As you know, I’ve been using Microsoft’s Bing AI chatbot (powered by OpenAI’s GPT4) to rewrite excerpts from my novella, Reunion: A Story, in the styles used by other writers, including Shakespeare, Poe, Hemingway, Clancy, and even humorist Dave Barry. I’ve also asked Bing AI to rewrite some of the same excerpts in the styles of Edith Wharton, Anais Nin, Erica Jong (I have not yet posted that version), and my favorite so far, Jennifer Egan.
Here’s an excerpt from my favorite part of Reunion, rewritten by artificial intelligence and in the style of one of America’s best contemporary writers.
Marty leaned against the piano, her fingers tracing the keys. She looked at me with a mix of nostalgia and regret. “Can you believe it?” she said. “This is it. The end of the line.”
I shrugged, trying to act casual. I didn’t want to admit how much it hurt to say goodbye. We had spent three years in this chorus room, singing our hearts out, sharing our dreams and fears. We had become more than friends. We had become a duet.
“Aren’t you going to miss it?” she asked.
“Of course I will,” I said. “But life goes on, right? We have to move forward.”
She nodded, but I could tell she wasn’t convinced. She had a wistful look in her eyes, as if she wanted to freeze time and stay here forever.
“I wish we could have sung that song together,” she said.
“Which song?” I asked, playing dumb.
She gave me a playful punch on the arm. “Don’t pretend you don’t know. The one we were supposed to sing for the Spring Concert. ‘Somewhere’, from West Side Story.”
I hummed the first notes of the song, but they came out wrong. I was out of tune.
Marty frowned. “You haven’t practiced lately,” she said.
“No, I haven’t,” I admitted. I felt a wave of sadness wash over me. I had lost my passion for singing. I had lost my direction in life. Marty saw the change in my face. She came closer and wrapped her arm around me.
“I know,” she said softly. “You were so excited about this concert, Jim. So was I. I wanted to sing that duet with you more than anything.”
“Really?” I asked.
“Really. You have an amazing voice. Anyone would be lucky to sing with you.”
“I doubt it,” I said. “You’re probably the only one who thinks that.”
She laughed. Her laugh always made me feel better. It reminded me of why I liked her so much. She was the one person who could brighten up my day. She was the one person who could make me smile.
I suddenly remembered the letter I had written for her. The letter that confessed my feelings for her. The letter that I had not yet given her. It was still in my jacket pocket, folded and sealed in an envelope.
I panicked. What if it had fallen out? What if someone had found it and read it? What if she had seen it and ignored it?
I quickly checked my pocket with my free hand. I felt the envelope inside. It was still there.
I pulled it out and looked at it. It had her name on it, in my own handwriting.
“What’s that?” Marty asked, pointing at the envelope in my hand.
I turned to face her, feeling a surge of emotion. Her hazel eyes were shining. Her arm was still around me. I wanted to kiss her more than anything.
I cleared my throat. “This,” I said, “is for you.”
She reached for it, but I pulled it back. She looked at me with a puzzled expression. “It is for me, right?” she asked.
“Yes, yes, it is,” I said. “But you have to promise me something.”
I took a deep breath. I looked into her eyes again. “Promise me,” I said slowly, “that you won’t open this until after graduation.”
Marty frowned. “Why?”
I moved the envelope further away. “Promise me,” I begged.
She sighed. Closed her eyes. Nodded. “Okay,” she said softly, “I promise.”
I handed her the envelope. She took it silently.
The bell rang then, loud and harsh. It startled us both. Marty let go of me. I stepped back, feeling a loss of warmth.
“Well,” I said, trying to sound casual, “this is it, then.” I grabbed my backpack, headed for the door. I felt her tug on my hand. I stopped and turned around.
“Hey,” she said gently, smiling at me. “You’re not going to leave without -” She paused, then met my gaze. “Without a kiss goodbye?”
Before I could say anything, she wrapped her arms around me and kissed me. Softly, tenderly. I kissed her back. I closed my eyes. I felt everything at once – her perfume, her lips, her breath, her chest, her heart, her warmth. I thought of the song that had haunted my dreams:
Where summer goes
That’s where you’ll be;
Where love still grows
Your face I’ll see.
Across the sky
Across the sea;
Where summer goes
Our souls will be.
The clock ticked loudly. She pulled away from me, slowly. I opened my eyes and saw her smile sadly. She touched my cheek with her hand.
“I’m going to miss you,” she said.
I nodded. “I’m going to miss you too, Marty.”
Outside, the school erupted in noise and joy. Summer was here. Another year was over.
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