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He Wrote Sixteen Pencils Empty

Story by Daphne Buter (Read author interview) March 15, 2005

The book of my husband is growing into something grotesque. He has eight large suitcases full of notes now. He filled all of our suitcases with thoughts. He filled more than 15,000 pages with his thoughts, he wrote 16 pencils empty, and all this material was only used for the beginning of chapter one, of a book that will change the world.

This morning he sat at the table, surrounded by all those suitcases. He opened one, sighing, and put a heap of papers at the table.

“The suitcases are full,” he said.

“I agree,” I answered, “your manuscript is too big. Maybe you should organize it.”

“Shut up!” he reacted annoyed, “you always see things different from me. Is the world organized? No! So why in the world should a manuscript about the world be organized? I’ll just buy some more suitcases today to deal with this minor problem.”

About the Author

Daphne Buter lives in the Netherlands and was born and raised in Amsterdam. Publishing house De Bezige Bij & Thomas Rap published two of her books. A novel: De Blauwe Prins. In 1990 and a collection of short stories: Alle Vogels Van de Wereld. In 2000.

A translation of a Dutch short story appeared in Snow Money [print US]. A translation of Dutch short story appeared in Cadenza [print UK] in April 2004. A few months ago Daphne started writing short stories in English. Five of these short stories appeared in the Ezine FRiGG in April 2004. One short appeared in Edifice Wrecked. Forthcoming: Mindfire accepted two poems translated from Dutch. Dicey Brown (US) and the print magazine Night Train (US) have both accepted a short story for publication.

About the Artist

A native of Ohio, Marty D. Ison lives with his wife transplanted in the sands of the Gulf of Mexico. He studied fine arts at Saint Petersburg College. In addition to the visual arts, he writes poetry, short stories, and novels. See more of Ison’s work here.

This story appeared in Issue Eight of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Eight
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