Writing about hanging myself

hangman.jpgMarlon was looking up at me, gaping mouth wide open.

I ignored the frantic gulping that his lips made. Open close open close. How annoying; swimming about in the distorted glass.

I had spent two days making sure everything was ready. A trip to the bank to make sure all my finances were in order. I wouldn’t want the government to slam down on my money just as I was about to pull off the greatest act in my short life, would I?

She would receive my greatest manuscript ever, made great not by the quality of prose – (which she insisted was not on par with ‘The Work I Usually Publish’) – but the tragic beauty my final act would give to it. Just as Van Gough’s story was made beautiful by him sawing off his ear, mine would be defined by the selfless acts I do, or am doing now.

I wonder if Oprah will feature me in her book club?

The belt is there, leather gleaming in the afternoon sun. I test it, pulling it down and letting it snap back up towards the ceiling. Strong. Elastic. Would it break my – nevermind, Marlon was swimming to the other end of his bowl and making annoyed swishes at me. No time to think no time to doubt. Out of sight out of mind.

I step up onto the plastic chair, placed my head into the loop of the belt. The buckle felt cool against my neck. Marlon was swimming back towards me. When he stopped, having reached the edge of the fishbowl, I would …


[H]e [the aspiring writer] should go out and hang himself because he finds that writing well is impossibly difficult. Then he should be cut down without mercy and forced by his own self to write as well as he can for the rest of his life. At least he will have the story of the hanging to commence with. (The Paris Review, Spring 1958)

-Ernest Hemingway

Yes, I chose to interpret the quote literally and did it as a writing exercise. Thoughts? It was very fun, considering Hemingway made that remark with tongue stuck firmly in cheek, and with a totally different meaning to it. But if I am to be cut down by fierce literary critics then I should at least write about a fictional hanging … just for the heck of it.

Writing should, after all, be fun.

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Category: Writing