This is a story I heard from my friend Andrew’s mother whose name is Joyce:
I used to, when I was a young girl, love stories where the end is wedged in the beginning. Example, the writer describes a painting that a sailor sees on the first page, and we realize at the end when his ship goes down that the whole story, the ship, the ocean, the biological engine of the ship’s end hidden therein, were all prefigured in the description of the painting.
Second example: a cursed town whose story is described as being like a pig-tail (viz: spiral) ends after a hundred years when the story of the town which is the very book that you the reader are reading is decoded and the last line of the book describes the destruction of town by hurricane and here “describes” is meant literally — the book we are reading both uses writing to bring the town into being and then to usher it out, like a hopeful actor at an audition.
But, Joyce, continued as an old — you’re not old, Joyce! — i am — woman — I realized I am less interested in clever ways ends can be hidden in beginnings and more in the wedging. In you might say, the hiding. Because where does that come from, the hiding? The wedging? What mysterious alphabet gives us the letters to write “beginning” and “ending”? Or, to speak a little less enigmatically, isn’t it much less important that there are letters when decoding a message, than to know which direction to read it in?
Forward, backwards, or boustrophedonic?
And isn’t even more important than those two aforementioned things,viz: the meanings of the letters – abcde etc. — and what order to read them in, to know that there is such a thing as an order? That there is a beginning, a middle, and an end?
At any rate that is the story, as it was told to me by the woman whose name was Joyce, whose child is Andrew, whose friend is me.