It’s not that I am the first one to coat the surface this way. There may be another ingredient that was necessary.
I was so in awe of my effort because I thought I could freshen the surface like a woman does putting powder on her face—that’s why I did it.
The result was that when I walked over the floor, onto the freshly coated surface, I realized I was leaving footprints and I bent down and with my hands swept over the new coating. It came up as gray dust on my hands and I took a broom and started to sweep the gray dust. It started to disappear, but not entirely. So then I took a bucket of water and a sponge and I started mopping a corner of the floor and more gray dust came up, and I had to scrub the floor with a scrub brush and mop, and scrub and mop, and my whole brilliant idea was dissolved in the water.
But it is thanks to divine intervention, I assure you, that I was expertly close-shaven and that I was to be congratulated when I went on my way later in the day.
No one in the crowd rudely ignored me. No pains or penalties.
It just goes to show what a great thing it is that all my troubles never started long afterward.
Diane Williams is the author of eight books of fiction. She is also the editor of the literary annual NOON. "Concerning God" will appear in her forthcoming collection of stories, FINE, FINE, FINE, FINE, FINE.
"Floor" © Moyra Davey, whose exhibition Burn the Diaries will be on view in September at the Institute for Contemporary Art, in Philadelphia. Courtesy the artist and Murray Guy, New York City
The boredom of distances still to be covered. As when on a well-known path, time slackens once the usual sequence comes forth: windy stretch, hot stretch, upended sidewalk—none fat with presence, or lit with adventure.
Writers are people too—this is what damns them. Or darns them. Or sends them to heck. Fug them—this was how American literature expressed itself after the obscenities of the Holocaust and later H-bombs. We live as history, so if we write, even if we fictionalize, we write history too, often in minstrel dialect, or with women who have no lines to speak of.