'IN AN EFFORT TO GET PEOPLE TO LOOK INTO EACH OTHERS' EYES MORE, THE GOVERNMENT HAS DECIDED TO ALLOT EACH PERSON EXACTLY ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY-SEVEN WORDS PER DAY.
WHEN THE PHONE RINGS, I PUT IT TO MY EAR WITHOUT SAYING HELLO. IN THE RESTAURANT, I POINT AT CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP. I AM ADJUSTING WELL TO THE NEW WAY.
LATE AT NIGHT, I CALL MY LONG-DISTANCE LOVER AND PROUDLY SAY: I ONLY USED FIFTY-NINE WORDS TODAY, I SAVED THE REST FOR YOU. WHEN SHE DOESN'T RESPOND, I KNOW SHE'S USED UP ALL HER WORDS, SO I SLOWLY WHISPER "I LOVE YOU" THIRTY-TWO AND A THIRD TIMES.
AFTER THAT, WE JUST SIT ON THE LINE AND LISTEN TO EACH OTHER BREATHE.'
'DOES HE KISS YOUR EYELIDS IN THE MORNING WHEN YOU START TO RAISE YOUR HEAD? AND DOES HE SING TO YOU INCESSANTLY FROM THE SPACE BETWEEN YOUR BED AND WALL? DOES HE WALK AROUND ALL DAY AT SCHOOL WITH HIS FEET INSIDE YOUR SHOES? LOOKING DOWN EVERY FEW STEPS TO PRETEND HE WALKS WITH YOU. OH, DOES HE KNOW THAT PLACE BELOW YOUR NECK THAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TO BE TOUCHES, AND DOES HE CRY THROUGH BROKEN SENTENCES THAT I LOVE YOU FAR TOO MUCH? DOES HE LAY AWAKE LISTENING TO YOUR BREATH? WORRIED YOU SMOKE TOO MANY CIGARETTES.'
Somebody at one of these places [...] asked me: "What do you do? How do you write, create?" You don't, I told them. You don't try. That's very important: not to try, either for Cadillacs, creation or immortality. You wait, and if nothing happens, you wait some more. It's like a bug high on the wall. You wait for it to come to you. When it gets close enough you reach out, slap out and kill it. Or if you like its looks you make a pet out of it.