Apology from the author to her protagonist

A Forest in Winter by Pieter Lodewijk Francisco Kluyver

A Forest in Winter by Pieter Lodewijk Francisco Kluyver

Look at you, standing faithfully on the page, ready, waiting for my least command. The smallest word from me will tell you what to do next, what to say and how to say it, in first person or third, sadly or with joy.

You would do anything for me, despite your pride: That was going to be your fatal flaw, in the third act, I had it all planned out.

But, unfortunately – I don’t quite know how to say this – I won’t be using you. No, listen, it’s not you, it’s me. I mean, you’re brilliant, really, even if I do say so myself. Your back-story alone is pure genius: Your tortured childhood, the unrequited love of your college days. You’re just great. If anything you’re too good for me. You deserve a writer who can make you famous – a Milton or a Homer.

Me, I’m only now discovering how bad I am. I mean, look at where you are now – in the Black Forest of Germany on a winter’s night. With a character like you, and a setting like that, a monkey could write something thrilling. I should have you tramping through the forest, feverish from a bayonet wound, Quixotically slashing at trees as you search for your battalion to warn them of an enemy attack. You’d love that, wouldn’t you? You’d be perfect for it.

Instead, I’ve spent the last two weeks hung up on describing the snow! Which I can’t do! I mean, I’m trying to write a dramatic novel here, and I keep ending up sounding like Dr. Seuss. The woods were old, the snow was cold… Or else I come up with something amazing only to realize that I’m pretty much quoting Robert Frost. I’m not kidding, this has happened twice: First with “lovely, dark and deep,” and then, a few days later, with “easy wind and downy flake.”

And then I start thinking, I will never be as good as Robert Frost, or anywhere close. I might as well sell my typewriter and use the money to order cable TV. Or maybe go on American Idol, I mean I’m bound to be a better singer than writer.

So I thought I should let you know. I’m sorry about all of this. I had a wonderful time with you, and I wish you all the best. I’ll always remember you the way you are now, stopping in the woods on a snowy evening.

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