My Whole Expanse I Cannot See…

I formulate infinity stored deep inside of me…

Archive for May, 2010

Well, goodbye

May 25th, 2010 | Category: Creative Flash

So, in about ten minutes I’m going to die. I woke up late, my alarm didn’t go off. My alarm didn’t go off because the power went out. The power went out because, well, and this is so fucking stupid, apparently some giant fucking monster sauntered out of the Pacific Ocean and decided to crush San Diego. Who knows what woke the thing? Maybe it was off-shore oil drilling. Maybe I played my music too loud. Maybe this whole Goddamn thing is my fault because the fucker doesn’t like listening to Heart-Shaped Box at 4 AM. I don’t know, nobody seems to know. Just before the radio went out they were talking about casualties, people abandoning their cars on gridlocked roadways trying to get away on foot, trampling each other to death and getting nowhere. There’s nowhere to go, between the fucking Cloverfield Godzilla Sea Monster and the military trying to kill it, it’s nothing but chaos outside.

I’d rather just sit here with my Goddamn breakfast, my last meal of Fruit Loops and a bottle of vodka, than die out there in that sea of inhumanity. I’m just talking into this tape recorder because it seemed like the thing to do, to save a piece of me. I’m going to get smashed or burned to death, but maybe this tape and my voice will stay without me. I don’t know. Maybe Cloverfield Godzilla whatever the fuck it is will be the end of everything and my stupid voice on this stupid tape won’t mean a Goddamn fuckin’ thing. I don’t know. I really don’t know much of anything after twenty-nine years. I wish I could laugh about this because it’s so absurd, but I can’t. I hear sirens and gunfire, smell smoke and a million dead fish. I’m going to die and I’m scared. I’m thinking about someone who isn’t here, someone I love so much. If you’re alive and you get to hear my voice on this tape, I love you and I wish we’d had more time. I know it’s pointless to say that, but it’s all I can think about just now.

I think I have time to polish off this vodka. I don’t know what’s going to happen to me after I close my eyes for the last time. I wish to God this would just stop, but You’re not going to do anything, are You, you fucker? Maybe You’re not even there and I’m just sitting here talking to no one. If You are there, and You are listening, I’m sorry. I don’t know, I really don’t know anything.

I don’t know what else to say, except, well, goodbye.

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Connection to Divinity

May 25th, 2010 | Category: Creative Flash

She’s all curly brown hair, soft brown eyes, eyes so beautiful you’re afraid to look into them for more than a breath, or a heartbeat. You’re afraid of getting lost in those eyes, afraid of not being able to find a way out again. You’re afraid that they’ll look into you so deeply, afraid they’ll see everything inside you and look away. You’re afraid how those eyes love you, but one day might not.

She’s an angel. She’s your warm and safe, and everything good. Her eyes are your connection to Divinity in the here and now, in this world of blue skies that fade to black and fill with stars. She’s your paradise found.

The worst torture in Hell is said to be the absence of God, the loss of connection from one’s soul to Divinity. You look into those soft brown eyes, the eyes of your angel, and you don’t look away. You know you’re already damned.

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Writing

May 09th, 2010 | Category: Life,Opinions

I’ve never had this much trouble writing, at least, not since I started writing this blog. It’s a bad feeling, not being able to create, it’s frustrating. I know I can fix it, I know I can dig my way out if I try hard enough. I mean, ultimately, writing is the only thing I have that’s truly mine, I can’t quit. Whatever I write is what will be around when I go wherever I go after I quit breathing, it’ll be all that’s left. I want something left. So, this not being able to write nonsense has to stop.

I need to pull myself together. I need to write with complete abandon. My writing is about absolute honesty, I need to get back to that place. I need to write like Kurt, and Elliott, and Alanis, writing without safety nets. Otherwise, the writing is empty and meaningless.

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Fight Club: Film vs. Novel

May 06th, 2010 | Category: Opinions

Until the Kindle for Mac app was released, I’d never actually read Fight Club, but I’d always just figured it was amazing. I mean, the film version sounds like Chuck Palahniuk at his best. It sounds like Survivor, and Invisible Monsters, and Choke. Fight Club is one of the movies I turn on just to listen to the writing, it’s practically an audio book. The film version of Fight Club is edgy, and smart, and entirely plausible in a violently surreal way. Brad Pitt’s Tyler Durden is fucking brilliant, and totally fuckin’ cool. You want to be him, or at least hang out with him. It’s obvious why Edward Norton’s Narrator created him for an alter-ego. The film’s ending, all those corporate offices crashing down, Norton’s Narrator and Helena Bonham Carter’s Marla Singer holding hands while everything burns, it’s beautiful and perfect. They’re two fucked up people, but they found each other and in that moment, they’re happy.

If I had to pick a single word to describe Fight Club as a novel, that word would be “juvenile.” If I had to pick a second word, it’d be “tedious.” I found reading it to be painful. Palahniuk is so over-the-top, so obviously trying to shock people, that the novel reads like a ridiculous farce. The Narrator isn’t likable, he reads like a bitter seventeen year-old walking around in a thirty year-old body. We get more of his back-story, but his story isn’t endearing. Throughout the novel, one doesn’t get the sense that he’s evolving, growing up, learning anything from his experiences. He isn’t learning anything from Tyler because Tyler isn’t teaching anything genuinely valuable, he’s just an angry kid throwing a violent tantrum at the world. The Narrator and Tyler are just different degrees of bitter teenager, Tyler being more prone toward violence. Pitt’s Tyler is definitely irreverent, absolutely an Anarchist, but when he speaks it’s intelligent. He makes sense, in a dark sort of way. The same can’t be said of Tyler’s book-bound counterpart.

The novel contains various themes; losing everything makes one free to do anything, material possessions are an empty measure of one’s worth, paternal abandonment, destruction as a form of creation, all interesting for one to consider.  Unfortunately for the novel, these ideas are buried under a ridiculous story in which Tyler is making soap from stolen lard liposuctioned from Marla’s mom’s ass, lard Marla was saving to use for her own future lip and ass enlargement injections. A story in which Tyler and Marla constantly refer to each other as “buttwipe.” A story in which Marla and a bunch of cancer patients, some in wheelchairs, race to the top of a building to stop Tyler from killing himself. Fight Club as a novel smacks of immaturity and blatant attempts to shock readers with useless, crude dialogue. I’m sure at seventeen, Fight Club would have been taboo and amazing, but I’m not seventeen, and I’ve experienced too much to be able to relate to so much fluff.

The film version of Fight Club manages to distill the best elements of its source-material into a thought-provoking, intelligent story that’s ultimately beautiful in all its darkness. Maybe I’d feel differently if I’d read the novel first, but I doubt it.

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Boneshaker

May 05th, 2010 | Category: Opinions

I’ll be honest, I’ve never read any genuinely great zombie fiction. There are plenty of fun zombie movies, but books about zombies, they’re not particularly compelling. I’ve never picked up a “zombie page turner,” that is, until I picked up Boneshaker by Cherie Priest.

Boneshaker takes place in an alt-history Seattle during the 1870s gold rush. Russia puts out a call for inventors, they’re looking for a drill capable of breaking through the deepest layers of Alaskan ice in search of gold. Enter Leviticus Blue and his Boneshaker, the most powerful drill ever created, and soon enough, the most infamous drill ever created. During the Boneshaker’s first test run, something goes horribly wrong, the drill takes off, supposedly a malfunction, buildings collapse in its wake. The Boneshaker also just so happens to cruise by the Financial District, emptying every bank vault in Seattle. Blue turns up missing, possibly a thief, possibly killed by his own greed. Before an investigation can be mounted, a strange yellowish fog begins to seep from the city’s gashes. This fog is lethal upon inhalation, but after death the victim awakens, mindless, violent, and hungry for the taste of human flesh. These walking dead are dubbed, “Rotters,” and they quickly decimate the city. A massive wall is constructed around Seattle, but with the rest of America embroiled in civil-war, this raveged city is left to the Rotters trapped within.

Sixteen years later, Briar Wilkes, Blue’s widow, struggles to raise their teenage son in the world outside the wall. Briar doesn’t dare go by her married name, it isn’t particularly popular, given the wall, and the Rotters, and the death. Briar would just as soon let the past go, but her son, well, he can’t. Zeke wants to clear the family name. His mother’s silence of the past drives Zeke toward something drastic, a crazy journey under the wall in search of proof that the fall of Seattle was just an unfortunate accident. Realizing her son’s misguided plan, Briar does what any loving mother would do, she aims to find her son and bring him home.

Boneshaker falls under the genre of Steampunk, with a zombie twist. There are flying-machines, massive air filtration systems, deadly weapons, all powered by steam. None of the technology should exist, yet it’s entirely believable. The novel is truly a page turner, I absolutely couldn’t put it down. Priest’s pacing is pitch-perfect, switching perspectives between Briar and Zeke. Boneshaker often reminded me of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. Inside the Seattle wall, death is always a palpable possibility. Clean air, water, food, ammunition, they’re all vital, and they’re all astonishingly scarce. I was constantly worried for Briar and Zeke, always hoping that their gas mask filters wouldn’t clog before safety could be found, always scared Briar might not have enough bullets to match with the Rotters. I just wanted to get to the next page to make sure everyone was okay. Boneshaker is fraught with a very satisfying sensation of tension and release. The tension exists not just from violence and zombies, but from the fact that Priest manages to create characters that are very real and relatable. We care about Briar and Zeke because they’re just a normal family trapped in an absolutely bizarre and dangerous situation. The book is compelling because it’s ultimately about the push and pull relationships between parent and child, mother and son. It’s about parental protection versus a child’s desire for independence, and finding balance between the two. We all can relate to that on some level.

Boneshaker is definitely a must for any Steampunk fan, but Priest’s spectacular use of story-telling and wonderful prose makes it worthwhile for a wide range of fiction readers.

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Tomorrow will be better

May 04th, 2010 | Category: Life

Tomorrow will be better, I’ll get my 500 words down. I stumbled today, but we’ll chalk it up to a warm up day. I think I psyched myself out with clocks, and deadlines, and word counts. I’ll get myself together tomorrow.

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500 words

May 04th, 2010 | Category: Life

So, apparently I can’t manage 500 words per-day. Nothing in my head seems even remotely compelling. I’m bored, and lonely, and sick of me.

I need a muse.

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A personal challenge

May 03rd, 2010 | Category: Life

The book I reviewed yesterday kind of inspired me toward something. Cesar Torres challenged himself to write a story a day at a thousand words each, for twelve days. When it was all over, he ended up with a book. I’m not quite so ambitious, not yet anyway, I don’t think I have that much fiction in me. I can, however, blog. I can always blog. So, I’m going to blog at least five hundred words per day during May. Maybe I’ll fail miserably, we’ll see…

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The 12 Burning Wheels

May 02nd, 2010 | Category: Opinions

So, I recently read The 12 Burning Wheels, a collection of twelve “micro stories” by Cesar Torres. 12 Burning Wheels is sort of a concept book, not a typical collection of short stories. It’s a book that started as a not-so-simple simple challenge. Torres challenged himself to write twelve stories, stories around a thousand words each, in twelve days. The result of this personal challenge ended up being a rather solid collection of micro fiction.

The 12 Burning Wheels equates to eighty-two pages of engaging fiction. I consider it a collection of magic realism, stories in which people drive cars, slurp Big Gulps, ride L trains, then pop into local pawn shops to pick up magical scrying devices. Stories in which magicians are dubbed “aura technologists” and featured in People Magazine. Stories in which an iPhone app can interpret dreams and foretell one’s future. Magic is a part of every-day life in these stories, it’s just a fact. I always love fiction in which typical human experience is infused with magic, where working love potions can be purchased alongside Mountain Dew. The 12 Burning Wheels tells these sorts of stories.

A few of the tales in The 12 Burning Wheels don’t feel like standalone pieces of micro fiction, they’re more like reading excerpts from much larger pieces of work. I found their abrupt endings to be a little jarring. I’m of the thought that micro fiction or flash fiction, no matter how short, should still tell a complete story. I felt this in only three of Torres’ twelve stories, and even so, I enjoyed the three stories quite a lot. Tores’ prose are lush and delightful to read, 12 Burning Wheels is a collection I definitely recommend.

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