The Fifteen Minute Novel: Day 199

The Fifteen Minute Novel is a novel written fifteen minutes at a time with each week day’s section starting with the sentence from the previous day. At least it is attempting to be a novel. For now I am just aiming at one continuous story, worked on for fifteen minutes each day. Started Friday January 1st, 2021 (in case you want to search for the beginning. I can’t wait to see where it ends up. It could be good, or it could be a mess. We’ll have to see. For now, here is today’s fifteen minutes.

Day 199: He suspected once he started, he would get carried away.

He suspected once he started, he would get carried away. It happened all of the time when he worked on a project that fully engaged him.  While James complained, if only in his head, of the boredom of his current job, if he was honest, his prior job wasn’t much different.  Much of it was routine enough that he barely had to think about it.  Even the problems were recurring issues that needed to be dealt with in a specified manner.  The difference between past and present was merely a matter of volume. 

There the work load was so heavy that it never seemed to end.  Here the work stayed within the parameters of designated working hours. Then he had no time to fall into projects.  Here he could.

“But only if it doesn’t keep the neighbor’s kids up.” James thought about his other neighbors as he went about his Saturday afternoon.  While he had his list, he would need to create a plan before he began so for this weekend at least, the noise level was safe.  Mike was the only real neighbor he met.  He was the one who came to the fence to inquire after the police left and the only one who spoke to him.  He didn’t know if the others weren’t concerned by him or if the sight of his dramatic arrival put them off associating with him. 

He suspected that it was more of an apathy towards meeting neighbors than anything as dramatic as actual avoidance.  “But noise might change that.”

Once work begun he would have to monitor those around him.  James flopped down on the couch with his notebook  and clicked on the television.  He flipped around until he found a show he vaguely recalled one of his friends mentioning a while back.  It wasn’t one he had time to watch, but he remembered telling Steven he’d check it out when he had time. 

Deciding he now had time and might as well honor the statement, even if it was technically posthumously, James let the first episode play.  As it began, James wondered if this could be considered a part of purgatory.   He died and was in a generic sort of holding pattern for six months as he settled into anonymity and began a new life. 

“It feels more like a purgatory than a new life,” James thought.  The thought tugged him in a more existential direction and for the first time in a while he thought about his dream of the library.  Was he opening more books or would they all still be beyond his reach?  Was he merely creating another holding pattern of existence or was he building an actual new life?

He went back to swimming, which he did as a child?  Was this moving backwards in order to move forwards, or merely moving backwards?  James shook his head.  He enjoyed the swimming too much to give it up, even if it would be considered a backwards step. 

“Besides it isn’t like I’m training to be an Olympic athlete,” he reminded himself.  “It’s just some before work activity.” While it might not count as a life, he didn’t think it could be considered moving backwards either. 

He wasn’t certain what to think of the Shakespeare.  It wasn’t exactly back sliding, it was more of a satisfying an old urge to know more.  While that was fine on its own, it didn’t actually lead him anywhere.

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