A story about a story about a story about a story about a boy

A young man named William, dark-haired, slightly pockmarked, working as a grocery store clerk by day, was by night desperately trying to write a story about a boy, a hero, a little protagonist, who held title as prince on his planet, and came down to earth in search of family (since he had none) – family, or even a close friend. Every night William struggled with the story. Every night William failed to write it how he saw, in his mind’s eye, it should be written. Sure, his writerly skills were lacking. Sure, he had a dearth of experience from which to draw. Sure, his muse had walked confidently off the flat edge of the world and fallen into the abyss. But there was more to it even than all that.

A clever late-twenties-something woman named Peyla, grey-eyed, warm-skinned, playing graduate student in obstetrics and gynecology by day, was at night doing her damndest to write a metafictional story about a young man by the name of William, who was trying desperately to pen a story about a boy, a hero, a tiny protagonist, who had descended to earth in search of family or even just a friend (since the tender prince was so lonely on his own bitty planet). Every night Peyla wrestled with the story. Every night Peyla failed to write it how her creative heart pulsed it should be written. Sure, she was distracted by thoughts of pap smears and ultrasonographies. Sure, she had a love-hate relationship with postmodern literature. Sure, her muse had eaten every single apple and snake in Eden and destroyed an entire religion, thereby radically altering the course of world history. But there was more to it even than all that.

An aging but still under-forty writer named Jack, salt-n-pepper-bearded, blue flannel-shirted, enjoying moderate success as the head chef of a popular “California Fusion” restaurant by day, was in the evenings attacking a new story. It would be his most complex and interesting work yet. This one would get bites, possibly an acceptance! from any of five or ten big-name publishers. Jack’s balls tingled when he imagined it. He was dedicatedly grappling with the potentially trite but potentially dazzling sallies of a doubly-metafictional tale, wherein a clever medical student – Peyla – was herself attempting (unsuccessfully, despite her ingenuity) to write a fiction about a very young man (of only recent legal drinking age) – William – who was utterly floundering in his efforts to write a fable about a boy, a hero, a wee protagonist, who’d traveled from his far-off star to earth in search of companions, since he (this prince) had no one but a fragile and easily-offended flower on his own planet. Every evening Jack toiled away at the story. Every evening Jack failed to write it how his five senses demanded it be written. Sure, he often almost asphyxiated himself with the odor of his twelve-kitchen-hours-and-still-unwashed body. Sure, his muse was a coy, double-headed, filthy-mouthed fourteen-year-old traipsing through approximately one-third of his dreams. But there was more to it even than all that…

Somehow, Jack couldn’t shake the feeling that he had inadvertently pinched the meatiest part of his story: the innermost circle. That he was an unoriginal hack. One day, he came across an English translation of Le Petit Prince, and it was over for him. He saw, with suicidal dismay, that the heart of his artichoke, the genius underneath the bullshit layers of writer characters struggling and failing, had been articulated a century earlier by a pilot-author, a man much more gifted than he… and that it was perfect.

~ by kingzoko on November 11, 2015.

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