I was idly writing a fake blurb for my not-quite-finished novel The Lighted Hand (because why not?) and it sort of turned into a micro-story of its own. No spoilers for the book are here outside of the vaguest thematic sort.
“I finished this Wehunt novel and took it outside and beat it to death with a shovel in my back yard. I know a book isn’t a living thing so I couldn’t beat it to actual death, but at the same time it kinda is a living thing, too, you know? But I use the expression to mean I really went to town on it with that shovel. I was wearing a cap and I took the cap off when I was done and wiped the sweat off my brow. My hands had started to blister. But that wasn’t enough so I dug a hole with the shovel and buried the book in the hole and yelled at the hole until I got a little hoarse. I could hardly sleep that night, restless and bone-sore and troubled, so I got out of the bed and put the day’s clothes back on and went out and dug the book up, put it in an old potato sack. I locked it in the trunk of the Buick and drove forty miles in the dead of night until I saw the silhouettes of gravestones leaning in a field in an untended pasture. There was a church slowly falling down off to the east of it, but the graveyard looked like spoiled ground, as good a place as any to bury this damned book. There was a clutch of trees off to the right, holding their own shadows. I waded into wet unmown grass, the cicadas screaming in their strange vibrating tongue, and dug a hole out in that graveyard beneath a paring of moon. The hole turned into a pit and the blisters on my hands broke open and wept. Ten feet down I stopped and shook that novel out of the potato sack into the hole. The sky had gone the color of lemonade that had got blood in it by the time I finished filling in the hole, the sun clawing its way up from its own grave to burn off the night’s dew. My arms trembled from the labor of these burials. Then I drove home and brewed a pot of strong coffee on the stove and woke my children to send them off to school, terrified something would happen and I would lose them. I sat with my coffee in the morning sun and felt a great weight had fallen away to be replaced by a more everyday burden made heavier by what I had read. Why did I bury that book? you might ask. Did it scare you that bad? It’s a fair question. No, it wasn’t that, or not that exactly. It was that it was so unutterably sad, it felt real, and in that realness it seemed an occult thing. I wouldn’t have it near the life of my family in this house. I guess that is a sort of endorsement to some. I went a lot of words past what they said I could say but I don’t know how else to talk about it. You could read it and find out your own self.”