Sunday, March 20, 2011

Karl's Memoir (A Novel)

Karl was beginning to feel
that all his good memories
were not at all good enough.

He remembered something he'd read
once in an old poem about
little hedgerows running wild,

something about how the nice,
green memories of being
in the countryside would make

it easier to live back
in the dirty city most
of one's lifetime. Karl worried

that this should be true for him
but was not. His memories
that he tried to rely on

usually made him feel sad,
mildly nostalgic at best,
hardly comforting at all.

Then Karl got the great idea
that he would spend one whole year
carefully remembering

in vivid, flawless detail
every good moment he'd had,
and then write each detail down

in his blog. When he was done,
he would have a rich memoir
of gladness to revel in.

So he did. And at the end
of one year, he had a whole
memoir he managed to sell.

The memoir was well-reviewed
and became a bestseller.
Soon Karl sold the movie rights.

They made a big-budget film
with a famous comedic
actor playing Karl himself.

I read about this online
and mentioned it to a friend
working on a long novel

based on a similar theme.
"Sure," snorted the novelist.
"He made a lot of money.

But I bet he still doesn't
feel happy about his life.
He never reveled in it."

I teased my friend that perhaps
Karl's method worked after all:
memories now made him glad.

"Nonsense," thundered my old pal
whose novel's still not finished.
"He didn't revel in it!

He couldn't! They never do!"
The novel or the memoir--
I'm never sure which is true.

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