Note: This piece is based on Raymond Queneau's Exercises in Style. Writers were given a very basic plot and then asked to tell a story in a certain style. Marsha has chosen to write a story based on wonder.
One day, you will walk into the fiction aisle of the little bookstore two blocks from your house or of your school library that always smells faintly of school food, only to find it empty.
It might be absentminded or it might be pressing, but you will wonder why
Maybe you will find some greater meaning to the absence. You will sit in the noisy library of your school but everything will seem silent as you stare,
As you wonder.
You might come to the conclusion that nothing fiction is truly fiction, not really. You might believe in aliens and spaceships and you might believe in love. Either way, you will think on this, you will think that every story and every character was real through a pair of eyes that saw a whole different world.
You might ache for the peace they must have found in a world of their own but mostly you’ll ache for their ability to craft something ‘fiction’ from a world that sometimes seems all too real.
You might deduce the impossibility of the word ‘fiction’ or you might just ponder the idea that the quietly efficient librarians are re-organizing the shelves. Maybe they’ve found a better way than ‘fiction’ and ‘nonfiction’ to categorize books because, after all, there's a little fiction in everything, isn’t there?
You’ll ponder the contradiction in your thoughts and you’ll chew on the idea that maybe fiction means something different to everyone. You’ll speculate if there’s more to the word, if feelings could be fiction. You’ll imagine that ‘enlightened’ must be.
You will hear murmuring as you arrive at this pensament. One will wonder why you are staring and the other will wonder why you aren’t in class.
You will want to tell them that it does not matter, that both of their questions are missing the point. You might wonder what the point is, loosely, almost foreshadowing.
You’ll walk past them, leaving your aisle of wonder, choosing to ignore their probing eyes.
The same feet will carry you away, you will walk absentmindedly through the hallways, you might end up in the cafeteria but you’ll probably wander into the bathroom.
The mirror will stare at you.
You will see that you are a written sentence.
There will be things that you might notice, your hair, the slope of your mouth, and the curve of your cheek
It will puzzle you and you might wonder if you are fiction.
Something will move behind you through the reflection. It’s your friend, a supporting character.
They’ll tell you something, urge you to follow.
You’ll be curious, so you will.
The book will end as the fire mesmerizes your eyes. The thoughts will burn slowly through your mind and you might wonder where you’ll be tomorrow. Maybe you’ll be in love or maybe you’ll secretly be an alien. The plot might change or maybe the underlying theme. You wonder what the author will do with you next.
It won’t matter
You sit, watch, and speculate,
You’ll wonder if you’re real
You’ll know that you are.