Foreword then Forward
Well last year (actually this year as I write but likely last year as you read, although time is a twisty thing once you start to think about it. And now that I think about it, it may be a couple of years ago or even several. But perhaps this isn’t the time to get into it. Later, yes?) I cataloged all the books I read because Earl goaded me into it. Of course you don’t know this yet because it’s still this year and I haven’t posted the entry that will appear at the last possible seconds of the year. I’m not sure Earl actually realizes he was the author of such onerous and industrious tribulations, but it is a well-established point of legal precedence that he cannot escape responsibility through ignorance. Be all that as it may, I had once again decided to not put up any resistance to Earl’s overbearing oneupmanship and will commit to trying to equal his feets. A little bird has written me of them and while they, of course, seem less than the feets of Carmen Constantine, they are prestigious feets nonetheless. Let us now step forward towards the goal.
But alas, after consideration, this plan must fall by the wayside as it slowly has dawned on me that I have no measure with which to measure my own feets. Our — Earl’s, Carmen Constantine’s and my own — feets are separated by time and space (ah, there’s that time issue again…) and I do not believe Sylvia will allow me to separate her or Earl from those, oh-so-magnificent digits and my-they’re-so-grand extremities. But I’m pretty sure the Big C would have cooperated. Alas indeed.
Plan B, Mark 3, version 1.2b
After much pondering, mulling and general musing I have decided to buy a vowel. Two “e”s seems a bit pretentious (and while that may suit Mr. E.J. Woods’ megalomaniacal agenda, I am a much more modest sort) so I have decided to buy an “a” and thrown down the discarded “e” at the aforementioned feet (now diminished) of Woods & Co. and challenge him on the basis of his feats.
“Take that” and “Ha!”
So, by now you must be wondering just which of the many feats (because unlike his feets, he has many more than just two) of Earl J. Woods I intend to emulate and indeed, in all modesty and humility, attempt to surpass. Well, it comes often to many an Internet user’s attention that Mssr. Woods has, for the past several years, managed to post at least one post a day on his weblog: the infamous “My Name is Earl (J. Woods)”, formerly “The Bleak House of Blahgs”. Thus for both 2011 and 2012 he has managed (or will have managed in the case of the upcoming end of 2012 assuming time does not twist in on itself and disrupt a perfectly good linearity) to make 365 sequential and orderly posts.
I now announce my intent to match this feat.
The following is to be an unplanned narrative in 365 parts. At this point I have only one character in mind, the omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent Narrator, based on, as an apology to, and in recognition of the role of he who is named Earl has in this upcoming debacular train wreck of a plot. Earl, I am truly sorry about what is about to happen.
At least once a day I intend to set fingers to keys to try and extract some sort of forward momentitive plot-like sequence of verbiage and adjectivalness that will not only offend my editorial friends and companions but also leave everyone hanging in suspense as to what in God’s name I think I am going to do next.
I have not yet decided if I will permit writing ahead, although I acknowledge that I will, perhaps, be forced to post several ”episodes” (to use the psychiatric term) at once to compensate for the vagaries of Internet access. Pictures, unless hand drawn for this specific purpose, will not count. All entries are to be posted on my blog (macblaze.ca) under the category “It’s Novel.” I will likely be posting a few other bits and pieces, so strict reverse order in the main stream of posts will likely be disrupted here and there. Use the category. Or not.
Comments will be met with derision and so are most welcome. Spelling, grammar and adherence to dictionary-quality vocabulary will be at my whim as suits a man who recognized that the value of the English language suffered a fatal blow the day he uttered those immortal words “English is a language in transition.” Proofreading and corrections will be done on a volunteer basis by anyone foolish enough to volunteer. Length will be variable and while I cherish linearity with the heart and soul of one who is one with lineariticity, I have every intention of betraying my beliefs for the sake of convenience and ass-saving.
All rules subject to change. Even this one.
Thus In the Future, Having Been Forwarded, Forewarned & C.
After some lengthy thought, I have decided not to wait and write when the wit wanes but strike forward, fearlessly forming footnotes as the feelings flow. I will write ahead and damned be him who first cries hold, enough.
I am going to write mostly on the iPad using IA Writer and use Dropbox to synch it all up amongst desktops, mobile devices etc.
Anyway, here’s a picture to start…
In the beginning there was light. The overwhelming brightness of a glowing computer screen blasting out photons and mocking the void that was creativity.
An empty page, a data-less file, a freshly scraped hide, a dark and dank cave wall dripping with guano and the droppings of tiny, unseen but hideous manifestations of our imaginations; for millennia the ache of nothingness has infected the ebb and flow of the narrative with nothing and no one to stem the tide. And then, one day, during one small but painfully bright moment, there came into the genre: the narrator.
Our narrator, who I assure you squirms anxiously in the wings, awaiting his moment, yet dreading the soon-to-be-crushing weight that this momentary pause holds at bay, is not the threadbare, anemic sort of narrator that has been so common of late; indeed this narrator is fully endowed with the sacraments of the three O’s. as omniscient as the dungeon master settling in to massacre and torment his unknowing party of adventurers; as omnipresent as that itch that inevitably accompanies the rash you picked up last weekend but have no recollection just how it came to reside in such an odd place on your body; and as omnipotent as the eccentric film director whose epiphanaic moment of self-aggrandizement has finally led him to the ultimately self-destuctive conclusion of “Ending-schmending, I shall create multiple endings! And there shall be no ending for tiny insignificants that are waiting, never to be satiated. Ah, ha ha haaaa!”
Our narrator. Not tall of stature, but stout and righteous. Neither arrogant nor megalomaniacal but sure in himself and of unshakable faith. Possessed of little arrogance, not desirous of power, yet a creature of tiny twists and turns of mythical proportion and a manipulator of Byzantine complexities. Our narrator awaits, stage right.
Ahem. I assure you that, as an introduction, that one applies mostly to the previous “narrator” and not to myself. And frankly, while I wouldn’t want it to get around, I’m a bit offended that they let such an unobservant fellow into the narrator’s role, even as a mere meta-narrator. Disgraceful conduct and not even clever. Someone should do something, really they should. Shouldn’t they.
Now, where was I? Ah, did that, won’t do that, like that, but let’s save it for later… So, there’s this bit, this bit and… Yes.
Well then, our exposition, story, narrative, what have you, needs a beginning. Now, one might think the beginning has necessarily begun as we are well into the filling of the page, but let me assure you, it most assuredly has not. These things need structure and precision, and without proper beginnings they are just so much twiddle and twaddle. So you begin to see my role. I am here as a gentle and kind moderator of truth and stylistic integrity. I shall bring morality to this little exercise and gently and lovingly keep all on the side of propriety. In other words, I am the path and all shall follow my direction lest they stray into the deep, dark, fearsome and inevitably soul-destroying woods. And no one would want that. Would they.
So, shall we discuss some rules? For while I embrace freedom and liberty, open-mindedness and the inevitable triumph of truth and forthrightness, I do think we need a bushel or so of carrots and perhaps a cord or three of sticks to help things along the way. I’ve heard of characters and plots and such that eschew such things as frivolous, but we all know a bit of the social grease is necessary if we’re to get along. Don’t we.
Then to begin with. No foreign languages. I find them pretentious and exclusionary. While Mr. Pound may be in the business of deciding who is and who is not worthy, I prefer to leave that to the good graces of the audience. And speaking of that, the correct use of capitalization. While I recognize the contribution of the cummings and goings, I don’t find the pretension worth the Nichol. Oh, and as for bad jokes, weak referential humour and even worse writing, well I’m afraid that’s just the price we must be willing to pay. Mustn’t we.
Comedy is excess. Deus ex machina is in, happy endings are a positive thing, references to human suffering, poverty and the unbearable are to be kept in check, and there will be absolutely no aliens. None. We all agree -isms and -ists are out except as foils, there will be no philosophies, theories or epiphanies, and pontificating, erudition, proselytizing, and/or use of the soapbox will be held to be ridiculous, fantastic or simply misplaced and misinformed. Unless, of course they fall under the Narrator’s purview, because we all understand there must be some authority. Don’t we.
And now we must set the scene. I have a small basket of odds and ends here. Let me see… Poops like a bunny? Oh-Grrr the Ogre? Why Dragons breathe like anyone else? Or maybe a retelling of Shakespeare’s greatest tales from the point of view of a space-traveling, rock-climbing dirtbagger with literary aspirations?
Day one. The infernal machine isn’t working. I dreamt I had it all up and running last night, so obviously I assumed that today would be the day. I hate fate.
Still, obligations are obligations and the show must go on and once more unto the breach and all that nonsense. I suppose if I spend another hour or so and a snifter or two tinkering, no could blame me. After all it’s the effort you put in, not the goals that you achieve that count. And I suppose the fun you have along the way.
Of course none of the glasses are clean again. I really must do something about getting some help around here. Maybe they could help with the machine too. That’s the ticket: a warm body to tidy up, keep the snifter full and deliver a whack or two to that miserable hunk of junk. Now where is that bottle?
I simply adore this chair. The light is right, the view sublime and it is to comfort what a mediocre bottle of Californian Pinot is to a 78 Romanée Conti. In fact, sitting really reminds of that summer in Bourgogne. Of course that might be the smell of spilled wine. Ha. Still, a moment here won’t be wasted. After all the machine isn’t going anywhere, more’s the pity. Another splash, I think.
I suppose I could do something about that; who’s to notice? The wretched thing has been forgotten by everyone else. No one has asked about it in years. It just sits there, mocking my efforts, unmanning me at its convenience. Well, at least I don’t have to dust it. Whatever those vibrations are, they certainly keep it polished up nicely; plays hell with my decanters, though. Too bad, it would make a lovely end table.
Ah, that’s nice. I always did pity those unfortunates who couldn’t bring themselves to step up and acquire the good stuff. Life’s too short. Better to drink today than drown tomorrow… Must remember that one, sounds profound without committing myself to any real philosophy. Wouldn’t do to be labeled at my age now, would it.
Still, I suppose that we all have our prices to pay. And right now it’s that misbegotten hunk of whatever sitting right there in my sitting room, like it belongs there instead of in whatever bizarre vortex it manifested itself from. A plague on me. A plague on my family. A plague of unimaginable proportions, and someone else should be dealing with this. I have no idea what I ever did to deserve it. Where is that miserable bottle? Ridiculous situation. Simply untenable and ridiculous.
Still. Keeps me in refreshments. At least for the nonce. And the chair is comfortable. And the light, so warm, comfortable indeed.
God, I’m thirsty. I really need to do something about that disgusting mess in the sink. Ah, just a sip to start the engines running. Just…
What? The dream… I remember something. From the dream. I think… I… Yes. Yes! Just turn that bit like so. YES! YES!
It is done.
God, I need a drink.
RANDOM CHARACTER GENERATOR
Version 4.2b. (c) 1983 Acme Incorporated
START UP SEQUENCE INITIATED
ACCESSING MAIN SUBROUTINES …
ACCESSING HISTORICAL DATABASES …
ACCESSING PRIMARY LOGIC TREES …
***STARTUP SEQUENCE COMPLETE***
INPUT SEQUENCE INITIATED
NUMBER OF CHARACTERS: 1
***INPUT SEQUENCE COMPLETE***
OUTPUT SEQUENCE INITIATED
INTELLIGENCE: 16.3 2+
EQUIPMENT: clothes, hat, boots, another hat
SPECIAL ITEMS: beaver
SPECIAL ATTRIBUTES: allergic to hats
**OUTPUT SEQUENCE COMPLETE***
SHUT UP SEQUENCE INITIATED
WARNING WARNING WARNING WARNING
HIBERNATION MODE CORRUPT
SHUT DOWN MODE CORRUPT
EMERGENCY SHUTDOWN SEQUENCE FAILED
WARNING WARNING WARNING WARNING
Acme Incorporated advises you to maintain
a 1000m distance from this device.
This is your final warning.
Acme Incorporated will not be liable for any
damages to exposure to alcohol or cat dander.
FINAL WARNING INITIATED
RANDOM CHARACTER GENERATOR
Version 4.2bBbBb. (c) 0000 Acme Inc.
Gareth and the beaver had an odd relationship. Neither liked the other much, but they had gradually developed a sort of symbiosis. The beaver had a particular interest in things like that. As a young kit, he had been fascinated with things like symbiotic relationships and their companion concepts like antagonism, commensalism and mutualism. He hadn’t yet arrived at a place where he was willing to commit, but there was time. There was nothing but time.
It was true that the beaver missed the pond. It was equally true that Gareth refused to flood the apartment. These things being true the beaver had decided that he would wait until the nature of their interaction had been more clearly defined before taking any sort of action. After all it seemed to him that if Gareth woke up one morning floating like a waterlogged tuber in what had previously been his immaculate bedroom, the relationship might be tilted a bit prematurely to something not unlike parasitism.
And of course there was that lemon tree in the living room to consider. True, it was small and not yet even a proper snack, but the beaver could smell the potential and, as it has been noted, the beaver was patient to a fault. Still, the beaver spent many a pleasant hour lying in the dappled light the half-meter tall Meyer lemon afforded, imaging the rough texture of that lightly scented bark sliding against his teeth and the first taste of heart wood as he slowly and delicately cleaved that delicious morsel of a shrub into tiny, tiny pieces.
Really the only downside of the whole experience vis a vis the wondrous lemon was its stupid predilection for making those stinky flowers. It was a cause of not inconsiderable annoyance each and every time the beaver was forced to nip the buds before they blossomed. They tasted bad. Waxy and sickly sweet. And in the process of deflorinating the soon-to-be-succulent snack, he often got a taste of the tender branch that had produced the flower. A tantalizing, almost irresistible taste. How anyone expected him to maintain his decorum in the face of such temptation was beyond him. It was only the aftertaste of the flower that had allowed him to develop some Pavlovian resistance to the urge to eat now, regret later.
Gareth for his part, was indifferent to all this, or so the beaver had always assumed.
That morning, as the sun moved slowly across the hardwood floor, the beaver snuggled into his beloved lemon and dreamed the dreams of the virtuous.
Gareth mused to himself, ”I have always loved the light in this apartment.” Barefoot he walked across the floor and stood watching the golden ray of light that illuminated the dust particles floating in the air. They danced. There really was no other word to describe the intricate swooping and swirling.
“It really is one of those little everyday miracles, isn’t it,” he murmured to himself.
“Well, time to get this day started,” he declared to the empty apartment.
Gareth wandered toward the kitchen with a side glance at the stubby little Meyers Lemon in the corner.
“A pity,” he thought, “that plant never has bloomed. Must not be enough light in here. Sure would be nice to see a lemon or two, though.” Upon receiving the lemon, Gareth had looked it up. Supposedly it would produce a few lemons each year with very little maintenance, but he had long ago decided he was cursed with a black thumb.
Looking back at the living room from the kitchen counter, he pondered the ball of fur and whiskers folded around the lemon’s pot. “I still don’t get that beaver,” he thought. “I wonder what his name is…”
Gareth grabbed a few eggs, some green onions and the tub of margarine and proceeded to scramble up some breakfast, for the thousandth time putting the enigma of the beaver out of his mind. Time enough for that later. There’s always time enough.
Edward is a bunny. He walks like a bunny. He hops like a bunny. He even talks like a bunny. Which is why he thought it particularly curious when the beaver pointed out to him the obvious: that he pooped like a bunny. It had been many years since that odd occurrence, but it still stuck with Edward.
Often, when the days were slow and lazy like this particular day, Edward would stretch out, hind legs splayed behind and forelegs thrust to the front, and ponder the possible meanings of what was, on the surface, an obvious observation. So obvious in fact that it must have a deep and Nietzschean-level philosophical intent.
The beaver in question had been, after all, not your ordinary beaver. For one thing he talked, and quite clearly, despite the enormous handicap of overly large incisors. A talking beaver must certainly be something of note. For another he was wandering through what could only be classified as an urban centre. Beavers, outside of the occasional gentleman’s hat, were not found in urban centres. It just wasn’t done. Bunnies, cats, the occasional coyote and once a moose of particular note, yes; but beavers were not fast enough, large enough or handsome enough to be allowed to roam freely in and amongst the general populace.
As a corollary to that, the beaver didn’t seem out of place. In fact he seemed quite at ease and was by and large ignored as he waddled his away across the square to the tree where Edward was enjoying the comings and goings of folk. Beavers were said to be high strung at the best of times, so a calm, talking beaver waddling through city central was definitely a figure to stick in the average bunny’s mind. And it had.
It had been many years and quite a few miles since the incident in question. Edward was nothing if not peripatetic. And nocturnal. And a bit of a narcissist. All of which to say that the beaver episode was more properly thought of as a distant event and not at all pertinent to this particular sunny morning in this particular park.
A twitch of his ears and and a shiver that started at his nose and quickly rippled down the length of his snowy white body until it shuddered off his thick furry toes, and Edward hopped to his feet and headed for the market. It was Wednesday, market day in the quad off the park, and Edward had things to do.
At the edge of the grassy area Edward paused. And pooped.