word gains 2

You post the first piece that you construct to try and illustrate the difference between the writer and that written as a piece of fiction and it is mistaken for a non-fiction piece describing your state of mind. You sit and you smile at the irony in the way the piece is received. You are grateful but wonder if it is ever at all possible for those reading to divorce things which seem that they might be true and come from a true place from an exercise in fiction which you use to creatively illustrate a position some writer’s find themselves in?
You fold the event into the story and wonder whether this will blur the lines between the fiction you have created and the reality the reader’s have constructed for themselves, or whether it will merely act to reinforce their notion that what they are reading are the true thoughts of the person writing the piece instead of seeing them for what they are: the writings of a fictional character.
The shift in narrative voice may provide some confusion which you can use to knock people off balance. A writer writing about a writer wondering about writing – mirrors abound and cast reflection at reflection; two flints sparking to create something else … something of a denser nature; something at once more self-conscious and secretly less real.
If you allow your fictions to more closely echo your life which one shifts on its axis most? Which one surrenders its solidity and becomes a bit more insubstantial? If it is your life which grows more fluid and people see you as just an extension of your fiction, how far can you push the script in an effort to sculpt your reality? If it is your fiction which moves to accommodate your life then does your life suffer because the fiction seems to exist in a parasitic relationship, drawing directly off of the events of your life? Can you live if no barrier appears to exist?
People expect you to be a monster. People expect you to be a hero. People discard the real you as a front when you offer it to them – they think you are just pretending to be normal; that you really are as fucked up as the things you write. They find out you are normal and they see it as somehow damaging the authenticity of the words you put on the page. What had seemed realistic now seems made-up. The world shifts uncomfortably on it’s axis. In the beginning was the word, the spoken word, then came the written word, then came debate. Once we had picked up the masks we didn’t know how to put them down.


Cockroach 2

You expect efficiency – that is what the public expects: they think of the military as being a finely oiled machine to use the old cliche. When bad things happen they are put down to bad luck, not the inefficiency of those who were tasked to carry out the orders. They thought I was dead. It was not supposed to look like a military strike because they didn’t want to have my blood or that of my family on their hands – they wanted a civilian to find me and jump to the wrong conclusions. Wrong conclusions the seeds for which were planted all around the crime scene. Unfortunately with my body not being there I am now going to be suspect number one – still, even if the local police filing a report on the incident and putting out an APB for me tips them off to the fact I survived they are unlikely to conceive of me attacking them, or if they picture that eventuality how could they guess the angle?

Today I have come across more mistakes – they have not shut down my access codes yet … I mean, who would want to use them, right? And no one knew them except me, and I am dead. Ok, you get the point. They were sloppy. I was trained for this kind of thing, enhanced to a point where everything became insanely easy – perhaps improved to such a degree that they became scared of us.

I have tracked down the men who gave the orders – a joint decision from General Architrave and Senator Bromide from the oversight committee. I have the names of every single man on the team – a group of five – Cisceaux, Jolie, Parrent, Archer, and Hale. I’d worked with all of them at some point but it wasn’t going to be hard killing them – i had formed no attachments to any of them. Any feeling that we had shared between any of us had been burned out in one single act – their killing of my family and attempted execution of myself.

writer’s block 1: starting block

Directive 451 was passed to halt the dissemination of ideas in print. There was still a small enclave of people, so it was rumoured, who could pick up a pen and knock out a story, but most of the writers had been gathered up and dumped in one place: Block I, or Writer’s Block as it became known.

Persiflage Interlocutor had been held there for what he thought was three weeks. there were no books to read, obviously, there was no paper to write with, and the drug they took knocked out their speech centres. What could a writer do? Well, if he was blessed with an eidetic memory and an imagination that could help God out if he had to repopulate the universe, there was a fair amount you could spend your time doing.

Pers sat in the corner of the communal room watching all the inhabitants move about in their daily bubbles of boredom. He watched JJ, the renowned linguistic acrobat banging his head against the wall. Floris, the attractive romance novelist rocked back and forward in an attempt to find comfort. Countless others circumnavigated normal behaviour as their minds deteriorated through prolonged lack of use. They had been here much longer.

They didn’t need any guards. The automated system sufficed. Writer’s Block caused the symptom it was named after in most and the creative block seemed to extend to escape attempts. Persiflage wasn’t exactly keeping quiet about his different situation: how exactly could he talk? But had he thought about escaping? No, he needed some peace and quiet and this place was perfect: he would think of it as a writer’s retreat.

word gains 1

I know that when they sit there and they read the words that I have put down that they are not reading the story, they are reading me. It is good to sometimes have the distance of anonymity between you and your readers. If every described suicide, every murderer, and every zany idea expressed reflects on you then how can anyone get used to the shifting geography of what you are? Where does the truth of your survive?

I know that when some people think of me they think of a sad fiction; a tale that spins out from the impetus of a tear-drop lost amongst raindrops falling in a puddle and sending out ripples. Do they imagine me sat there on the edge of the curb watching trash floating away to an unspecified somewhere? Writing haiku post-it notes that I fold into cranes and set upon the flow. I am a watercolour under the spreading stain of spilt ink – a vision used as a blotter.

I try to imbue some of the passages I write with the quality of sunshine but they are few and far between. It is strange – the mood of my fiction is generally no indication of where I am at mentally or spiritually but it is often taken as such. People read the poetry and make that into metaphor and idea and miss the obvious messages. These are the things that happen to a writer I suppose. Strung between the intention and the interpretation; though put like that it doesn’t sound much different from everyone else’s life, though it represents another layer of the onion perhaps. Are you trying to communicate or disappear behind a equivocation? Are you playing word games?

The bad things are taken, turned around in the head, chewed over, purposely made more sharp and then left there for people to cut themselves on. The good things are polished, held up to the light, flashed at people like a momentary brilliance of sunshine bouncing off a window, and then spirited away. We glory in the shadows – they are the playground in which we exercise our minds. It is inevitable that this can colour the world.

Sat hunched over the keyboard, all the pieces of literature I have read, all the films I have watched, all the paintings I have enjoyed, all the music I have listened to, pressing behind the filter of my mind’s eye and trying to escape. It all blends together, ricochets off the events of the day that are prominent in my short term memory and ends up in whatever twisted form I wish to call the story I am working on. Always a different story – always the same story. I drink coffee, surf the internet, read, listen to tunes – all of this going on as I write. It is an act of chemistry – a living process.

forge netting 1: dismantling history

He stuck that long tongue of a needle into the vein which had jumped to the surface almost immediately that he had tied off his arm. Memory rejig commence – those single function nanites hardwired with his internal map, knowing exactly which site in his brain to aim for, going straight for the right string of neural peptides to erase that day forever. He had a little pressure nosebleed, let it run down over the curve of his lip and into his mouth – it made the experience more sensual for him and he needed something to offset the excruciating pain.

The elective amnesia was leeching into other memories, ones he wanted to keep, but the fact that there were some genuine memories that were irritatingly persistent that he wanted to eradicate meant he had to keep injecting. He wasn’t sure how long he could keep doing what he was doing – the treatment was eating into what little money he had managed to save before he was made redundant and there was no way that the Breadline Money Fund was going to indulge him. He might have to consider more drastic measures – a Lethe Tap maybe; a one off payment for a self-sustaining memory suppresant factory built into the backbrain using gengineered mutant brain parts.

He would pass people in the street that he had known his whole life and stare at them indignantly if they tried to communicate with him. Most of them had given him up as a lost cause; some of them had taken to bursting each other with friend-or-foe signals so that this awkwardness could be avoided. James wasn’t an anomaly – he was the symptom of an age where technology had provided people with a big black hole to dump all the things they didn’t ant to have deal with into. The singularity destroying the human race? Forgetfulness: embraced amnesia.

He sat in the cafe, the same place he sat in everyday, and found that this morning his favourite breakfast choice was eluding him. It was a new guy serving, at least he thought it was, so that was no help. Odd that you could remember where you ate all the time but not what. Breakfast roulette – no problem; they were all much of a muchness and he could leave anything he didn’t want. Someone smiled at him and he smiled back, or was it that they snarled at him and he snarled back?

Recent events should not become instantly sketchy as if they were written on water; doomed to evaporate. How did you stop that kind of thing though? How did you effect retention when it was the opposite of what you wanted for the rest of your life? They had told all of them that they could choose what they remembered and wipe the rest – that the nanites, once they had done the job they were programmed for would be reabsorbed and not do any further damage. It was starting to become apparent that the jobs the nanites were doing could not be expected to be site specific – that eradication of the structures encoding one memory affected other chains. The brain was closer to an ecosystem than they had ever imagined. It wasn’t a robust system like a rainforest though, where things replenished – it was closer to a coral reef where the damage they were causing was irreparable. Why did it seem that lessons like this were always learned too late?

He ate the meal but it lacked taste. It made him angry, but as he got up to go and complain to the guy behind the counter it was as if a switch were thrown and his mind went into freefall. A cascade of images that bore no relation to each other, other than that he had experienced them were blinked from his eyes like a kaleidoscope shatter of retina spots. He held onto the edge of a table to steady himself, the world appearing to bleed in white from the edges of his vision. He felt sick. This was an effect he had never noticed before. He wondered is the drug were collecting somewhere in his system, pooling like poison, destroying some vital part of his mind. And then the thought washed away. Bleached out of existence. He had to get home.

Cockroach 1

They call it the Cockroach Initiative — building the ability to survive for a certain amount of time without your head into their armed forces. I was the prototype.

The data that would usually be stored in the brain was redistributed amongst the nanites in the host’s bloodstream. The reasons they just held the data there and ran the body without a head were twofold — firstly it scared the living shit out of the enemy, and secondly they thought it was a waste of resources to effect an immediate rebuild. For any of the in-built lizard-tech regeneration hardware to be employed took too much energy away from killing.

So, they tried to deal with me last night. They manufactured a terrorist threat to scare me into accepting the offer of moving me and my family to a safehouse and then, once we were there, they sent in their butchers to kill us in our sleep.

I am a soldier but they had drugged our food and most of my systems have been offline since they decommissioned me. They were offline because of the neural implants they had drilled into my base ganglia. Now those implants, along with my head, no longer exist. My family – my wife and son – unfortunately had no such technology in them and they are not coming back from their beheading.

What do you do when you have no head? Well, you either run around like a headless chicken or you go looking for a new one. I knew where to look. As soon as I came back online, all my faculties as an enhancile freed from the restraints, I knew where to go. Did they not check the specs on me? Did they not exactly what I was and what I am capable of? If they did then they are idiots; if they didn’t then they are also idiots – either way their actions are sloppy, and they will pay for their lack of professionalism.

I am going to take the head of the man who gave the order, then I am going to take apart the organisation that killed my family piece by piece.

Reduce 1

The step from minimalism to asceticism was not a large one for him — it seemed a natural evolution. One he had been ready to take for a long time before he finally plunged headlong into the lifestyle.

Time was a slow accretion of layers, associations, chains to different things. He had been breaking the chains, disassociating from the things that lay claim to him, shaving away the old skin of dead layers. He was making himself into something new — through becoming materially lessened he believed himself to be spiritually increased.

Some people didn’t like the balancing act — this accounting exercise that he was embarked on. People didn’t see it as a progression they saw it as a cold hearted cutting away of the things that mattered. He looked to them and saw them staring balefully back at him and he edited them out — took the blue pen and made the necessary marks to divorce himself from their presence. It surprised him briefly how little their absence mattered.

He started to think of it as surgery of a kind. He had some kind of far-reaching existential dysmorphia that required the wholesale removal of people instead of just limbs. He was finding it hard to see the worth in any of the people he had once associated with. They had let him down and not just once but consecutively and in increasingly significant ways. He was beyond disappointed. He was not sure he could properly verbalise how their fall from grace in his eyes had made him feel — perhaps there was no explanation.

If there was no explanation that meant there was no reason for their behaviour. Did the lack of a reason make their behaviour wrong? Maybe, maybe not — what it did do however was make it behaviour that he no longer needed to have affecting him. He was done with it and therefore it was simple to say that he was done with them.

Cut it away. Let the cancerous growths — the badly programmed cells that trapped you — let them all fall away to nothingness. It was like stepping into daylight. It was like stepping through the heart of a nuclear maelstrom being stripped down to nothing, leaving of the old self only a shadow, and stepping through that transformation to radiate a new truth. This was him post apocalypse.

People acted like he was poison. The whole of society was geared towards collecting things — people, objects, money, symbols. You could own as many virtual things as you could real things. Everything was about what you could claim as yours. Consumer society had gone rampant, rabid. It was heading toward collapse and he chose to sidestep the crumbling edifice; this modern day tower of Babel.

He gave away what money he didn’t need at the end of the week. He would buy exactly as much food as he needed, pay the bills, the necessary ones, and then he would find someone who needed it more than him and he would hand it over. People though that he was an idiot. It appeared to make no sense. People didn’t really want to find out what was going on in case he truly was mad.

He didn’t care what they thought — he honestly didn’t. If they didn’t understand then he didn’t need them in his life. Trim it back. Never add more and especially don’t add things that are detrimental to the self. That goes against the whole spirit of the project. That is in contradiction to the philosophy. It is contraindicated on the packet. He smiled: he was happy — he was free of so many things at last.