Living in the Now and Then

having given myself more permissions to write (even) shorter fictions, a number of small fries are occurring to me, one in particular this afternoon. I was thinking about my tendency to recycle certain characters (originally inspired by Balzac’s way of doing that), and occasionally revise certain stories, and one I’ve wanted to revisit for some time is the original Cashier World, which was a novel I wrote some thirty years ago (give or take). I’ve always thought of it as a novel (it was more than 50,000 words, something I can’t even dream of approaching anymore), but perhaps, like I did with Phantom of the Mall, I can recast it as a short story. The original was about a bookstore cashier who was unhappily married to a professional psychic. I did re-purpose that psychic (to some extent) in Freak City, but I might re-invent her again, and this time center the story around her, not him.

To be a psychic, it must be difficult to focus and “live in the moment”, as the Zen masters recommend, and yet, it could be her only relief from the various curses of her “gift”. While most of us tend to dwell in the past or fantasize about the future, she is rather forced to dwell in the future, especially other people’s futures (although it occurs to me that a sex scene involving a psychic could be particularly challenging, from both participants’ points of view). So she tries to live in the now, more than the then, but how? It’s a thought.


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