A Temporary Loss of Personal Identity
If you think about other people’s troubles, you will know how lucky you are not to be
them. But Wee Willie’s fat finger was pointed right at Wee Willie’s own fat finger in the
nasty little mirror of his self-indulgent but very very large imagination. He was searching
He looked on the ceiling and he looked into the minute particles of tiny
micro-organisms and he looked in the kitchen closet.
“Wherever can I be?” exclaimed Winkie’s dense and childish philosophical
preoccupations and Willie’s mother gave him a sugar cookie.
“Perhaps I am hiding in the grass,” considered Winkie, and he raced for a
vegetation map in his papa’s dusty old encyclopedia.
Willie read, “The white men found that they could not always kill one of the
stragglers to eat.” Then Willie read, “The lands marked with the green symbols are the
places where grass is plentiful.” Still no Willie. “Across these great plains once roamed
herds of wild oxen, horses, goats and sheep,” said the encyclopedia. But no roaming
Willies. All Willie got out of the whole adventure was that somehow some people had
learned how to tame some animals and eat them.
Wee Willie was lonely indeed.
But because of the international recognition of his mother’s freshly knitted
consulate, an extremely new parade was passing. Perhaps it should be recognized that we
needn’t break into warbling; however, Wee Willie did rush into the available street where
a variety of dangerous rains were falling and unintentionally offered his body as a shield.
His predictability, friendly as a warm virus, nearly killed him.
Following Willie’s recovery, Willie was chastened with overly generous laurels
while several precariously perched officials were cooing over his aggravated inflation.
Despite the inconclusive official inquiry, most of Willie’s relatives thought he had been
outlawed, his greatest achievement to date, but they were nevertheless surprised to see
him used so irresponsibly yet once more by the fickle public. All this repetitious hugging
required repetitious investigation.
Suddenly, there was Willie’s mother with a hankie, dabbing at her swollen eyes.
“Here is a nice pair of dull scissors and here is a beautiful dirty cup,” she said, beaming,
and crying, and winking at the governor.
After dinner, Winkie’s mother told Winkie’s father all about how he got lost and the
beautiful gifts he received for his accidents.
“Now that we’ve got you back, let’s substitute some more sugar cookies for the
affection that was rightfully yours in the first place. I’m so sorry we don’t have another
name for it.”
You see, Willie’s mother was not crammed full of useless illusions as are the
engendering sources of so many deceived children. No melodramatic offers of undying
affection and maternal dedication. No generous donations to inflated charities. No
misguided mendicants grousing about their new ties to gratitude agendas. No farm
implements wheezing in the child’s nostalgic future dust. And especially no obsolete
cigar smoke billowing out of the neglected father.
Yes, it’s a sad and ordinary tale. You probably wish it had ended differently and it
did, in the approved version. But many new varieties of rain have begun falling and one
of them, surprisingly, is reflecting Willie’s unreliable happiness in collusion with several
other closely related but equally tentative varieties of experience. In fact, all of them are
telling this very story, whether it’s Willie’s or not, because damnit somebody’s in here and
I want to come out.
Fiction. Modern Abstract Fables.
(First edition, hardcover with dustjacket, 524 pages, $36.50 USD.)
Tunneling to the Moon: A Psychological Gardener’s Book of Days draws from fairy tales, a condescending of a 1938 Social Studies reader for 6th grade, an 1890 handbook on marital compatibility, numerous annoying educational advancement studies, the myths and legends of third-world countries and minority peoples, pulp fiction, a history of carnival side shows, folktales, frequent conversations with Crows, Owls and a wide variety of underground inhabitants, insects and the people who collect them, Joseph Cornell, Günter Eich, Russell Edson, the French Surrealist poets, the Quay Brothers, letterpress printing, and the author’s inability to channel his imagination linearly.
Begin from the beginning, catch up, read daily. Just refer to the Burrow Guide.