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“Author’s Monologue” – Martina Flawd by Danil Rudoy
I know what you must be thinking: these words, they are here just to build a shell, to let you see what is going on, and in what direction. Don’t worry: this is not your fault. Over the last decades writers have done a remarkable job of degrading literature to a hybrid of cheap tabloid and lengthy blog, which, ironically, some claim to be an adequate response to popular demand. I have many thoughts on this subject, but the bottom line is: when a modern reader opens a modern book, she has no expectation of finding, instead of a technical manual moving the story from place to place, an intricate design filled with cross-referenced allusions which, when considered together, form a splendid pattern that is as rewarding to discover as it is difficult to craft. No, the modern writer (reluctant to make this stupendous effort that may, in any event, hinder sales) has gladly accepted the notion that the text should be a sterile medium granting the ultimate interpretational flexibility. As a result, the world is drowning in dull writing, bestsellers and unknowns alike; and I am talking not only about formulaic works (like those about young, handsome billionaires falling in love with waitresses). No, literature that positions itself as literary is guilty of the same sin. No Henry James’ figures in the carpet to elevate the reader who is either blessed with superb shrewdness or is a born writer himself. Yet the law of equilibrium requires an ocean of undifferentiated texts to be diluted by at least some works that don’t betray their divine duty. So, whenever you suspect that my narrative has altered, or anything unusual stands out, or you’re compelled to continue after my honest advice to stop reading, ask yourself: what can it mean?
You don’t believe me, I bet. You think I’m pulling your leg. It’s so strange: sitting in this soft chair, the brother and sister being collected by their stately mother who now seems to be moving them to business class, where she and her putative spouse have taken up residence, I can see you roll your eyes, not taking a word I say the way I mean. What did you think about what you just read? That’s it’s some sort of a joke I’ve slapped together in a humble attempt to make you laugh? That I am messing with you? I am not messing with you. I am here to reveal axiomatic truths missed or misunderstood every day, their misapprehension squandering the lives of generations. And if all that’s wrapped in an amazing story, it is because such is my nature, and I’d rather die than betray the truth.
The truth, you exclaim, now supplementing the eye roll with a sardonic smile. Is this man holding forth about truth the same who’s discovered the woman he had labeled as Lady 2-7 sitting in the twenty-seventh row? But you’re forgetting that I’m still the one who must deal with the consequences. It’s not enough to throw in a coincidence and then take the back (or first-class) seat: if this is a deliberate move on your part, you’d better take full responsibility for it, either coming up with an explanation for such a conspicuous play, or drawing it out masterfully as it unravels, or both. Taking responsibility is another key concept, but this intermission is already getting longer than my perfectionism will allow, making me a lot of enemies among the writers whose works are forgotten as soon as their publishers cut their marketing budgets in half. The art of writing consists in making a cascade of brilliant points on a journey that is itself splendid, so let’s save the deep thinking for a more appropriate setting. Just remember: this text is not written, it’s wrought, and the only accidental things in it are those channeled through me by Infinity.