Abandoned Prose…

(Author’s Note: I’m pre-dating a bunch of blog entries, because I’ll be busy for a while, so don’t expect me in the comments for at least a few days…)
[quote]
Whenever I don’t know the answers to something important, I create a mad lib, and visit my brother in his halfway house. My brother is extremely autistic. He didn’t learn to speak until he was eight. By the time he was nine, he played the viola better than I could do anything, ever.
In his special, autistic kid, school, they liked to encourage kids to think creatively, because autistic kids don’t think creatively very well. They used mad libs. My brother demonstrated an uncanny knack for choosing words that were perfectly suited for the missing place in the essay. What I mean is, if the blank space indicated the place where Abraham Lincoln was born, my brother would volunteer the correct city without any other prompting besides, “Give me a city.”
If anyone tried to give the “wrong” answers, my brother got angry and violent. He insisted on every blank space in the mad lib containing the “correct” word. No one could ever explain to him why choosing the correct word in the space was the wrong answer. No one could ever understand how he did it. They did a special feature about him on 60 Minutes, once. He wasn’t photogenic, I’m afraid. His skin is deadly pale. We keep his head and eyebrows shaved because he liked to pluck the hairs out one by one if we let anything grow in. He’s pudgy, and soft all over, and as pale as he is, he looks like a peeled potato. His trick didn’t come across as miraculous. It was kind of creepy, like listening to a Ouija board predict an afterlife of pain and despair. My brother’s eyes, always squinting in his pudgy face, and always looking away. He was only moderately capable of human speech, on a good day. He had to be reminded to speak up. He didn’t like repeating himself, and was quick to become violent. The correspondent tried to do a mad lib with him, but he cowered in the camera, and didn’t want to speak up after half the mad lib was completed.
He’s all grown up now, but he’s too much for my mother, and too much for me. He lives in a halfway house. My mother visits him, weekly. I don’t think he cares if I visit him or not. I don’t feel guilty for only visiting him when I want answers. [/quote]

Never could figure out a way to get the idea to turn into a story, alas. Mayhap I’ll come back to it, later. Mayhap, not.

*cough* And, as of today, I am officially 29. I only get to be twenty-something for 364 more days. I can’t help but shake the feeling I’ve mostly squandered my twenties. I wrote some stuff, true, and I traveled a lot. But, I wonder at all the nights I spent goal-less, channel surfing, working in dead-end jobs for people that would be perfectly indifferent if I didn’t show up, or women that were only dating me out of curiosity, or hanging out with friends that cannot take the heat of my excessively passionate life.

Hm… You know, I wish I had spent more time reading this last year. Also, I wish I spent more time in Austin, Houston, or New York.

Anyway, Happy Birthday me. Wherever I am.

(I write this at my mother’s house, at her kitchen table.)

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3 thoughts on “Abandoned Prose…

  1. Happy birfday. I’d say you’ve done pretty well for your 20’s what with a published novel and all. And not only that, but a published novel that people seem to enjoy overall. Besides, you shouldn’t dread your 30’s. Personally I’ve always looked forward to turning thirty (little over 2 years to go). I see it as sort of a nice age because you’re not in your 20s…so people can’t dismiss you as some punk-ass young person in their 20s, but at the same time you’re not quite old enough to really be called “middle-aged”. Of course, I may just be saying that because I don’t really feel any different than I did when I was say 18 or 19…and I’m getting impatient waiting for the day when I may finally feel like a “grown up”. Anyway, happy birfday.

  2. Oh, and on another note, I like your little snippet about the autistic brother. I’m always fascinated by books written about or from the view of autistic people. Some good books that come to mind are Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon, the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon and Born on a Blue Day (non-fiction autobiographical) by Daniel Tammet

  3. Hi Jim, Yep, I too see the brillance in the randomness of mad libs. I’ve got a copy sitting on my desk right now. I use that random things stuck together idea in my work. For example by second novel is a lesbian pirate adventure that includes the Frisch’s Big Boy’s reflections on his life and a sweet, yet murderous tick that talks to God. You’ve got a great blog, I’ve just found you — but I’ll be back. wayward pencils

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