"I didn't know how to care about the audience."
"That sounds terrible."
"I mean I wrote with too much description, it was fantasy world-building."
"So you read it today and what?"
"I see how impatient I was, how controlling."
"Of the audience?"
"Of everything. Myself, the story, the audience, I just didn't want to leave anything up to anyone."
"You didn't want it to be a collaboration."
"That's it exactly. I was also in a hurry which made for sloppy writing at times."
"I was more interested in moods than stories. I could write evocatively at times but the evocation never went anywhere. I didn't understand why I liked the stories I read. I didn't understand the writer's restraint was letting me imagine more for myself. When I tried to write my own stories I tried to have the same feeling and it was like looking down the wrong end of a telescope."
"You didn't find an audience?"
"I didn't find an audience"
"So you changed how you write?"
"I evolved it. I worked at restraining myself, being patient with the story, making sure everyone wants something in every scene."
"If this were a scene from one of your stories, would it go anywhere?"
"What do you want?"
"If this were a scene from one of my stories, we would both want something."
"Oh, I see, but you know what I want, it's why we're here."
"Exactly, and I want to give it."
"So we would qualify?"
"As fictional characters?"
"As fictional characters."
"I'd say we would."
"Thank you for the interview."
The writer got off the couch and shook hands with the interviewer. The cameras switched off.
"I'm bored by stories about people with names who do things to become things."
"What's your next project about?"
"I don't know. Except that I'd like it to be heavy on dialogue and action with description limited to only relevant external sensory details."
"Like the leather of the couch and the cut of my suit?"
"No, those don't matter,"
"What does matter?"
"Unusual details that advance the story."
"No space for beautiful writing in your fiction?"
"Looks are not enough. I need to work on my stories."
"What would the Lord of the Rings be without beautiful writing?"
"I first read that when I was 13 years old. It's my bible."
"Would making it shorter make it better?"
"Tolkien gave us a new world. That new world warranted description."
"What about our world?"
"It warrants less."
"You talk like those slaves to reality."
"I'm not, but I do like speed."
"Description slows down the pace?"
The crew had gone. The studio was empty except for the writer and the interviewer.
"We should go if we don't want to get locked in."
"Locked-in syndrome is one of my greatest fears."
"Most people would agree with you."
"I need a taxi."
"There's a stand right around the corner."
"Can I drop you someplace?" "
"Thank you again."
"I'm a fan."
"You didn't say so before."
"I didn't want to."
"Ha. You are a fan."
The interviewer smiles. The author does also. Then the author is out the door and going around the corner without looking back. The interviewer goes back inside the building.
A room is filled with books and keyboards. Pencils and pens. The author is lying in bed watching the interview on a pocket computer. There is no editing of content. Only changes of camera angle. There's coverage, close-ups and cutaways but no cuts.
A rumbling stomach sends the author to the fridge. There are leftover barbecue chicken wings. The author eats them cold.
Sleep brings dreams of industrial keyboards set into metal steps on wheels. In the dream one is ordered online
Morning breaks through the windows. It's not the right morning. Memories of dreams of waking in rooms filled with light. The distant crash of surf beyond dunes beyond windows.
The sun rises black on a green sky. A colour negative. The author knows what's happened and runs down to the cellar. Down behind boxes of old magazines he never plans to read again is a door. The author opens the door and gets inside. Locking the door behind.
The author wishes the interviewer could be there. In another universe, the author had invited the interviewer home to continue the discussion, maybe more. But that was in another universe. In this one. The author returned home alone.