Archive for October 10th, 2011


October 10, 2011

I’m participating in a literary blog relay, where each writer starts a narrative with the last line of the previous piece. This relay explores the theme of transformation. Chapter 1 was written by Christine Zilka, and Chapter 2 by Nova Ren Suma. Below is my Chapter 3, and Nina LaCour will write Chapter 4. We are allowed only 250 words.


This will be the night I fool everyone,” wrote Lu Xun in his final essay. He must have known that in eleven hours’ time he would die from the tuberculosis that had plagued him for the past year, that in the following week wreaths of flowers would overwhelm both his doorstep and the capital square, that his wife would wake to the aroma of chrysanthemums for months after. This essay, found recently in a lost trunk, is testament to his foresight. “I walked through the house,” he wrote, “with my hand tracing the memory of a pleasure: above the ribs, against the breast. How extraordinary that a textured sensation as pleasure can be erased or, as in my case, more accurately, buried. I am already dead, my body informs me, yet I continue on. Writing these essays about dying must be folly, then, for ‘the end’ does not exist, given how we are constantly experiencing determinate beginnings. This is a unique debt to pleasure, for pleasure, whether visible, as a fire in the eyes, or ghostly, as a yearning inside the heart, is the accumulated circumferences of things. I find infinite value in measuring out one’s past and path mathematically; after a medical prognosis of sure death, all one can do is calculate one’s position in life’s time line. Li Ting, a colleague and sometime fortune-teller, taught me this lesson, and indulged me, before the prediction of his own death the week before, one fate: ‘This, too, is life.’ ”


Here’s the full line-up:

  1. Christine Lee Zilka
  2. Nova Ren Suma
  3. wmc
  4. Nina LaCour
  5. Stephanie Brown
  6. Jamey Hatley
  7. Matthew Salesses
  8. Krystn Lee
  9. Bryan Bliss