Oscar stared past the keys.  Used to be that time

rushed down on him when he started to write, time

fell and pressed, then lifted when he finished.  Now it

wasn’t lifting.  But then he wasn’t finished.  There is the

epic and bendable space-time of the theoretical physicist, time detached

from human experience, the pure curve of nature, and there

is the haunted time of the writer, intimate, pressing, stale

and sad.  He struck enough keys to make a sentence.

He’d inverted two letters.  He elevated the page and whited

out the mistake, then waited for the liquid to dry.


Paraphrases from the novel Mao II by Don DeLillo.