My Whole Expanse I Cannot See…

I formulate infinity stored deep inside of me…

Archive for January, 2010

Sometimes all he sees is her

January 30th, 2010 | Category: Attempted Poetry,Creative Flash

Sometimes all he sees is her, all warm brown eyes, curly brown hair.

She’s behind his eyes when he closes them to fall asleep at night, she’s in his head when he wakes in the morning.

He sees her in little things, beautiful things. She’s sun shining through bright green tree leaves, she’s a pretty teal butterfly fluttering nowhere in particular.

He sees her when the sky shifts from pure blue to black infinity. She’s so right there, in the silvery full moon, in the brightest stars.

This woman, so dear to him, he sees her in raindrops bouncing off a city sidewalk. Drops splitting into drops, splitting into drops, tiny spheres of water with rainbows inside. She’s with him, even when she’s not.

Sometimes all he sees is her.

3 comments

Finch

January 24th, 2010 | Category: Opinions

So, recently, I read Finch by Jeff VanderMeer. I’d had Finch on my list for a long time, but I just felt too distracted to read it. Jeff’s work is always brilliant, so I didn’t want to waste Finch. I wanted to read it in the right frame of mind. It was so worth the wait.

Finch is the third novel set in the city of Ambergris, its predecessors being City of Saints and Madmen, and Shriek: An Afterword. Each novel is very different, they don’t read like a typical “series.” City of Saints is sort of a concept novel, a collection of broadly connected short stories and historical histories that bring the lavish, dark, cruel, and ultimately beautiful dystopia that is Ambergris to life. Shriek is an intimate character study, a memoir of one family’s life as Ambergris prospers, and then crumbles around them. Finch, however, is a gritty, genre-bending, noir-style detective story. While Finch tells a story that stands on its own, I seriously recommend reading the previous novels beforehand. Reading the entire history of Ambergris first will make Finch far more compelling.

Finch takes place a century after Shriek: An Afterword, and tells the story of John Finch, a detective on a case that could very easily kill him. Ambergris is a city in torment, a city breathing its last breath. occupied by a race of very hostile beings known as, Gray Caps. The Gray Caps are a race of mushroom people. They’re walking, talking, mushroom-like humanoids. Gray Caps are around three feet tall, dressing in grayish robes, donning gray wide-brimmed felt hats on their heads. They live underground, forced there through mass-genocide thousands of years ago during the founding of Ambergris. The mass killings do not endear humans to the Gray Caps, not one bit. So, they wait underground, they wait until Ambergris is mired in civil war, then they Rise. During the Rising, the Gray Caps use tunnels to flood much of the city, creating an artificial bay that’s fed by the River Moth, killing thousands. A rebel army existed, but the Gray Caps lead them into a trap during a tactical retreat, sealing them within a massive cloud of spores. The rebel army is never seen again. Gray Cap weapons are all biological, spore-based. A cloud of spores can turn a human body to nothing but a spray of blood scattered in the wind. The rest of the world abandons Ambergris, not wanting any part of a war against an obviously deadly and mysterious race of beings.

Ambergisian citizens are forced into work camps, building mysterious towers on an island in the bay. Some citizens work “voluntarily” for the Gray Caps, avoiding the camps, maybe doing some good. John Finch is one of those citizens, a detective. His story takes place six years after the Rising. He’s called by his Gray Cap handler to investigate a possible double murder. Two bodies in a dreary apartment, a man, seemingly uninjured, and a Gray Cap with both legs severed, both bodies completely unidentified. This is Finch’s case, and when one works for the Gray Caps, they can’t just call in sick. Failure equals uselessness, uselessness equals death. Pounding the pavement, asking questions, those things can get a fellow killed in Ambergris, but Finch has to solve this case. Possible death versus guaranteed death. It’s not much of a choice, but Ambergris is an entire city of few choices.

Finch is a fast-paced novel, written in punchy, short sentences. Not one word is unnecessary, nor does VanderMeer waste any words. A lesser writer would have botched trying to write in such a tight style, but VanderMeer is genuinely a master of his craft. He knows how to use words to create exactly what he wants to create. Generally, I don’t like crime novels, detective stories. They never really suck me in. Finch, however, is different. Yes, it’s a detective story, guys with badges, guns. Finch is trying to solve a case, searching for clues, talking to leads. Finch has a sultry lover, a mysterious woman with many secrets. These are all elements of a typical crime novel. Things that are usually dull to me. However, this is a crime novel set in Ambergris, a psychotic, dirty, lush, always dying, yet utterly alive city where anything can happen. VanderMeer is also a master of characterization. Finch’s characters are real people, with loves, desires, families, but they’re trying to live their normal lives in the most bizarre situation imaginable. It’s the reality amongst so much surrealism that makes this novel such a fantastic read.

3 comments

Insomnia

January 18th, 2010 | Category: Life

Someone asked me a few days ago why I think I have insomnia, and I said, “Well, when I was nine, I murdered several nuns.” If I don’t feel like answering a question, my first answer to that question is usually a joke answer. I’ll write my innermost thoughts for anyone to read, but one on one with someone, especially if they’re someone I don’t plan on knowing particularly well, I’m not always willing to answer the personal questions. So, after my nun answer, I said, “I don’t know, really.”

I wasn’t honest though. I know exactly why I don’t sleep at night, or why when I do nod off, I often have bad dreams and wake up scared. I know all the reasons why I don’t sleep. I really don’t sleep, I usually just go out from exhaustion. Sometimes I have horrible dreams, but I’m too tired to wake up right away. I know all the whys, and I don’t see those whys going away anytime soon.

3 comments

Open mic night 01/14/10

January 15th, 2010 | Category: Creative Flash,Life,Opinions

So, here’s my friend, my voice, and fellow writer, Jimmy, reading Christmas in a Park at Cafe Bohemia’s open mic night.

I like this story, and I don’t. I wrote it sitting at Starbucks, thinking about being a spectacular fuck up. I just sat there writing this short sequence that popped into my head, fictional non-fiction about a fellow and the thoughts swirling around in his head. Jimmy gave it a good read on a particularly cold evening.

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Daybreakers

January 14th, 2010 | Category: Opinions

I could write a full review of Daybreakers, give a little plot summary, talk about the acting, but I won’t. I won’t because Daybreakers is barely worth the letters. It’s the most disappointing, poorly executed vampire movie I’ve ever seen. I don’t want to waste too much time on this, I really don’t, but I just have to mention something else. If a vampire is wearing EKG sensors, and if that vampire catches fire, repeatedly, those EKG sensors shouldn’t be there for a second ignition. EKG sensors are not fireproof.

3 comments

Up in the Air

January 07th, 2010 | Category: Opinions

So, tonight I saw a spectacular film, Up in the Air. George Clooney plays a fellow, Ryan Bingham, who lives his life out of a suitcase, he travels the country firing people for a living. When some company needs to let go of a bunch of people, they call Ryan’s company to send people to pull the trigger. Ryan likes this life, this life of frequent flyer miles, hotel rewards programs, airport lounges. He’s constantly moving, constantly surrounded by people. He’s practically a ghost to his two sisters, his only family, but he’s too busy to notice. He likes having no attachments, his career fosters that sort of lifestyle. He’s absolutely happy. He’s completely happy until he gets a look at the end, until he’s faced with life alone in his one room apartment in Omaha, Nebraska. Thanks to the magic of technology, the internet and video conferencing, face-to-face firing might not have to take place in the same room anymore.

The film is brilliantly acted by everyone involved, particularly Clooney. It tells a story that is so real, so common to the human experience. What does one do when life gets quiet? What happens when one’s tasks are done? It’s film that asks questions, but it doesn’t spoon feed answers. Up in the Air isn’t a fairytale, it’s a sometimes funny, sometimes sad, constantly beautiful story that examines what’s really important at the end of the day.

5 comments

Just visiting

January 06th, 2010 | Category: Life

Well, I didn’t write yesterday because I spent most of it in the e.r. with my friend, Kim. She’s fine, just a little pneumonia. We got pictures…

Me & Kim... She's smiling, really!

 

I've never worn a visitor's badge...

 

 

2 comments

Just something

January 04th, 2010 | Category: Life

So, right now, I’m sitting here, alone in my purple and red room. Fargo is on the tv in HD, I’m writing this post. I’m writing because my calendar says I’m supposed to be writing. I’m trying to give myself more structure, more focus, little goals to meet so I don’t feel so aimless. I’ve created to-do lists, action items, a map of my time. I’m so lost these days, I feel like I’m drowning sometimes.

No, I don’t need Jesus, or to listen to happy music, or to down a bunch of anti-depressants. Please don’t write me and tell me I need any of the previous. I don’t, really. Jesus, and Dave Matthews, and Zoloft won’t fix me and make me pretty again.

11 comments

Bye ’09

January 02nd, 2010 | Category: Life

So, 2009 is over, I’m a year older. I feel like I should write something profound, or beautiful, something to sum up a year, but I just don’t feel the words. I’m tired, 2009 wore me out. I don’t feel like digging it up, cutting my wrists for everyone to watch. That is what I do here, I bleed letters that make up words, that make up sentences, that make up me.

Baby, there’s something wrong with me that I can’t see…

3 comments