Light of the Careened

Moving object in the sideline

of my vision

Slam foot on brake

Weight

They say you see

bright lights

White

If that don’t kill ya’

somethin’ else will

make light

Don’t make light

of what you see

when speed

timing and gravity

Meet

Scream

Rag-doll my body

Weight makes light

so that your heavy

Pressing

wrests meaningless whispers

from my chest

and ever light steps

Slumber Citizens (Appendix)

Slumber Citizen Works as a Private Tutor for Deviant Citizen (cont.)

It would seem that such an effect – particularly in Deviant’s case – would be ideal. Not so. After a few hours, he would be (like most children) re-energized more than ever to terrorize.
And so, like a psychoanalyst in the style of Borges, Citizen came up with a unique concoction to treat Deviant’s nightmares (whether waking or sleep). She approached each one (whether remembered or not) as a flavor.
What does this one taste like?
A burp.
And do you like this taste?
Yes.
(When he liked it, she presumed it would be a recurring one, as children like to hold on to likeable nightmares and dreams.)
And this one?
Like mildew and vanilla crème.
Do you like this taste?
No and yes.
(With a mixed response like this one, its recurrence would be uncertain and therefore set aside for the time being.)
Yet another?
Bleh.
(Negative responses would incur immediate resistance and therefore a resistance to its incarnation).
Now at this point, it appears Citizen had very much strayed from the original wishes of Deviant’s parents. However, the results were quite impressive.
Treating each nightmare (whether imagined or lived) as a flavor turned it into a kind of a game for Deviant. He could feel free to explore a variety of nightmare flavors as he did with flavors of various foods, and the end result was the promotion and exploration of various selves that otherwise might have remained dormant or unnoticed. And this, after all, was the goal of the Institution and of his parents. Explore your various selves – any other than your deviant self.
But as with any other child’s game, Deviant grew bored and tired of it, and would revert to his core, psychotic self.

Update on House of Anansi Press

Back in February, I received an email from one of the House of Anansi editors that they were interested in reading a sample from my novel, The Former Things Have Passed Away, based on a query and synopsis. So they requested the first 25 pages. It had taken them 4 months to get back to me. Something like over a month passed, and I started feeling anxious – do they not like it enough to read more? So I did what technically you’re not supposed to do (according to their submission page) and wrote the editor inquiring if she received my manuscript (I used the word “confirm” so as not to sound pushy) and reminding her that the rest of the novel is available for her perusual. She wrote back a few hours later to tell me that yes indeed, they did receive it and apologized for the delay. They receive thousands of queries a month and she said they are very busy, so I need to give them up to 6 months to respond. However, she said they would read it as soon as possible and thanked me for my patience. Wow, she was not irritated and was very cordial. So if it takes 6 months to get back to me to send the other 120 pages, it may take up to a year to ever make a decision to publish! Ah, it’s just fine; I’m honored that they even chose to give my manuscript a chance out of thousands of queries. Now another waiting game. It feels like waiting for Godot…

Slumber Citizens (the part about tutoring deviant citizen)

(Note: An added excerpt that I don’t know quite yet where it will fit….a footnote? An appendix?)

After several years passed of Deviant Citizen 166601’s incarceration in the Institution with only mild success, his parents, who could no longer afford the expense or the trauma brought on to their family, hired Citizen 013654 as his private tutor. By this time, she was seeking early retirement considering extreme self-discipline and a stringent schedule had begun to take its toll. However, she found she could not refuse this unique offer.

Our son is soothed, they insisted, by simple conversation and discussion of literature. The instructors in charge at the Institution were not well versed in literature and so could not address this need. Somehow exposure to various fictional personas makes our son more tolerable. Perhaps these literary characters become so real to his imagination that he begins to believe he is each one of them. Whatever it takes, they begged. Just don’t read to him anything to do with deviants or crazies. Other than that, the world of literature is yours.

Entrusted with Deviant’s care, Citizen 013654, well versed and well read in various genres of literature, began with her favorite author – Jorge Luis Borges.

The challenge with Borges is that he is an author of ideas more than an author of character. Still, characters are ultimately ideas, and so Citizen went with her instincts. She started by tackling Borges’ “Nightmares.”

This fact she did not reveal to his parents – for they would have wondered – why begin with a nonfiction essay that is not about people but ideas? Citizen was clever in her choice in that Deviant’s real issue was that as a child, he could not distinguish between waking and dream. This is quite possibly the explanation for why his treatment in the Institution failed. They tried to stimulate more pleasant dreams in him, with the hopes these would produce more tolerable selves. But when awake he often believed he was dreaming. Often these delusions of dreaming were nightmarish – once when he managed to behave like a gentleman with delicate manners and etiquette, it felt so fake and freakish and different from his core self so that he pinched himself to wake from the nightmare – which was really a waking reality.

Of course, the opposite would happen too. His dream would feel like waking so that when he would really wake up and remember everything, it would feel like he hadn’t slept at all. And so he would, like most children, arrive at the day’s duties with lethargy and the desire to return to sleep.

Prayer to the Pagan Gods

I have my work not cut out for me – I have to do it myself.
My work is to cut, replace and add, and for that I turn to a familiar, comforting form
that hasn’t ever completely left me – a prayer:
To the Pagan gods – inspire me with the courage to indulge
in the pursuit of perfection. I will not be satisfied until every word
is in its perfect place, and every sentence the sound of perfection.
Give me the tools for this bloody battle – that individuated space and time,
the will to maintain my hand despite the pretty faces that distract me.
Indulge me.

Jouissance

Two terrifying thoughts:
That my patches of red will relentlessly and endlessly
Itch
No matter how many times
I scratch
And that if I you take my books from me
I will never ever remember all the profound ideas I’ve
Read

Third terrifying thought:
That without my books I will forever search
For aesthetic relief
As I do for insatiably
Forgetful skin.

End of the 50k-Word Challenge – (whew!)

No fooling – I’ve ended the 50k-word challenge for the month of March dismally below the targeted goal at: 19,551 words. The intention I suppose of the challenge was to get you to write swiftly and consistently, and overall, that’s what I did. But like a long-distance run (which I’ve never been good at), I started off strong, my pen swift and dizzy and my fingers flying on the keyboard, only to decline, let me see (as I scan my calendar), right around the middle of the month – March 16th. The number of words after that for each day rose and fell, but I never quite reached the peak of 1,646 words on Thursday, March 3rd. There were exactly 8 days I didn’t write any words (though believe me, I thought of them), which made it nearly impossible to ever catch up.

And so, what do I have to say about taking up this challenge and failing? I won’t be cheesy and say that at least the experiment got me writing more (which it did) or that it’s the effort that counts (because it isn’t). You either meet the goal or you don’t. That being said, I may have written even more in a month’s time when I worked on my graduate thesis (and will plenty more if I get in to a Ph.D. program in creative writing). I won’t even argue that old cliche: it’s the quality rather than the quantity (gag), because honestly, after a while, what you write ends up being mostly bull-crap. So what am I personally reminded of from attempting to write what would equal the length of at least a novella? What I already knew – that writing is a fixed part of my life, whether I write every day, every other day, or only on the weekends. So farewell March 50-k Madness. I hope to never see you again.