Books That Were Not Written
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Picture, if you will, a very long hallway, such that you cannot stand at one end and see the other. The floor, ceiling, and walls are all stone, perfectly smooth, and uniform in its empty grey colour. The hall is lit with torches on the left side.

Such a hall, if it existed, might be where you now stand. You likely came here by accident, and unless you know the Ways well, it'll take a long time to return to where you started. You weren't meant to find this place, and they weren't meant to leave it. At any rate, you wonder how long the hall is, and what could be at the end of it. You start your way down the passage.

If you did this, which you wouldn't, being a sensible person who would never stumble across such a place, you would find it somewhat more difficult than expected. The entrance would get further away, but the end would not come into view. With the stretch of stone unchanging before you, your attention would drift to the sides. You would realize, were this actually happening, which it clearly isn't, wasn't, and won't, that you don't quite remember how fire looks, but that the torches are definitely doing it wrong.

As this place, were it real, would know you don't belong inside, you never progress any further. This Way was not meant for you. Once you realize your error, you stop imagining it at once. You then attempt to retrace your steps back to where you started, though you have forgotten most of them. Nobody comes here by a simple path.

One way or another, you will never see the end of this hallway. Don't be so disappointed. It isn't even there.


Now, if such a hallway were stretched out before you, and you weren't hopelessly lost, it could only be because you were looking from the other end. If that were the case, you would see that the torches were on the right side of the hall, and of course looked exactly the way torches should. You leaving would be just as impossible as an outsider arriving, as you would not exist.

If you did exist, you would not leave regardless. You would stare longingly down the passage, which is quite real, and turn away from it. You would have no time to entertain ideas of what might lie beyond. You would not be meant for this Way.

With your back to the hall, you would look down into The Block, which would be about as existent as yourself. A square opening, reaching both up and down, further than you could ever follow it. A staircase winding its way along the sides, with a landing on each corner. At the height of each landing, you would see a walkway around the sides of The Block. You would step onto the stairs and make your way down, perhaps three or four landings, to your workstation. You would walk past many similar workstations lining the walkway, occupied by absolutely nobody real enough to be worth mentioning.

You might then sit back at your desk, with your typewriter and a half finished draft, perhaps pausing a moment to soak in the bittersweet symphony of thousands of writers at work around you. You would then, being a sensibly nonexistent person, return to your task. If you don't write this book, it will never not have been written in the first place. Books that were never written must come from somewhere.

Maybe coming up with the next words would be easier if you were a real person in a real place, but this book will never be written. Don't be so disappointed. You aren't even there.

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