I want Franny Glass, having an existential crisis, hidden under the blanket,
on her parent’s sofa, with a flea-ridden cat named Shax, avoiding her fat,
over-bearing mother and her offers of chicken broth.
I want Therese Raquine and her guilt. Her all consuming guilt, at having
done the unthinkable for love, who cares if she’s a murderer, her husband
was a whiny momma’s boy, I mean, at least Therese had the nerve to jump
off that moral cliff, and see where her convictions took her, right?
I want Billy Pilgrim, in his slaughterhouse, dipping a spoonful of malt syrup
on the sly, tucked away asleep in his meat locker, while Dresden
burned around him. Billy, who dreams bigger than anyone I know, and
never learns to apologize for it.
Imagine if he had snapchat, while held captive on Tralfamadore,
he could have sent pictures of his Hollywood starlet, naked and frightened,
made a few million, and ruined every story he ever told.
I want Esther Greenwood, in her dirndl skirt and Pollyanna blouse, with blood
on her face, tossing her wardrobe, piece by piece, from a hotel window, down countless floors, to the street below. Esther, walking about the house, with her Mother’s bathrobe belt tied about her neck, looking for a place to string herself.
I want Humbert Humbert, pedophilia and all, destroying himself for his own fetish.
I want Joseph K. unsure of his crime.
I want Jane Eyre, trapped for eternity with her blind and scarred prize.
I want Boo Radley, locked away in his house on Main street, Maycomb County.
I want the young Marcel, narrator of childhood angst, dipping his madeleine
in that lime flower tea, and remembering a passion, long since abandoned.
A sweet moment, a lost summer, that he will never know again, yet floods
his memory with a thick nostalgia, rendering him unable to even rise and dress himself.
Thank god, there was no facebook memory app, to destroy his recollection
of what really happened on this day, fifteen years ago. He probably got
the cookie wrong, the tea confused. It was actually apple juice and a ham sandwich.
I want Jay Gatsby, optimistic and in love with a woman he couldn’t have,
found dead and floating in his swimming pool and no mourners at his funeral.
I want Frankie Addams, twelve years old and awkward, cutting the calluses
from her feet with a kitchen knife, before that dinner of hopping-john,
before that little monkey danced to his organ grinder, before the wedding.
I want Zooey Glass, in the bath tub, reading an old yellowed paper letter, written by his years dead brother, with his intrusive mother, chain smoking on the other side of the thin shower curtain between them.
Text messaging would have taken the romance out that family. I prefer them
dysfunctional, thank god BooBoo didn’t have a smartphone, and had to resort
to lipstick notes on the bathroom mirror to report family news.
I want Benjy Compson, who loves three things: a golf course, his sister, and firelight.
I want Meursault, unable, or perhaps unwilling, to cry at his Mama’s funeral.
I want Emma Bovary, with her dull, clumsy husband, and messy love affairs.
I want Pierre Roland, torturing his mother over the dinner table, with allusions to her infidelity.
I want Dorian Grey, selling his soul for eternal beauty. I can handle unbridled
vanity, as long as it doesn’t come with fifteen selfies a day in my newsfeed.
I like my characters raw and honest. But, not so honest that I need a play by play
of their drive to work, or a picture of their lunch. I don’t want a photo album with three hundred and sixty-three pictures of any one year old smashing perfectly good cake into their hair.
I hate your overly filtered and perfectly pristine instagram account. My god, we all know you have a chin, probably more than one, why are you chinless and wrinkle free in every goddamned photo?
I want everything you will never be, I want you thought provoking and just
a bit startling in your mental state. I want you to almost learn a lesson, but refuse
to practice it when put to the test. I want you flawed. Mentally. Emotionally. Physically. Yet brilliant, nonetheless. I want to be so intrigued by your life, that I think about you for days, months, a half a year, after our last encounter. I want you stuck in my mind, on repeat, your words, your voice, playing an endless soundtrack that never stops humming in my ear. I want to be changed by you. To be disappointed in the very traits I relate to in you.
Instead, of empty, and hollow over who you actually are, or more exact, who you want to be.
I need you written by a better writer than yourself. A more engaging curator.
Because, I can’t help it, I want Zooey Glass, reclined on the floor of his childhood living room, noticing a root beer stain on the ceiling, his sister Franny, on the sofa behind him, trying to hide her obsession. Her recitation on the Jesus prayer. That little green felt book tucked into the pocket of her bathrobe, and her, needing the one thing she doesn’t know she needs.
I want Zooey Glass making phone calls from the dead, disguising his voice from a room down the hall, using long ago nicknames, to invoke the past.
“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner…”