Fiction

Emission

Joshua Cohen

This isn’t that classic conceit where you tell a story about someone and it’s really just a story about yourself.

My story is pretty simple:

About two years after being graduated from college with a degree in unemployment—my thesis was on Metaphor—I’d moved from New York to Berlin to work as a writer, though perhaps that’s not right because nobody in Berlin works. I’m not going to get into why that is here. This isn’t history, isn’t an episode on The History Channel.

Take a pen, write this on a paper scrap, then when you’re near a computer, search:

www.visitberlin.de

Alternately, you could just keep clicking your finger on that address until this very page wears out— until you’ve wiped the ink away and accessed nothing.

However, my being a writer of fiction was itself just a fiction and because I couldn’t finish a novel and because nobody was paying me to live the blank boring novel that was my life, I was giving up.

After a year in Berlin, with my German-language skills nonexistent, I was going back home. Not home but back to New York, I was going to business school. An M.B.A. It was time to grow up because life is short and even brevity costs. My uncle told me that, and it was his being diagnosed with a boutique sarcoma that—forget it.

Yesterday by close of business was the first time my portfolio ever reached seven figures, so if every author needs an occasion, let this be mine. Sitting in an office when I should be out celebrating my first million—­instead remembering these events of five years ago to my keyboard, my screen.

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