The ‘Lost’ Prologue

This ‘lost’ prologue was (is?) the original opener for the manuscript. Several readers have remarked that they find it both superfluous and jarring to the storytelling. You can judge for yourself:

While rooting about in the cellar, searching for some old university notebooks, I came across a cardboard box filled with forgotten papers and journals. Leafing through them I was somewhat surprised to find that they were from the Seventies. I didn’t know if I should read them or burn them as incriminating evidence. That events from that nebulous period of my life were actually committed to paper and had managed to follow me on my many journeys was more than enough to capture my interest. Goodbye notes.

I lugged the box up to the bedroom and began to sort through its stained and faded contents. If the sun had been shining through the window, a cloud of dust motes would surely have been swimming dreamily about the room. However, it wasn’t, so there were none to be seen. Still, it was a motey kind of moment.

Most of the pages featured dark, youthful attempts at poetry and/or the lamentations of unrequited love.
There was plenty of that about back then. The deeper I burrowed, the more it became apparent that it was chiefly the muse of despondency who had inspired me way back when. Which, of course, makes sense. Who bothers to write when they’re having a good time?

As I reached the bottom of the stack, a thick loose-leaf notebook surfaced. This had clearly nothing to do with any university. On its mangled, coffee-stained cover was scrawled Atlanta Gas Company 522-1150 RIGHT NOW!!! The handwriting looked desperate; probably an unpaid bill, hinting at threats to shut off the electricity. There had been a bit of that about, too. This looked more interesting. Calamity is known to be entertaining, especially if it’s your own and located backwards time-wise. Leafing through the notebook, it suddenly dawned on me I was holding in my hands a somewhat infamous document; it was The Journal, or at least part of it. I vaguely remembered that at some point in time I had embarked on a mission to document the Revolution—the one that never came. The Journal was my entry into the field of, well, journalism, I guess. As with most of my former projects it was relatively short-lived and soon forgotten, covering approximately a year or so of my life in post-Sixties Atlanta. As a revolutionary treatise it came across as uncharacteristically mundane, containing mostly descriptions of my friends, daily events at home, problems at work, etc. One cryptic sentence kept cropping up; ‘Must eat more vegetables!’ I could have written that yesterday. There were a few exceptions. Under Nov. 14 I found ‘Skydiving. Call 926-9565 immediately!’. I feel relatively certain that if I backtracked a bit I would surely find some unrequited love lurking about. As far as I can remember I am still a virgin skydiving-wise, but then again, who can say? Many extraordinary events have become occluded by the mists of time, as well as the smoke of a certain species of plant.

To my dismay, I found it all rather boring and uneventful. What was intended to be a modern odyssey through an out-of-control inferno of wild sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll had apparently turned out to be mostly me lying zonked out in bed reading comic books and girlie magazines with my cat sleeping at my feet.

‘How awful,’ I thought. ‘At twenty-something my life was even more uneventful than it is now.’ As if. There was all that tragic romance, of course, but who needs that kind of misery. It’s not even funny. As nothing of real interest was turning up, I decided to pack it in and get back to finding my wayward lecture. But as fate would have it, I turned another page or two and suddenly found myself stumbling into The Beauregarde Affair …

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Diane Nelson on 05/03/2010 at 15:50

    I strongly disagree with the pundits who decried this as superfluous and jarring. As the Brits say…bollocks.

    This turns the mundane, the ordinary – those things that mask and comfort and deny us authenticity – on its head. It is revelatory, it is the portal, the rabbit hole through which you dove headfirst, emerging out the other side to leave me laughing hysterically and shaking my head…finally,someone “got it”.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Lou Galvin on 17/11/2010 at 20:13

    Jarring? Nope, not getting jarring. I do like where you’ve got it starting now, but there’s good stuff here that shouldn’t go to waste. Especially the motey moment. Perhaps it could be used as a come-hither promotional pirouette prior to the full cancan of launch?

    Reply

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