I think there is some kind of volcanic activity happening inside my skull. My forehead is very warm. Well- not quite molten lava warm…

Maybe it’s not volcanic.

Perhaps there is a little man in there trying to pound out all the lumpy spots and imperfections of my skull with a hammer. I wish he would stop. It’s not at all comfortable.

Wait a moment. I don’t think that can be it at all. I don’t hear any hammering. I suppose it could be that it is muffled from being inside my head… but I am inside my head. So I don’t think that could be it.

It could be something to do with my brain. Yes, that’s it. It’s all scrunched up in one side of my head. One side of my head feels like it is under enormous internal pressure, while the other half feels unnaturally light. I think that must be the answer. But why is my brain doing this? Is it trying to get out?

I do hope it doesn’t succeed.

Hmmm… I seem to recall there being a name for this feeling. Some diagnosis for such symptoms. What was it?

Oh yes.

A headache.


Companion Books

The other day I picked up a book at the library. In the cover flap it said the author had written a “wonderful companion to their previous book Snow.”

I have never read Snow, but I was very happy to learn that this book was its companion. I wondered how long it had been waiting for such a companion and how lonely it had been.

I think all authors should write companions for their books. If they only write one book for every world they create, each book will spend its whole life isolated from every other book, maybe not even knowing that other books exist. They will never know that there are even other books by their same author. As if they were separated at birth, cast into different worlds with no way of finding each other again.

Because they were together once. Inside the author’s head, where all the story ideas lived together and played around, comparing their wisps of plots and bragging over how fast their little seedling characters were growing.

And then, one by one, the little story ideas grew up and became books and moved out to start life on their own. And they forgot all their friends from when they were young.

I would like to write companions for all my stories. Not necessarily sequels. I’ll just write stories that are all connected in some way, however small. Maybe characters from two different books will both sit on the same green park bench with peeling paint at some point. Maybe one of them will idly kick a soda can that some other character left on the side walk outside a music store.

Little things. Just enough to set them in the same world.

Just enough that if they try hard enough, they will be able to find each other.


Night Driving Music

Music is playing in the other room. It sounds like headlights and rain and blurred neon signs branded on runny windows. I lie on the floor, eyes closed, seeing all these things. They are so remarkably clear. It is a melancholy scene. I am melancholy, but not sad. Somewhere I am strangely happy, wondering at the beautiful loneliness of rain drops smearing darkness and windshield wipers cutting back and forth across my gaze just out of time with the music. I see silver letters on green signs flash in the light of the headlights, telling anyone where they are going.