Making Stuff Up large
Upon reading Class Warfare, short fiction by D.M. Fraser, first published nearly forty years ago.
In the evening, on a good night for tramping, I see my friends in their amber mugs, the grass they played on as kids, before I knew them, going only on what they told me, what I have cobbled together on my long walks home, down the same steps, past the same homes, none of them theirs, living as they do in other parts of the city, driving to where I drink because otherwise they would never see me.
This writing is that walk, having nothing left on nights like this, when things don’t go well, an argument that isn’t about anything other than my own frustration, why the world can’t behave as I’d like it to, and Can’t you see that? Can’t you understand that this is not about everyone having their turn, their opinion, but an ongoing conversation? the stuff we started years ago, when we made this stuff up?
And now it is just that—stuff—no different from printer ink or the garbage going out, a plant packed in a bucket with a note about its care and no one caring, the plant having sat in its bucket all summer, dead brown by the door where the shoes come off, a hat thrown over it, until the plant is garbage too, to be thrown out, the dirt still good, and no thought given to how it found its bucket, the need to have something other than oneself in the window, you said, what mattered in the moment when the thought was expressed, and who packed the bucket for you.
The context of the conversation, when we speak of simpler things, a break from our usual attempts at making difficulty meaningful, an explanation of what is and isn’t missing, the logic we employ to make everything as obvious as possible, as if guided by something other than ourselves, yet forgetting ourselves in the process, coasting on our logic until someone calls us on it, and we argue about that too. Which is fine, until this writing, why it looks the way it does, how I don’t feel better for it, how it takes me away from the stuff we started years ago, when we made this stuff up.