February 11, 2015

The Half-Finished Novel

The writer had been feeling funny for quite a while now. His publisher advised that he took a rest. After all, his latest novel has been a success and there was no need to write a new one.
But the writer could not stop. Would not stop. He has been climbing the ladder of success for the past twenty years or so and the fame and fortune he’s been dreaming of forever is within his reach. He just had to take advantage of his momentum. He must write as many novels as he can while his name rings a bell until it becomes a household name.
After the latest victory party for his last work, the writer sat on his study and began his next novel. His mind was pregnant with ideas and words kept pouring fast he wished he could write faster. He kept on writing and writing that he was halfway through his novel after three days and three nights of non-stop writing. Then, he suddenly felt very thirsty so he rang for his house-help for a glass of water. But as soon as the glass touched his lips, he felt a sharp pain in his chest and fell down on the floor, he had a heart attack.
The writer stayed in the hospital for a month and when he finally came home, he felt too weak to continue the novel sitting on his desk, proof that he could not plan for his future. That something he can finish in a couple of days may not get finished at all no matter how badly he wanted to and how close he was to doing it. The writer did not recover. After staying in bed for several months, he had another attack and died. His house was put on sale and in it the half finished novel that his house-help had been so kind to pack and box.
Thirty years after the death of the writer, a former salesman came to live in his old house. The salesman, who never knew anything but to sell things, woke up one morning without his usual enthusiasm and realized that he’s been doing the same thing every single day of his life. He tried to go out with friends hoping to while away this temporary and uncharacteristic melancholy but nothing worked. He traveled to tropical countries, he gave away parties, he watched concerts and even went out to amusement parks hoping to bring back his zest for life.
Days turned to weeks, weeks turned to months, but the salesman remained sullen. He sought for professional help and was told that he was suffering from depression. Resigned to his unhappiness, he bought an old house and moved in and discovered a half-finished novel. Without anything else to occupy his time, he read the manuscript and felt bad that it wasn’t finished.
He laid the manuscript on his desk and kept himself busy with something else. But whatever he did, he couldn’t keep his mind off the half-finished manuscript. He started to think of possible endings to the novel but felt ridiculous afterwards. He was a salesman. He didn’t know anything but to sell, but it seems that he couldn’t do even that.
As the days passed, his idea to finish the novel became more and more attractive. He would stare at the typewritten manuscript and look at his desktop computer. Is it really possible? Could he really finish something that someone else had started?
That night, he woke up, booted up his computer and started to type. For the first time is so many months, he felt alive. It seems like he had been doing it forever. Words are rushing out of his mind though his hands and on his screen. He finished the novel in four days.  He looked for a publisher and wasn’t surprised when the novel was accepted.
The salesman thought how strange everything was. He started to ask around about the former owner of the house. He talked to his neighbor, an old woman who happened to be the house-help of the dead writer and learned what happened.
That night, the salesman learned some very important lessons in life. First, we can only do the things we are capable of doing now while we have the chance, the strength and the enthusiasm to do them. Second,. the end for someone may be the beginning for someone else. Finally, we can never plan for the future, because the future has a plan for itself.

(Original story by the blog author. Any similarities with other stories, fiction or otherwise, are purely incidental.)

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