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Stillman's Maze





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Stillman's Maze
(Paul Auster)

Strap It On

Invisible Jewel
(House of Freaks)

My name is Peter Stillman. Or maybe it isn't. I don't know. My name is Peter Stillman. Sometimes I think I am someone else. I wander the streets of Brooklyn, looking for clues to my own existence. I am writing a book. It is called The Invention of Solitude. It is about my father, Peter Stillman. My name is Paul Auster.

I wander through this city of glass, looking for clues. Ghosts surround me. I wonder who I am. My name is Peter Stillman. Some days I cannot tell if I am free on the streets of New York or if I am still in the locked room. There is darkness all around. Everything is as clear as glass.

Things are no longer what they once were. I came to the city to find someone. I am lost in the city. There is no longer any way to escape. We are living through the last times, we are living in the country of last things. There are clues everywhere. But is there still a mystery to go with them?

My name is Peter Stillman. I wander the streets of Brooklyn. Or maybe not. Maybe I am in my room alone, at my desk, writing about Peter Stillman. I am looking for clues. Sometimes I pass a restaurant named Moon Palace. There are beautiful paintings inside, but no one knows how to find them. The thick glass of the windows distorts their beauty; their colors run together, as if they were underwater.

Every night I dream the same dream. I am in a field, and I am building a wall. I hear the music of chance playing. The wall does not surround anything; it does not separate anything, it does not enclose anything. It simply exists, and it will never be finished, even though I will eventually run out of stones. It is entirely possible, of course, that this is not a dream.

There is a man in the park who sells bronze replicas of New York City landmarks. The Empire State Building. The World Trade Center. The Statue of Liberty, she who rises from the harbor like some great leviathan of old. He tells me of a friend he once had who vanished in the flash of an explosion. No remains were found. The man who sells the statues is the only one who knows his friend's story. He tells me that he has written it all down, but I know that this is not true.

I once met a man who could fly. I called him Mr. Vertigo. He did not know where he had come from, either. He told me of his life, growing up in the carnival. He told me of fortune tellers, snake charmers, two headed cats. He was very earnest. Still, I did not believe him. But I listened. It is important to know the stories of others. Somewhere inside them, we might find part of our own.

Once I met a dog named Mr. Bones. He was just a mutt, old and tired, but I could see the story of the world in his eyes. They told me about his master, Willy G. Christmas, and all the places they had been together. They told me about dogs who could type and the symphony of smells. Mr. Bones was searching for Willy, trying to find his way to Timbuktu. He slept in a cardboard box in the park for a few days, and then moved on. He didn't know where Timbuktu was, but he knew that Willy was waiting there for him. My name is Peter Stillman. I wander the streets of Brooklyn, looking for clues.

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