The writer, aware that the telling of certain stories in the third person might, by another writer, be handled effectively as neat confessionals, sometimes laments. It would be good if she could walk into the world naked, saying “I am that I am!” like some deity.
Having lost belief in selves as focal points some time ago, now she can only watch what happens to her body with uncertain degrees of remove. Having also lost allegiances to what she once might have considered a certain landform of facts like a single continent against a singular ocean, she now thinks that it does her no good to try to figure where any of these went.
Now that any nascent sense of would-be self is gone, memory can also be recognized at some distance, for the fiction it is. Her old ways would never admit such heresy. Once, she tried to say things like “I did,” and “I went” and “this is how it was.”
She is no longer convinced that she has been anyone, anywhere, ever. However, given various expectations of the current milieu, this emerging understanding is going to continue to present certain problems. For now, the writer may decide to ignore these, keeping vigil in this bed in this underground shelter where this pen over this notebook continues to move.
Stacey C. Johnson writes and teaches in San Diego County. She is a graduate of the MFA program at San Diego State University and creator of The Unknowing Project. Her work appears in Oyster River Pages, Pacific Review, and Fiction International, as well as various other publications. Her poetry chapbook Flight Songs is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press (February 2024). You can find her at staceycjohnson.com and on Twitter @StaceCJohnson.