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to help you experience my feelings
g.m. monks

To help you understand how common I felt while taking an unwanted journey, I suggest you think of yourself as Maria because Maria is a common name although I have known a Maria or two who were not at all common but I felt especially common on my journey that took three days of walking and many hours of feeling exhausted and to give you the feeling of my exhaustion I’m telling you my unfortunate story in one paragraph composed of one long sentence because you will want, you will itch to come to a pause, a respite, to have a time to look up from the page to catch your breath and think about this story you’re reading to figure out what it might be about and then you will understand how I so wanted to stop and rest and look at the peaceful sea with subdued waves, the big floating cumulus clouds, the tall and majestic Cyprus trees, and the many vineyards that stretched before me but couldn’t because I believed it was urgent to get to my destination almost more than anything I had ever done in my life, at least that’s what I thought sometimes, but other times I wondered if I was stupid to try to reach my destination and such indecision of mine might make you think this story isn’t worth reading and you’ll want to close the page and do something else but I too wanted to stop walking and just like you now wanting this extended, drawn-out sentence that breaks all rules to end with a period or a question mark or even an exclamation point, which I rarely ever use, but if you did that, Maria, you might not feel an ounce of the angst I felt keeping up my arduous efforts to reach my destination even though my destination was rather commonplace and maybe useless for my common self and so, to help you also feel bogged down in useless commonalities, I have included in my story mostly common words such as you (there are 30 you words in this story), my (23 of them), me (7 of them), I (39—it’s obvious this story is mostly about me), she (none except this one), he (3), is (9), the (16 of them), although (5 of them), and (35 which is enough), but (19), so (only 4), that (17 of them), but not uncommon words like osculate or sesquipedalian or jugulate which now takes me conveniently on a tangent for I did go on a tangent on my trip of 51 miles and luckily avoided getting too close to a lunatic but it’s true, Maria, I honestly came close to losing my life and while you are wondering where I am going with all this nonsense I’d like to remind you that we all have to plod along, plod, plod, plod, smile and pretend we know what we’re doing and keep going especially as we get older even when we wonder if we’ll ever achieve our goals, common or uncommon, so this could be said to be a disguised existential treatise for you, Maria, although if you are a male you can think of yourself as Mario because that is a common name in Italy and I do feel I should tell you that my trip of 51 miles began in Italy which is beautiful with its valleys and ragged coastline on the Mediterranean which is so blue it made me want to paint but I didn’t because an American lunatic almost killed me after I left Cinque Terre where I started my walk that never seemed to end just exactly like this long sentence never seems to end like the buildings in Cinque Terre never seem to end but are squeezed neatly next to each other in long rows with little streets between them not big enough for cars and they look like they were born out of the neighboring cliffs and especially if you squint at dusk, the houses merge beautifully with the awesome cliffs and seem to be one with them and look like they have existed forever, being resistant to even major earthquakes but Maria or Mario don’t give up hope even though I know you’re feeling you’re stupid for reading this bizarre story that seems to go nowhere and that is exactly what you need to feel to know how I felt while going on my journey in Italy while almost being killed by a lunatic who I must admit gave me some distraction from the turmoil of my 51-mile walk, although it did slow my journey, but remember that Sisyphus had obtained everlasting fame as he is still remembered because his task keeps continuing for eternity, keeps repeating like a moving target but he plods along obediently like a common illiterate peasant who would be thrilled to heaven to be able to read any sentence, too long or too short, although while I achieved my destination and didn’t have to repeat it like Sisyphus, it was a disappointment like none that I ever experienced as I didn’t achieve what I had hoped to achieve and I felt like I was tricked just like you’ll feel tricked for I won’t be telling you how and why I was almost killed but I will tell you this story won’t end well but it won’t be sad or tragic but you might feel abused and wished you had never started reading for I too felt that I should’ve never walked 51 miles from beautiful romantic Cinque Terre and you might even be tempted to write to this magazine and complain to them for having published my pathetic story but you must admit there was something that kept you reading just exactly like there was something that kept me walking but please remember that sometimes feelings are best felt indirectly especially if wise judgment or a life of good experiences and decisions seems to be missing but now you, Maria or Mario, know what a disaster I had felt and that I was half responsible for it and it was the most dissatisfying experience of my life.

G. M. Monks lives in California. Her work has been published in: Birdland Journal, The Hunger, Vine Leaves Literary Journal, The RavensPerch, Embodied Effigies, Kaaterskill Basin Literary Journal, Kansas City Voices, Alehouse, and elsewhere. She was the runner-up (with publication) in the Big Wonderful Press Funny Poem contest. She received an honorable mention in the 2016 New Millennium Writings Award competition and was a finalist in the 2015 Tucson Festival of Books Literary Awards.  Bedazzled Ink published her debut novel, titled Iola O, and nominated it for the 2020 PEN/Hemingway Award for New Fiction and for the Commonwealth Club of California First Work of Fiction prize. If you want to read more about her, please visit

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