1658 c/o Stephen Tully Dierks


To create excitement I will write four novels about a character named Maizie Quincunx. The first novel will be called My Tongue is Useless. The second novel will be called It's So Hard (Life). The third will be called Rabu Rabu. The fourth, Bring Out the Tang of the Tay. Once I have written these novels I will change my name to Maizie Quincunx. I will be Maizie Quincunx then. My fifth novel will not feature Maizie Quincunx. Once I have created Maizie Quincunx and taken on her identity I will be done writing about her.

Who is Maizie Quincunx? She's a cool girl, I know that. She's wholly fictional. She's got on skinny jeans or a skirt; lacy tops; wears a lot of black; gladiator sandals; long dark hair; kind of an adorable badass, I'd say. I can imagine sitting in her room and telling her, “You're the coolest,” or, “It feels nice being around you.” She would smile and say, "No I'm not," and that's one of the things I love about her.

I got this idea from a book on my roommate's shelf. The author created a character and then took the character's name in real life. I guess she wrote her last novel while zonked out on heroin and it's totally insane. Haven't read it.

“Man, I am feeling a SURGE of happiness,” Tristan says on gchat.

“Cool. Probably going to slink out at 5 despite getting here late,” I say.

“I am doing fuck all. Feeling depressed.”


“Want to cry. But feeling good right now. Like verge-of-tears good. Like any second it could switch and a surge of emotion could come surge-ing out.”

“Via Surge brand soda drink? Yeah. I'm just tired of being here. And hungry.”

“Not long now. You can do it. You should start packing a proper lunch.”

“Yeah... I've been trying to get on this salad-for-lunch thing. But I don't know. I feel like I'm getting flabby in the tummy, and I don't like it. But I get bored, and like, eating and drinking is the only thing to do.”

“Haha. You poor fuck. 'Existential quandaries.' I am fat but it's OK because no girls.”

“No you're not.”

“Yeah. It's cool man. Don't worry about me.”

There were five things to write about. There were going to be five sections. I forgot. Could you name a character I-Forgot?

I-Forgot listened to R. Kelly's “Text Me” on repeat while taking the train home. I-Forgot didn't have any money until next weekend. Unable to go out, I-Forgot talked to people on gchat and drank an energy drink. I-Forgot wished for air conditioning and sex.

I-Forgot had a piece to write, a tribute to the year 1658 for the literary journal For Every Year. I-Forgot searched the year 1658 on Wikipedia and found a mystical-sounding book written in that year. The text of the mystical-sounding book was available for free online. The book had three titles and five chapters. The fifth chapter was the most interesting chapter. Having copied it into a document, I-Forgot cut out all but the most interesting parts. It was now five short paragraphs. I-Forgot wanted to create a story with the essence of those five short paragraphs (whatever that could be), but it didn't seem to happen. I-Forgot wrote five paragraphs and looked at what was there. It was themeless and ragged and random and nonmystical. There was nothing in it. I-Forgot deleted each paragraph, one by one, all five, until there was nothing, and felt a little better.