Friday, May 30, 2008

Informal English and Slang Workshop

Thanks to everyone for making it fun!

79 - Play a song for me

Nolan Jones had a good trick, Nolan had a music player that he got as a present. It didn't come with music, you told it what you wanted to hear and it played it. Voice activated, didn't matter where the music was stored in the world, the music player found it and played it. Not just music, any audio file ever digitized could be found by the music player.

Nolan woke up in the middle of the night, he heard his player, he didn't remember leaving it on. Curious, he put on the headphones.

"...This is 188 heading northbound on I-87 approaching the Jones residence, over."

The police? In fright, he started talking to himself, something he often did, The police were still there, in the background, in the foreground were instructions that sounded like his Dad's GPS.

"At the end of the room, turn left," said the electronic girl.

Nolan obeyed, directed at every turn by the disembodied voice coming from his music player. By the time he imagined the police must be at his house and waking his parents, he had escaped into the summer night with only a towel, a toothbrush, the first clothes he'd put on and the music player.

Many many years later and far far away, living comfortably on the advice of his music player, he decided to share the secret of his gift with a close friend. After telling the story, he invited his friend to try it.

When Nolan's friend saw the old piece of wood and frayed headphone cables, his friend smiled sadly and did as Nolan asked, after a moment of listening to nothing he thought fast and said "It's not registered to me, I don't hear anything."

Shaking his head in wonder and sadness, He left shortly thereafter.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

For sale. One Orc. Batteries included.

Oxygen is good for the brain

Leszek says unrepeatable things. Artur says down boy, down. Julita says (laughing). Kasia says 'nice guy.' Mmm? Bulent says study hard in school.

80 - Blank Fields and Television Snow

I used to watch televsion tuned to a dead channel. Not too often but consistently and for about an hour at a time. I used to see patterns in the electronic snow, swirling geometries and ladders and sometimes little scenes, formed of pure association and dramatic imagination. I would listen to the hiss and crackle at low volume, hearing rivers and waterfalls, rushing water, I sometimes studied or did my homework against this backdrop. I had two televisions, I could turn both of them on to a dead channel and listen to the interference.

Sometimes, I turned off the television and remained where I was, sitting or lying in front of it, watching my own reflection and hearing nothing at first, the world has another volume.

Before I said goodbye to it, television taught me that movement is an illusion. To travel further, I had to stop moving, to stop moving, I had to turn off the television.

This is science fiction.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Future Menaces to Society

81 - If these were my last words, what would I say?

Death caught Janice by surprise, it happens that way more than not, her careful diet, her healthy exercise habits, none of it mattered because Janice was struck by falling masonry on her way home from work and killed instantly, which was a blessing, thought her friends, how much worse to languish in a hospital surrounded by strangers before finally winking out of existence entirely alone?

Frank, her boyfriend, attended the funeral and felt conflicted, he'd only been dating Janice for a few weeks and had only begun to meet friends and family, now the role he found himself in was overwhelming, guilt raced through his heart every time he caught himself wondering how soon he could start dating again.

Maeve, her best friend, was anguished and yet envied Janice, she had been a good friend, a good employee, a good daughter, with a sexy athletic body that she worked for and got her noticed, her personal legend in their circle of friends would only grow, while Maeve would now remain stuck in a sidekick role for life.

Janice, ever planning ahead, had written her own eulogy "just in case" she had said at the time 4 years ago, it was being read by her sister, Beatrice, who looked uncannily like Janice when she wrote the eulogy.

" sum up, it is not as important how we die as how we have lived, living as I see it is something few people do right; well or badly, I have lived truly, what's more I have shoved more living into my years than mere coincidence can account for, I wrote with a painter's brush, on a large canvas, because early on I learned that when I dreamt the world, the world dreamt me in return; thank you, at any moment, if I die, I will die happy because I am certain it is how I lived."

Janice had asked for her eulogy to be followed by a thunder of applause but the funeral home refused.

"It wasn't dignified," they said.

Monday, May 26, 2008

It's all in the 'writs'

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82 - Escape: to or from?

"You're mad to write a radio play,"
"It's got production values I can appreciate,"
"You're a filmmaker, not a playwright,"
"You understand, how many people I had to lie to to make my last film?"
"So what? It got made, didn't it?"
"Well, it got made, but I'm still trying to get it on TV,"
"You wrapped what, 6 months ago? I bet Sandra isn't happy,"
"You understand,"
"Naw, not really, you get people to work, get 'em to work for free even, get 'em to believe in you, you don't deliver the goods and you'll never work with the same crew again, hell, I'd advise leaving the country,"
"You want that?"
"I want you to get airplay, don't distract yourself with this radio nonsense,"
"Alright, I guess there's some things theres no backing out of without consequences,"
"Consider it from the other side of the coin, filmmaking is a huge collaborative endevour and you decided to be director and producer so you got nothing coming, you take the prizes and the piss offs, it's only fair,"
"It's not fair, it's too much responsibility,"
"And lay off the amphetamines, they're making you jittery and your eyes are like pinholes,"
"How did you know?"
"It's safer for everyone concerned if you just assume I know everything,"
"Who are you?"
(sound of giant leathery wings beating the air twice)"Let me ask you one last question, don't answer to me, answer to your own guilty conscience, Will you get your show on the air and forget the radio? Radio belongs to us,"
"what are you going to do?"
"Goodbye, Filmy, you will be watched,"


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Sunday, May 18, 2008

My intrepid Interviewers

B8A Maxim - 8

8. Never underestimate the power of shared values.

Sunday mornings at the local watering hole

83 - Audible Visible Tangible

Just a shade away from this world, On the way to his local record store (1975) where he had his studio, a certain Levi Zimmerman harboured jealous feelings for his more successful older brother.

His train-of-thought ran to wrecks: Dylan this and Thomas that and never a thought for the poet whose names he stole or the much more talented younger brother everyone dismissed because the glare of Thomas Dylan's fame eclipsed even the sun.

All the critics agreed, Bob Zimmerman, a.k.a. Dylan Thomas, was the most accomplished lyricist of any generation and no one bothered to ask if maybe Levi was the one who supplied all the best words? The best turns of the razored phrase?

Through the influences, Bobbie often stopped off at Levi's studio-studio, Levi loved his older brother so really couldn't complain when some of his best sound experiements ended up in songs so popular that other superstar musicians wrote songs about 'Dylan Thomas.' Levi grimaced as the thought struck him.

But this experiment, Levi knew it would be drastically different.

He entered the record store with his own personal key and took care to lock the door behind him. Upstairs above the record store was the latest experiment.

He entered the foam-and-egg-crate lined studio, it wasn't meant to be perfect, Levi believed total isolation produced sterile recordings, it would take science 33 more years to prove him right.

In the middle of the recording room, hung from sturdy steel chains through heavy beams in the ceiling, hung what appeared to be a giant black ship's anchor: the Statis.

Levi positioned the stereo speakers in a certain way never quite reproducible because he left no notes behind him regarding usage, it must have seemed obvious to him.

How he manufactured the Statis, the black anchor, is a mystery only beginning to unravel itself, scoffers claim it was a lucky strike, those who knew Levi say otherwise.

All that is known for certain is that when Levi played his brother's most recent recording through the speakers at the Statis, three things happened:

  1. Levi vanished.
  2. the record store filled with records by musicians never heard or seen anywhere on earth , one so-called 'Madonna' is a notworthy example.
  3. There was an extra item. in his studio.

The black 88 cm cube with the words 'Arbyter-Q Home PC' cut neatly into one side was found beside Levi's desk and the manual was found on top of it next to the interface tool which looked like a pair of useless headphones (no cable).

Specifications would only interest specialists but it is worth noting that it had no known moving parts, no known source of power (always on), and no known access into the machine, which ruggedly appeared to be made of rubberized carbon fibre.

What is interesting to everyone is the database inside the machine, where the works of Levi Zimmerman feature prominently, alongside every book, film, or song ever written, anywhere, anywhen, anytime, any alternate.

Levi Zimmerman will be a name ringing in the halls of science for eternity.

...From his studio two shades away from this world and one shade away from his own, Levi Zimmerman leaned back into the forcefields of his office chair and smiled to himself and thought: let big brother top this!

Friday, May 16, 2008

84 - Hey, that meat grinder has instructions

Janus Frill had an odd job, he himself was drearily ordinary, but that job made sure he saw enough to make conversations interesting.

Janus was paid by manufacturers to analyse why, for example, one particular model of meat grinder seemed irresistible to young boys hands and even arms; burning children with powersaws to extricate them from their foolishness with fingers (mostly) intact was not good advertising.

Or why did only certain pool pumps make young boys (nearly always boys) try and sit in them? or worse, play with the intake pipes?

This was his job. He sure could have told some stories. Right now he's in the hospital having sucked on a coke bottle until his tongue got vacuumed up and now he can't get it out.

They'll probably have to break the glass.

Moveable Feasts

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Lunchtime at my friday office canteen.

Meet the man who sold the world.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

85 - The other servants

Rheumy and congested, smelling faintly of lilac and socks, Xavier Zefa contrasted his olfactory presence with a scrupulously groomed exterior of jet black stuff and shoes so polished they shined darkness.

Massive black invisible tattoo across his back from shoulder to shoulder and from nape to base made itching noises as the signals from the mad black magnetic diamond at the end of the world pulled him forward-down through time.

sometimes a respite, he would wake up and it would be the week before, nobody would believe him because since he remembered the future it turned out differently the second time around. He feared the day he would wake up and find himself a teenager, or worse, an infant.

In the deepest pits, he worried it had already happened several times, it would explain much while revealing nothing.

He was one of the other servants.

And he was my friend.

Sometimes he spoke to me telepathically in various abandoned outposts of midnight's civilization: cafe's before opening hours, chairs chained up; nightclubs in the early morning hours, long after the last rejected soul had left; in the offices after dark, making love to nymphs of smoke and glass and nightmares; in howling storms in the centre of playgrounds beside murdered bodies left undiscovered for too many hours; we shared the warm crackle of fingers and bones as the suicides fed the black diamond on the edge of many a third rail.

He taught me discipline in the face of chaos, love of beauty in the face of naked horror, determination in the face of shiftlessness.

When he took the Apex, as was his right in time, when he earned the right to motionlessness, not to statis but to axis, he gave me one final jet of advice before the invisible black anchor fell across my shoulders and I began to feel the itch of the distant future, he told me this:

Do not seek what cannot be found by searching, forget about what I have done, concentrate on doing what I have been doing, happen to the world, rememember the fulcum is as important as the lever, move not to witness the mystery move.

Then he remained but was no longer with me, the time had passed. I shrugged my shoulders and felt time slipping forward into phenomenality. I moved on, as was my duty.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

86 - Sent to the publishers for cruel teasing

The story that was to appear as #86 will not until a publisher looks at it. Like the song sez: here we go again.

86 - One time on the morning of the Apocalypse

One time on the morning of the Apocalypse, which used to be the name of a city you know, Roxy Zefa woke up early as usual but between her morning coffee and her shower she heard something happening outside she couldn't believe.

Opening her balcony door (she lived in a block of flats) she looked out on a Spielbergian scene of utter and total devastation. Building in the distance had been knocked flat, those nearer her block remained standing but devastated, her block alone seemed untouched.

Real people don't follow narrative continuity and neither did Roxy, the immense scale of the disaster made her think two things:

  1. The last dream she had had, in which about a hundred of her friends had followed her into a famous volcanic cave to practice walking on water.

  2. The fact that since the view before her was impossible, she must be having a delusional episode so she should ignore it and try to get ready for work.

She followed her advice and tried not to pay attention to the world outside, because true to her prediction, as the hours passed (she enjoyed very early mornings) the buildings righted themselves and the destruction reversed itself and the world put itself slowly back together like the tides.

She went to work in an ordinary world.

The very next morning though, it happened again, she could ignore it better this time, and again, work was were she'd left it.

The third day was more interesting than the first, change-day was what she was calling it in her mind, because the third day was the first day she took a morning walk.

That day at work, the blasted artifact resting on her computer like an anthropological trophy, she couldn't stop smiling.

Friday, May 09, 2008

87 - She made me - Teaser story for Memory Project #2 written and directed by Ilir Pristine

Lying under the hot summer sun with rough sketches by the banks of the river Seine and going mad on sunshine and wine, my mind drifts, time eats my memories into dust, I practice the art of forgetting.

I have already forgotten the smell of her, under which eye was the tiny white scar? No doubt she has forgotten me too; yet as I lie here surrounded by a moveable feast, I can imagine better what I first had to forget, because this is a place we shared in time, a place we will always share in time.

In time I will haphazardly forget everything, before that happens I have planned a trip (calling it a journey is pretention) I do not go in search of her, looking for her is the first thing I forgot to do, I do not go in search of myself, because I can always be found wherever I am, I do not go in search of lost time, time can never be lost, it is always in the same place you left it.

I go to build a better fiction, a concordance as my father puts it, coincidences no longer a coincidence.

I will visit the places we shared, I don't know yet if I bring concilliation or the sword, I am building better memories, better than the events they refer to, only the present is unmalleable, the future and the past are both choices.

She made me, now can I make her as well?