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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
An author who never finished her characters or their stories passes them onto a friend.

Submitted: October 26, 2011

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Submitted: October 26, 2011





F. J. Yule



I met Jessica Lee North in the early 80s. I liked her instantly because she was an oddball. It's been my experience with oddballs that they have a tenuous hold on the real world. Head in the clouds is an apt description for the individuals I've met over the years, and they're usually too once-removed to get really close to. However, what relationship Jessie and I had was never boring. She was a loveable, crazy, drank too much and stank of cigarettes.


It's been many years since we've had any contact but I think of her quite a lot. We are still connected, albeit in an abstract way, but I confess I'd like to break and with good reason.


Not long after we met she rang late one night to tell me she'd just bought an electric typewriter and reams of paper because she'd decided to write a book. When I asked her what the book was about there was a quite a lengthy silence before she said “I dunno! Whatever leaps out, I suppose! See you!”


Apparently she woke up at 4 every morning, made a pot of tea, and wrote solidly til 8.30. Word came around that the story was quite convoluted.


It was about a writer who snatched figments of imagination out of the ether and gave them names, shapes and colouring and a little bit of background. This writer, however, was an author of beginnings. Endings, it seems, were out of her scope. So she had all these beings floating around with nothing to do, some filled in more than others, and all without a possible direction, let alone resolution, to their existence. This information I gathered and gleaned through conversations with others and phone calls from Jessie.


Months passed. She dropped in one Saturday. Naturally I asked how the book was progressing. “Oh! I burnt the manuscript ages ago. I don't think I'm cut out to be an author, no staying power! Anyway, I'm doing an acting skills course now!” And so the subject of the book was forgotten.


However, I began to feel really bugged by the thought that there were entities without purpose floating around in the world of imagination with nowhere to go, let alone having nothing to do but wait. Perhaps forever. I felt irritated that Jessie could be so irresponsible! After a month or so, I finally rang her and let her know what I had been thinking. It kind of threw her, which isn't that surprising.


Then she threw me with the following question, “If I write down the characters' names and their descriptions, will you finish their stories for them? There's only six – easy!” To this day, I have no idea why I responded with a firm “Yes! Yes, I will!” And that's why, right now, I'm sitting at the computer trying my damndest to finish Jessie North's stories.


Truth is, I can't. I'm not a writer nor particularly creative. I have no idea where to start, nor what the middle should be, and I certainly have no idea what resolutions would be right for any of the six characters Jessie created.


It is to this end that I am making an appeal for someone who is author of endings to take this project off my hands. I've been trying for 20 years. There've been moments when I thought I had it – the grand finales, the closing scenes – but the ideas vanished into the great nothingness that has become my norm.


These entities need help. I'm getting older and I'm tired all the time. I need to let go and move on.



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