There is a very brief story of Virginia Woolf’s – An Unwritten Novel – that I routinely think of when sitting on trains – or anywhere, really – and coming up with stories about the people around me. Just now I found a Maupassant story – L’infirme – with much the same setup and a similar trajectory of the narrator’s engagement – an initial enthusiasm in story construction, a later disappointment at the seeming blandness of revealed reality, and a final somewhat ambivalent rebirth of curiosity following recognition potential richness behind that reality. That last point could alternately be rendered as – the need to tell stories about others is so inborn in certain personalities that no amount of disappointment or lack of closure can keep it from endlessly reawakening. Still, the below quote from the Maupassant story is how these affairs mostly go:
The outcome conformed to the rule, to the average, to the truth, to the likely … and did not satisfy my appetite for poetry.
Le dénouement conforme à la règle, à la moyenne, à la vérité, à la vraisemblance, ne satisfaisait pas mon appétit poétique