CWN 001: Interior Monologue

In my ongoing search for new sources of inspiration, I’m opening a present from my wife. “The Creative Writer’s Notebook” (Metro Books, 2015) contains a series of exercises derived from the works of modern writers. The book begins with James Joyce; I’ve commented on Ulysses — more than once — and the first assignment will be my attempt to emulate his signature device: interior monologue.

“Fence.” Quick advance, he does the same; no opening, retreat. He’s coming high line, threatening six. Typical lefty. Back back, open the distance. He’s still coming, slow and controlled, not leaving an opening. Retreat, here it comes — parry him to six, he withdraws, settles back to en garde. Just testing the waters.

Advance, advance, he’s staying out of range, blades aren’t crossed. Retreat — nah, just a small advance. Guy listens to his coach. Advance advance — set the tempo — step back, BINGO (he’s caught in the rhythm, came forward before I shifted my weight), threaten his four, there’s the parry, disengage and come forward, he’s retreating out of tempo, disengage under his second parry, advance, feint the disengage and THERE IT IS, come out of the disengage and extend, GET IT GET IT, got him bound in six my strong on his weak, bring the point in and lunge, his blade breaks the bind —

The machine buzzes. “Halt.” Two lights, got him in low line, he got my back on the counter. Up to the ref, c’mon dude it’s my attack.

“Attack right — ” yeah — “is parried left — ” SHIT, NO FUCKING RIPOSTE, PARRY CAME AFTER MY TOUCH — “riposte is counter-parried right — ” phew — “touch right.”

OK. Bad call, good result. Clean up the action, need to give this ref only one light to work with.

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