The write club magazine May 2018 edition has a total of ten stories from ten different authors (the highest count so far). So, YAY!
My story, “The Chronicles of Jim” is also the featured story this month. I had written the rough draft of this story almost two years ago at the write club session. The idea of the exercise was to deviate from one’s usual style of writing and experiment with any other author’s voice. And at the time, I was reading a book called, “Tenth of December” by George Saunders. Now, I really admire his style of writing. I think George Saunders is a writer’s writer, and if you wish to take writing seriously, I highly recommend reading some of his work. Anyway, one of the stories in that book, “The Semplica Girls”, where the narrator-diarist, realises his short-comings as a dad, stood out for me. Not that the storyline is not powerful – it has many layers to it – I think, it’s the stylistic choices he makes as an author, is something to learn or get inspired from.
My story, however, isn’t as language heavy or as well crafted and nuanced as his. It’s a simple read with a very basic and linear plot line. And there are two main reasons for that. For one, the story is written from a young boy’s perspective and two, I am nowhere as good as George Saunders. Obviously. And I could tell you a third reason about how it was a prompt based exercise and that I had to include the elements of the prompt in the story which restricted me from doing so many other things I wanted to, but all that may sound irrelevant right now, because they are.
So anyway, go on, read my story and of course the nine other amazing stories.If you like or dislike anything in particular, do leave a review or a comment. If do you not wish to read any of them, that’s okay too. I am glad you’re reading this post right now 🙂
The Chronicles of Jim
10th of Sept, 1998.
Started writing diary today.
My first post.
Never been into diaries before, don’t know if I should start with a, “Dear diary”. Because, what’s the point? Diary doesn’t Talk. Diary is dead. All the things I talk to, are dead. Except for things that aren’t dead, in which case, they are bad and I don’t like them.
Milli said yesterday, I must write diaries. Diaries are great ways to remember things. You keep a diary today, it will keep you someday, she said. I don’t know what she meant. Maybe she heard some famous guy say that on television. But then, she is smart too, so I am sure she meant something nice.
23rd Jan 1999.
Long time … was busy, exams and all.
Couldn’t even watch TV. So boring.
Snuck comic books in my backpack and read them on the bus ride to school. That’s all the entertainment I had in these last few months.
Anyway, exams over now. So, drove car today.
Dad said, go slow.
I said, I am going slow.
He said, then go slower than that, you idiot!
I said, I am not an idiot.
Dad said, you are an idiot, and did this thing, where he tapped the back of my head with his knuckles.
I pressed the break hard.
And you wonder, why no one likes you? He said, because you’re an idiot. No one likes idiots.
Dad was angry. I let him be. I don’t like angry people, or my dad, or my dad when he is angry.
I drove slower. He said go slower than that. I went slower than that. He still yelled. I hate my dad.
23rd Oct 2000.
Long … long time … this time. Anyway, saw a puppy on the streets. It was raining.
Puppy was in the corner. Shivering. Picked him up. Brought him home. Kept him on the sofa.
What the hell do you think you’re doing? Dad yelled.
Rescuing a puppy, I said.
From what? He scolded. It’s an animal, he said. It knows how to rescue itself. God knows, where you got it from you fool, he shouted again. Do you have any idea what all that thing is carrying on him; germs, worms, fucking bacteria, virus … you stupid … stupid fuck.
You’re nothing like your mom and your sister. And your mom and your sister are retarded as fuck, he said.
I like him, I said. Can I have him?
No fucking way, dad said.
Please dear, mom said, let him have it. He will keep him in the garage or somewhere away from the living room.
Fine Sheila, get a fucking pig and a few bears too while you are at it, dad said.
He got angry. Stormed off. Drove away. Heard him speed up at the driveway. Bumped into mailbox. Dragged the mailbox with him. I heard a crashing sound at the end of the road. Within seconds, the engine sped up and vrooooom! Dad was gone to a pub in a motel on the highway. Pub, I say, because he came drunk later, and threw away dinner plates in the sink. Yelled at mom. Yelled at me. Yelled at Mili.
Puppy licked my palm. Got him away from the living room. Away from dad. Put him in a wicker basket. Fed him milk. He licked my palm again.
24th Feb 2001.
Raining outside, but nice weather. Have named the puppy, Jim. Clicked a picture of him, printed it out, and pinned it next to Jim Morrison’s poster. Jim and Jim Morrison. They look good next to each other. I like them both. One speaks to me, the other one speaks to me too. One is dead, the other one, oh god, I wish never dies. And if he dies, I want to be dead before him. Love him a lot.
25th Sept 2001.
Jim is growing faster than I thought he would. His tail is always wagging. He is abnormal. How can someone be so happy all the time around me? He’s got to be abnormal.
Anyway, dad having problems with coworkers. Mom said, he could get fired. And if he gets fired, she said, we will have to move to the village side. Give up on this house. Sell the car and the computer and the furniture. Plan life all over again. I am worried, if that happens, I will have to make new friends. Not that I have many right now, but I am scared of new people. New kids scare me. Fat and tall ones especially. Jim won’t have a place like this either.
Told this to Jim, he licked my palm and wagged his tail. He doesn’t know, it is bad news. Maybe he doesn’t know its news at all.
4th Nov 2002
Milli was crying. Asked her what’s wrong? She hugged me and wailed.
What’s wrong? I asked. She cried more. Don’t tell dad, she said. He will kill me. I don’t want to die.
What’s wrong? I said.
Failed my exams, she said.
Oh, I said.
Yes, dad will kill you, I said, he won’t consider if you are good at other things. He doesn’t like failures.
I don’t want to die, she said.
I hugged her. She hugged me back tight. Jim hugged her too.
She cried more.
6th Nov 2003
Around forty people came to Mili’s funeral. Classmates, teachers, friends from her swimming and dance class. She was popular but she failed her exams the second time in a row. Her best friend, Samir (who I think was also her boyfriend), hugged me and cried. Said, she was the best person he ever knew existed. He asked me if he can take one of her possessions along with him. I gave him Mili’s checkered handkerchief. It smelled of lavender and my sister’s warmth. She always carried it with her. Often hit me with it over silly conversations and evening snacks.
My sister was the best –the smartest. I know this. Jim Knows this.
Dad threw his temper around in front of all the guests. She has disgraced his legacy he said to one of the guests. What legacy does he speak of? I want to ask. She overdosed on sleeping pills because she was scared to tell him about her school results. Dad doesn’t have a legacy
or a heart. My sister did not fail him, he failed her. In a way, I am happy she is dead. If things keep this way, I see myself dead too in a few years.
4th Aug 2005
I am tired, due to people, due to dad. Mom’s not keeping well ever since Mili died. She doesn’t talk to anyone. None of us talk to each other anymore. Dad is still well, but his six foot two angry-self keeps raging in and out of the house. I am not sure where does he go every morning. But when he comes back, he breaks things. Abuses mom and drinks on the parapet balcony until he can’t anymore. He has been jobless for a year now. We are living on his savings.
He put a pencil to my neck me the other day, and said, I need to get a job and move out of the house by the end of the year; else he will throw me and my dog out of the house.
Funny, he expects me to get a job, when he himself can’t get one. I barely know what jobs are. I can’t flip burgers or clean toilets. I can fix a computer, but I don’t think they give that kind of jobs to high-school kids. I have never applied for one, but if I did, I won’t get it. I don’t know, if he kicks me out, someone will have to rescue me from the streets, like I rescued Jim. Except I won’t be able to lick anyone’s palm, and I don’t have a tail, which is unfortunate. I like tails. It would be cool to have one.
17th July 2006
Tasted alcohol today. Was forced to, Sam, my friend at school, got it. Said have it.
It will ease you up.
What is it? I asked him.
Just bourbon, he said.
Just bourbon? I said.
See, he flipped the bottle and showed me the sticker.
It said, Jim Beam. I knew it was alcohol. Whiskey, scotch, one of those. I don’t know the difference. But it was named Jim, so I trusted it. I liked the taste too. Smooth. He gave me the bottle. I carried it home. Put it in the cupboard. Hid it from dad. Told Jim not to tell anyone about Jim. Jim wagged his tail. Licked my palms.
6th Nov 2006
Dad is an asshole. Finally, I said it. I am no longer scared of him. If I saw him right now, I will knock him the fuck out. That asshole. He never knows how to treat people as people. Doesn’t know what love means. And his breath stinks too, if he is too close to you talking or screaming. Mostly screaming, because he doesn’t know what talking is.
I am addicted to alcohol. Been having a lot lately. Mom knows it, but doesn’t say anything. She feels dead to me. Not that I want her to die, but its how she behaves. Stares out of the window, doesn’t respond to words, just keeps blinking. What a lifeless existence.
Dad doesn’t know I drink. Or maybe he is always drunk, so whenever we have an encounter, he can’t tell which one of us is drunk.
8th Jan 2007
Okay very durnk rytnow. Eveuthing blrruy. Can’t type proeprly. Sam saying I need too
c a doctur. Because its unheatly. Who caers sam? I care? You caree? Who careees? Tell …whoooooo theeee fcuk careeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees ?????????????
About Write Club Bangalore: It’s a weekly meetup group of writers, that’s been consistently running for past 7 years.
Every week we assemble at 2 in the afternoon and write on a prompt given to us by the host. Then we read (out loud) whatever we have managed to write, one by one, and the host, or the other members of the club, tell us how good or bad the pieces are.
Post the writing session, we have coffee at a close by restaurant and we often debate (and/or joke) about everything under the sun. The waiters at the restaurant probably hate us, because we are usually very loud. But then it’s a lot of fun. I mean, I could go on and on about the group, but I can’t put it in words. Why don’t you check out the official website instead?