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Literate Chaotic / some words
« on: February 22, 2012, 10:32:48 pm »
hey, PD.

i've not posted anything creatively on here for ages, so I thought perhaps it might be time to. I wrote these two pieces for a creative writing portfolio for a university application, and I think sometimes it's kinda hard to take a look at something you've written objectively, y'know? anyway, I'm kinda proud of them, i'd be interested to know what y'all thought. I think maybe I'm still figuring out my writing style, still testing the waters. but yeah, if you've got any criticism or comments, that'd be fantastic. (i already sent the portfolio off, so this is purely for my own... development? as a writer). the first is something that I like because I think it's original, in the sense of it being super personal, and I really like the way it turned out, just as an articulation of my thoughts. the second is a bit derivative, really, and it's a concept that's kinda been done to death, but I was experimenting with language, playing with a more figurative style.

thanks for reading!

For a girl I barely knew

I barely knew you. You were the friend of a friend, a distant acquaintance. I think you dated one of my friends briefly; we met a few times but never really talked much. I liked you, I suppose, as much as it’s possible to like a person that you don’t know in any real depth. You seemed nice.

Anyway, you killed yourself. It sounds strange when you put it like that; bare of euphemism, devoid of the pretty language that we often use to cover up the cold, hard reality of things. You took a cocktail of drugs and tied a bag over your head. The news broke on Facebook in that weirdly modern, confusing, social-media driven way that seems to be the norm nowadays. All noise and no signal, everyone talking but nobody really knowing anything at all. I’ll admit, I was shocked when I first heard the rumours. It’s the finality that always gets me, I think. When you die, that’s it. The End, no credits reel, no bonus scenes, just a final fade-to-black. I spent a while staring at my feed, refreshing, reading the comments on other people’s posts asking for information or expressing their concern. When it was finally confirmed (I think it was your boyfriend, in the end) I was pretty upset, but only slightly more so than I am when a celebrity who I admired, whose music I enjoyed or whose films I liked dies. Like I said¬¬—I barely knew you. Our lives might have touched, but they were by no means intertwined. One of my friends who was close to you was pretty torn up, so I spent some time comforting him.

It was the same evening, almost as soon as your boyfriend posted that you were actually dead, that people started to write tributes on Facebook. They posted statuses, created a fan page, and I read the things they were saying—”too sad,” “so young.” I tried to write something of my own, but everything I typed seemed insincere, Hallmark card eulogies, clichéd condolences. I was staring at the blue ‘share’ button, but that was the problem, I wasn’t sharing anything. It was just words, words with no real meaning behind them. In the end, I gave up, and went to bed. I thought it better to say nothing at all than write a false tribute or to force out some vague, insincere statement.

And I thought that would be it. A tragedy, certainly, and one that it would take me a while to get over, to compartmentalise and understand properly. I don’t know if I’ll ever really be able to comprehend the idea of suicide. It’s not that I don’t get the sentiment behind it, I totally do—it’s just I find it difficult to understand when people actually do it. Maybe that’s a blessing. And so I was lying there, thinking about suicide and death, when a thought hit me. A vague, dim memory. I’d never experienced this before, this feeling of being absolutely stunned, completely struck by a thought. The memory was of a Facebook message, an innocuous chat pop-up that I’d ignored a week or two ago. It was from you.

I don’t remember getting out of bed, or opening Facebook and finding the message. But suddenly, there I was, staring at the words in the stark, harsh light of my laptop screen. It was innocent, a casual greeting, a fairly irrelevant piece of information, and a few kisses to sign off, but in that moment I realised that maybe it meant something more than that to you. I’d ignored it at the time because I was just about to go out as you said it and because what you’d said wasn’t really that… relevant. It didn’t quite make sense, you were talking about something that I wasn’t interested in as if it was one of my hobbies, and, well, I just ignored the message. It didn’t seem like a big deal at the time, and maybe it wasn’t, but that was no comfort to me as I sat, transfixed by those few words. A wave of guilt rushed over me, and I let it. There’s no playbook for emotions, no guidelines to help you decide how to feel, and so I just let it happen, because I thought that was what was right. I thought maybe the message was you reaching out for help, and that if I’d just responded; maybe I’d have been able to help you. Maybe you’d been feeling upset for a while, that you were feeling abandoned and looking for contact, even if it was just with fairly random acquaintances. I spent a long time staring at my screen that night, and the night after.

After a while, I figured out that this guilt was irrational. How could I have known that you were feeling upset? I don’t even know whether you were at that point, anyway. And besides, how could my inaction be to blame, really? I eventually realised that it was probably just a cry for significance, a desperate attempt to feel important, to feel responsible. Deep down, I think I’d really like to have been able to change your life, even if I missed that opportunity, and so I feel guilty about it as a way of making myself feel better, because I prefer the guild to facing the alternative—that I was insignificant, that it wouldn’t have made any difference whether I responded to that message or not. That’s the truth, and the worst part is, I’ll never know. Sometimes I still, months after your death, lie awake thinking about what might have been. My thoughts swirl with “perhaps,” “maybe,” “if.” There’s no certainty here, late at night, in the dark. No finality for me. No closure. Perhaps it’s better that way.

I hope you’re okay. Really, I do. I barely knew you, I know, but I still think about you.

-   Simon.

The Broken City

It was dark in The City. Not many of the streetlights work anymore—the bulbs gave up long ago, not that there’s ever any electricity running through the pipes to power them anyway. The clubs and bars keep all their outside lights off past 11pm, although that’s not to say there’s anybody inside them, but even being identified as a place where people might congregate is enough to get your windows smashed as a ‘warning.’ It was quiet, too, very quiet, except for the sound of sobs slicing through the silence, a cough-splutter staccato, the noise forcing its way into the streets and through the cracks of slightly ajar windows. It was desperately, achingly heart-breaking, yet strangely rhythmic and beautiful. The kind of sobbing that could stop wars, melt hearts, turn rockets on their heads and send them back safely to their launch pads. It seemed to echo as it reverberated from one high rise flat block to the next, passing over unused telephone lines and dilapidated houses, rolling through cracked streets and boarded up windows. It was the soundtrack to a broken city, a soundtrack everybody heard but nobody mentioned—nobody talked about it at all, not once, not ever. It was the kind of haunting sound that you just can’t get out of your head. The sobs were always there, always present, no matter how hard you shook your head in an attempt to dislodge them, they underscored hurried, hushed conversation and loud, angry argument. Even if you put your hands over your ears and squeezed tight, the sobs were still there, still audible.

The source of the sobs on this particular night was a young girl, no more than perhaps 14 or 15 years old. She was lying in a dark alley indistinguishable from any other, dressed in a dirty black tee and ripped jeans. The alley was dank, damp and covered in half-open, decomposing garbage sacks. The stench was appalling. Graffiti adorned the faded and cracked brick walls, angry, violent strokes that  proclaimed gang names and brutal signatures, scrawled and scratched into the walls in a way that left it unclear whether it had been sprayed on or simply carved by knives—or fingernails. The girl lay amid this filth, her long, matted hair falling over her face, concealing her features, but not enough to mask her expression, or the pained, terrified sobs wracking her hunched, contorted frame. There was blood in her hair and on her jeans, running freely from a vicious slice on her leg, visible through a gaping gash in the faded and discoloured denim. It stained the patches of moonlight a deep, rich red as it flowed slowly, laboriously, down, away from her body. Her tee shirt had been clearly ripped upon, it hung open from her shoulders, and her jeans hung in tatters over her thighs. There had been violence here. Its presence still hung tangibly in the air, the frenetic energy of the attack, the fierce struggle that ensued, and now—a strange calm, punctuated only by the hoarse, strained cries of the girl. The intensity of the sobs was horrifying, a visceral signpost to the degree of crime committed in the alley, but every choked, gasping cry seemed only to remind the girl of the intense pain that had violated her, and so she struggled for breath, each sharp intake rushed between loud exhalations, yet dangerously weak, as she lay, watching her blood dribble slowly from her wounds. She was utterly helpless, consumed by her terror and horror and the pain that she felt throughout her entire body.

Slowly, dimly, through the mist of the pain and the noise of the sobs, she started to hear another noise, too. A sound that was also part of the soundtrack of the city, a harsh, distinct drumbeat. It played with the sound of her sobs, each offbeat accentuating the difference between the two. One was a human sound, an expression of emotion, the noise of pain and fear, a rapid, involuntary weeping. The other was inhuman, stark against the silence of the city, caused not from an emotion but from the simple act of contact, of conflict—two hard objects meeting one another. It was the noise of footsteps, heavy and booted, each terrible thud a thunderclap of violent movement. The residents of the city knew this sound as well, and it signified the same thing as the sobbing—pain. The two sounds merged and intermingled as they rose together, warping and shifting in pitch until they were almost indistinguishable from each other. Suddenly, the footsteps paused. The sobbing grew louder, faster, more desperate. The girl saw the shadow at the entrance to the alley, knew what it meant. She heard the footsteps start again, quicker this time, with more intent, and she panicked, writhing and crying in a desperate attempt to begin her escape, but all she managed was a half-scramble to her feet before she fell back to the bloody, dirty concrete. She glanced back in the direction of the footsteps, in spite of herself, squinting to try and see past the patches of moonlight streaking past the gaps between high rise buildings. A dark silhouette greeted her gaze, steady and precise in its movements, a calm, imposing stride. She stopped trying to get to her feet. There was no point fighting. Her sobs were much louder now, with scarcely a pause for an intake of breath between each ragged, drawn out exhalation. The tears were streaming down her blood-streaked face, mingling with the blood and the dirt. Staring back down the alley, she could see glimpses of the figure as it approached, a flash of an official badge, the glint of a dark reflective visor, a gloved hand balled into a fist. The footsteps were deafening now, each impact an earthquake of sole on hard concrete. They slowed down, too, as the figure approached, drew the visor of its helmet up, glanced down at the figure of the girl, now curled into a foetal ball, her desperate, vulnerable sobs choked out through clenched teeth. The gloved hand reached down, gripped the face of the girl, wrenched it up to meet its gaze—she looked blindly, her vision swimming from the tears. The hand shook fiercely, violently, and the girl blinked as her vision slowly cleared. She was looking up into the hard set face of a man, his chin unshaven, marked by stubble, his cold, dark eyes were deep set and unblinking. He twisted his face into a grin as she let out a desperate cry, and threw her like a ragdoll to the ground. Her sobs were violent now, shaking her whole body as she desperately battled her pain to try and escape, but it was no use. The man spat once, a harsh, final gesture, and reached for the weapon holstered at his hip, before shaking his head once, quickly—a taut, brief response. He took a step back, and lifted his boot up. The girl stared up at the sole of his shoe, her cries reaching a brutal, constant wail. There was a single, sickening crunch, and then silence. A shocked, deadened, ultimate silence, throughout the broken city.

Apple Talk / DEAR PEEDEE
« on: November 28, 2010, 11:59:25 am »
So tomorrow I'm headed to a politics conference down in London. It's some student thing that gets put on every year, basically we get to meet with politicians, ask them questions in an open forum type thing. Apparently we have to get up at like 5am, which I'm not very happy about, but that's besides the point.

So here is a list of the people I THINK will be there (note this isn't definite, I lost the letter thing so I just pulled this off the internet, might not be true)

Alan Duncan, Simon Hughes, David Blunkett, Sir George Young and Mr Speaker Bercow.

Anybody think of any questions? Or topics for questions?

Aneristic Illusions / U mad, Ahmadinejad?
« on: September 23, 2010, 10:19:03 pm »

Apple Talk / G-maps wtf?
« on: March 18, 2010, 08:40:53 pm »
Can someone please explain to me why the guys at google think this is an acceptable level of imagery to be freely available and easily accessible on the internet?

Yes, that is my parents bedroom.

... Am I over-reacting, or am I justified in WTF-ing at the new level of detail on google maps?

Apple Talk / SACRILEGE
« on: January 14, 2010, 09:00:11 pm »

THIS. MEANS. WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR RRRRRRRRR.  :argh!: :argh!: :argh!: :argh!: :argh!: :argh!: :argh!: :argh!: :crankey: :crankey: :crankey: :crankey: :crankey: :crankey: :crankey: :walken: :walken: :walken: :walken: :walken: :walken: :walken: :walken: :walken: :walken: :walken: :walken: :walken:

Or Kill Me / The flower
« on: March 15, 2009, 05:05:38 pm »

My fellow discordians, I come before thee today with a message. But first, I must explain to you somewhat of a vision I had today; whilst mowing my lawn.

What I saw, in amongst the leaves and debris of a winter with no human attention, was a flower. Nothing special, just a flower. As I looked at this flower, with the lawnmower still rumbling in front of me, I pondered. I pondered its existence… Why was it there? Why my lawn? Why that spot? And I turned off the lawnmower, and pondered some more. I pondered how it got there. How did it get to be right in the middle of my lawn, all on its own, no other flowers around it? And I pondered: What was its purpose? A sign… But, if so, what did it signify? A message… If so, what message did it bear? And from whom was it sent to deliver such a message? I stood there for many minutes pondering these, and other questions, yet never getting any closer to the answers.

And then; I had somewhat of an epiphany, right there on my lawn. It struck me that perhaps I should stop questioning this vision of beauty. Perhaps it should be allowed merely to exist, with no purpose, no understanding, no way of even being there. And with that, I manoeuvred my lawnmower around the flower, and continued on my way. But, as I mowed, I kept glancing back at the flower. Small and insignificant though it was, some part of it enthralled and amazed me. I’m not sure how, or why, but this tiny thing of beauty, irrationally and irresponsibly alone on my lawn kept me staring and thinking for a long time.

This flower is still there now; and I can’t help myself glancing out of the window every few minutes. Just to check on it. You see, I can’t help but feel responsible for this little fella now.

But, anyway, on to my message: Find your flower. Don’t look for it, but find it. It’ll be in a place you don’t expect, or maybe it’ll be in plain sight. It might be a hobby, a person or a religion. It might be a new job, a new direction, or a new life. But, when you do find it, you’ll know. And once you’ve found your flower, your impossible little thing of beauty, let it grow. Don’t think about it, don’t deliberate over every decision, just nurture it. Love it, and care for it. And maybe, just maybe, it’ll turn into something even more beautiful.

Or Kill Me / Hey you, Hey you...
« on: January 23, 2009, 01:01:18 pm »
...finally you get it;
The world ain't fair, eat you if you let it.

It's funny how long it takes people to understand this. I mean, jesus, how hard can it be? Life. Is. Not. Fucking. Fair. So, how about you stop complaining about every little insignificant thing, hmm? It's not like I care. It's not like he cares either. Yes, him over there, that fella in the suit. And before you ask, nope, she doesn't care either, her over there in the band tee and skinnies. No-one cares.

Because, deep down, we're all selfish creatures really. We're all too wrapped up in our own stupid little un-fair lives to notice you with your stupid little unfair life. That's the way it works. And it's about time you realized that.

You haven't got long, you know. Only a few short years. A few short years to wake up and smell the anaesthetic, to realize that you're on your own, and life is out to get you. It's surprising how fast time will fly, when you're in living hell. And trust me, life will become a living hell.

It already has, for many people. The economy is screwed, unemployment levels are through the roof, crime is up, taxes are going up, no-one has enough money to live for themselves any more.

And it's gunna get worse.

The long slide into chaos has begun. The first steps on the road have been taken, and there ain't no going back for us, oh no. And fuck what you know about chaos, 'cause this isn't the fun and friendly kinda chaos. This is the riots on the streets, the jail breaks and bank robbery's kinda chaos. And have fun finding fnords when you're on your back being raped by a 7 foot body builder, 'cause I sure as hell won't be finding 'em for you.

It looks bad, doesn't it?   
Looks like there's only one thing to be done, doesn't it?

Fuck them all. Yes, you heard me. Fuck your family, and your friends. Fuck your boss. Fuck that guy you just met at the bus stop earlier. Fuck that girl you kinda like. FUCK. THEM. ALL!

So stock up on baseball bats and alcohol, because the strong will survive!

I know this probably isn't the most original rant ever written, but it's my first... :)

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