Rather Pointless Cultural Projects

The plot thickens (and, more importantly, my memoirs are, at last, recovered):


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I will not apologise. Not for losing your spare key, not for breaking into your house, not for leaving the window open, not for inviting a taxidermist over to stay, not for the wine she split on your Persian rug, not for leaving a partially mounted dead bird in your study after a small argument with said taxidermist, not for drinking your private stash of Scotch, not for turning up pages in your copy of George Lasmuth’s Diaries, not for blocking your downstairs toilet, not for truing to unblock said toilet and making it worse, not for eating something which I thought was a mint but turned out not to be, not for leaving a dent in the frame of the print that hangs just outside your bedroom, and not (last but not least) for taking a hammer to that very weird sculpture on your living room mantelpiece.

Having said all this, I do have a proposal for you, which comes hot on the heels of a discovery. Yes, yes, yes. I have finally relocated your lost memoirs. They were, believe it or not, hidden in plain sight, right there on the kitchen table, next door to the bread bin. Praise the lords and ladies. You will no doubt be relieved.

My proposal, leading on from this, goes like so. It is of course well-known in literary circles that you have a long-standing habit of making your wife do all your work for you. The magazine which you claim to edit, the blog which you claim to write, the research that you apparently do: all of this is, as any fool knows, largely the work of one Doris Boshchov, a.k.a. Mrs Riecke. For some years now, your friends and colleagues have been aware of this fact, without raising a complaint. The issue is one between you and your wife, no? If she wishes to waste her precious God-given talent on your countless, rather pointless cultural projects, who are we to object?

It matters not to you, I know, that your wife is a celebrated poet, whose work has earned her a prestigious fellowship overseas. Still you insist on making her write up your memoirs, dull word by dull word. No wonder there are so many typing errors! I’m surprised she can keep herself awake. Conversations with Speyer is, compared to her own wonderful work, a very minor piece. A tin-flute melody compared to an orchestral symphony. Nothing, really, when as is said and done. Certainly nothing that she should be wasting her time on.

Which brings me onto the meat of my proposal. Having secured your hand-written memoirs, what say you to my copying them up onto the computer? That is to say, why don’t I take over from your wife, and complete this thankless task myself? I would expect some sort of small payment, naturally, though the real compensation would be the knowledge that poor Doris is free again to pursue her own quarry. How does this strike you, you lazy old so-and-so?

If this idea pleases you, send me a message do. And please ignore what I send in my last two messages concerning your American adventures. I’m not all that interested in what you are up to after all. I was merely being polite.

Yours, and hers, and all the world’s

J-P Sertin


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