“Once upon a time, ” I say.
You look up from your morning tea. “That is not a very good beginning. I’ve heard it before.”
“Once upon a time, ” I say again.
“Are you writing another book?” You set your teacup into its saucer. Clink. “It doesn’t sound too promising.”
“What’s this?” I ask. “The Princess Bride? Am I the grandfather and you the child, giving me a hard time?”
“You might be my grandfather. But you are a little young. And, besides, you’re a woman. Dark-haired, 5’4″. My grandfather was 5’11”, blond.”
“A time, once. A book, once. But not a book, because I am too tired and busy to write one. And yes, I know I have a history of saying no-book before a book comes along, but this time I mean it.”
“You mean it?”
“I mostly mean it.”
“That sounds suspicious to me. You are giving yourself an out. Or an in, as the case may be.”
“Beginnings are like that. You need an out. Or, an in, as the case may be.”
“What are you starting here then? Are you going to tell me a story?”
“I think not. I think it is just a book of beginnings.”
You take another sip of tea. French. The Bagatelle. “Only beginnings? That doesn’t sound too promising.”
“I’ve heard that before, ” I say.
Photo by Claire Burge. Used with permission. Story by L.L. Barkat, author of Rumors of Water: Thoughts on Creativity & Writing.
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