“Moby Dick and the Beginning of the End” by Ingrid Jendrzejewski
He says Melville was stupid because he constantly refers to Moby Dick as a fish. Moby Dick is not a fish. Moby Dick is a whale. Everyone knows that whales aren’t fish and fish aren’t whales; ergo, Melville is not worth reading.
She tries everything she can think of. She discusses poetic language. She suggests that it is Ishmael, not Melville who calls the whale a fish. She asserts that even if Moby-Dick does contain an inherent factual inaccuracy regarding fish and whales, there are many reasons that it is still worth reading. Eventually, when she is tired of arguing, she asks why a whale can’t be a fish and why a fish can’t be a whale in the context of a novel: a novel is a work of fiction, after all.
None of it works; he is not convinced. He can’t get past the whale/fish issue and she can’t get past the fact that he can’t get past it. He accuses her of being out to sea; she retaliates that it is he who is missing the boat. For better or for worse, they are, on this occasion, able to come up with enough nautical puns to hold off the inevitable sinking that is quietly being prepared for them by the roiling sea.
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Ingrid Jendrzejewski Artist Statement:
Ingrid Jendrzejewski grew up in Vincennes, Indiana, and studied creative writing and English literature
at the University of Evansville, then physics at the University of Cambridge. She has worked in
research, programming, computer game design and theatre, and is now taking some time out to focus
on family. After her daughter was born, she started writing in the little cracks of time available around
full-time parenting, and found herself drawn to shorter forms due to the fragmented nature of such
time. She started submitting work in 2014 and, since then, her work has found homes in several
literary journals and anthologies. In 2015, she won AROHO’s Fall Orlando Flash Fiction Prize which
allowed her to finance various writing-related activities including several workshops and a brief retreat.
Earlier this year, she won the Bath Flash Fiction Award. Links to Ingrid’s work can be found at
www.ingridj.com and she occasionally tweets @LunchOnTuesday.