Good-evening, dear Readers! (If I had any). To-day, I'd like to present a short dialogue between a young Clipson (my stock protagonist), during his residence at an artists' colony known only as the Creators' Cleft, and a fellow-colonist named Paige. At the beginning of this dialogue, Paige has just complained of an argument she lately had with a former admirer, which brought about the end of their friendship.
Clipson: ‘Whenever I quarrel, as you seem to have done, over some moral disagreement, I write a dialogue about it, with my own opinion on one side and the would-be-stranger's opinion on the other, and disclose the rationales of each. Under feigned names, of course. Why don't you try that? I'm sure it would be quite fascinating’.
Paige: ‘Except, we’re dealing with real life here, and my own emotions’.
Clipson: ‘I know that! D’you think I’m a half-wit? That’s the reason you’d write it in the first place; I’m not so forgetful as all that. The reality of it, is the source, we might say, of your passion; and therefore, the cause of your potential project. I said, Feigned names; that should be enough to deflect complaints. Anyhow, reality of the persons made no difference to Plato; nor Galileo; nor Dryden; nor yours truly; and having yourself in this, is the reason it gets written’.
Paige: ‘All the more reason not to discuss it further’.
Clipson: 'Now, don’t let’s get prickly. Where fact leaves off, is where fiction begins, and rightly so. Still, I am not trying to force you into it. I made the suggestion, no more, and if I may, I recommend you most emphatically to take it; not, of course, because it is mine, but because I considered it the best course of action, because it transmutes your leaden thoughts into golden ideas. I said it, because I thought well of it; not the other way around’.
Paige: ‘Even so, you can’t deprive me of the power of refusal’.
Clipson: ‘I have no interest in so depriving you, dear lady. See! I am backing down before you. My suggestion was only a suggestion, in the effort to put a method to others’ use, which had already done well for myself. If it worked for me, I thought (for I am not extra-ordinary among the human race), it must work for others. I can take a horse to water, but I can’t make it drink. Just you wait, and I’ll show you my own example. But you are going to lose your temper, now, and demand to see me expelled from this artists’-colony. When asked for a cause, you will say, I have tried to impose my opinions unwanted, and gotten so enamoured of my own idea, as not to retain any respect for your tragically misunderstood heart-ache. After that, my writing-career (such as it is) dies nipped in the bud. I will not beg for your mercy; but I will set a condition, before you place your demand. Let me have 25 months, to publish what little I have hitherto composed: 25 months to the day. When those months run out, my fate is in your hands, and you may dispose of me, as you see fit. Is that fair?’.
Paige: ‘No, it isn’t; you have insulted me more than superficial folk like you can understand, who have no true comprehension or sympathy for those who feel deeply, or care much for others’ feelings than their own. I want you gone: now, and for ever’.
Clipson: ‘If you think it is right;–– not, If you think I deserve it (we are agreed on that);–– but, If you think it right, do as you will. I am defenceless against you: in these days of paranoia, to accuse is to condemn, beyond all hope. I have made this colony too hot to hold me: so I must go on, like the gunslinger in a Western film; and say, like the dying Nero: What an artist perishes in me! But, farewell, Paige, and do not forget me’.
[Exeunt, in opposite directions.]