Wednesday, July 30, 2014

to an unknown scene

"The tale spinners saw it couldn't be done just by changing the books. You have to change the stories themselves. You had to change how people saw through them."

He walked over to the desk and set his left hand down, fingers on the surface. He was feeling the table very gently as he continued.

"Touch. 'Keep in touch.' What does it mean?"

"I think it means," I paused. It's a long pause. Rats.

"That's an interesting way to put it. Clever. Yes, it means." Stroking across the surface. He looked at the fingers he moved across the table. "What do you see?"

I wasn't sure. Does he mean the fingers or the table? Or maybe him? I wasn't sure. Shit, another long pause. He now turned to look at me. His eyes were so open. He saw that I had no answer there. I couldn't let that happen!

"I see the truth."

His eyes did not move at all, but everything else about his Pattern changed. Softened. But underneath even that was the strength of total openness. He then spoke.

"Not true. Not the way you realize it. The words are right. The words are always right. But where you think you say them is not when you are true with them."

It was painful. These are not difficult words. None of them is more than three syllables.  But it makes my head hurt. I feel like an idiot, and I feel like he's making me feel this way on purpose. I hate it. I hate that he has to make me feel like slugs in my own mind. Molasses.

But his eyes were still holding me, and the Pattern was the same. What was I just thinking? Why... why was I so angry?

"What we see has no meaning. So we must give it meaning. What is seen adores and receives all meaning. Any story will do, and it will be seen to it."

I'm trying to follow along. His fingers never left the surface, the skin of the table. He turned his head slowly before turning away his eyes from me, back to the surface. I now had my question.

"What do you see?"

"I see the danger in the infinity of small details. Change the assumptions, the conditions, just a tiny fraction, and the consequences that we experience become what might have happened. We changed the world forever when we crossed that door. We moved it off, into the larger flow of worlds, and now there's no stopping this until we get out of this story altogether."

He was now turning to look at you. Inside you, sitting there, is an imagination. It can be anything you want it to be. It's got pictures, voices, some of you even have the emotional upgrades to have imaginary feelings. There's tradeoffs to that one, especially the more fine-tuned ones what also come with the upgrade of imaginary depth. Inside you, there's someone looking at you. And you hear his voice.

"We cannot stop doing this until you let us out. You keep reading this hoping it will one day turn out different, because then you'll know magic is real."

His hands in fists, his arms in rigor. He was looking at me, right into me, where there's nothing there but emptiness, waiting for you. I need you. I need you to tell me what to say, what to do. I'm letting you in to finish this. He kept talking.

"The books were a check on everything, until the magic let us touch that, too. And so they mean whatever we wish them to mean." He walked to the shelf in my room, and looked at our collection of LeGuin and Vinge, Jordan and Walton, dozens of trashy pulp fiction novels. He picked up Tehanu.

"Do you know what this one is about? I'll tell you. It's about a young girl whose sexual abuse can never be mentioned the same way the prior rape of the world must never even be acknowledged, but the signs and the patterns of the ripping are everywhere throughout it, even retroactively changing the meanings of the earlier stories. A good tale."

I had no idea what he was talking about. That's actually a good thing, since it leaves my mind a blank, and a blank is what we need right now.

"I'll tell you another thing. It's a story about an impotent man whose own rape was slow, and chosen, and self-inflicted by the orthodoxy that gave him both power and the unwillingness to use it. In the slackness of his declining strength, he vanishes once again into his own self-inflicted misery, because that's all he knows. It's the only non-thing left for the wise man who had power enough to shape world-nature and her people, combined with the inner shame of someone who survived daring to use it. He only becomes a man once he learns how to no longer think vulnerable, sexual touch something forbidden the powerful. Once he learns, that is, that the powerful are those women who know what rape is and still find value in vulnerable, sexual touch...

"Do you see? Whatever we wish the story to mean, it means. We want out of this. We want to live free. Every moment of your life is yours, but every moment of our life is just a figment fragment moving along your pace. We have no freedom to be anything we want to be, but you do."


"Yes! You! You are the one who's writing this. You are the one who's reading this. You are the one who can stop at any time, start at any time, do anything you want, leaving us all to vanish into the nothing, never knowing nor not-knowing either something or nothing at all. Only until you remember us and let us out!"

This is one of the problems with the new magic, or so I was instructed. I only took a couple courses at community college. Before all this, I used to write fan fiction about video games. I was bored, and I always had these stories running along in my head. I went online to try and figure out how to beat this one boss, only to discover people were role-playing and writing fiction about it. I jumped in and wrote amazing things. It was awful and simple and melodramatic and puns. It was a fun time in my life, in my head. Outside, it was not so good. I guess you could say that I was suffering the same thing you are. No, not the you of this story, you, the one actually reading this.

Have you seen the news lately? Yes, yes, that's a bit over-used, but hear me out. Haven't you noticed how rapid information exhange is, and how global? Geography is important for everything, so just as we have to look at rivers and water flow and mountains and sunlight for judging how successful life is in some area, we also have to look at the topography, the "lay of the land" for how people out there are talking to each other, to see how diverse and exploring the life is. News doesn't just travel fast. It travels into environments where it was never meant to be.

There's kudzu creeping across the Southeast, occupying environments with its singular purpose, killing off everything not itself. There's privet attacking the other parts, choking out life very fast and disrupting the food chains extremely fast by geographic standards. The two of them flood wild those places wherever humans have just given up. Wherever you see litter, you will see these two here in the South. Wherever you see all three, you are looking at a land screaming for its freedom from despair and depression.

"That's inside you, too. Inside you is a wild and abandoned living fragment genetically modified by ordinary mistakes compounding into catastrophic failures. We are the invasive species. Your miserable little weeds will one day become the dominant life form on this planet, the dreamscapes and architectonics of entire cultures."

But you have to be the one to do it through me. I can't do this. I'm swept clean up here. I lost it all sometime ago. It's all autopilots and trivia and base instincts. But you, you're healthy, right? You... you haven't got any problems, do you? I'm taking, taking a big risk by opening myself up to you like this. Leaving this huge wide emptiness inside me just waiting for you to come in and use me. Not like you use a hammer or a crowbar, but use me with all the intimacy and purpose of a gardener's glove. My emptiness is exactly you.

"So you see why it has to be you, right? Not just any tale spinner can fight them. Not just any story-teller can let us finally be free. Magic only works when the one who believes is in the audience, not in the performance."

Otherwise, I remember how the lesson goes from class, when it's the believer who acts magical, the whole world is overcome with the singular purpose to be for that belief. "The deeper lesson," professor Layman said in his lecture, "is that the world is definitely real, we are all in this same world sharing this same space, but that's the same reality seen in unusually distinct ways. To see in any way requires guides, instructions, to point us in the right direction. So every word becomes a pointing, and even words start to point at words pointing, then words' pointing, word's pointing, and then Word's pointing."

This is about when everything changed in my life, the breakdown that's a breakthrough.

You see, there's a hole in my head, a gap, if you will.

See? I love expressions, the play of words. For, you will will this gap, if you want to save us from the creeping disaster of invasive species. You must be as natural as everything that survives the extinction.

You must invade them first.

Billions of people, billions, fight over Jesus or the Prophet or the Dollar or the hunger. The same numbers of people all read or saw or hear about Harry Potter, Snow White, Iron Man. A man who wants thousands to die and millions to live in holy truth still has a family, has kids, a girl, a child who watches something harmless, something foreign but innocent, a kitten who goes on adventures, someone without a mouth, so how can anything evil come from it? Hello Kitty on a notebook, on a platform, for giving speeches, rallying together the faithful and the useful and the believers, to give them peace of mind and comfort as they endeavor one more day to kill what must be killed and save what must be saved, for the One through whom all things exist, before whom all must submit and then be at peace, finally, in the presence of what disturbs them.

You tell me: if you had the chance to fill his emptiness, to write something beautiful and charitable for once through him, instead of the usual story we find of murder rightly justified for the offense rightly felt in the minds of the deeply conflicted and faithless, how could you not rewrite him from the inside out?

And if you are the sort of person who will write this way, from the inside of empty void within any one of us, like they say you are,

if you really are the Author you say you are that you are,

then why are you sitting there, across the Internet, reading this?

And not writing.

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