Call me Ishmael. Never mind. This is my book. Call me Isabel. And call this article my first novel. In my Intro to Comparative Literature class (a requirement I'd neglected until this penultimate semester) three enthusiastic students -- all freshmen -- ardently flailed spread palms in the air in response to the professor's inquiry as to who among us had written a book. I sheepishly slumped in my chair.

I've always considered myself an author you see, despite my humble body of work -- up to now a slew of research papers. But given my obsessive need to narrate life, I've assumed the role. Perhaps I'm nothing more than a hopeless sentimentalist, the endlessly self-conscious creator of my own narrative. My life, determined by seasons and smells and holiday affairs, becomes a string of symbols and metaphors that at once define the present moment and the formation of the past. So how could someone, barely capable of watching falling leaves without recalling-with a sniffle all 18 of her collegiate years, have waited so long to turn her narrative tendency into a bona fide book?

Here's to you, my freshmen literati, responsible for the inadequacies of my thus bereft writing career. Thank you for inspiring my first opus. Yet as I finally write my story (in lieu of idly ruminating on the meaning of autumn), I realize that, perhaps, my life needs a bit of time to ripen before an actual novel can pour out of me with bacchanalian inspiration. Like a grape in June, my narrative must wait for the passing of a season to ferment into a full-bodied Cab. After all, nobody wants to read a book comprised of a string of quaintly pastoral metaphors. My apologies, then, for not saying much in this book. Let me quickly invent a plot for posterity: senior girl, worried about her writing career jumps at the notion of publication but realizes, as her train of thought putters into drivel, that it is perhaps better that Random House isn't knocking on her door. And voila! I conclude my first book. Only don't judge this one by its cover. Because it doesn't have one.


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