Under the Microscope extra: The House that has no Corridors

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Microscope_icon-71204.jpg Under the Microscope extra

A reader's creative non-fiction goes under the editorial microscope

Read our suggested rewrite of a reader's first 300 words and for the full critique, see the May issue of Writing Magazine.

The House that has no Corridors, by Andew Sutherland - original version

In my dreams I stick, ever so slightly, to the surfaces of things. Not physically – how would that work – no, it’s more of a spiritual thing. When I wake I’m conscious that parts of me have remained, still attached to the landscape of my sleeping mind like fingerprints on glass. The effect is gradual but cumulative, and over the years so much of me has stayed behind that my soul is now uncertain of its home, divided between two equal realities.

Every day, I’m less and less engaged with the world around me. I go to the office and sit at my desk because that’s what’s expected of me, but I’ve lost all interest in my work. I no longer quite remember what I’m supposed to be doing there. My colleagues have noticed my distraction, they watch me through distrustful eyes and speak privately behind their hands. My employer has noticed and writes vague yet complicated letters to me, leaving them in sealed envelopes on my chair. Perhaps I read these letters, I’m not sure. I couldn’t tell you now what’s in them.

The house I go to at night has no corridors. All its rooms lead into each other in an endless sequence of sensibly defined spaces. Most of the rooms stand empty, yet somehow don’t feel that way. A few are furnished. Each and every one is filled with the same, steady light that permeates all my dreams.

When I get home from work I eat some food and watch TV. Always and always the lady on the news leans towards the camera, artfully tilting her head at me. The expression on her face insists her words are important. ‘I’m being sincere, I really am,’ says her face, ‘these are the things you should know and care about.’ But I don’t care.

 

The House that has no Corridors - McCredited version

In my dreams, I leave a residue on the surfaces of things. Nothing substantial. Nothing solid. I’m conscious when I wake that something of me has remained in the landscape of my sleeping mind like fingerprints on glass. The effect is gradual but cumulative, and over the years so much of me has remained there that some essential part of me – a soul? An essence? – is now uncertain where it belongs, divided between two realities.

Every day, I’m less and less engaged with the world around me. I go to the office and sit at my desk because that’s what’s expected of me, but I am not quite present. My colleagues have noticed my distraction. They watch me through distrustful eyes and speak furtively behind their hands. My employer has noticed and, I think, has made many references to my condition. I couldn’t tell you now exactly what he said or how.

The house I go to at night has no corridors. All its rooms lead into each other in a sequence of sensibly defined spaces. Most of the rooms are empty. At least, their space contains nothing physical. A few are furnished. Each is permeated with the same, pale light that illuminates all my dreams.

When I get home from work, I eat some food and watch TV. Always and always, the news lady leans towards the camera, artfully tilting her head at me. Her expression insists her message is important. ‘I’m being sincere, I really am,’ says her face. ‘These are the things you should know and care about.’ But I don’t care.

For the full critique, see the May issue of Writing Magazine