Prose, 1965 Literature; 7 pages, including epigraph; Fragments. Philadelphia, PA; Age: 13; Adolescence; Inward turning, psychological reflection on self and relationships. Allusive, suggestive, interior voice.



Winter 1965 prose manuscript; Mss_0011.

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Sheets of typescript; Typewriter; Ink and paper; Good, aging paper with some silverfish lace on top sheet;

Prose;Relationships and communication; Story of a murder, of a best friend, within the terms of the relationship; told in the first person. I and him.

The shift of tone from the childish work of Roddy or The Letter is conspicuous. The page is spacious, and the statements blunt, brief. The page looks contemporary, direct, spare.

Related mss: 1964;  Nameless I, 1970;   Prose, 1968;   Journals from: Summer, 1968;   Journal of Characters, 1968;   Journals: Fall, 1969;   Winter, 1970;   Inventory, 1970;   Summer; 1970; Amy, 1984.  

The elliptical text references characters in the plots Amy and I had begun to develop in Fall 1965, and the emotional drama of these characters is pitched at the same high level of intensity. Melodrama underpins the scene depicted here, though the succinct quality of the prose, economical in its dialogue and commentary, stands in contrast to the extravagant prose of the opening section above. I did not think about what I was writing. I wrote.

I had crossed the threshold from childhood to adolescence, I had gone from twelve to thirteen, from the first flush of puberty into its full effect. I had become involved with Amy and the relationship issues played out between us accelerated my development. I no longer wrote in the clichés of family destiny or fated love that had spun out over the pages of Roddy or The Letter, but from the psychological interiority of motivations and experiences that were intense, not always explicable, complex. We spent much time in plotting and thinking, writing the dramas that we did and did not enact. All of the surface effects of our stories were only superficial evidence of the deeper tensions and forces that our engagement produced.

This story was told in short, suggestive, lines, with psychological emphasis. Psychodrama, not plot, drove the exchanges, as the two characters struggled for control of themselves and each other. The story was told in the first person, and that was a major shift in writerly point of view and craft. The pronouns in this piece were used to show the changing connections of identity within the relationship of the characters. I wrote "We are always alone. The more we fight the more entangled we become." The first "we" was general, referring to humankind's condition. The second "we" was the couple, the pair, the two protagonists. The third "we" merged the two in the entangled condition of adversaries locked into the identifying terms of their combat. The characters' behaviors were not explained within the story, and the allusive quality of the scenes, and spaces between them, gave them their charge. They were snapshots from a longer drama, and the intensity of the exchanges was compacted. The characters were both male. The narrator was addressed as "Brian" and the other character was always identified with a male pronoun.

My relationship with Amy dominated my life, filled it, consumed it. This story is just one tiny piece of the mass of manuscripts that accumulated as the precipitated record of our exchange.

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