Blog Archives

Adventures In Publishing: The Ruined Man

After the excitement from “The Saga of Shamus” died down I took a step back and decided to work on my craft. Learn how to smith the words better. To accomplish this, I started writing short stories like a mad man. This was a relatively new field for me. Until then I had mostly written plays and novellas. I had just moved to Albuquerque and me and my friend Brandon would spend our weekend mornings writing. And believe me, I wrote. And wrote. And wrote. I churned out at least one short story a week for a weeks on end.  Most of these stories were garbage and will never see the light of day. I collected my favorites and self-published a collection called “Twisted Yarns.”  I know what you’re thinking. Why would I self-publish again? What would possess me to want to undertake that exercise in humility again? To be honest, I was getting discouraged. Because even though I was churning out garbage short stories at a record pace, I couldn’t find anyone to publish them. Most of the stories I wrote were too long for the word counts of these publications. Flash fiction was really big at the time and everyone thought that if you couldn’t tell a story in under 1000 words, it wasn’t really a story. I don’t write 1000 word short stories. Hell, I don’t even write 3500 word short stories. My short stories start at 7500 words and usually top out somewhere around 10k.  And the few places that did accept lengthy stories gave me nothing but encouraging rejections. If you’re a writer, you know the kind.

“Great story, but not what we’re looking for right now.”

“Really enjoyed the story, but doesn’t fit our issue. What else do you have?”

And so on and so forth. Over and over again. One rejection after another in a constant flow of bad news. After a while the ego takes a hit. After a while you start asking yourself questions and doubting yourself and your talent.

jasonsitting2-e1498261364820.jpg

One of the stories to come out of this frenzy of writing was the original short story version of, “The Ruined Man.” The story actually followed the events of the upcoming book 2. I sent a copy to my old creative writing professor and he got back to me the same day with, “Turn this into a book! It NEEDS to be a book!” So that’s what I set out to do.

Turning a short story into a full-length novel is no easy feat. I’ve heard it said they are two separate modes of writing. A short story is like a passionate kiss from a stranger. It is fast, unexpected and leaves you breathless and wanting more. Whereas a novel is like a love affair. It’s slow, develops over time and is chock full of emotional highs and lows.  So the trick was how to turn a passionate kiss into a love affair. I decided to start at the beginning, like all good love affairs. I told the story of how Victor Wolf became the Ruined Man—a story that ended up beginning 15 years in the past.  The story, which ended up being book one, “The Ruined Man,” flowed out of me as if Wolf was telling it to me over afternoon coffee.  Before I knew it, I had completed the Purple Gates story and had to move on to the second half which covered the events in the short story.  Turning that into a love affair was difficult and took years. Literally years.  The few query letters I did send out about The Ruined Man were met with rejection (surprise, surprise). Even after the discouragement settled in and I quit writing, I would still go back to Wolf and tinker around with the novel. It soon became a monster. A monster that I loved like a child. A beast I wanted to protect from the slings and arrows of all the nasty assholes rejecting my work and chipping away at my self-esteem.  So I kept the book locked away in the fortress of my hard drive like the electronic manifestation of the Man in the Iron Mask.

Eventually, I quit looking at it altogether. Because I had finally had enough. Enough rejection. Enough criticism. Enough ridicule. Enough hearing loved ones talk about how I needed to “find a real job” and leave this writing thing behind. Those of you who know me know how huge this decision would be for me. All I ever wanted was to be a storyteller. Period. From the time my imagination started imagining I was making up stories. There is nothing I love to do more than get lost in my imagination and find a story there to share with others. I had spent years of my life not listening to all the naysayers. My high school teachers begged me not to be a writer. My college professors begged me not to be a writer. My parents REALLY begged me not to be a writer.

“There’s no money in it.”

“You’ll be poor your whole life!”

“Nobody respects writers! They are slackers and miscreants!”

Ad infimum.

I ignored them all and pursued my dream only to find out they were right. As I said in my last blog, I was one voice in a cacophony of thousands trying to get heard. Few people listened. Fewer cared.  Everybody wants to be a writer but nobody wants to read. I was discouraged, disgusted and frustrated and I was getting real tired of rejection. So I decided to leave it behind and get a job in IT. There is nothing more soul-crushing than giving up on your dreams.  Very little else will take the light from your eyes and the life from your step like losing a piece of who you are. But I had to. I couldn’t take the pain any more. I couldn’t take the feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness. I couldn’t take the smoldering disappointment I felt radiating from everyone around me. I had been defeated. So I stepped back and “gave it to God.”

I felt it leave in that moment—the fire I had kept stoked for years just didn’t die, it was snuffed out. As my imagination dimmed, a sharp pang stabbed my heart. It felt exactly like breaking up with someone. The loss was immense.

Franz Kafka said a non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity. Franz Kafka knew something about it because I learned the truth in that statement pretty quickly. My whole life I used writing to process the world around me. The stories, poems, plays and essays I’d written were fueled by a myriad of emotions. But that was gone now. I didn’t have an outlet for creative expression. Those were dark days.

FB_20160316_23_01_51_Saved_Picture

During the summer of 2016 I came across Michelkin Publishing’s call for submissions. They were an indie house out of New Mexico and they were seeking local writers with books about New Mexico. Bonus points for magical realism. My thoughts immediately went to The Ruined Man, but I quickly pushed it back. I had quit writing. I didn’t want any more rejection.  I gave it to God and He decided to keep it. All my passion for writing was gone. But I kept going back to it for days. Finally I relented.

“It’s no big deal,” I convinced myself. “You haven’t gotten a rejection in years, you can handle at least one. It doesn’t even matter. It’s not like you’re a writer anymore, anyway. Accepted or rejected, it’s all the same now. Besides, it’ll be rejected for sure. No doubt.”

So I went to Michelkin’s site and filled out the submission form and included a summary of my monstrous word-baby. I clicked send and was hit with a brief spike of excitement that was quickly dulled over. Then I waited. Waited for the rejection I was sure would come.

“Dear Mr. DeGray,

Thank you for your submission but we can’t find room for you right now.

Signed,

Every publisher or agent ever”

The morning I got the email from Michelkin’s publishing department that’s what I expected it to read. But that’s not what it said. They actually said they liked the summary and wanted to see the first 50 pages. I couldn’t believe it. I was shaking as I dove into the electronic dungeon of my hard drive. My heart pumped wildly as I opened the key and let my Monster in the Iron Mask see light for the first time in ages. I spit-shined the manuscript and sent them what they asked for. Then I waited again.

And waited.

And waited.

Months later I got another email. Again, I expected this to be the one where they thanked me for my time but they had decided to pass. Again, not what happened. They felt the first 50 were solid and wanted to see the whole manuscript. I almost cried. No joke. I spent the weekend polishing up my beloved brain-child and sent it off to them. And then I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And waited.

By this time I was getting anxious. It was December now and I hadn’t heard a thing from them since the end of September. I was convinced they hated it and hadn’t gotten around to sending me the rejection yet. I tried not to care, but the fire had been sparked inside me again. It burned with a tiny flame. Like a tea light–a miniature flicker of light in a sea of dark hopelessness. It was fragile and I knew that this rejection would snuff it out for good. I couldn’t help but wonder if that was the cosmic plan behind it, the killing blow that would ensure I would never get back up. And then it came.

December 10, 2016 I was at my niece’s birthday party when I got an email from Michelkin Publishing. My throat instantly dried and I was hit with a rush of excitement. I took three deep breaths and returned to the party. Later, after I had gotten home, I paced around for at least an hour terrified to open the email. Finally, I steeled my resolve and read the email.

They said they’d be happy to publish my manuscript. In two books. I cried. No joke. And that tiny flame suddenly grew into a blazing beacon.

And now, six months later, my first published novel is actually out. It feels great, I can’t lie. It’s blissful to no longer be a monster courting insanity. All dreams are worth living. That’s what I took away from this adventure in publishing. No matter who you are, no matter what your secret dream is—live it. Don’t let the wet blanket of hopelessness put out your fire. Don’t let the criticism and disapproval of others guide the direction you take.  It is YOUR life, after all. You are the one who has to live it, so live it well.

jasonwriting.jpg

Advertisements

The Ruined Man is out!

That’s right. My paranormal thriller The Ruined Man is available for early purchase before the official release date on Friday. Get your copy of The Ruined Man paperback!

And check out the trailer up on Youtube. 

The Ruined Man Trailer 

This Just In: Bad Parents Off the Hook with New Marijuana Study

Good news for shitty parents everywhere. A new study has shown that marijuana users have abnormalities in their brains in the areas that control motivation and emotions. What does this mean for you as a less-than-perfect parent? Well, if your kid is a spoiled, entitled, unmotivated sociopath then good news is he’s probably a pot head.

There was really nothing you did wrong, horrible parents. Were you emotionally distant? Didn’t show your kid enough affection when they were growing up? Or maybe you pushed TOO hard, molding your kid to conform to your ideals until they resented you for it and began to crack? Did your kid grow up to be a cold, emotionless sociopath? There’s nothing wrong with that. Blame it on the drugs. And not just any drugs. Oh no, no. Forget about the effects that antidepressants have on the developing brain. Don’t pay any attention to the fact that nearly all of the mass shooters in the past twenty years were on prescription meds. Those drugs are perfectly safe and acceptable because they have billion dollar lobbyists influencing the incorruptible politicians that run our country. What’s really to blame here is pot. Yup. Pot.

We were warned about this decades ago with the release of the documentary film “Reefer Madness” which cataloged the ill effects that marijuana use has on the adolescent psyche. But we didn’t listen. Those damned hippies and blues musicians popularized it in the mainstream and our country has been suffering a steady decline ever since. Gone are the days of the self-motivated go getter. The times of the over-emotional pussy who bawls at the beauty of a sunset are long past. And left in their wake is the era of the unmotivated, entitled sociopaths. And it’s all because of marijuana. This news comes as a relief to awful parents everywhere.

“I’m so relieved,” sighed Terry T. 35, a mother of a 15 year old boy. “We’ve always given [Brian] everything he wanted. We fawned over him, inflated his ego and self-esteem and tried to show him that the world owed him everything simply because he was born.” But despite their aggressive parenting, Brian was acting strangely. “We noticed some attitude changes in Brian recently. Most notably a lack of motivation to do anything but play video games all day and scathing disrespect to anyone who upset him. My husband and I thought it could be us, but then we found the copy of “Dazed and Confused” in his Blu-Ray player and it all became clear. Our little angel was a pot head.”

But it’s not just adolescents being devastated by marijuana. Reginald Lee, a 65 year old construction worker, recalls his account with his 35 year old son.

“My boy has always been kinda kooky. You know, into reading and writing and all sorts of artsy shit. Anyway, he graduated college and got a job delivering pizzas. Telling me he refused to waste his life feeding a system that’s sole purpose was the subjugation of the human spirit or something like that. Of course I kicked his ass and made him go to work with me. Well, about two weeks into it, I caught him smoking a joint on his lunch break. At first I thought I was to blame somehow, but that didn’t stick well with me. I mean, I was only trying to raise the boy right. Then I heard about this study and it all made perfect sense. I did raise my boy right. It was the damn pot that turned him into a lazy good-for-nothing.”

In an era of rampant self-entitlement, emotional dullness bordering on the sociopathic and a near-catatonic lack of motivation, this study acts as a breath of fresh air for concerned parents everywhere. It’s not you.

It’s not the emotionally dulling drugs you put your kids on from the time they were toddlers. It’s not the lack of attention or even paying them too much attention. It’s not about buying into the lie that “everyone is a winner, hooray for participation trophies!” Nor does it have anything to do with society’s complete lack of accountability. Nay, good reader. Here in the modern world, it’s always someone or something else’s fault. And this time, thank God, it’s marijuana’s fault. So go back to what you were doing. Live your lives in blissful ignorance taking comfort in the fact that whenever scapegoats are needed, science is there to provide them for us.

Short Short: Meeting the Old Man

She met the Old Man when he rescued her from the cult. Well, rescue is such a—what’s the word? Subjective. Yeah. Rescue is a subjective term. She was broke, see? And living on the road like so many were in those days. In those times, right after everybody admitted to themselves that things weren’t going to get better, people finally stopped looking to the governments or corporations to save them and hold civilization intact. Those were dark times. Depressing times. Brutal and terrifying times. Whole cities burned to ash. But they got what was coming to them in the end, I suppose. So it was no big thing for a pretty young girl to be a broke vagrant scamming for a few bucks and a hot meal.

Cults had started popping up in those days like pimples on a fry cook. Something to do with the last cries of the desperate to a deaf and apathetic God, I suppose. Lots of cults offered signing bonuses. $50 dollars and a ham sandwich is what she sold her eternal soul for…or tried to anyway. Before the pen was slapped from her hand and the needle for the blood sample deftly snatched and shoved into the cult nurse’s arm. Howled like a stuck sow, too. This caused the Old Man to chuckle.

The girl wasn’t laughing though. She turned on her would-be savior, eyes blazing like a chemical fire. “What the hellz with you asshole?”

The Old Man shrugged and fished around his patched coat pocket, producing a half-smoked cigarette. “Just saw you about to make a mistake and I couldn’t let you do it. You gotta light?” he begged.

“Fuck off, mister.”

“Ya know what they want your  blood for, right?”

“It’s fifty bucks and a ham sandwich! Who cares why they want my blood? I haven’t eaten in two days!”

He shrugged again, his eyes glinting beneath the wide-brimmed hat that shadowed his face, even in the light. “Suit yourself. I’ll tell ya what. I’ll give ya $100 and a free meal, that’s right a whole meal, if you walk with me to the diner across the way there and let me explain a few things to ya.”

She eyed him warily. Rape and murder were daily threats for any vagrant, much less a 21 year old girl. But it was only across the street and it was in a public place.

“I ain’t gonna do nothin to ya. Hellz, you were about to sell yourself over to this kooky band of bullshit artists.” The cultists grumbled. “What have you got to lose?” He pulled a crumpled hundred dollar bill from his ratty jeans pocket and showed it to her. “See? Got the money. Now let me buy ya dinner, girl.”

She looked to the cultists who began protesting and forcefully urging her to sign. The she looked to the Old Man, eyes glinting and flashing a $100. “Sorry,” she told the cultists and broke from their grip.

They started after her, but a look from the Old Man stopped them in their tracks. “That’s right, you bloodsucking bastards. You see me. Now back off and go find some other vagrants to swindle.”

They backed away slowly, hands raised in surrender.

“Who are you?” wondered the girl.

But the Old Man didn’t respond. He grabbed her by the arm, leading her to the diner. “C’mon. Let’s get some food in our bellies. Could be the last cheeseburgers in the whole damn state.”

Epistles of Lucius: Something and Nothing

Some of you may not know the amazing story of the discovery of the documents referred to as “The Epistles of Lucius” and “The Book of Absurdity” (collectively called the Lubb Ickamaddi Library).

It all began in the year 2005 in the dusty town of Lubbock, TX. Until this point, Lubbock was mostly known for Texas Tech and the Dixie Chicks. But it so happens that during the early spring of 2005 a farmer was tilling his fields for planting when his plow hit on something obviously metallic. Further inspection revealed a metal box decorated with odd symbols buried deep in the ground. Trembling with excited anticipation (and a smidgen of fear) the farmer pried open the box…and was hit with a light and magnificence so profound he may have wet his pants (just a little).

Now he told academic authorities that all he uncovered were the documents. But this, we know now, must have been a lie. Because the Garments of Lucius were supposed to be buried with the books so that he could garb himself upon his birth in this land. Instead, when he was birthed into the land, he was naked as the day he was born. Unfortunately, the folk in Lubbock are a little touchy about naked men running through their streets shouting religious wisdoms. Poor Lucius was promptly seized and committed to the local psych hospital. He hasn’t been heard from since. Many think that Lucius was secretly transferred to Area 51 where he could spread the Good Nonsense of the Book of Absurdity to all the captive aliens there. Whatever his fate, this was one of the letters uncovered by the farmer. Enjoy!

The Epistle of Something and Nothing

There is Nothing and there is Something. There is nothing and there is something.  Something began as the tiniest particle of light trapped within a vast and never ending sea of inky blackness. Nothing. Then Something said OHM!!!!!! And light exploded, illuminating the darkness. And the Light brought with it Creation. And Creation brought with it Life. And the Something continued to resound sending ripples of OHM throughout the eternal sea of Nothing and leaving Life in its wake. Creation was and is everything. It started as the planets and the heavenly bodies. The cosmic orchestra. Then came the gods. Those hyper intelligent and spiritual beings who sprang from the very essence of Something, who resounded from ITS holy core. They looked on Creation with avarice and lusted after Life. They sought to control it. So the battle began. A struggle that wages as long as Creation exists. A struggle that drives the very foundations of Creation, that fuel the ripples of OHM across the void and perpetuate existence.  The Eternal Struggle is slave to the Cycle just like everything else in Creation.  But Nothing cannot be discounted. Nothing is constantly struggling against Something trying to reclaim it. Trying to swallow it back into itself and restore its silent entropy. This is Nothing. This is the essence of everything that Something is for. Eventually, however, Nothing grinds Something to a halt and begins to push it back, to swallow it back up, as it were. And it does. And it has. Countless times before. Because even Nothing and Something are part of a great Cycle. Because Nothing can never Truly swallow Something. Just as Something can never truly conquer Nothing. For Nothing is vast and eternal. And that has been the Cycle for countless times before. Until now.

Call it a glitch. But this time when the gods sprang from the heart of Something, some of them got the idea, had the desire to create Life themselves. Only it couldn’t happen without Something. So these tricksy gods gathered fragments of Something and put them into fleshly shells. And viola. “Intelligent Life” was created.  That’s right. Humans. And are there other non humans out there? Yes. Something is vast beyond our comprehension. And there are more gods than stars in the sky scattered over ITS expanse.  And these usurper gods claimed themselves to be Something even though they weren’t. Not really. More like mad scientists. Crazy spiritual hackers.  But they claimed to be IT anyway.  That primal Spark that all This was born from. They claimed this for themselves and Intelligent Life believed it.  Later, Intelligent Life would become more vain than was good for it and, claiming to be IT themselves, attempt to overthrow the usurper gods.  But something happened that the usurpers never expected. You see, up till this time, Something had always been a presence. Living yes, aware yes, but not exactly conscious. It had a purpose and it fulfilled that purpose. Until the fragments of ITSELF trapped inside ITS own creation became Aware. For the first time Something was conscious of ITSELF and it said I AM. And with that affirmation came Love. Love for Creation. Love for Life. And Something wanted to protect Creation from Nothing. To fight back. So it made ITSELF in Creation aware of Nothing. And here we are.

This Just In! It’s All In Your Head.

A new report issued by Scientists Under Control of Kooks and Assholes found that it really is all in your head.  And by “it”, I mean the big It.  The world. The Universe. Reality.

“It’s true. Nothing but a figment of the collective imagination,” affirmed Dr. Norman Peabody, lead SUCKA scientist for their Department of Quantumly Physical Thingies and Whatnots and chief egghead on the project.

When asked about the specifics of the experiment, Dr. Peabody took on a very defensive and aloof air.  “Those processes are far above the comprehension of the normal masses.  Suffice to say, the evidence was there.”

But journalistic integrity demanded that I press further.  Finally, Dr. Peabody relented a few of their top secret methods.

“What we did was we took a lot of blind people and put them in a big room.  Then, we told them to point to a poster we had on the wall.  Only, we didn’t put a poster on the wall in the room.  But that didn’t stop everyone from pointing.  Some people even claimed to see it! Can you imagine? Describing a poster that doesn’t exist?  That’s when my team and I realized that if people want to see something bad enough they will conjure it up out of thin air. Literally.”

“How does that prove reality is all in your head?” I had to ask.

“Because they couldn’t see and they saw a poster anyway! Don’t you get it?”

I admitted that I didn’t.

“Small-minded flagellate spoor,” mumbled the good doctor.  “Here’s another example.  We put a bunch of deaf people in a room and told them to listen to a recording and repeat it back to us.  They couldn’t do it.”

“Not too surprising. They’re hearing impaired.”

“Exactly! They couldn’t hear it, but the sound was there! That’s when my team and I realized that just because you can’t hear a tune doesn’t mean there isn’t one on the juke box.  But to them, see, sound doesn’t exist. So in their world, there really is NO sound!  Are you getting how deep this is?”

“I’m starting to. Give me the deepest thing you’ve got. Let’s get to the heart of the matter.”

“Alright. But this one is off the record.”

“Of course.” I put down my notepad, but left the recorder in my pocket running.

Peabody looked around and leaned in close before revealing, “We interviewed several comatose patients,” in a hoarse whisper.

“You what?” I shouted. “What good could that possibly serve?”

“Shhhh! Calm down! It served plenty of good! We asked them basic questions about their surroundings. Asked them to describe the rooms they were in, what the interviewers and doctors looked like. What sounds and smells they noticed.  Not one of them could answer a single question.”

“No shit, Sherlock! They are comatose!!” At this point my journalistic patience was being tested to its limits. I took a deep breath and said, “Really? This is scientific integrity?”

“It certainly is,” said Peabody adding a curt tone to his elitist smugness. “The reason they couldn’t answer is because this world isn’t real to them. They are getting absolutely no sensory input from their environments. Sensory input, as we know, is taken in via our sensory organs and processed in our brains. Without sensory input to construct a physical world, the physical world doesn’t exist. Do you see the profound implications this has on psychology and spirituality?”

“For sure. You’ve profoundly implicated that blind people can’t see, deaf people can’t hear and comatose people are perpetually asleep.”

“No. We’ve proved that nothing exists outside our own perceptions of it. This includes God, Santa Clause, social equality and soccer in America.”

I wasn’t convinced. “There’s soccer in America?”

But Dr. Peabody didn’t hear me. “If you think this is great, wait till our next experiment. The final nail in the coffin of all idiots who believe in things paranormal or supernatural.”

“Do tell. Just a tiny hint for our readers.”

Dr. Peabody was obviously conflicted, but he was so proud of himself that he couldn’t help but blurt out, “We’re hanging pictures facing the ceiling in operating rooms.”

“What the hell for?”

“That way, when patients claim to have out of body experiences, we can ask them to describe the pictures to us. If they can’t then the OBE was obviously false.”

I had no words. I know that as a journalist this shouldn’t happen, but my jaw was slack with disbelief for so long that I started drooling. Finally I croaked something about “Absurd and irrational rationality” and fled to the nearest bar where my great friend Captain Morgan assured me that the “real world” spun and lurched uncontrollably, walking in straight lines is for pussies not pirates, and that waking up without heaving your guts out really isn’t waking up at all.

Children of the First Ripple

…There is a Golden Flower
Inside Buddha’s Tear…

When God spoke unreality shattered
And birthed the universe by dancing with
The Cosmic Mother.
A heavenly vibration of Love
That whispers “OM” to us all.
“I adore all my star-born children,”
The Universe sings as a lullaby.
But who cries for those quarks
Who give of themselves freely
blinking in and out of existence
So that the Grand Illusion can be?

…There is a Golden Flower
Inside Buddha’s Tear…

Bound and Drifting

Bound and drifting
Suspended in the liquid air.
Ah, but those eyes…
She floats through me
Waves gently lapping
On the shores of my silent desires.
Adorned in simple robes of lucidity
Hovering under a ring of tranquil passion
She waits
And those eyes…
Her lithe form sleeps against silk
And the darkness becomes her
Smooth to the touch
And those eyes…
Those eyes were made for killing.

God’s Dream

What is it you need? For you to remember? Can you? Do you even bother? Or is it still just a vague clump of stars? Once upon a time they meant something. Once upon a time they were a memory.

But what is that, really? He says this to the void but it doesn’t answer because the void can’t hear.

She tries to understand this, but the voice on the other end of the phone has long gone silent. She thinks the phone is dead and hangs up with a sigh. This isn’t what she’d dreamt of as an innocent girl who was still full of hopes and dreams. To her, back then, the world was an enchanted place filled with magic and wonder.

It’s her tears that miss those days the most. They paint their wistfulness on her face in angry lines. They have the answers to all the questions she or anyone has ever had. But nobody asks them because that’s the greatest secret of the universe.

If we didn’t ignore it, it wouldn’t be a secret anymore.

I know this, so stop screaming at me! He screams and the hollow walls of an alley scream it back to him. Things could end up with a knife in the back and a stain on the cement. But that’s not the way of things. Not now, not tonight. Tonight he loses his wallet somewhere between the bar and the taxicab. Later, he thinks the pretty woman he was desperately hoping to screw stole it from him.

He’ll never know she was really a man who only ever wanted to feel like his mother would feel those nights she got dressed up to go out dancing. On those nights she didn’t come home until really late. And sometimes she came home with strange men who stank like his daddy used to all the time. And sometimes she didn’t come home at all.

But that’s the story of a lot of mothers.

Yeah, but that doesn’t make it right. She tells him this matter of factly because she’s tired of hearing his excuses and lies. I wish- Sadly, she can’t finish. She forgot what that means, what it really means.

There are young and excited eyes squeezed tightly shut. Even so, she can still see the dancing red outlines of puny candle flames. She wishes so hard, she wants this one thing more than anything she’s ever wanted before in her whole life and if she gets it she promises she’ll be real good and brush her teeth every night and morning and not pull her little sister’s hair anymore and she’ll pray every night and she goes on and on. She makes it real. She believes she will have it. And why shouldn’t she? Suddenly, bright blue eyes, deep like the lazy summer sky burst open and a large and dramatic breath is taken in before—she exhales and all her wishes come true.

But she doesn’t remember things like that, not anymore. He tells this to his strictest confidant. His oldest friend. But the void doesn’t listen, because it can’t speak.

Somewhere, when God mumbles, there is thunder. Somewhere, when God screams, the wind rips apart the very fabrics of our silken reality. Somewhere, when God smiles, light parts the clouds and illuminates the skies with a subtle narcissism. Somewhere, there is a rainbow. But no one has the balls to go over it. That’s the story, the legend, the scientific fact.

I guess I’ve always had an overactive imagination. He confesses this honestly and openly. But the void doesn’t ponder the point. Because it opts not to think. And it doesn’t care if you get too tired to go on. That’s the point I suppose. Another big secret of the universe for everyone to ignore.

There, I told you. I gave you all the information you need to make yourself an enlightened being. But what does that really mean? I’m saying, when we get down to the brass tax, do you (being inherently human or otherwise and thus inherently flawed) have what it takes to master it?

I smell the cigarette smoke as it singes my nostrils with eye watering proficiency. They sing their thanks to Jesus. Now, eyes water for a different reason.

It’s his tears that remember. That really remember what it was like. And he let’s them just wash it all away. He lets them escape into oblivion…into the void…and never gives it a second thought. Who deserves anymore chances?

Let’s just throw them all to the hells. Those nasty irredeemable pestilential souls. Let’s kick every last one of them to hell’s tropical and romantic resort of unending fiery torment. First Class, baby. Just like you always wanted. That’ll make the Christians happy. That way they can finally give the world a big:

I TOLD YOU SO!

She can’t remember the last time she felt so good. She can’t recall the last time that life was translated with an esoteric caress. Those occult kisses that stimulate the right charkas remind her body what it feels like to be desired. She laughs and hugs herself. The rain doesn’t bother her despite the chill. And everything is up in the air again.

But that’s not the point. The point is: You saw it, didn’t you? When you were younger, you saw it and it scared you shitless. Your parents told you it wasn’t real, but that didn’t matter. Because you saw it!! And if you try hard enough, you can remember just how real it was.

So I told her, Let’s get. it. on. Hell yeah I did. She didn’t expect that, neither. But I mean, she should have. I mean, she was practically begging for it. Come in the place all dolled up like that. Did you see that skirt, man? Hell yeah, is what I’m sayin. I could really dig a girl like that, man. I mean, I could really dig on her. Sumthin’, I dunno, classy or sumthin’ about a girl like that. I mean, she’s a total slut, you can tell, but she has class or style or sumthin’ man. You dig? You really dig? I could use another fuckin’ drink. I mean, I could really use another fuckin’ drink. I’ve been dry for like ten minutes or sumthin’ man. Can you believe it? Ten whole got damn minutes!

Minutes turn into eternities when confronting the mirror. He looks at himself and wonders who he is and how he came to possess this body, these thoughts, those actions. He can’t remember. He tries, but he can’t remember. Then the moment fades into absurdity.

But that’s how it’s been lately, I’m telling you. An afternoon Bloody Mary waits, untouched by lips of any sort. …It just…waits…

Then the world just seems silly. It’s like completely foolish, all of it. Everything. All the people and places and even the tiniest actions that people do. They all appear to pointless to a degree of absurdity that is pointless in attempting to describe. When that happens, I just want to sit down and go away. You know? Leave my body and just float away. It’s very lonely. This she says to the sleeping figure laying next to her. She doesn’t bother listening for an answer.

I know it’s alright already. I just like saying that. It, I don’t know, it makes me feel better being able to vent like that. You know?

It’s dead is what it is. Dead like a doornail. Whatever that means. Dead as a doornail. What the hell does that mean?

This one time, the world was spinning and it just keep turning over and over and over and over like being caught in an infinite loop-de-loop ride. That’s when I went to the desert and got scared because the void was coming to get me. And then it did get me and I was floating in it and I swam, like a little froggie in the pond, over to this beautiful face b’cuz I knowed that if I could get there, I’d get away. And then she touched me, she was an angel. She was! And when she touched me then’s when I could remember my body again. And how I knowed that she was an angel is that she brought me back. I even said so lots of times. I said; I’m back, now. I’m back. And I was just hugging the angel and hugging her and feeling so glad that I was away from the black void. B’cuz that was a scary place. Is this a child’s dream? I think so. Is this a dream to be conquered? I think so.

And somewhere, far above our conceptions of Him, God rolls over and mumbles thunderous supplications to Himself. He’ll sleep a few more minutes and then He’ll get up. Then, there will be work to do. Just 10 more tiny minutes…Then, the world will change…

A letter from Shakespeare Jones

Brethren,

It all started with plant-slug. The first scientific discovery of a plant combined with a living organism. Scientists were understandably excited. They had been searching for some way to combine a plant’s photosynthetic properties with living tissue for ages. It didn’t take them long to figure it out. Within 5 years of plant slug’s discovery, the first human-plant hybrids were being born. In another fifty years, all of civilized humanity was part plant. This was seemingly a miraculous wonder. Hunger was virtually eliminated and other resource issues became moot. War diminished, as did disease.
Free from these constraints, civilized humans were able to soar. We made advancements in arts and science. We built towering cities that gleamed in the sunlight. We perfected Artificial Intelligence and spawned a new living machine. We traveled the stars and made contact with other races. But then the Centauri came. A viscous race from a distant star whose only interest is conquest. We battled them for 20 years until they darkened the skies with a cataclysmic weapon. Without the sun to feed us, we have been dying out steadily ever since.
I write this in hopes that it will survive the weathers of time and find its way into the hands of the primitive humans that still lurk in the earth’s forests. May this letter, along with the books underneath, contain all the knowledge needed to start a new epoch for Humanity. My only hope is that the ignorant savages who will undoubtedly discover this stash don’t use it for kindling. May they instead cherish it long enough to comprehend the intricacies of their evolved brethren.

Infinite Love Upon You,
Shakespeare Jones

%d bloggers like this: