In case you're wondering, no, this is not the author speaking. It is the character. The line between the character and the author, however, is blurry. It's like one conjoined twin stealing the other conjoined twin's identity.
I eventually decided not to start off with a cryptic and artsy sentence, or to launch you directly into the plot. After much long and hard deliberation, I vetoed those ideas. I think I’d rather just openly beg for your attention.
That sounds like sarcasm, except I’m actually going to do it. I know a lot of writers like to start off with a bang to grab people’s attention. That’s not a bad thing. I’m trying to grab your attention, right now. The difference is, I’m asking nicely. In pop psychology, attention-seeking behaviour has a negative connotation, especially if you’ve spent as much time with attention-seekers as I have. But unless you’ve lived with what I’ve lived with (and I’m not saying it doesn’t have its perks), or done what the people who have taken care of me have done (and I’m not saying it doesn’t have its perks), you haven’t ever really had the chance to appreciate what a precious commodity human attention can be.
Well, maybe you have; I can’t pretend I know everything about you, or that my story is more important than yours. All I can ask is this: please pay attention when you read my writing. Because I am told every day, by authority figures, by friends, by billboards, and by distracting thoughts, to pay attention. Sometimes the words “pay attention” are spoken, and sometimes they are not. Sometimes my attention drifts to people or things that neither want nor need it. And no, this isn’t some kind of complaint about the over-stimulating nature of modern culture or whatever the latest worldly issue my humanities teacher is raving about is; I wouldn’t dream of complaining that the world is too beautiful. Perhaps I should, because the world is too beautiful through the lens of my disorder (which I think the most apt word, as my affairs are always in a state of small or large disorder), but I daren’t denounce the best, worst, and only part of my life. Denunciation of the entire world is the act of an embittered person, and goodness knows I have very little to be bitter about.
Look, I’m not going to lament about how hard my life is, because there are people out there with horrible diseases like fatal insomnia who would be glad to trade with me. But please pay attention to my words, if you can. Use that ability to focus your mind, that ability whose absence so restricts me and so frees me, and put your mind to these words.
Right, I’ve wasted an entire chapter telling you to pay attention. Maybe you’re starting to reconsider your investment. I encourage you (being the attention-seeker that I am) to hang on a little longer so we can get to the good stuff. Being an investor, you’ll want some specifics, so I’ll give them to you: the next chapter involves cocaine. Not actual cocaine, but metaphysical cocaine. And kindergarteners. Actual kindergarteners.