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The International Writers Magazine: Existence - On Writing

My Narrator – Volumes 1 - 2 - 3
• Daniel Cooke
Volume I
Recently I have become increasingly annoyed with my narrator. Her tone is soft and arcane yet somehow sinister. Her method of description is scrupulous and incidental and, for a narrator, it is weirdly self-obsessed. At all times she feels it necessary to judge me and critique my actions yet she is forever unwilling to intervene. I dislike her and as such I feel obliged to edify her approach through the telling of her story.

The Narrator

My narrator, although a self-proclaimed omnipotent, harbours some rather estranged feministic tendencies; she will often do that fake cough thing that people do on television when I verge on acting discriminately towards the fairer sex. She is unaware that her narrative pleas frequently spur me on to make rather sporadic misogynistic observations; the most satisfying of these being upon the completion of a great work of literature or philosophical thesis that I know was written by a woman is to simply pretend that it must have been written by a man under a female pen-name. Her narrative at such junctures is, I feel, far more angered and interesting as I am described as, ‘backward’, and as, ‘a fool’, rather than the more accurate descriptions, ‘hilarious’ and, ‘lad’. She has also taken it upon herself to become my moral arbiter, which, for her, amounts to proclaiming succinct and often proverb-like morals amid the intricacies of my story. She will stop for breath, pause a moment and say things like, ‘Thunder precedes rain just as difficulty precedes success’. When I point out to her that rain isn’t particularly analogous to success she speaks pettily of how I am becoming confused by the surrounding world with my provocative discourse with an (allegedly) omnipotent narrator.

At other junctures she will try and pass off quotations of the great minds as her own musings. She once spoke of how I quickly became slumbered in isolation by interjecting that, ‘If you are lonely when you’re alone, you are in bad company’. This is clearly Sartre. She professed upon my questioning that Sartre had stolen the line from her when she had narrated his life. I responded that this was clearly untrue as a woman would never be able to write such a profound line. She became annoyed at this and began a diatribe about mans’ ill treatment of women and how my generation had not learnt anything. She had missed my irony.

My doubts about her omnipotence grew.

My Narrator - Volume II  

Since I last wrote, my narrator has begun to frequently allude to my writings, which are focused on (and I quote), ‘a fantastic and profound narrator’ that I have apparently conjured from the depths of my delusion and brought to life in my own amateur literature. This is, I admit, a clever move on her part. I believe however that I can better her. I consider myself to be of some interest having travelled to many nations and having studied many works of literature, philosophy and art. In doing so I feel that I have made my narrator’s job relatively easy as my doings, taken diachronically, quite straightforwardly incite an interesting and exciting narrative. I have thus taken it upon myself to do absolutely nothing of any actual interest or artistic merit in my life as to begin a famine of narrative interest in her story, except of course for this series of writing.

What this will naturally entail is that she will now be obliged to account a story that will consist entirely of my own narration of her and thus will create a narrative regress, which I feel her style of narration will not be able to contain. As a result I will be able to listen to her struggle with the tautologous and self-referential nature of an account which requires her to tell a shit story about an even shitter story through her usual method of overindulging in lists of boring incidental convoluted adjectives that will offer nothing of any narrative worth. The desired result of her overly described account of very little will be that people will question her authority rather than accept her plea’s that it is I who is delusional. I accept that I cannot entirely convince her audience that I am not plagued with apparition, as I am astutely aware that my own narrative will always be portrayed though her narrative, yet if I can raise a single doubt then I feel that I have bettered her.

What I have decided then is that by writing about how she has been speaking of how I have been writing her story, she will now be forced to speak of how I am writing about her narration; however this narration of hers will now consist solely of the intricacies of my apparently imagined narrator. This, I am sure, will greatly confuse her. Unlike me, a writer, she will not have any time to structure her story and secure that the language is coherent; she will be forced to speak of my humbling attempt to ‘better her’ and she will be required to focus on the idea that the protagonist of her story, me, is apparently obsessed with this ‘fantastic narrator’.

I feel that she will be unable to deal with the labyrinths of the regress that I am hoping to establish as I anticipate that she will bow away into the depths of her mundane and incidental descriptive style. I do however hope that she will feel obliged to enter into this warren of narrative as I feel that it has many burrows that remain unexplored.

My Narrator – volume III  

I am astutely aware that I, being a character of her story, cannot fully escape the idea that my existence is dependent upon the story; in that if the story ceases I too will cease. If this is the case then I do not want to exist. If I entertain this notion as the truth then I am writing this piece now not as myself but as a mere fragment of my narrator’s imagination; this is a perpetuating concern for me and it is one that I am unable to correct. If it is the case that my existence is contingent upon the existence of the story then I am not an self-mediating independent being but instead a mere fiction programmed to question my own existence. If this is the truth then I would rather not exist. I cannot help but think however that I am merely being absurd in my thought? If I am a fictional person, how is that I am fighting to prove my own existence. I must be a complicated and well thought through character to have such emotion and depth of reflection to have convinced myself that I am not merely a work of fantasy but instead a self-governing self.

Surely that I am cognitively aware of the story in which (it is said) that I reside it holds that I am a responsible and autonomous being who does not rely on the narrative to exist but rather it is the narrative which is reliant upon my existence. The narrative can only continue so long as I do. Therefore it is I, not the story, who is in control. I have contemplated suicide. This is how I could prove my power; I could take control of my own existence in this way for if I cease to exist then the narration too will cease to continue. I can show her that it is I who is in control of the story and equally that her narration has no control over me. However this is coupled with a thought that is a lasting distress. What if this is the ending that my narrator desires. What if she had premeditated that I reason my way to suicide in order to create the beautifully resound climax that she desires. I cannot escape this possibility. I cannot know if it is I who has control. Does this mean that she has won?

© Daniel Cooke. January 2013

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