We Call Upon The Author

I write your futures down, and they come true.

I do not know how this is, or why. Only that it happens with out fail. Though as with any good narrative, there are rules to be followed. It works only for a handful of individuals at most. No countries will fall or fictional empires rise due to the strokes of my pen. And reality, or at least the verismilitude of it, also seems key. I grew up reading the greats of science fiction, and have tried my hand at it, but as of yet no alien fleets have descended from the stars.

Still, if a person happens to catch my eye somewhere and inspires a story, their life will unfold just as I have written it. Maybe for an hour, maybe for a lifetime.

Take for instance the young lady selling her hand-made prints and etchings at the craft fair. Her sales barely cover the cost of the materials. In a few months’ time, though, one of those pieces, purchased on a whim, will through circumstance find its way into the hands of a magazine editor, and a flourishing career will begin.

Or consider this young couple at the coffee shop, nestled in side by side. I’ve been writing their story for a while now. In a little while she’ll accidentally spill her latte all over the laptop he’s so busily typing away at, obliterating the hard drive and with it the nascent novel he’s been working on. They’ll fight about vehemently through the night, coming within a hair’s breadth of separating before reconciling with a bout of tender lovemaking in the wee hours. In the morning he’ll start from scratch while she dozes; the final result will go on to sit atop numerous bestseller lists for years, guaranteeing financial stability for the two of them.

I write The End, and then I watch as her elbow grazes the coffee cup as she absently reaches for a pencil. The cup teeters for one pregnant moment….

I don’t know why this happens, only that it does. The medium doesn’t matter. Though I prefer the pen, it’s no mightier than keystrokes on a digital manuscript. It all turns out the same. I tried pencil once, to see if I could erase the scripted events before they occurred, but I could not, and two cars collided in the middle of a busy intersection, jamming up traffic for hours.

After that I tried to be more careful with these things. But every writer knows that not all endings can be happy ones, and stories have a way of revealing their own endings to us.

Because I’m not a god, or a magician. I’m just a writer, and my craft has its limits. Like I said, there are rules. I can write the endings of others.

But I couldn’t write ours.

I live my own story, but I am not the author of it.

So I watched you walk away, suitcase in hand, eyes packed with tears you were too proud to let fall. It was an ending for us that I never would have written.

Sometimes, I wonder who did.

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