Do Not Disturb

I can’t sleep at night. They come to me, with their problems and their opinions, right into my home. I have no idea how they’ve all gotten keys to my flat, but they do have them and they do use them.

Last night there was a zombie bus driver dancing on my bed at four o’ clock in the morning, demanding a hearing. I tried to get him to leave, to find some other author to record his part of the human condition, but he wouldn’t let me be. I’m still hunting for the right words, but in the meanwhile my promise to write him has sent him back from whence he came.

When I staggered out of bed a few weeks ago, in my usual morning hypoglycemic demi-coma, my first true love was sitting at the kitchen table, wholly unchanged in the fifteen years since we first met, even though I’ve seen her many times since then and know her to have changed nearly completely. She reminded me of the facts of our time together and insisted that I write them down and share them with the world.

Sometimes I am able to dissuade them, as was the case with recent visits by a were-bunny and a simian doctor — both of whom I was able to wish away to the minds and keyboards of my friends — but more often I must take a notebook in my hands and write their stories.

James came a few days ago, looking as he did when last I last saw him. He demanded that I tell his story, a tragedy that ended when he killed his wife and then himself. When I resisted his command he transformed into his final physicality, the top half of his head missing from a shotgun blast. He sat on my sofa in this condition, the bottom half of his jaw absentmindedly chewing at random bits of fruit from my sideboard, until I wrote him into this piece.

It is because they will not leave me alone that I write. I cannot not do this because if I didn’t I would never sleep again.

This entry is part of my journal, published January 24, 2004, in New York.