Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Filed Away

This is not my story.  Not that it really belongs to anyone.  I can’t imagine that it is a work of pure fiction, but even if it were it would still not belong to the author.  The story would have been inspired to some degree by real events and experience; it would also have been the product of the culture and ideas of the time.  But after reading it I think that it is the result of more that just imaginative thinking.  While the story has evolved into a myth-like tale I do not believe that its roots are fanciful.  There is truth in this story.

I had not heard the story and don’t know why it could have lasted as long as it did only to be forgotten by one generation.  My grandpa seemed to be familiar enough with the story and all of the nuances.  I regret that I didn’t hear about it from him fist hand.  It was from him that I heard it, but only through his words, written and forgotten.  Even if he weren’t dead, I don’t know if he would tell me what he knew. 

It’s funny where things turn up, always in the strangest places.  That is the case with this…I don’t even know what to call it.  Is it a book or more of a journal?  It might be a file or a manuscript.  You might even call it research, if you thought it held an answer, or the clues to an answer.  (Or even a question?) 

It would be such a cliché if I told you that I came across the pages in a dusty forgotten box hidden in the attic or cellar.  That would seem fitting for a movie, but that is not the way it happened.  (I probably should’ve lied and said that was what happened.)

Instead of being hidden or lost it was out in the open in plain view.  I found it in a filing cabinet in his study (a study—that’s not a thing people have anymore.  Studies and dens have been changed to offices by our money-focused culture.  In place of studying and pondering, we only work to make money.  I’m getting off topic, sorry.  It’s strange how my mind wanders when I write.)

So it was in his fining cabinet.  Not even like pinned behind a drawer or fallen through a crack.  It was filed alphabetically, right after Ecuador and right before Education (he was a man who was intrigued by learning and traveled extensively).  It was labeled with his handwriting in clear letters exactly what it was.  That is why it was so hidden, because it was just sitting there exactly where an organized person would’ve put it.

I’m not sure what would’ve come of it had I not found it.  It would have been cleaned out with the rest of the cabinet’s contents.  But I wonder, would it have been found and read, or it might’ve been discarded?  Who knows?  I only found it by mistake.  I was in the cabinet the day he died doing something unremarkable (that I have since forgotten) when the title caught my eye.

I flipped it open and read words at random from the pages as they flipped by.  A few words stood out and pulled me in­­­­­­­­­­­­­.  I read the whole thing in one sitting.  When I finished I realized that I had read for the whole afternoon.  It just had me.

This is something I wrote and forgot about.  It was the start of a frame story.  I think it dates back to 2008.