I’ve become friends with a man in his late-20s. He’s shy and soft-spoken but not unfriendly. He wears round, wire-rim glasses, has thinning hair but neatly trimmed sideburns. He dresses conservatively but not unfashionably. He seems well-read and is pensive during conversations, ruled more by his intellect than his passions. He’s likeable but not popular.
Our neighborhood reminds me of the one that my parents lived in when I was a kid. 80s style townhouses in tight clusters and neat, orderly rows. It’s not the same neighborhood though. Or if it is, it’s been overgrown with forest. The yards are thick with trees, the lawns have all spilled out into the streets, and the ground has shifted to half-bury the buildings under hills.
We’ve been discussing fictions. And then he starts to get anxious. We return to his house where he produces a thick binder of writing and artwork. He’s bitter (he explains) because his penultimate creation (“The Legend of [tag]Zelda[/tag]” – – yes that Legend of Zelda) wasn’t at all received in the press the way it should have been. He shows me a scrapbook of press releases and newspaper clippings and magazine spreads. He keeps stabbing his finger down on phrases like “cute” and “puzzles”. They’re not puzzles (he continues) they’re challenges. It was supposed to be this epic fantasy on par with [tag]Tolkien[/tag]’s work and instead it’s been twisted into something else. He can’t let it go.