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A Novel Idea

I festered and pictured ending it all with a blank sheet of cheap bond.

My dear little adjective, I too would cling desperately to a first line indent with no plausible reason for existence. Like you, as a young part of speech, I yearned for the rich life as a paragraph. I mean, they really dazzle with bold topic statements and supporting details. Hell, I even dreamed of becoming a political essay with biting social commentary, and a wicked satirical punch line to proclaim my inexorable yet insightful conclusion.

But I grew too impetuous to become versed in the structure I so urgently desired. So when the going got tough I did some editing to escape the imagined prison of my outline format. I sold my dignity for easy grammar, squandering my youth among street slang, only to invite hard times. Life grew meaner and eventually I wasted away to a dangling participle. Even the punctuation would avert their eyes and slink between the lines when I grappled at forming a concept in the company of lowly intransitive verbs.

Forced to beg for the occasional adverb, I could barely imagine scrawling a good subject, let alone a theme from which to anchor my existence. Numb, and fatigued from years of subsistence on passive tense, I festered and pictured ending it all with a blank sheet of cheap bond. I had degenerated to a neutral object case pronoun on a plain old matchbook cover.

As my ink bled into fuzzy oblivion across the soggy underside of that matchbook cover, I suddenly remembered the words of my mother, the sweetest market analysis compendium in the whole wide world. Nobody could ever take the place of her quarterly projections, or deny the healing power of her pie charts and statistical probabilities. God, how I miss her. Ma always used to say, “Damn it, Greenie, you can describe anything your heart desires. The only thing separating you from poetry or hack work is belief in your own ability.”

Well I made up my mind right then to make some kind of statement. I scratched my way up to become a predicate, and then a run on sentence. My struggles at last bore fruit as I achieved a complex syntax constructed with dependent as well as independent clauses. Astute readers now frequently cite the lyrical quality of my prose. Today, as you can see, I am a sexy piece of flash fiction with an unexpected climax and a wry, sardonic dénouement.

I’ve given up plans to become a political essay and have set my sights on an epic hardcover with interwoven subplots, intricate settings, and vivid, ironic characters who spiral toward each other in a meteoric cliff-hanger. With a bit of luck and a few weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List, I could wind up as a screenplay for a December blockbuster starring Meryl Streep. Anything is possible!  So just you mark my words, my dear little adjective, learn to spell or you’ll conjugate with the wrong crowd, and wind up on a grocery list for a frat house beer bust – if you’re lucky.


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