Claim the Disappearing: 10
(I invite you to enjoy this free New Orleans novel, courtesy of the wonder that is the internet, unrolled a teensy bit at a time. If you are just joining us, feel free to return to THE BEGINNING and work your way through.)
Talking about the past is easy. The past is done. The only choice of the tale-teller is to pick through the events jumbled like beads on St. Charles after Endymion parades. Select the perfect bead—what makes the story comical or poignant or ironic—then string the remaining beads so the story finishes with a neat bow tied around your finger.
Telling the future is the same but opposite: tell it as if it begins from where you stand (everything that comes after you is the future) and make up some hooey that renders the beginning funny or sad or outrageously unjust.
But the present? There is no ending or beginning in the present. No two dots to connect, no crooked lines to draw. There is only what’s happening now. You can’t take the present and twist it into what you want it to be. Which makes it much, much harder.
When I fled Mississippi, I ran to this city because the city had spent the last few years same as I had: rocking a romanticized past until a giant storm rolled in and blew that myth apart, leaving scars and a shaky grip on the future. Only thing, I landed in the difficult no-man’s-land of the present.
The city and I would figure this out together.