The Last Wishes Of A Dying Author

Michael Coghlan

At the end of his life, an old author sits. He thinks of how he failed to reach those he once dreamed would die when they read his words. How they would have come across just a line and been overtaken.

But they never read a word.

So as a final act, he reaches out to you. He needs you to transfer the expressions of his heart. You can make them all so heartbroken.

First, though, know if you do, how content your days will be. How wonderfully halcyon everything will become.

Days full of striking women and strapping men, all day lying on top of each other in bed, pillow-talking ’til the mid-afternoon. Then, whenever you like, down to a big airy kitchen for morning drinks. With the horseradishes and olives and cayenne peppers you could never justify before.

And once you’ve had your fill, exhausted another body and your own, off to be revived at a gym where there is no workout equipment. Instead, a Roman machinates your limbs for you. Then after he finishes, he rubs your parts with natural oils, rejuvenating your sensitive soul.

Oh, and the foods you’ll eat. You will eat the leanest meats, the freshest fruits and driest grains from the dirtiest of co-ops. These co-ops we call farms. You will eat the foods that come straight from the black soil.

How the old writer once longed to taste that dirt. But he does not have the energy. Young writer, he asks you carry the torch.

This first idea he passes on, an HBO series.

And do not fret, the structure is ready. The show will center around, say, online dating, and be filmed in your youthful neighborhood. Write a scene where a couple sexts each other while having sex. Ha. Write another where someone plays electronic music clumsily. Haha, I, the transcriber, even laugh. Almost already, you are there.

The next idea is so primed with potential. My, how it is. You’ve written such insightful posts about being a certain age, and even more glorious fictions about falling in love at an age slightly less than the age you are now. Of course you have. And these writings, how many conquests have they claimed? Conquests who die a small death every moment not in your presence. These conquests know well how amazing you are, yes, yes, a million times yes.

What you’ll do then, have your conquests read your beautiful fiction about making smoothies or your blog posts about 7 Things That Make You Realize You Are Not Quite An Adult But Almost And How You Are Falling Out Of Love With Her Because You Are Just Twenty After All. Have them read these crucial words in front of a camera. Film it all in a soulful way – those ripe buns – showing light and bookshelves and wood floors. Make the title credit’s bold. Have a silent introduction. How the old writer envies you.

Another idea. For this, you have your novel. Of course, your novel. And as you wrote it, the music which played, the notes that came as sweat ran like a waterfall down your brow, as flesh stripped from your fingertips and clumped into a residue on your keys, what of that music?

This is what you do. Curate a mixtape, and the people, as sure as the blood which pumps from your expressive heart, will pay for the rights to download it. They will want. They will need the notes which once played as you wrote. This mix will inspire masterpieces. In the future, there will be only masterpieces.

Another? Yes, another oozing like puss from the sore we know as the old writer.

This is a podcast. And this will be the podcast. Finally, every writer will listen.

Call it “On Novels and Blog Posts and The General Promotion of…” and every week after you’ve gone through your monologue – highlighting the good novels and posts, cremating the bad ones – a guest will bring an area of expertise.

If Sloane Crosley comes it will be “On Novels and Blog Posts and The General Promotion of Amazing Hair with Great Sheen.” If Emily Gould comes on it’ll be “On Novels and Blog Posts and The General Promotion of Looking Like a Cross Between MaCaulay Culkin and Greta Gerwig is Actually Very Appealing.” And so on. (though it won’t always be about looks, these are just two random examples. If it were Jonathan Franzen, the two of you would talk about how he is afraid of typewriters because the clicking sound reminds him of goat hooves)

That alone could be enough. But there is one more. Just one last thing our dying author wants you to do.

After the podcast, the mixtape and videos, the novel and the screenplay, your days, and even your nights, finally will be whole. The only time you’ll emerge is to comment on the novels and blog posts of others.

Oh but the sad irony by then, you will not. Just one sentence will seem a taxing thing.

Your life will have become too amazing to waste time with words. TC mark

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