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my main man.

June 25, 2011
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i have a very convoluted relationship in my life right now. actually, he’s been around for three years coming up in fall. an anniversary. how sweet. i wonder what we will do. i will likely sit at my desk and bury my face in my palms, and he will jeer from over my shoulder, the mirror, the windows, the kitchen.

people sometimes want to know about my thesis, about the crazy mess that it can be, and they really want to know about my relationship with the main characters. while i feel ambivalent about my female lead (she is too much of a reflection of me, sometimes, and i can’t get a bead on her, although my advisor did suggest that she was the more interesting of the two) i feel much more strongly about my man.

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it’s hard for me to write about him on here, because, as a paranoid writer, i don’t want to give away too many details about the story, the character, the person that the character is based on. some of the writers in the program know. anyone who asks about the thesis does usually get told about the specifics. intellectual theft – story theft – is a scary prospect, but i try as hard as i can not to be too paranoid, too anxious or suspicious. maybe that will bite me in the ass one day, but for now i’d like to think that it’s giving me good karma.

for privacy’s sake, we’ll call him j. (to head things off at the pass: no, this does not refer to jay. ha ha.)

j. is scintillating. he glisters. the first time i saw him i knew i was supposed to laugh but instead my jaw dropped – something that is so cliche that i had never had it happen to me before. i was struck with this fist-feeling right in the centre of my ribs – right where the breath gets taken out of you. love at first sight, right? that happens, now. i realise. well, maybe not love, but something that drew me so strongly to him that i stayed up all night writing my first story about him. this may sound mawkish and unimportant, but two things to know are this: 1) i never write at night because sleep is so important to me and i am a morning person. 2) i had only ever been a poet before. he was my first story. and the way he looked – while not typically handsome in any way (except to me, me who has the odd taste in men, me who likes the hawkish nose, the shelf-like cheekbones, the slung mouth) he immediately, immediately draws the eye to him. there is a cadence and a weight to his movements that does that. it’s a comfort with being made-up with slap and put in front of an audience, but beneath there is an uncertainty that stems from the childhood, the growing up in the tattered area.

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i always want to post pictures of him on here so that anyone who reads this can see how beautiful he is. he is … stunning. i have photos from his childhood that his family so kindly gave to me to use, and he is this odd mix of gawky, burnished, elegant. swan-like, really.

i refrain from doing so because i am scared and selfish. i am scared that someone else will see him and become as inspired as i was and that they will steal him from me, and that when they do so, his ghost will stop talking to me. (if i am to be honest with myself, his ghost has stopped talking with me for a while now. it has been on and off.) i am selfish because i want to keep him to myself – and maybe this is why he has stopped paying attention to me. you can’t keep a good man down, right?

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the lines between j.’s reality and his imagined presence in my writing are very blurred. i wonder if other writers do this: live alongside their characters (or one of their characters) on a day to day basis. he sleeps beside me. he walks behind me. he leans over my shoulder. i imagine him doing so, but because my imagination is so powerful and because my imagination creates a (written) reality, what i imagine is therefore reality, and therefore j. is my reality. he is a roommate, a lover, a friend, an enemy on more than one occasion.

all the men i write about – the men i create – become strong, strong presences in my life. i wonder what it means that the women i write about do not do the same. maybe it means that i have not yet matured all the way as a writer, that i can only focus on men because in real life i am so uncomfortable around them.

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our relationship has turned, a little. that infatuation is gone and has been for a long time. we are tolerant of each other now. he no longer speaks to me the way he did – the idea of him, the ghost of him, the core of him. and i am just slogging through it at times – i just want to get it done. i think that this is where they say “the spark is gone.” is it gone? do i just need to re-imagine him and something strong will come back to me? this might be the writer’s equivalent of the 7 year itch

will we end it after i finish the thesis? will i shelf him away and stop thinking about him? i don’t know. maybe that’s what i’m scared of. the idea that we’re going to stop existing with each other after this. that we will no longer be lateral to each other. maybe he will go his way and i will go mine. i already know what my next book will be about. i can move on –

maybe.

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