One of the persistent shortcomings of the autobiographical form is that these stories always wind up being the autobiographies of writers, and there is no more boring a person to observe than the consummate observer. The better written the memoir, the more boring the life will be that is being written about. Here’s a section of Monstrous that expands upon an earlier line revealed, where I tried to fake out the reader:
Got myself into a pickle which was a page right out of the Stephen King novella, “The Body”, or movie adaptation “Stand By Me”.
At the point where my dirt path ended, I was faced with two ways of getting past a small lake surrounded by bushes, discounting the option of swimming and getting wet. One was across a bridge of railroad tracks. The other was to go the hell away around, and however far that was I had no idear. I sat there and did calculations.
“How often does a train really come?”
“Not very often, I think.”
Because it was a fairly short bridge and not that high above water for if worse came to worst, I decided to go for it. Bolted across, and jumped off the tracks. Collapsing into spasms of aliveness.
That ‘idear’, by the way, is colloquially correct, but anyhow, what makes this passage so lame is how short “fairly short” really was in comparison to the bridge in Stand By Me. I’ve been dreading the day that some crazed fan decides to re-trace the steps of my journey and goes out searching for the bridge I must have crossed on my way to Mount Rainier.
The real risk factor involved in this crossing was a big, fat zero. There was NO WAY I wouldn’t have had time to cross this bridge if I heard a train coming. I managed an authentic reaction to surviving the bogus danger because the highly theoretical elements of possible danger were in place, and I had a fertile imagination.
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