Impromptu, I told Patricia one afternoon over e-mail, is waking up to the strangeness of life and write about it in 10 paragraphs or more.
Strangeness, no matter how she’s unfamiliar with it, are so common that the jaded journalists are no longer surprised. They all know that a politician who began her career with high public opinion survey ratings would one day succumb to the whims of a wealthy businessman. They all know that without evidence, a man who bakes bread every day can be accused as the brains behind recruiting teenagers to join a secessionist group. Strange stories happen, again and again, and I told Patricia not to get overwhelmed. That she won’t need all the quotes to come up with a story due in the afternoon. Sometimes, I wonder, why people have never learned, that after reading one strange story after another, haven’t they noticed a pattern, that humans aren’t inherently good or evil and that politicians don’t need to be glorified? I told Patricia, if one accuses the other, don’t forget to follow up the source: what basis does he fucking have? If that source won’t answer your calls, verify his claims yourself. Check our previous reports. Check it online. Check the tribunal court rulings. Sometimes, I said, they don’t know what they say. I told Patricia that unless it’s alright for me to stay at a coffeeshop the whole day and order nothing except a cup of American worth $2, I don’t have the whole time on earth to edit her copy, the same way Thea would need to assign a time keeper every meeting at Bentoel Museum. Telling stories each day — impromptu — is what I’ve been doing for seven years. Stories begin with a lead, supporting details, some paragraphs explaining why the story matters, and then an end, the same way Table Topics speeches are meant to be delivered. The problem is, people asked, how do we begin with one? Well, how does a strange story begin? They begin with something as mundane as ladies and gentlemen, good morning. I am here tonight to win your hearts and minds. I come from a poor family with noble ambitions. Like you, I was once poor. But with hard work, we can make our dreams happen. It’s not an original story, that after 7 years of hearing the same lies over and over again, to take a temporary break from it all is a sweet respite — though sometimes I would look back and remember the times I had troubles with impromptu. Because back then impromptu didn’t mean having to pay $50 to have my scholarly article published in a journal, although it reminds me of that fat government employee who offered me to carry their press releases in exchange of $100 per month.