 1880s and for a long time stood alone. As kids we would map out the territory, the outbuildings, cellars, stables, servants’ quarters, exposed roots of ancient trees. There were tunnels through mountain laurel, shadowed paths to woods and to the beach. Every dare terminated at the old family burial ground, torturously overgrown with ivy, honeysuckle, lilac, wisteria. There the bodies of Martha, Simon, and Christian (twelve years old) mouldered under headstones all askew, inhabited by the occasional snail.

The Retreat was a Victorian haunt, a playground of ghosts beckoning in slanted light. As kids we screamed a lot, and laughed, conjured up the living past at bonfires on the beach. The Retreat was our unconscious selves, keys, dresses, polished stones, awful claws, returning to us perennially, at great removes of place and time.

The houses that went up in the 1950s and ’60s, our houses, were an affront to the Reserve, cedar shake colonials with built-in blenders on kitchen islands, sunken living rooms, walk-in closets, landscaped lawns, rhododendrons, dogwoods, weeping willows, built-in swimming pools. New York City construction executives, like my dad, and garmentos, like my best friend Rachel’s, and their wives, our moms, mine a natural beauty newly arrived in pedal pushers and Peter Pan collars, hers long on the scene in orange lipstick and geometric prints, angular handbags dangling from skinny wrists, impossible shoes, bought up prime Long Island real estate, two-acre lots in the vicinity of the Retreat, the dirt road having then been paved.

On Laurel Lane, everything old was new again, including the Victorian Retreat, bought dirt cheap (it was said) by the Gossums, who inhabitated it wholly. Possessed it. A big family (thirteen kids), the Gossums were a pseudo-Neanderthal tribe from New Jersey with Fred Flintstone toes and fingers, square jaws, and long, wild hair, thick necks. Heavy-set. They played guitar. Some of them played electric guitar. Molly Gossum, the matriarch, smoked. She screamed at the kids: “Where’s the baby?”; “Who put tunafish in the mayonnaise?” The Gossums under ten had black teeth, having been sent to bed with bottles of sugar juice. Mr. Gossum owned a lumberyard. After their baby teeth fell out, the Gossum kids got good dental.

Moe Gossum, sixteen, sold Avon, gave out samples to her friends, and to the neighborhood kids who, in exchange for a sample vial of perfume (she called it “fragrance”) combed her hair, massaged her back to the tune of Topaz and Rapture.

Moe’s brother, Simon Gossum, the eldest son, and his girlfriend Joan, made out on the couch in the Retreat’s retreating parlor. Naked under a red blanket, Simon flashed his privates, all black, against Joan’s white sideways smile. Looking at me, all of us kids laughing, throwing things everywhere. Pillows, plastic. Me looking at her, her pushing back, her sleepy white face, strawberry hair, round brown eyes blank, sweet as an open window. Gray-white ass turning over, like a wave, him looking at me, looking at her.

The next week she’d be dead, hanging from a tree in the woods off Laurel Lane. 

Simon would find her.

Me looking at him; him looking at me.

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Simon & Schuster is one of the world’s leading publishers and we are always looking for fresh new voices. Write a story, chapter, or essay about whatever you like. The 50 best entries will be announced by Prose and read by our editorial staff for consideration.
Written by madbeyond in portal Simon & Schuster
The Retreat
The first house on the road, before there was a road, before the road was Laurel Lane, was built in the 1880s and for a long time stood alone. As kids we would map out the territory, the outbuildings, cellars, stables, servants’ quarters, exposed roots of ancient trees. There were tunnels through mountain laurel, shadowed paths to woods and to the beach. Every dare terminated at the old family burial ground, torturously overgrown with ivy, honeysuckle, lilac, wisteria. There the bodies of Martha, Simon, and Christian (twelve years old) mouldered under headstones all askew, inhabited by the occasional snail.
The Retreat was a Victorian haunt, a playground of ghosts beckoning in slanted light. As kids we screamed a lot, and laughed, conjured up the living past at bonfires on the beach. The Retreat was our unconscious selves, keys, dresses, polished stones, awful claws, returning to us perennially, at great removes of place and time.
The houses that went up in the 1950s and ’60s, our houses, were an affront to the Reserve, cedar shake colonials with built-in blenders on kitchen islands, sunken living rooms, walk-in closets, landscaped lawns, rhododendrons, dogwoods, weeping willows, built-in swimming pools. New York City construction executives, like my dad, and garmentos, like my best friend Rachel’s, and their wives, our moms, mine a natural beauty newly arrived in pedal pushers and Peter Pan collars, hers long on the scene in orange lipstick and geometric prints, angular handbags dangling from skinny wrists, impossible shoes, bought up prime Long Island real estate, two-acre lots in the vicinity of the Retreat, the dirt road having then been paved.
On Laurel Lane, everything old was new again, including the Victorian Retreat, bought dirt cheap (it was said) by the Gossums, who inhabitated it wholly. Possessed it. A big family (thirteen kids), the Gossums were a pseudo-Neanderthal tribe from New Jersey with Fred Flintstone toes and fingers, square jaws, and long, wild hair, thick necks. Heavy-set. They played guitar. Some of them played electric guitar. Molly Gossum, the matriarch, smoked. She screamed at the kids: “Where’s the baby?”; “Who put tunafish in the mayonnaise?” The Gossums under ten had black teeth, having been sent to bed with bottles of sugar juice. Mr. Gossum owned a lumberyard. After their baby teeth fell out, the Gossum kids got good dental.
Moe Gossum, sixteen, sold Avon, gave out samples to her friends, and to the neighborhood kids who, in exchange for a sample vial of perfume (she called it “fragrance”) combed her hair, massaged her back to the tune of Topaz and Rapture.
Moe’s brother, Simon Gossum, the eldest son, and his girlfriend Joan, made out on the couch in the Retreat’s retreating parlor. Naked under a red blanket, Simon flashed his privates, all black, against Joan’s white sideways smile. Looking at me, all of us kids laughing, throwing things everywhere. Pillows, plastic. Me looking at her, her pushing back, her sleepy white face, strawberry hair, round brown eyes blank, sweet as an open window. Gray-white ass turning over, like a wave, him looking at me, looking at her.
The next week she’d be dead, hanging from a tree in the woods off Laurel Lane. 
Simon would find her.
Me looking at him; him looking at me.
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Word Play Time! Try to write a piece with every word starting with consecutive letters of the alphabet, like this: ("A Beastly Challenge, Don't Ewe Find? ") Miss-spelling allowed, as long as it makes readable sense. I wonder if anyone can make it through the whole alphabet with a coherent story?
Written by madbeyond

Barfly

About Beth, Carl denied ever feeling grief. “Hell, I’m just keening love, moonlit nights!” Oblivious posturing quipster. Really? she thought, understanding very well:

X your Zen.

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Word Play Time! Try to write a piece with every word starting with consecutive letters of the alphabet, like this: ("A Beastly Challenge, Don't Ewe Find? ") Miss-spelling allowed, as long as it makes readable sense. I wonder if anyone can make it through the whole alphabet with a coherent story?
Written by madbeyond
Barfly
About Beth, Carl denied ever feeling grief. “Hell, I’m just keening love, moonlit nights!” Oblivious posturing quipster. Really? she thought, understanding very well:
X your Zen.

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Written by madbeyond in portal Music and Rap

First Lyrics Awaiting Ukulele

You’re my avocado

You’re my lost bravado

You’re my Catahoula leopard dog …

You’re my soto voce

You’re my lemon sorbet

You're my rendezvous with travelogue …

You’re my mashed pertater

You’re my aviator

You’re my weathervane in analog

You’re my boho beanie

You’re my feline meanie

You’re my did I mention you’re my frog

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Written by madbeyond in portal Music and Rap
First Lyrics Awaiting Ukulele
You’re my avocado
You’re my lost bravado
You’re my Catahoula leopard dog …

You’re my soto voce
You’re my lemon sorbet
You're my rendezvous with travelogue …

You’re my mashed pertater
You’re my aviator
You’re my weathervane in analog

You’re my boho beanie
You’re my feline meanie
You’re my did I mention you’re my frog

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Written by madbeyond in portal Poetry & Free Verse

Descanso

There was a time I didn’t need a map

Could find you with eyes shuttered, limbs unbound

Integument and shroud, my head, your lap

Descending in design, the final sound

Been far away from this one final place

Where we lay down and where they put the cross

Now overgrown the tangled vines your face

Obscured by hand and bone beneath the moss

You loved me not for having tended it

A lie of land within the tangled lot

I loved you only just a little bit

We pissed each other off (still) dot dot dot

An ear to grass we heard the birds below

You heard them anyway, hello hello

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Written by madbeyond in portal Poetry & Free Verse
Descanso
There was a time I didn’t need a map
Could find you with eyes shuttered, limbs unbound
Integument and shroud, my head, your lap
Descending in design, the final sound

Been far away from this one final place
Where we lay down and where they put the cross
Now overgrown the tangled vines your face
Obscured by hand and bone beneath the moss

You loved me not for having tended it
A lie of land within the tangled lot
I loved you only just a little bit
We pissed each other off (still) dot dot dot

An ear to grass we heard the birds below
You heard them anyway, hello hello


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Written by madbeyond in portal Flash Fiction

The Sock

In the dream, she is in the room. She is always surprised to find herself there, even though everything is familiar, from a long time ago. Pink -- well, no, a sophisticated rose -- snug, like a fairytale nutshell, or a television genie bottle, nicely fitted out. Mirroring beauty. Mirroring her. She is in the dress and she is a knockout. She loves this dream. Everything is perfect. The dress, herself in the dress, her brain as it dreams, knowing how to be, how to talk, how to move in this place. How to encounter ... everything. Diva. Goddess. She’d forgotten how perfect it could be. How did one, how does one, forget, when even the small tugging of the sock is predictable? 

The sock? Right. The sock. Of course. Again. Christ. She twirls and tries to cover it with her dress. Her effort is successful. She can hide it, for a time. But she sweats. She knows what awaits. This is a recurring dream, after all. The sock replicates like DNA. It will return. It never left. It is forensic evidence.

She wants to know; it’s been a long time: How does the sock not lose itself, like any respectable sock, find an old shoe? How does it carry itself back, or forward, into dreams, sweet dreams? This particular dream: everything welcome, desired, perfect … until the corner of her eye catches it, her calf feels its insistent tug. There is the sock, black, slack, dingy, torn, the underside covered in dog hair, visible beneath the gown, in the room’s many mirrors. 

Where did the shoe go? The beautiful shoe. Again, she did not protect it. How is it possible she forgot? Such deep failure. The picture book worth half a kingdom—these words are there in the dream, somewhere, inscribed on the wall, in the sock, definitely in the storybook she loved, the story of the girl bathed by her stepmother in walnut juice, her brothers turned to swans, swans she frees, the youngest not entirely, but her favorite; his one white wing a terrible, beautiful reminder -- the book lost, then found again, and regained, a long ways away, a short time ago, it seemed, and for free.

But the sock, tug-tugging now, half pulled off her foot, dirty, thick ribbed funnel sock, there on the floor, visible past the sweep of organza, or whatever that beautiful fabric is, the only thing that would give her away, because she isn’t of this place and shouldn’t be here; her face burns, another giveaway, she’d belong here, get to stay, rule the joint, but for a piece of dirty cotton on a stubborn foot. Awful sock. It ruins the lustrous hues, the lovely thread entangling her as she turns. There. The sock is almost hidden now beneath it, a nub of yarn, a swollen toe. It is almost manageable. She can hide it. No one will ever know. She’s still alone here; there is time. 

It’s the dress that is suddenly difficult. But this is not yardage; her hair has grown, is growing, she never had such long hair, glossy and dark, it surrounds her, wraps around her torso, her legs, her feet, the repeating history of this -- once? twice? more times than she can count? -- recurring dream. Not a dress, but tresses. Rapunzel. Wrapunzel. She hears it growing and the sound is terrible. She knows what’s coming, can’t breathe. Her hair tightens around her neck, covers her eyes, filling her mouth, enshrouding her. There is no tower here, no high window; only a bottle. Neck. No air, nothing can live here, not for long, not even her red face. Stuck. Just the tugging of the sock, the miserable sock, careless in its triumph, the only thing that finally wakes her up.

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Written by madbeyond in portal Flash Fiction
The Sock
In the dream, she is in the room. She is always surprised to find herself there, even though everything is familiar, from a long time ago. Pink -- well, no, a sophisticated rose -- snug, like a fairytale nutshell, or a television genie bottle, nicely fitted out. Mirroring beauty. Mirroring her. She is in the dress and she is a knockout. She loves this dream. Everything is perfect. The dress, herself in the dress, her brain as it dreams, knowing how to be, how to talk, how to move in this place. How to encounter ... everything. Diva. Goddess. She’d forgotten how perfect it could be. How did one, how does one, forget, when even the small tugging of the sock is predictable? 
The sock? Right. The sock. Of course. Again. Christ. She twirls and tries to cover it with her dress. Her effort is successful. She can hide it, for a time. But she sweats. She knows what awaits. This is a recurring dream, after all. The sock replicates like DNA. It will return. It never left. It is forensic evidence.
She wants to know; it’s been a long time: How does the sock not lose itself, like any respectable sock, find an old shoe? How does it carry itself back, or forward, into dreams, sweet dreams? This particular dream: everything welcome, desired, perfect … until the corner of her eye catches it, her calf feels its insistent tug. There is the sock, black, slack, dingy, torn, the underside covered in dog hair, visible beneath the gown, in the room’s many mirrors. 
Where did the shoe go? The beautiful shoe. Again, she did not protect it. How is it possible she forgot? Such deep failure. The picture book worth half a kingdom—these words are there in the dream, somewhere, inscribed on the wall, in the sock, definitely in the storybook she loved, the story of the girl bathed by her stepmother in walnut juice, her brothers turned to swans, swans she frees, the youngest not entirely, but her favorite; his one white wing a terrible, beautiful reminder -- the book lost, then found again, and regained, a long ways away, a short time ago, it seemed, and for free.
But the sock, tug-tugging now, half pulled off her foot, dirty, thick ribbed funnel sock, there on the floor, visible past the sweep of organza, or whatever that beautiful fabric is, the only thing that would give her away, because she isn’t of this place and shouldn’t be here; her face burns, another giveaway, she’d belong here, get to stay, rule the joint, but for a piece of dirty cotton on a stubborn foot. Awful sock. It ruins the lustrous hues, the lovely thread entangling her as she turns. There. The sock is almost hidden now beneath it, a nub of yarn, a swollen toe. It is almost manageable. She can hide it. No one will ever know. She’s still alone here; there is time. 
It’s the dress that is suddenly difficult. But this is not yardage; her hair has grown, is growing, she never had such long hair, glossy and dark, it surrounds her, wraps around her torso, her legs, her feet, the repeating history of this -- once? twice? more times than she can count? -- recurring dream. Not a dress, but tresses. Rapunzel. Wrapunzel. She hears it growing and the sound is terrible. She knows what’s coming, can’t breathe. Her hair tightens around her neck, covers her eyes, filling her mouth, enshrouding her. There is no tower here, no high window; only a bottle. Neck. No air, nothing can live here, not for long, not even her red face. Stuck. Just the tugging of the sock, the miserable sock, careless in its triumph, the only thing that finally wakes her up.

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CotW #66: Write about the biggest lesson life has taught you.
Written by madbeyond

Last Story

This may be the last story I will tell you, but because it is my story it will be more difficult to tell than the others, because I must put the words together for you myself, in a way that makes sense and is true, or more or less true; I am old now and much of what I will tell you concerns events of long ago, when I was your age and a little younger, your age and a little older. And though what happened to me is unforgettable in many ways, my memory must stretch back over years and years, as a result of which some reds may be blue, and some blues red. It doesn’t matter; the story is essentially true, and inherently mine, and where I say a thing was blue even when it might have been red doesn’t make a difference most of the time, even though in this story, some colors are important for what they were and are.

You will find, when you get to be as old as I, as old as the oldest person you know, that stories are never quite finished; one small piece of information, supplied many years after a series of events, can change an outcome that had long ago been decided on into something else entirely. My story is still unfolding, as old as I am and as close as I am to the end. And even then, conclusions are fleeting. You, after all, will soon be a part of my story, if only in the hearing of it, and thus it will go on long after these covers have closed. 

My story, if in the end I have told it well enough, may come to you when you are thinking about a thing, making up your mind about something. Making up your mind. It’s not like making up the bed. You haven’t practiced it a thousand times and know how it should look. Sometimes you won’t know if you are right or wrong right away, or for a very long time afterward, if at all. Maybe there was never anything right or wrong about it. Like the way to town: you can go as the crow flies, through the woods, or ride your bike down the grid of lanes. Each will take you to your destination. But your travels will be very different. You will remember that outcomes, however fleeting, hinge on such decisions, that on the lane you will encounter such and so, and the woods will present a different thing altogether, and your story will hinge, like mine did, on which way you went, and why, and whether a thing was red or blue, alive or dead or somewhere in between.

And that is the story. Not what you find at the end, but what awaits you in the woods or on the lane, alive or dead, red or blue, or somewhere in between.

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CotW #66: Write about the biggest lesson life has taught you.
Written by madbeyond
Last Story
This may be the last story I will tell you, but because it is my story it will be more difficult to tell than the others, because I must put the words together for you myself, in a way that makes sense and is true, or more or less true; I am old now and much of what I will tell you concerns events of long ago, when I was your age and a little younger, your age and a little older. And though what happened to me is unforgettable in many ways, my memory must stretch back over years and years, as a result of which some reds may be blue, and some blues red. It doesn’t matter; the story is essentially true, and inherently mine, and where I say a thing was blue even when it might have been red doesn’t make a difference most of the time, even though in this story, some colors are important for what they were and are.

You will find, when you get to be as old as I, as old as the oldest person you know, that stories are never quite finished; one small piece of information, supplied many years after a series of events, can change an outcome that had long ago been decided on into something else entirely. My story is still unfolding, as old as I am and as close as I am to the end. And even then, conclusions are fleeting. You, after all, will soon be a part of my story, if only in the hearing of it, and thus it will go on long after these covers have closed. 

My story, if in the end I have told it well enough, may come to you when you are thinking about a thing, making up your mind about something. Making up your mind. It’s not like making up the bed. You haven’t practiced it a thousand times and know how it should look. Sometimes you won’t know if you are right or wrong right away, or for a very long time afterward, if at all. Maybe there was never anything right or wrong about it. Like the way to town: you can go as the crow flies, through the woods, or ride your bike down the grid of lanes. Each will take you to your destination. But your travels will be very different. You will remember that outcomes, however fleeting, hinge on such decisions, that on the lane you will encounter such and so, and the woods will present a different thing altogether, and your story will hinge, like mine did, on which way you went, and why, and whether a thing was red or blue, alive or dead or somewhere in between.

And that is the story. Not what you find at the end, but what awaits you in the woods or on the lane, alive or dead, red or blue, or somewhere in between.



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