January 2013
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The merit of capture


Entry One (in which I am beleaguered)

Entry Two (in which I am clothed)

Entry Three (in which I am indicted)

I am to have assignments, Mother?

I am not to be trusted to discern the thoughts of mine which merit written capture. I must be prompted into discourse, encouraged to indite that which another has requested. Indition is not a word, Mother. Were you aware? I was going to write it and use it, confident that the verb could be made a noun, but then I recalled the humiliation of my recent salutation “Yours in recondition,” and I paused to look it up.

How I despise when the words I choose defeat me with their irreality.

Back to the assignment you have given me . . .

Describe yourself so that one might be able to find you in a large crowded room.

What is the point of this exercise?

I require explication before proceeding.

I will be right back.

A note here that time has elapsed during which I sought you out to enquire as to the intent and purpose of the query you have posed. I believe I have captured your response verbatim . . .

First you sighed heavily, and then you said, “Imagine that you and I have somehow become separated in a large and crowded room. In the moments of our separation, I am injured and lose the entirety of my memory. I search my pockets for clues as to my identity and connection in this world, and find only a single crumpled and many-folded sheet of paper in a pocket concealed within my coat. I smooth the paper’s creases and read the words contained therein — a short description of a girl. I have lost everything except the image this description paints for me of my daughter, although I am unaware in this moment that she is my daughter. I read the description again, and I begin to search the room for the girl who will give me back to myself.”

I stared at you.

You said, “Write the way back to you,” and then you sank beneath the bath water and refused to continue the conversation.

I have given this a bit of thought, Mother.

Here is my response . . .

In the scenario you describe, only one of us has lost her memory. Yes, we are in a large and crowded room, but why should you need to set off in search of me? Yes, you might, confused and forgetful, wander about the room looking for your life, but my life would not have been lost. I am not a stupid person; I would not, upon being separated from you for a few moments, sink to the floor in stuporous incompetent despair. I would retrace our steps through the room; I would seek a higher vantage point from which to survey the crowd . . . even in a very large room, it is not as though your injury and disorientation would render you invisible. If I failed to find you after a few moments, I would call your phone . . . where is your phone in this story, anyway? Indeed, where is your purse? How has this trauma of yours caused you to be stripped of all identification?

Why would you need to hunt me down?

I think you have left out an important scene, namely the entirety of the moments in which I have taken advantage of the crowded noisy chaos of the room to club you senseless and take all of your personal identifying belongings.

Why would I do that? I am sure I don’t know. It’s your imagined truth, not mine.

Search your pockets, Mother.

Slide your fingers into the envelope of space concealed against your body.

Unfold and smooth the sheet of paper you find within.

Read the words . . .

It has emerged that the way back to me is through you.


It would have been far more efficacious to have requested a photograph, Mother.

With regrets,


    19 comments to The merit of capture

    • And yes . . . I have seen the movie “Memento.”

    • This writing swirls and flows upon itself until. I’m drawn into it.
      I like it.

    • Jessica

      Usually I’ll read through your posts and then read them again, making sure I didn’t miss anything. But with these I can hardly get through them once. This miniseries is making me uncomfortable. It gives me a bit of anxiety. I DON’T KNOW WHY.

      OMG I am so rude to tell you this! But I thought you might like to know? Don’t be offended. It’s not that I don’t like them, it’s just.

      • You have made me laugh right out loud.

        Why should I be offended?

        My words have made you uncomfortable . . . engendered a response with which you are uneasy.

        How is that anything but a compliment?


    • Robin K

      Awesome. To me, A mirrored story. Love this.

      (My son can be quite anecdotal with his response to requests, ahem)

    • You writing voice is so unique that I want to applaud and also slap you with a wet squid. Because I am like that.

    • I think I have an issue with the mom.

      If she is handing out assignments, then I am assuming that she is reading her daughter’s diary.

      I have a major problem with that.

      So I agree with the person who commented earlier; these posts make me uncomfortable.

      Thing is I can’t single out one specific reason as to WHY I am uncomfortable.

      So. . .


      • Funny, though . . . because the yellow book has only been described as a journal, not a diary. A gift from her mother for reasons unknown . . . a gift in which the girl addresses her entries to her mother without seeming fear that her mother will read the entries. The girl in fact writes as though she expects her mother to read her words; there has been no mention of promises made or relied upon.

        So pffffttttt.

        We shall see what happens next.

        I’m thinking there are two more parts to this story.

        Two more that I will share, anyway.


    • Jacqui

      Only two more entries? Please share more! I love being able to relate to both the mother and the girl, although I never would be able to write like her (you). I think a journal and assigments would be a great way to share and communicate with kids, you should add it to that parenting book of yours!

    • "OG" Axel

      Dreaming as the days go by, dreaming as the summers die…

      Perhaps we will see what comes next? What if that which we see was not intended for us, but someone else?


      • You are all through the looking glass, Axel-Alice?

        That cake over there with the . . . what does the marking say?

        Bite me?

        No, that’s not right.


        • "OG" Axel

          What is life but a dream?

          Few people pick up the difference in poems between Wonderland and Looking Glass. I really need to dust those off and give them another read. I had forgotten that there were three possible explanations to the storyline- it’s all real, it’s all her dream or everything exists only in the dreams of the sleeping red king (ref to Bishop Berkeley).

          And yes… so want more of your fiction or friction. Well written indeed.