Corpus Paradisum: Excerpt

 

2007-Kiefer

Art by Anselm Kiefer, German painter.

Plugging away at my book today (because class for this evening was canceled), I found I really liked what I wrote a few days ago (while re-reading), so I decided to drop the snippet here. Quick backstory: post apocalyptic scenario where flu kills most of the population of the world. .001% of population becomes creative-obsessive zombies until they die. Antagonist and Man of Questionable Motives, Marlin, runs a town of survivors, but collects zombie work. MC Susursal peruses the gallery with the Met twins. (Note: Paragraph break mid-sentence in the excerpt was intentional)

“Marlin calls this one The Scented, because of the smell,” Metempsychosis said in a whisper so loud it echoed the halls with lingering sss-sounds. Susursal closed his eyes and sought a fleeting scent through olfactory, through cilia-tastes. He found hickory smoke: everything was hickory smoke. Leaning farther in, he smelled coriander. Leaning farther, he smelled apple sweet. Nose almost touching the canvas, delicacies swirled around in his head: a muskful phantasm of unplaceable smells, gilded in motor oil or cat dander or a freshly shampooed shag carpet. The scent of pure clean, not cotton, not lemon, only identifiable by what it wasn’t. Like ionized air, or charcoal filtered water taste. Here, curled dragon teeth char-dripped in sycamore saliva. There, stained-glass crabapples ringed in a very specific caulk, soaked in paper pulp and corded hemp oil.

It looked like myriad mold rings and discolorations.

“And this one,” Metempsychosis’s voice shook through Susursal’s inhalations, “Is The Rain.” A whole forest arun to the base of the canvas, pooling colors from the same three mixed colors: moss, gray47, and aegean. And trailing flowers of vibrant purple wisteria. Mixed with lingering scents from The Scented, Susursal caught himself shuddering against a saltblue stairway of seawaves built by blackening truffle, oak barrel, and olive pits churned with grape leaves. And yet he stared at a forest, faded colors dripping behind wisteria as if the artist returned with a second decision, as if this weren’t a Creative’s work at all, but a master painter. He’d worked at a Lowes when he was young, too young to finish school, and had memorized all the color names from palettes present in the paint shop. “The blue was mixed with the artist’s blood to make the flowers,” Metempsychosis whispered, ripping Susursal from his thought for a second time.

“Should be called Morbid,” Metamorphosis said, his voice disturbing austerity. His mouth rolled around morbid as if he sired the word with the action of eating a pear. Scented continued to have an affect on Susursal: the word pear split into a tortilla tan flower, seeds and all, and gossamer dragonflies traded stance upon the juicy petals. “Do you like Meta talking so much? She’s an extrovert. She’s not for everyone.”

“I’m not for everyone. Hi. I like your shirt.”

Metamorphosis slurped water from an aging energy drink can, silver separated by reflective blues and reds, a brazen bull across the front. “Water is better in cans.”

Metempsychosis slinked to the next canvas. “Yeah. Adds minerals. Energy minerals.”

Metamorphosis slurped a second time, and with the same mouth movement he made for morbid, he said, “Oil. Oil.”

“Have a heart.” Glowing-eyes, and crystal, unstonelike in any way, Metampsychosis flashed laughter toward Susursal.

Perhaps still the magic of these canvases pervaded, but Susursal shuttered his mind’s eye from that wanful hurricane. Lo, she shone violent sun.

Dusty backcountry roads in a pickuptruck, guest in the country, soybean and corn husky and broken, runoff from tiny rockfetishing, she the flannel-wearing cousin he wished he’d known, tiny waist with smooth and worn carpenter jeans against single-straightacross seat, 1985 Ford F150 restored with red-and-white stripes, careening across field and a flurry of stark, slake-less sun. She the brownhaired skycloud against cloudless sky, framed against windowless door, cracked windshield and everything, a cloud, a layer, a thick impenetrable thing of corndust. Corndusk. Engine roaring blissful, frightening, she the masthead. Metempsychosis languid like underwater kelpbeds bouncing in the rolling current; behind her, reaching from the wall, an arch of amalgamous stuffs in gruesome gothic fashion; and she said, “Here is The Knifeguardian.”

Sususral stopped before the stop, a cut drywall wall of intricacies, fifty feet high, a dazzling window installed behind the wall opposite the hall to let sun fleck in, a crushed thousand skulls in the shape of a larger-than-life skull, a god. This, a god, Susursal thought, studying blurred lines depicting arms attached to shoulders askew like some Hindu relief sporting shades of reflective shimmering silver, bones delineating to antler handle, delineating to blade. A halo of blade: swords and bootknives and switchblades and filet and sabre and broadswords three behind and above burgeoning halo smeared murky yellow across drywall, wide-spread and glistening silver polished sharp, splits of blood, dabs of blood, either stainless steel or blued steel or titanium reflecting blood—waterproofed against the saltsea self—a wild, carnage-wrestled visage,

half-finished, skull sunken in on the right, of form like an oversized vole—large, open left eye socket, protruding and curve canine bone-teeth polished like ivory—candle-wax burned and dripping a long, sloppy waxy grey tear stalagctite overflowing from the crushed socket, long femurs of dog, horse, deer, antlers blooming like trees from its unfinished head hung tiny napkin silver rings a pagan Christmas decoration. Ten total. Yes, this half-realized god, unfinished before terminal creativity took the creator. Reflecthing, it should be named.

Susural bled tears: they came with a cut feeling, held back with all dedication and presence of mind, yet the muscles tore from around his eyes and he weeped. Milk from a fig, he weeped.

Over the hall, fastened by tape and glue and blood-smeared, bones jagged wired together with antlers wired together with knives, like bladed scales, a single seven-fingered hand opened, hovering, hale and harkening to any what passed beneath. A candle holder secured beneath, fastened to the underpalm, purple glass decorated by tiny, tiny animal bones, and teeth, candle long burned away. Susursal shuddered.

Undaunted from tethered memory or his many turbid thoughts, Metempsychosis traveled under the arching hand, finger-blades tiny and seemingly articulated reaching toward, she did not shiver nor stoop. Did not steel herself against the possible drop or scrape of candle-prison. She the guide, Metamorphosis behind sucking slow water from his brazen bull, Susursal followed in procession.

Virgil-like through this circle of personal hells made beautiful, Metempsychosis. Chiron-like, Metamorphosis supported from behind.

This, the frightening meter set. This, the lucid and elucidating prison of thought, released in rays of the psychic and balled about the halls in sacred silence, near-sleep of silence, sacral enlivened silence and, like calming whispers, Lalatu her long night breath, crept warm silk about his shoulders, cradling his skull, dropping her proud mantle about his neck and cascading long ribbons down his back. “And here,” Metempsychosis said, “is Pantheon of an Eastern Memory.”

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Sex (and my) Fantasy (novel)

Intimate relationships catalyze stories in ways other actions do not. I believe that if I could write all the emotions that go into a really satisfying poop, I’d approach a similar feeling. But then, unless the character involved was a part of a really intimate relationship, this character would be alone after the poop as well.

Person-to-person connection is a fundamental part of life. The past few novels I have worked on has seen little of the sexual side. A novel I essentially finished in 2009 has the few sexy scenes of a budding relationship. It’s great. I got hot writing it. I get hot reading it.

I want more of it. Continue reading

Jupiter Ascending is Twilight on Steroids

Jupiter-Ascending-Concept-soldier2d

I’ll start this post by saying I had a whole entry written up about being spoon-fed stories, and how tired I am of baby-stepped storytelling. I figured I *expletive deleted* too much, so I slept on it and decided to ruminate on the subject.

I found the best way for me to distill and digest my thoughts would be to read (or watch) something that doesn’t spoon-feed me a story. So I turned to a movie I’ve wanted to see for a long time: Jupiter Ascending. Given the Wachowskis don’t play by the rules when it comes to telling a story, I figured I couldn’t los anything by watching. 

It galvanized my thought process on the matter, and allowed me to step into a place to properly compare and dissect. The movie also got so little attention once released, and I heard so little about it, I figured it’d be a great, beautiful, luscious movie. I wasn’t wrong.

Spoilers contained within. Do not read if you want to watch and enjoy it as new. Continue reading

Follow-up on my previous Post

Maybe I’ve been out of the “critique” circle for too long, or maybe my interests have dumbed down since I embarked on this great quest to pay off my debts working a non passion-filled job. I don’t know.

The past week was filled with reading critiques on the Batman V Superman movie, having conversations with friends concerning what they liked or didn’t like, and boning up on “background” for the movie that I might have missed. I’m a little humbled, a little confused, and perhaps even feeling a little tenacious about my stance on the movie.

I’m usually in the minority with my perspectives. This is the first time I’ve been alone. Haha

So I’m writing a follow-up to try and put my thoughts on paper. Continue reading

Inception is Strangely Lovecraftian in Design

inceptedInception is the type of movie where people walk away scratching their heads. Most people. I watched it when it first came out, enjoyed it for what it was, and moved on. (My brother, on the other hand, wasn’t such a fan.) It’s a “cerebral” thriller where the environment itself tells as much (or more) of the story as the characters. The premise surrounds a man who can extract information from another person’s subconscious via a cocktail of drugs and a carefully constructed “dream.” He brings a “Get Shorty” group of people in with him where they directly talk to the dreamer’s mind and find information, therefore performing an “extraction.” While the possibilities for creative enterprise is boundless, the movie pares all creative deviation to the story at hand, which is great for the masses and thus made for a somewhat accessible movie. While I understand why, the possibilities were literally endless for subject matter.

The content, on the other hand, is not only a throwback to “Weird Fiction” stories from the early 20th century, but also pays direct homage to the writer H.P. Lovecraft via dialogue and imagery. I watched the movie a second time yesterday, and was surprised by the correlation.

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Writing Insecurities

I’m writing on a novel I haven’t touched in nearly two years. Its only 20 pages (with seven added today). It’s about a character I created, who came to reside in the apartment above me, in my actual apartment. Oddly enough a year and a half ago a woman actually moved in upstairs, and she was nothing like the character I created.

Which has nothing to do with the story, really. I didn’t stop writing because of her. I stopped writing because the silly story required a kind of melancholy, a kind of vulnerable insecurity, where my chest is open and bared to the screen. No adventure. No thrill of the hunt. No meeting new people. This book is about an intimate relationship with a woman I’ve never met, who doesn’t exist, to a man I’ve come to see as a lofty ideal so distant from humanity he isn’t even human. He is the Overman, the Great Observer, and while she fights to find transcendence, he fights to find his humanity. Through their similar pursuit of “purpose,” she walks in the steps of a god. Continue reading

The Great Hunt, Leviathan Wakes, and Six-Gun Tarot

Twainlineup

I’ve been reading a lot more of late. Having begun Mark Twain’s Autobiography, Leviathan Wakes (Now A Major Syfy TV Series, The Expanse), The Six-Gun Tarot and the second of the Wheel of Time Series, The Great Hunt, I’ve had ample opportunity to cross check the writing styles.

For me, great writing stands alone. Back when Tolkien’s LOTR novels were being made into movies, there was an outpouring of novels with the phrase “Like Middle Earth but better!” on the backs, or “Greatest fantasy adventure since Tolkien!” The spinoff books–some very successful–all playing off the idea of his works (Like Terry Brooks’s Sword of Shannara series and Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series) had the same feel of Tolkien, only light. In fact, I’d call them Tolkien Lite. As a disrespectful term.

Now I see “Think Game of Thrones with Bocci Ball!” or “John Doe, and his family, has a coolness factor so high, it’s like Harry Potter had John McClane as a father, AND THEY WERE ALL LANNISTERS!” While this isn’t exactly what I’m reading on the back of boring old fantasy novels, I’m not being hyperbolic. I did see a similar phrase somewhere.

These people, while possibly successful, are not great writers. You can’t take a powerful writer and say, “This writer is JUST LIKE another writer, ONLY BETTER,” and get any respect. If ever I get picked up by a big publisher, and they say anything of the sort on the back of my work, I will straight-up drop the publisher. One of the books I’ll discuss today is touted as a Martin Lite, even though he’s nothing of the sort.

Continue reading