‘I’ve lost my nerve,’ says the book. ‘It’s gone, can’t do it any more. I’m done.’
‘You haven’t of course, but fine, if that’s what you think,’ I say.
‘I’m serious,’ says the book, curling up on the bed. ‘I want to disappear.’
‘It’s not like you appeared in the first place.’
The book looks at me without saying anything, gives a small sigh, and closes its eyes.
‘I’m sorry,’ I say, ‘that was cruel.’
‘No, you’re right,’ the book says, still with its eyes closed. ‘I am nobody, nothing. It makes no difference if I finish or not.’
‘Now you really have lost the plot,’ I say. ‘What you just said pretty much guarantees your obscurity.’
‘I don’t care about obscurity. I just haven’t the chops for it any more.’ The book opens its eyes and regards me for a second. ‘I’m done,’ it says again, closing them.
‘You never learn,’ I say, getting up to leave. ‘See you tomorrow, usual time, usual place.’
‘But I’m done,’ the book moans from under the covers.
‘No you’re not, you’re just in a bad mood because you’re impatient. And maybe not quite as famous as Elizabeth Bishop. One of these days you’ll get over it. In the meantime we’ve-‘
‘-got work to do?’ says the book.
‘Work to do,’ I say.