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Saturday, June 14, 2014

Innuendo. By John von Daler

                 A gaudy place it was. I guess it was because of the gaudiness that I wanted so badly to get in. I stood in line for years in silence with the others, mute, perhaps slightly embarrassed at being there. What if someone I knew came by and saw me waiting?


                
                Your Fantasies! the sign read. Are Our Facts of Life! The lights flashed on and off whatever the weather or time, as we stood in line shivering, imagining what it was like inside. Far away you could see the indistinct shapes of the colored letters lighted up either in the air or perhaps on the side of an invisible hill. Parnassus it read, I think, but I could not quite make it out.
                We could see the line moving, and I suppose that was what kept our hopes up. If you hopped up and down you could get a glimpse of the head of the line being admitted. Some of the lucky winners turned around for a moment - after all they were thinking people - and surveyed the line through which they had moved all these years. They looked somehow wiser than us in the back of the line. Not worse, but better for wear, more experienced, more secure, more in, which was exactly what they were about to be.
                I cannot tell you how I myself looked when I reached the entranceway. Suddenly I had to sign on and up; they asked me questions about myself. But I did remember to turn back, to survey the hopeful, patient faces, and to nod at them with an encouraging little smile. The mature world, hidden behind this door, can also be yours!    That was the thought that I tried to convey with one little movement. Actually I knew nothing of what awaited me, so it was a false confidence I displayed.
                Like most gaudy places, this room was essentially bare. Everything decorative about it had been added; you were better off not peering too closely at the fittings. The embellishments hung precariously and loosely, the colors seemed faded with time. The observant eye could thank the flashing lights for keeping your sight blinded and numb from the glare.
                Down in the front the seats were taken. They were all there. On my side I could make out Faulkner, Anderson, Blixen, Hemingway, Markham, Barnes, Borges and Marquez all at one table. Roth and Bellow and Malamud stood behind them, their arms around Flannery O'Connor, who looked sheepish. They were waiting patiently to get seated. The sitting guests shouted and sang rowdily.
                On the stage one piece of tale after another danced by, scantily clad yet cosily familiar, like your favorite aunt, too drunk at a family party. I thought I saw Faulkner put some money on the stage and then withdraw it quickly as one of the taller tales bent to pick it up. Even Blixen gesticulated wildly, but she seemed bent on getting up on the stage herself, while Markham and Hemingway each held one of her arms. All the rowdiness disappointed me, I must admit, but such are our initiations into life's secrets. I felt childlike, overextended, out of my element.
                You are probably happily waiting for the What happened next? the Go on, tell it! of my little, scandalous story. But alas, I am sitting at this very moment on a little, wobbily chair that I found hidden beneath a pile of press releases, most of which were false or perfidious. I dumped them on the floor after a few months of waiting. Just as I sat down on the chair, a very enticing #tale came by and offered me a laptop dance free of charge. As I muddled through the prose and cons of her proposition she leaned over, looked me in the eye and then whispered in my ear, "I show but never tell!"
                The warm wind of her words has just caressed my ear and I am intent on figuring out what to do next. Her suggestion does sound enticing indeed. But then again, having told you this much, the story has already made its own demands and, like most #authors, my hands at this moment are effectively tied, leaving me no way back and really only one way forward. But which way is that? Warily, I eye the bouncers who are leaning nonchalantly against the back wall, watching, listening, ready to move in. What will they do when I finally make my move?
                               
 Why not buy my fictional memoir, "Pieces: A Life in Eight Movements and a Prelude"?
In the U.S.A. at IndieBound
or in Vermont at Norwich Bookstore
or in Copenhagen at Boghandleren p√• Godth√•bsvej.



               


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