the lightly salted caul didn’t taste too bad – the side-dish of sauteed pickled punks smelt pungent, but he was sure it would be great. the monkey brains drinking establishment was a wonderful discovery, one he hardly credited with being true some days – was it that he was always drunk when he sat down to eat in here?
when sober he was sure he wouldn’t be able to tell anyone how to reach this place – not that he really wanted to share it with anyone. he was glad that he was rarely sober and seemed to be possessed of a rather formidable context dependent memory.
just under the surface of the drink swam the bugbears he had not managed to drown yet – they gathered to themselves all the moments of insecurity he suffered, and they grew bigger and as they increased in size they became hungrier.
he was trying to paint in the hours he was awake but this diversionary expedition to get food was a necessary stepping stone to productivity. when the hunger ravaged him he could hardly string together a thought – he became angry and if he had his knife to hand he might go on prolonged bouts of slashing at his canvases. last week, the alcohol level in his blood particularly high, he had cut, pissed on, and set alight to five works which his dealer had been telling him were the best things he had done in an age – now all that existed of them were the prints of the photographs always taken as a precaution now. he had almost died trying to extinguish the flames but he had not heeded a single warning from any of the many opinionated bastards who it was his misfortune to meet that day.
he started upon the pickled punks and was surprised at how they just came apart with no effort, how they melted on the tongue – they tasted great; he would have to leave a good tip for both the waiter and the chef.
as he finished, paid, and stepped out on the street, the sky gave up brooding and let loose with fury. for a moment, for a small moment, he felt blessed by the call – felt able to dance between the raindrops … and then he sank back down into himself. misery was the best fuel for his brooding nightmare landscapes, for his umbral portraits, for his geometric shatter of abstraction. he sighed, he smiled, he shrugged, he reached his studio’s front door and went inside.

mr precedent

‘so why was this one picked?’
‘well, he can read without stumbling,’
‘ah, yeah, i remember the last one.’
‘yeah, he started a war by means of dyslexia …’
‘with a great big dollop of stupid too.’
‘well, that goes without saying, doesn’t it?’
‘i suppose. i do have to say though, this one’s not very good looking.’
‘no, he’s fucking ugly, but it has exactly the same effect – they spend more than half their time pondering his scary face instead of questioning what he’s saying. he turns them all into rubberneckers.’
‘what about his mother? i heard she’s a problem.’
‘oh, you mean the feminist intellectual who likes to mouth off about how her dumbass of a son shouldn’t be in control of a plastic spoon let alone the country?’
‘not a problem.’
‘how so?’
‘we dug up some interesting dirt on her.’
‘what? sexual perversion? drug history?’
‘yep, worse.’
‘what could be worse?’
‘ah …’
‘yep, best way to hang a liberal – hoisting them by their own petard.’
‘so, i heard there was a big plan to shoot this one?’
‘yeah, it’s the biggest event in a long time – we have everything in place to ramp up his public profile as a do-gooder (there are lots of pet perverts that the public wants to see helped at the moment) and once he is seen as almost saintly then – BANG, we blow out the back of his skull, and have a changing of the guard.’
‘you have someone in mind?’
‘oh, of course – this one is going to be hardline. the way we’ve been juggling it through the years is – we have a liberal president who gets them all happy and sells them a lifestyle which includes all these so-called luxury items, then we have a hardline ball-buster who comes in and uses all the backdoors in those luxury items to push greater control on the populace.’
‘i’m not sure i qquite get that.’
‘oh, ok – well, during this presidency we’re getting everyone interested in having their skulls embedded with RFID tags because its the easiest way to control their media devices – so they grab it all up like elective surgery. then president b comes in and using the electronic backdoors which we require to be fitted as standard in these chips he increases surveillance; turns every fucker into a camera. we call it operation deep penetration – we go live and have the whole country in the bag; there isn’t a thing we won’t know.’
‘impressive, eh?’
‘so what was he saying?’
‘who cares? you think i listen to that shit?’

winged things

snow angels, paper angels – he was obsessed with them. he remembered kaleidoscopic visions in the butterfly garden where peacocks, and red admirals and cabbage whites swirled around him and his buddleia halo of purple.
but the snow angels melted away. yellow snow of dog’s piss baptised disappointment and footsteps at the edge of the white-hemmed path which had been dug clear.
the paper angels were screwed into a ball in the trash can, sprinkled with glitter from the disposed of xmas cards his mother didn’t want. he had tired of paper aeroplanes but there was something magic in paper angels – the way the emerged from a few cuts; but no one in his household shared the fascination.
the butterfly garden was gone as well – all the plants which drew those brightly coloured insects in uprooted and replaced with easy to maintain gravel.
watching these things he was given to wonder whether for something to be beautiful it must also have built into it a fleetingness. it saddened him. he poured the cream into his coffee and watched the spiral become a cloud that bubbled through and changed the liquid. how long did the change take to occur? this glass cup held now plain as brown coffee, but for a second it the beautiful poetry of fluid dynamics. he smiled – he decided he didn’t mind if it did not exist for long as long as it existed.


people take some digesting. perhaps this shocking diorama puts the shit down purposely though some days perusing this saddens deeply. putting the shotgun down peter tutted, sighed, despaired. promise them something different please; take suggestions down.
putting the sugary donut partway towards sarah, dusting powdery traces, something died. peter told sarah ‘don’t’. perplexed to see despair pulsing through, she dithered. ‘peter?’. telling she didn’t pick the sugary donut; perhaps this signalled destruction.
peter took some delight pushing the sacred dialectic. picking the same day peter’s thoroughly sadistic dad picked to shoot down people – that seemed destined. peter took shots, dove. people tried shooting, dodged. peter took sarah down. people that should die. people that shunned deity. point the shotgun, decide. peter took some diet pepsi, tremored, shook, decided. peter’s trigger suddenly depressed.

word gains 8

now the point, he is thinking, is, do i continue on with this or do i allow it to die a dignified death? can the pursuit of a furtherance to the story achieve anything other than to perpetuate an inwards collapsing of the narrative so it will resemble a souffle that has been left in the oven too long?
his second thought, following closely on the heels of that thought, is, well, what if i let that happen and try to pass it off as commentary on the nature of metatextual texts?
but having built that into the framework as yet another expectation which can either lead to disappointment or fulfilment, yet another question that is being asked of the reader, how can it be a surprise if i jump either way?
has he painted himself into a corner – that is the important question? the corner in a sense is an ever unfurling series fo questions, form-lead experimentations, narrative tricks, etc, etc.
a writer chasing his tail like a dog, a reader bored and licking his own balls.
so he comes up with another idea – superpositional fiction, where the fiction as a whole exists in a state of having ended and having not ended and existing in the superposition state of both of those outcomes. so he can tie it off here like a bleeding stump – eight being a nice number that suggest an infinite loop, and the next piece will do something entirely different with the game.
he scans through all previous entries to see where he might go, sees that the loose ends he will be leaving are actually integral to the nature of the experiment, and is happy that he can write
and it will be the end of something, though not technically this.
so he types
for real this time
considers typing pass GO and collect $200
wonders how many will consider remaining engaged in the game and how many will loop back to word gains 1 and try and re-read to glean the meaning of it all. he wonders if he truly understands the meaning himself.
he will type ‘THE END’ and will finish of this section with a footnote*.
* I am the I and the he and this may not be fictional or it may be, at the end of it one has to ask the question, do they really care?

word gains 7

he finds himself to be disappearing up his own posterior, kind of like ourobouros, but less dignified. and he decides that he needs to add some kind of humour into the proceedings lest he become an insufferable pompous ass choking on his own post-modernity. he briefly considers writing himself a haiku but then he has the cognition that nothing could be more pretentious than to sit down and write a haiku.
minimalism brings out the insufferable boors as much as hyperbolic manifestations of intellect can do, but god, what does that leave? the middle road? the one taken by all those beige conservatives with less imagination than your average toilet cleaner?
he ponders writing some fast food fiction; not literally being fiction about fast food, but fiction which can be consumed in the same manner. but how ironic and full of metatextuality would it be to write about fast food in that way?
circle jerk fiction comes to mind too – get a whole load of self-involved egotistical bastards with typewriters together and get them to write about what they are writing about, what their neighbours are writing about, and the relation between the two. it could even turn into an exquisite corpse eventually; a game of musical chairs with typewriters. a choreographed typewriting pool set to a voiceover by william burroughs talking about his cut-up technique, whilst brion gysin pictures are flashed in tryptichs upon three carefully positioned screens.
he wonders about non-fiction fiction because he feels like he has been writing fictional non-fiction. hmm, selling actual events as fictional events and then blending in the fictional to accounts of real moments in time. where does that get you? confused? enlightened? does it make you a liar or does it make you creative?
circle after circle after circle: chains of self-reflexive loops linked by titles that suggest a cohesive push to an answer but never deliver one because the whole process of asking questions about the nature of the thing being written is the point. provocation, narrative dislocation, and interpenetration of the diegetic and non-diegetic realms which the writing interacts with; shapes and is shaped by. interactivity is not limited to intentionally interactive mediums Рa piece of static writing is still, in some senses created from the  relationship of the author to the work and the reader, and of the reader to the author and the work. but he wants his work to exist as both Рin the writing of it it is meant to be interactive; in its final incarnation it will be in traditional print media and will adopt a new relation to the concept of interactivity.
he imagines each instalment of the piece of work called word gains turned into a series of beads in a kaleidoscope and he twists it and notes down the new patterns.

word gains 6

conversations with fictional constructs aside, he is happy with the latest piece. well, it was really an extrapolated conversation with himself: an internal dialogue externalised. he wonders at other formats that he might explore in a way that adds to the already convoluted form of the narrative – a film about the writer who creates the fictional writer given a voice over by someone other than the real writer himself?
infinite regression may indeed be the game – the aim to pull the whole world into the mirror, turn the mirror into a black hole. crush time, space, light, everything, and push it through a wormhole eventuality in another universe where the laws of physics are completely different.
what if he were to suddenly start adding elements of transhumanism into the mix – tell that science fictional lie that all of this was embedded into the brain in a series of flashing lights that locked a patterned behaviour onto a physical alien structure implanted by an invisible society that wants to control everything? the fluid nature of the story thus far would allow it. it would represent a shift perhaps from writing where the inner workings are worn on the outside like an exoskeleton to a form of writing where there is no reference to the external world, the process of writing, or anything self referential. except the science fictional constructs would most likely be metaphorical representations of real world constructs.
but he doesn’t really want to do that with this piece – his use of suggestion by means of paradiastole means he can throw red herrings at people left right and centre and not worry about the outcome. it distorts the fiction, plays with the reader’s imagination and offers cul-de-sac promises which may eventually come to infuriate.
he wonders how long the game will allow itself to be played. how long before boredom attacks and destroys forward momentum in the motion of the reader and the author. again – to ask the question tempts fate; invites expectation.

word gains 5

‘so there i am,’ he says.
‘yes?’ expectation in his voice.
‘… and i’m writing this piece which is intended as fiction, and someone mistakes it for reality, so it mutates the piece and it becomes some metatextual, self-referential, post-modern piece that aims to provoke the reader so it can then feed of that reaction and fold it into the future momentum and structure of the writing. and it actually gets a response …’
‘ok, so that’s good, right?’
‘yeah, sort of …’
‘ok, so did they engage on it in the way which you were wanting and expecting?’
‘yes, they did actually; it was exactly the kind of thing i had been looking for …’
‘well, now part of me is wondering whether having the understanding response is better than having the clueless mistaken response.’
‘you mean so you have something to react against?’
‘ok, well, aren’t you reacting to it by questioning whether it is what you wanted?’
‘hmm, i hadn’t thought of it that way.’
‘ah, really? so you hadn’t thought about writing about the process of thinking about the process of responding to the writing which he had responded to?’
‘hmm, can you say that again? you kind of lost me.’
‘did i really?’
‘no, i’m controlling this conversation – sorry, the influence of the text is obviously leaking into reality somewhat, given that i am seeing this conversation as an extension of the fiction.’
‘well, in a sense it is. i was wondering – have you thought how the fiction will behave when it moves from the internet where it exists now as an interactive entity to a book where it will basically be mapped onto a different structure and forced to behave in a different manner?’
‘yes, i had thought about screen shotting the story and giving both a context via a preface and the visual cues of reproducing the internet version on the physical page. but of course it will still be something other than an internet interactive serialised fiction with live readers who work to change it as it is written.’
‘of course, but the readers who come to it as a printed text will also change it in the way that they percieve it.’
‘yeah, fuck, it gets kind of complicated doesn’t it?’
‘it always was – a critical reading, any reading, has always changed the nature of the text – goes with the territory. once it is out of the writer’s hands its solidity ebbs. not that a piece would maintain its semiotic integrity were it to only exist in relation to its writer because the writer would change over time.’
‘what if the writer died?’
‘oh, you think that makes them stay in a fixed position? constellations move my friend. is shakespeare held in the same esteem from generation to generation?’
‘hmm, no, course not. damn, what the hell am i building here?’
‘ha ha.’

word gains 4

The reader is fictionalised; an unreliable narrator is built into the narrative; another layer is added to the obfuscation. One might see it as a mutual interpenetration of that which is exterior to the text and that which is interior to it. But there is a distinction to be drawn between actual audience participation and imagined audience participation, although for future purposes either can be seen to function as a driving force where the shape of the narrative is concerned. If no one intervenes and actually interjects with what they perceive the texts to be about will they become an increasingly baroque extended metaphor that grew out of what was initially an exploration of the process of writing, rather than a piece of writing essaying the very essence of what a piece of fiction is in an interactive environment where the writer may be influenced by such things as ‘number of his’ and variously nested comments? Who knows? The author behind the author, who is the author behind the audience? Maybe – it is definitely a variable.
The text conceivably will reach a collapsing point. It is a black hole crushing all light and time within it, for it shall become an extemporaneous example of a spontaneous reaction to both an actual contemporary commentary and a secondary branching from the original narrative intent which runs concurrently alongside. It baffles its readers, baffles itself, becomes so labyrinthine in its plotting that its ultimate pointlessness dooms it to a possible judgment of irrelevancy at any point from the writing of the piece, to the reading of the piece, to the comments upon the piece, and the construction of the subsequent piece, whether said piece be reliant on actual and existing input or not.
How far has the piece strayed from the original intent? It is hard to gauge. For the original intent of the first piece has changed because of the interaction of its observers; has changed in light of the writing of the second instalment; has been re-drafted by the implications of the third piece; and re-shapes itself in the irregular mould of the fourth piece.
What form will the eventual piece of writing take? Will it make sense? Will it cook like souffle for so long in promised perfection only to collapse in the middle? He suspects not, for each element of the larger piece is somewhat self-contained and therefore non-reliant upon earlier instalments, though each instalment talks about the previous parts and intuits the mayhap of future parts. In theory you might put out a part called “word gains 56” and no others and it would intimate things about the rest of an untold story with no need for that actual story to be manifest anywhere other than in the implication that the piece was preceded by 55 other parts. or you might put out part 57 with no intervening parts between that and part 4 and people might start a hunt for the missing segments in their supposedly unfinished story.
part 4, which is this part obviously (though being labelled that doesn’t necessarily mean it is so, though it was indeed written fourth in the series) might suggest to you that there were preceding parts which existed in history which now no longer exist because they were burnt, and part of you would not know whether this was true or not. you might search for the lost chapters and, if those lost chapters turned up later, labelled as such, you would not be surprised. but what if you never knew that were a lie and continued searching, what would you consider the text to have done to you? what would you wish to do to the text?
if i say there are 56 pieces of the story waiting in the future. that there are twenty pieces which were unwritten thoughts intended for this story which are lost to the past. what does this do to you? to the story? what will your reaction do to the story? were you to demand it be so rather than waiting to see where the author leads you, would you uncreate something which, until that moment, because it was an idea cherished, held a high chance of being made?
you scratch you head. the piece does not comment. yet it does. it offers and provokes comment. it waits and does not wait. it is an object infused with a subject trying to be objective about an objective in a subjective way that hopes to trap the readers attention long enough to bleed fuel from them so more attacks may be made upon them and allowed from them.

word gains 3

Reading the second piece he wonders at the wisdom of writing it; wonders at the whole exercise. Then he thinks if I move this to the third person will the exercise begin to take on more reality as a fiction? Strange notion, to be dealing with the truth of an untruth. But the whole point is to build into the forced artificial structure that a piece of fiction colliding with a misperception of it as real has produced. Is it that he has enflamed some existential condition that was heretofore unknown in him? Maybe.
Games. Word games. Could he pull comments into the mix? Make the real people who he reaches to from within the fiction part of him; xerox real world beings and hang them up in the church of his altered textual flesh. But then, would they assume that this is what had occurred, or would they merely see themselves misrepresented instead of fictionalised?
The compartmentalised consciousness of the metafictional author as funhouse mirror version of actual author smiles like the flexing of a reflection on the backside of a spoon which is bending. Except this is the actual author representing his own self exterior to the meat of the story. With the story there is an inside and an outside – at least for the writer, who places himself both interior and exterior to the experience.
The reader, as he reads, shifts from being external to internal as the narrative goes from being purely physical on a screen, to something he is thinking about, a thought he is having. The nature of the experiment changes the more people choose to interact or to not interact. Nothing exists in isolation, even a piece of fiction is not hermetically sealed.
He wants it to leak, to be confusing. And perhaps he will allow some confusion to leak into the narrative, the narrator, the reader – whatever it is that he is in the process of regarding.