The fact that I spend most of my time thinking about the craft of fiction is not an asset when it comes to trying to replace my decrepit twenty-year old Volvo:
- The comfort of the seats in this Tacoma and my relationship to them is paramount to emission specifications and low-end torque.
- This car is a place. I am in a small room on wheels, the setting of a past and a future. Whether parked or in motion, this cabin is a house of dialogue and of conflict.
- I open the glove box. It is ill-lit like a portal to some nether-world. I retrieve the owner’s manual. The terms of the manufacturer’s warranty are blunt and technical – cold bullet points in fonts too small. I crave complete sentences, concrete and simple, the lift and revelation of story.
- I wish to edit the dash design of the LaCrosse. It is over-produced. It needs to be much simpler in order to relate to its reader. It strives to be an independent object and as a result proves poetically unavailable.
- I study the salesman and later the sales manager. These characters, the rush of their walk, the fold of their hands – their outward motivations and hidden wants are at once both aligned and at odds as they toil day after day under the surgical lights of the cavernous showroom.
- I come to see the loan officer at the credit union as the antagonist, the keeper of the barrier to the protagonist’s (my) forward progression to obtain his desire. And all these numbers are like bees spinning up, swarming about my head.
- What does Taurus mean? I pause in the middle of the lot and pull out my phone to look it up.
Indeed, the fact that I spend most of my time thinking about the craft of fiction is not an asset. If the Volvo breaks down on the way to work at least I’ll have a story.