I Only Wanted to Begin

Below is the very beginning of the novel I’m supposed to be starting today. I won’t be posting the whole thing as I write it, but email me if you want a link to the online copy I’m saving as I go. in the meantime, enjoy, and please comment on the beginning of what may be an interesting experiment.

Hello. I am your narrator. I don’t really have a name. I am a theoretical construct inextricably linked with the act of telling, not a human being. I lack a hairstyle, a bank account, a family, bodily appendages, a cellphone with Journey’s inimitable “Don’t Stop Believin’” as a ringtone, the ability to appreciate those cute cocktail umbrellas you get in fancy drinks, as well as any number of other accoutrements commonly associated with being human. Thus, I also lack a name. But you may call me Ted. Why Ted? Because I like it, ok? I think it rolls off the tongue nicely. Or it would, if I had a tongue. But I repeat myself. I apologize for that. I have this tendency to repeat things and go off on tangents, thus complicating what might otherwise be a much more straightforward narration. So why am I the one telling this tale at all? Well, the answer is a long story, one that I cannot tell at this time, being preoccupied telling an entirely different story – as we will soon see. Suffice it to say that you’re stuck with me as your narrator. For better or worse, I, Ted, will be telling this story.

A point of clarification would be in order here. I am not the author. The author is the one that decides what should happen, who I should be telling this story about, what messages (if any) should be imparted by this tale, etc. I on the other hand, am left the unenviable task of making sense of the desperate and tortuous meanderings of the author’s pen, as he attempts to arrange his unintelligible thoughts into some semblance of order. I despise the author. He puts the characters through more trouble than they deserve, brings in total non-sequiturs in the name of artistic license, and has mood swings like you wouldn’t believe. To top it all off, he leaves me to be the only one with even a chance of explaining what the hell is happening to the characters, as they surely don’t get it, and the author is more often than not in an opium-induced trance, muttering about dancing with sea elephants or the “Grand Theory of Pants.” He claims that he’s following in the tradition of many great writers, and that the opium allows him to experience a burst of creativity inconceivable while sober. I personally think he just wants an excuse not to pick up his dirty laundry from the living room floor, but don’t trust me. I’m incorporeal. My main point, however, is that the author is a total dirtbag. I loathe him. I am not him. I am the narrator. Ted.

So now, on to the actual story part of the story. It begins, as all great stories do, in a bar. That is not to say that it is a great story, just that it’s trying its hardest. Which isn’t always easy when you’re drinking. Where were we? Ah, yes. The bar.

3 Responses to “I Only Wanted to Begin”

  1. Stacy says:

    YAY ILAN! I can’t wait to read the rest!

  2. miriam says:

    Email me if you want to read more, he says. And your email address would be …. where?

    Very good start, by the way, although the it’s in place of its really bugged me. but you didn’t ask for an editor, so never mind that part.

    Just thought I’d mention that it’s rude to invite your readership to email you without providing an email address. I can’t be the only one to ever read your blog who doesn’t already have it, right?

    (Your blogger profile lists only an aim id, which I made a note of, but do you really want random ims from married women you’ve never met? Umm, not that email is so different.)

  3. ilan says:

    Update: it’s/its mix-up corrected. Thanks, Miriam.

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