Think of the novels you have loved most. Do you remember a character who lived with page after page, perhaps hoping the book would never end? What do you remember most clearly, the characters or the plot? Now think of the movies you’ve seen that affected you the most. Do you remember the actors or the plot? There’s a book called Characters Make Your Story that you don’t have to read because the title says it all: Characters make your story. If the people come alive, what they do becomes the story.
One must be drenched in words, literally soaked in them, to have the right ones form themselves into the proper pattern at the right moment.
“‘Hypnic Jerk’ is a story about the momentum of life, and how it can
run off without you if you let it.”—Louis
It felt like a splash-down from a jump off the Golden Gate Bridge.
I woke up with a start after that half-asleep feeling like I was hurtling downward. At two in the morning, I still couldn’t get to sleep. My mind reeled after the past few days. Life felt like it was gaining speed, slipping away and I couldn’t hold on. Soon it may run off without me.
I sat up and picked a glass of water up off the bedside table.
Didn’t I just graduate yesterday? I thought.
No, that was at least two years ago, said that know-it-all little voice in the back of my head.
Quiet, I said. I graduated, moved, moved again, left everything behind, and here I am. How long have I been here?
Nearly a year, now.
When did that happen?
Well, I guess it sort of crept up on us.
Smartass. I took a sip, set the glass back down, and tried to go back to sleep. I knew sleep wouldn’t come easy. It hadn’t for days, ever since this thought latched on to my psyche like a tick.
Well it’s not like you didn’t see this coming, the voice said.
She’s getting married, I said. Everyone’s getting married. Everyone’s having kids. Everyone’s moving on, and I’m halfway across the country from anyone I give a damn about.
Wah, wah, wah. You knew this would happen when you left.
I didn’t have much of a choice, now did I?
Sure you did. You had two choices: go or stay.
Like the Clash song.
Now who’s the smartass?
Did you know Ink Well Mag is based in Chicago? As the Windy City reels from yet another tale of political corruption this week, we figured it was a timely moment to announce the theme for Volume 14: “Power and Corruption”.
For this issue, show us what these big ideas inspire in you. Maybe important social or political causes come to mind. Maybe you want to draw awareness to a particular injustice. Or maybe there’s a powerful spark in your personal life that you want to explore. If life imitates art imitates life, as The Onion joked recently…why are you inspired to create works of art around these themes? What is the story you are trying to tell, the reaction you want to provoke, with your work? Send us your stuff. We want to hear from you.
We’re accepting submissions (click here for our very important guidelines please) through Friday, March 29!
Dan is the author of "Roots".