Seven and Three Tales To Tell

Sword

The last few months inside of my creative space have been a whirlwind of research into schizophrenia intense enough to briefly give my the symptoms of schizophrenia, conceptualization of the properties of a Qlippothic sub-verse, attempts to sculpt the clay of wishes and emotions and background details into the flesh of actual humans.

I’m trying to write a novel. Nothing new, and in fact I think society has a quota that at least 20% of a nations citizens have to be attempting to write a novel at any given time in order to officially count as Civilized. Fortunately, the 20%–or 64,220,727 of us in the case of the US–don’t all have to be writing the same novel. Separate endeavors are fine.

This novel I’m working on is pretty ambitious. More so than I thought when I started with a neat idea and boring characters while walking through the cold one day. I quickly came up with much better characters, who I have largely abandoned, and a less neat idea that is ultimately more interesting.

I never know which of the ideas my brain spits up from the solution of creative digestive fluids that pools in my unconscious is going to stick. This one did, and I was far, far too deep before I realized the staggering amount of research I was going to need to do in order to get the characters and the world even close to correct. It was interesting research. Stuff I was already fascinated by, so I figured even if I didn’t right the novel I would learn a lot.

Several months later, I have, indeed, learned a lot. I could keep learning forever and not be ready, because that’s how these things work. That being said, I realized at some point that I was ready. Ready to write a messy first draft, anyway. I wouldn’t know for sure what additional research I’d need to do until I ran into it, and the attempt to amalgamate every real-world esoteric and mystical system ever probably wasn’t strictly necessary to start writing.

So I started writing. Or at least, I tried to, only to discover that I didn’t remember how to write. Oh, I remembered how to make the little squiggles. I could even make them manually, without using the plastic clackers hooked up to my electronic porn machine.

What I forgot how to do was tell stories. I mean, I forgot how to take characters and concepts and a plot outline–all of which I had!–and flesh that out into a the “words on a page” thing that people seem to find oh-so-essentially to novels these days.

I used to be able to do it. I also didn’t used to be able to do it. I know plenty of writers who never struggled with this most basic element of writing, but I’ve never been one of them. Taking any given idea and weaving it into a story is something I only got skilled at here, on this blog, by doing it a lot.

So here I am. I’m going to doing it a lot. Again. With a new challenge!

This one is as follows: I’m going to write three stories a week, every week, for seven weeks. Three stories seems doable. And seven…well, I have a theme here. The plan–the oath!–is to post Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, starting this upcoming Monday. Why Monday? Because that’s several days from now.

The challenge is called “Seven and Three Tales to Tell,” and if the math doesn’t work, if the poetry is a little off, if it sounds more pretentious than well-crafted…well, I said I was out of practice. Hopefully by the end, I’ll have a better name.

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an apple in the bathroom

The Apple

 

 

an apple in the bathroom
a prose poem

 

There’s an apple. In the bathroom. It’s been there for a while.

Months. Maybe years. It can’t possibly be years. It feels like years. Things don’t change.

It hasn’t gone bad. It’s been cold. And apples have that way of lasting forever. Back in the day they used to put them in barrels.

Because they had a lot of barrels. And nothing better to do.

But the apples lasted.

It’s a little pitted. The apple. In the bathroom. It’s not rotten. But it’s a little pitted. I’ve seen apples. In the supermarket.

That were worse.

I won’t eat it. Not even to make applesauce. Because it’s been in the bathroom. For months. Maybe years.

That makes it dirty. Everyone understands that. It’s meaningless. But everyone understands it. I don’t have to explain.

It isn’t rotten. But I wouldn’t eat it. Even if it hadn’t been in the bathroom. It isn’t rotten. But it’s dead.

That happens to apples. They look fine but you bite into them and they have no flavor. Their sisters had flavor. But not this one. It looks fine but its spirit has fled, and took everything about it that matter. Only the pulp remains.

Sometimes I feel like that. Sometimes.

I think about throwing it out. At times I don’t because I know I would miss it. I don’t care about it but I would miss it because it’s in my life. Like when you break a mug that you never really liked. And you have more than enough mugs. But it’s sad because it was yours. Now it’s gone.

Or maybe I don’t throw it out because I don’t notice it. It isn’t anything. Trash turns to clutter turns to scenery. A stain on your wall that’s been there for nine months isn’t a stain. It’s texture. Why throw away a single leaf that’s fallen off a tree in autumn? There are so many more.

But mostly I can’t be bothered. On those certain days, days when I have no flavor, even throwing out an apple is too much. Picking it up and chucking it to the bin is too much. I could do it. But it won’t matter. Why does it matter?

One day I’ll throw it out. Maybe because it finally decided to rot. But probably because I just want to. Some piece of glass will dislodge from my brain and the clutter will turn to mess. I won’t think the apple is interesting anymore. I won’t think it is beautiful just because it is there. Out of place. A goldfish in a slinky factory.

So I will throw it out. And I’ll feel accomplished because it’s been there for months. Maybe years. I’ll feel cleaner. I’ll feel triumphant.

Then, soon, I’ll feel sad. I won’t regret it. Not really. I don’t need an apple. In the bathroom.

But I’ll feel sad. Because it was there. Because it was mine. And then it was gone.