So, I’m cleaning my office (I know, right? Shocking), and I come across a notecard with the beginning of a story. One that I have no recollection whatsoever of actually writing. Like, at all. It’s my handwriting, for sure. My handwriting, by the way, is terrible. It’s beyond terrible. It looks like it is the ripped from the final gasp of last Will and Testament of a dying raven, written in its last minutes, in dust and tears and its own red blood. I’m stunned that anyone can read it. Hell, I’m stunned that I can read it.
Wait. What was I saying? Oh, right. The story.
There’s not much to it, just the beginning of a story that I can’t remember writing at all. I can’t even remember coming up with the idea. When did I do this? And why is it on a giant note card? Where was I when I wrote it? A bus? A coffeeshop? The dentist’s office? On hold with the health insurance company? No idea.
Anyway, here it is, transcribed, for your reading pleasure. Don’t know if I’ll ever do something with it, but it’s always a possibility.
Arthur stood on the chest of the now-cold body of the giant and pulled his father’s sword from the monster’s heart.
“One down,” he thought. “Nine to go.”
“Is it dead?” a voice came from a small pile of stones nearby.
“It is,” Arthur said, wiping the green blood of the giant off the gleam of his sword. “No thanks to you.” He checked the bright edges for nicks before returning it to the safety of its sheath.
“Are you sure?”
“That it’s dead, or that you didn’t help?” His shoulder ached, the wound on his left hip oozed and legs were giving out. He needed a doctor. And a bed. And a year of sleep.
“Killing giants wasn’t in our agreement,” the pile of stones said. “I was very clear what I wanted you to do. Don’t expect a bonus payment. In fact, maybe we should put this down as a deduction for pain and suffering.”
The pile was silent for a minute. “My pain and suffering,” it added, just to be clear.
Arthur rolled his eyes. He slid carefully down the curve of the giant’s ribcage and landed squarely on his feet, wincing as he did so. The pile of stones shivered and shuddered and quaked. It clattered to one side and then the other, assembling and disassembling, reorganizing itself over and over until a boy about Arthur’s age climbed out of its center, patting the dust and dirt and debris out of his smart tweed suit and beating his cap clean.
The stones were gone. There was only the boy.
“I hate transforming,” the smart-dressed boy said. “So dusty.”
Maybe I wrote this while camping. Or after a long day of cleaning my dusty, dusty house. Or maybe I didn’t write it at all, and my office is infested with story-writing, pen-stealing, idea-surfing gnomes. Maybe the gnomes have been creeping in the walls, burrowing in the ceiling and harvesting our dreams. Maybe gnomes eat stories. Which, honestly, would make sense, now that I think about it.
Has this ever happened to any of you people? Have you ever found work that you must have done but you have no memory of ever writing it? Maybe this does happen to everyone.
Or maybe I’m just nuts.
11 thoughts on “Can gnomes steal a person’s handwriting? I think maybe they can.”
It happens to me, too. I write ideas and snatches of dialog or description in notebooks, set it down somewhere, and continue writing in another notebook, and then another. Occasionally I come across a notebook I haven’t touched in years and discover something I had completely forgotten about it. I think if we kept all that stuff in our heads our heads would explode.
I would like to know about the 9 other giants and the smart-dressed, shape-shifting boy. Transforming from boy to a pile of rocks is a clever disguise. I hope that he is paying Arthur well.
I like your recovered written memory. Any thought of developing it? Or that kid will wait a long time to lie down.
My memory is terrible. I find scraps all the time and have no idea where they came from or what decade. Sometimes, I can tell where I was by context. I must have gnomes too.
That is a fantastic beginning of an adventure. Giants. A shape-shifter. An agreement. Mmmm…delicious… I would love to read more about it.
Fun Story. And yes, it happens to me too. I’ve learned to date everything I write, if only to get a better idea of when the story was born. I often write down where I got the idea as well, like, “on the subway”. The funny thing is I find going through my Misc Stories folder every once in a while is a nice pick-me-up when I’m feeling less than confident. You get that “wow, I wrote that?” moment when you heart is full of awe and you’re scratching your head trying to remember.
In my world, two types of events happen on an infrequent yet regular basis. Type 1 events, and type 2 events. I am pretty sure that in my own life, each type 1 event is exactly balanced out by a type 2 event.
Your failure to remember something that you actually did write is a type 2 event. Something actually happened, but you don’t remember it.
The corresponding type 1 event would be that you remember writing a story, but in fact you did not write it at all. You remember it, but it didn’t happen.
So, what is the type 1 event that matches your type 2 event? What story do you remember writing, but you did not write? I just hope that you didn’t actually publish the story, which you did not write.
I think that you are probably better off with a bad case of the gnomes.
Can we swap gnomes? My lazy little guy would just write “giant slayer talks to a pile of rocks – cool.”
Who cares where it came from? It’s brilliant. Well, I mean, of course you care, because if you knew you could probably finish it. Still, it’s a great opening!
Love it and want to see the rest .
We have a problem with putting stuff in a safe place and never ever being able to find it again – in cases years – in the case of my driver’s license thank goodness it was only 2 months! I love the idea of the gnomes – can I borrow it for when I’m not sure where something has come from or where it has gone to???
Love and hugs,
I do this sort of thing all the time, only instead of on pieces of paper or in a notebook, I end up with sticky notes and things scribbled on the backs of shopping receipts, small paper bags, torn out pieces of mini notebooks… it is always an adventure to find them again though. Your little story you discovered is awesome though. Maybe something will come of it someday =]
I would read that book