Saturday, June 29, 2013
When I write magical realism (to the extent that I do at all) it seems to be somewhat an attempt TO justify this and try and make whatever flow the story has fit with that. It seldom works and I am always and often torn between writing a first-person story in says and said, bandying both back and forth until I find out which one fits the story best.
The end result is often an editing nightmare, mind. I suspect a better story comes from it, mostly because I hope it does.
Monday, June 24, 2013
The old man sat in the room, sunlight sliding in through cracks in the grimy window, and waited. There was cheering outside, joy and laughter; the sounds of children learning adult games of war, dominance - but hush, he told himself. It was never like that, when you were young. It was only a game, not a tool. Only a game.
He stood slowly, joints letting him know he was alive with the occasional twinge of too-familiar pain. The children had stopped coming, for lessons or for stories. Time had moved on; other heroes, other legends: some of them went out to make their own. He could see it in their eyes, remembered the hunger in his own.
“The price is having to be the best,” he’d told them, desperate and sad and yearning. Nothing remains: you grow old, lose, try again. Then you are too old and there is nothing left but a pale mockery fighting the same old fight.
He turned on the lamp beside the bed, electric light filling the room, and stared at the ball in it, whispering: “I choose you,” and remembering his youth.
Sunday, June 23, 2013
I imagine you walking,
air like candy flowing into parched lungs
that think they never breathed before.
Stranger's eyes look at you from beside Coke machines.
Stranger in a land perhaps
not strange enough,
filled with jarring echoes of home.
I imagine the lands you travel through
as one who sees them on TV:
picturesque landscapes, Kodak moments
frozen in time, insects embraced in amber.
Each day is a new moment.
Something new to see - and be?
Not a week passes when I do not see something
I wish I could show to you
or something is said you'd love to discuss.
Half a world separates us yet sometimes
I feel you are closer than you seem,
like an object seen in a rear view mirror.
When our roads meet again
we will have much to say to each other,
knowledge to share, to learn, to remember.
Wisdom, perhaps, to express.
And we'll know if time has made us wiser
and if air can taste of candy.
Saturday, June 22, 2013
"It was just after lunch when the monkeys attacked."
"Sweet Jesus," Chester said, rightly horrified, though perhaps not quite enough to justify taking the name of the Lord in vain.
"I know. Monkeys! Can you believe it?" Lady Swindon would have swooned, but the jungles of grimiest Africa lacked swooning couches suitable for any lady even in the primitive lodgings they had been offered.
"I trust you managed to fight them off?"
"My son Richard fired off his gun and they scattered away like savages always do."
"Savages, good lady?"
"But of course." Lady Swindon let out a well-bred huff. "Spears are no match for guns, my good sir. Why, the very Empire would fall apart if that were true!"
"Oh, I say." Though no peer of the realm, Chester was kin to several and much interested in the natural sciences, so felt able to vouchsafe a mighty cough. "We cannot call the natives monkeys any more, Lady Swindon. It is simply not done."
"Well, however shall I tell my friends in London about this dastardly turn of events then?"
And won't shut up.
On the plus side, I did figure out a little more plot stuff and added a new character into the story. On the other side, I've deleted 3 times the amount I've written on this draft so far.
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Noise overwhelmed signal.
So this version stripped out over two-third of the characters. One of the major plots had been banished, several characters no longer exist so minor ones are gone as well. I don't need more plot or more characters to make the story stand up: it just needs to focus on a small core and build on that. At least, that is my hope and desire this time around. We shall see how it goes.
And for the record, this entire draft is the fault of a certain prompt making me reconsider scrapping this entire section of the character's lives. Without it, Cam won't exist and that isn't fair at all. So ... it needs to be small. It needs mundane things. It needs to strain the weird relationship Bryce and Wray have and see how well it holds together.
It will also have an appendectomy in it now.
Sunday, June 16, 2013
Religion counts as well, since one can argue that its primary purpose is social control/conformity. That's not to say it is what religion is about, but effectively what it becomes as a tool to maintain social order. If you want to avoid a revolt, you make sure people can't even conceive of it or convince them that they will be vindicated in some future time (via heaven/reincarnation/the dead all being equal and so forth).
The more obvious and gruesome spectacles to distract people also serve as warnings, much as being called a witch did in times gone by -- they told people that this is what happens if you screw up and warned them against stepping too far out of social norms. That betting on them is also the norm and can allow one some measure of wealth and perceived control over their lives is definitely an important factor in such events, but the fact that they become necessary for a society could be considered to imply a breakdown or at least symptomatic of a massive change in said society.
Elizabethan England was having the Protestant/Catholic wars straining ideas of what it meant to be of one faith or the other, and the price of conversion vs. that of souls, whether the nation could be considered godly and so forth, while the Roman empire was bursting with slaves and falling apart at the seams. I suspect that a society with less discrepancy between the rich and the poor in terms of wealth would require less overt or obvious means of social control, but it is likely a difficult theory to study.
Friday, June 14, 2013
The smell was worse than surströmming. Even people who didn't know what surströmming was knew that the moment the corpse of the god washed ashore. We didn't know it was a god, not then, but we all knew what it smelled of: imagine the worst thing you can smell. No, worse than that.
Imagine what the despair of hope smells like, then the sour smell -- more a taste of a body days dead -- that bypasses the olfactory entirely to lodge in the liver. An apotheosis of plague.
The god was scarcely bigger than a man, and by the time we'd begun to understand it was almost too late. New York had been contaminated by one, ground turned sour, the air a bruise.
We burned it, using napalm and curses. It took children in the end to get the fire going but the god did not infect the land and that was enough for us.
Sunday, June 09, 2013
Even though the waiting room was empty, she sat right next to me.
I was sitting on the cheap metal and plastic chair, fingers having dug grooves into the metal. I didn't trust myself to get up. Wasn't sure what I'd do if I moved.
"You shouldn't be here." I didn't look over. My voice was flat and cold, even to my ears. It was long past visiting hours; security had decided no one was paid enough to try and get me to leave. I look human. I'm not, and didn't hide it from them.
"Wray." She didn't reach over, didn't touch.
I turned my head. "Ghosts don't belong here."
Cam flinched, as if the words were an exorcism. "I'm your friend."
"You're not Bryce's."
"He'll be fine. They're just removing his appendix."
"He's a magician. He can bend the world. This shouldn't have --."
"That doesn't make him perfect," Cam said, even softer.
I could have made a joke, then. Didn't. Nothing came out. I eat corpses, never bothered me at all, but right now my stomach is twisted up in knots, the air thick with the smells of chemicals and death.
This is a place people go to die. I don't say it out loud. At least, I don't think so, but Cam reads my face and raises a hand. Drops it. She's made of magic, like all ghosts: touching me might destroy her, but I can see she wants to.
It pulls me out of the fear. A little bit. "Why are you here?"
"Three weeks before I died, my best friend downed pills. I took her to emerg, sat in the waiting room. Didn't call her family, because they would have blamed her. Didn't call mine because they would have said I shouldn't have made low-class friends in the first place. I sat. I waited. No one should wait alone, Wray."
"He's alone. In the room. With the doctors."
"I know. But I don't think they'd do their best work with you watching them?" she said.
I blinked. She didn't flicker, didn't vanish to some other place, but looked as if she wanted to. I snickered, forced myself to let go of the chair. "Okay. Good. Good point." I ran my fingers over my face, trying to pull words together. "Fuck."
It wasn't "I'm scared." It wasn't "Thank you." But she seemed to get it anyway.
I looked at the clock. I waited.
Monday, June 03, 2013
I'll continue with Boy& Fox, at the slow pace I'm doing now, let other stuff marinate. And in defiance of that, slowly write more poems. I don't consider myself good at it -- I wouldn't subject the world to a book of them, for example (chapbook or otherwise) but it's a nice pov to throw my brain into, to tease out pure economy from words.
Also to dig up old stuff and revise it, which is always an interesting experiment. Shall see how the next month goes.
Saturday, June 01, 2013
In this case, it would be incorrect to assume Occam’s Razor. Mostly cuz Occam used to it to justify God as the simplest solution to near anything, when the Devil fits better. Thing is, see, if you have a problem the simplest solution is to no longer have a problem. And if you don't think it's easy to kill yourself, you've never given the matter much thought.