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October 15, 2017

Listen, because this is where the story begins.


Storytelling usually consists of characters. Sometimes they call it fiction, or literature.  Characters do things, some writers insist on putting their characters in a tree and throwing rocks at them. Some characters are stoned to death in the tree, I’d say most come down. Kafka never let them come down, but in Hollywood they usually are allowed to come down. People in Hollywood rarely know what it feels like to die in the branches of a tree, so most of their characters are allowed to come down. And step into a sappy house with a sappy blonde and three boys who get into shenanigans, but they are loved all the same, golden retrievers and all. Most of the time they’re even better off having had the experience, because someone somewhere must have been under the impression that having rocks thrown at you builds character.


Since without your eyes, your mind, your traumatic experiences, their is no story and in that case what are we doing here (?) and, rather, here is some blank space for doodles, shopping list, memo-


Assuming you are a person, or at the very least a conscious being with agency and a few stories of getting lost in Macy’s and a cashier gave you a red balloon and you had a red balloon when your mother picked you up from the shiny fluorescent floor, but you were crying, because it was just so scary and uncertain; then go on.


Make some characters for me, will you? Two should do the trick.


Maybe I’m too much of a pessimist or too A-D-D to imagine a world where you would have listened to me, or where I have a say, but I don't get the impression that any description I articulate would have had much influence on the matter, so YOU (yes, you), you create the characters (even me? even you), deal with the pedantic minutia, the “backstory,” as I sharpen these granite stones that lay by my feet to a pointed edge. A pointed edge, because this time we will aim to kill.


One character down?


Freud would likely say: “it appears like your mother,” but I think it is more reminiscent of your father.


Now create once more, this time the exact opposite of what you already have so that if all people were born with a thread that extends from their back wherever they go, these two would never tangle. In fact, they would have never even come remotely close to one another in proximity, livelihood, moral compass, blah blah blah blah blah.


Good. The odd couple.


Now, how (brown cow) they come to the same tree I have little to no knowledge of this, nor do I know why they simultaneously begin to climb, most likely driven by an external force. A guiding hand, a force of nature pressing down upon them like gravity. An author.

I do know that at this point they have reached the apex of the tree’s height and whether they know it or not, things are looking pretty bleak for our hero or villain, or both, or neither.

And, I do know that we (me and you) are observing in a SafeWay that lies a safe distance away. Hugging the perimeter of whatever setting you chose, and choose carefully please, and with as much detail as possible, at the risk of this becoming very boring, very quickly. Desert, tundra, the edge of the earth, a place where someone knows our character's deepest darkest secrets and will promptly expose them on live TV once the news team arrives on the scene. This may take some time if we're talking LA traffic, but that is most certainly up to you.

One of your creations may even google in a panicked frenzy of frustration and anger, with one mighty (wimpy) arm wrapped around the tree steadying their balance, “how to stop newanchor drkk secret TV now” and to which our other protagonist (antagonist?) may find clarity, or serenity, feeling lost in a complicated world where they no longer have the burden of keeping such a terrible and revealing secret. This responsibility passes over them like a wave, despite the devastating capacity of what lies ahead.

Or none of the above and the two are quite content with one another, life, etc. as they mull about in the canopy and explore the infinite potential of their differences or, possibly, find some common ground, somewhere (pineapple?).  

Hard to say what's going on up there, as we are both so far away, but one thing is for certain; these rocks have been sharpened to a pin prick and it's about time they are implemented.

Lets keep it simple out of fear that you should mistaken this for an allegory or anything at all that transcends the physical action of throwing stones. The rocks do not represent anything. Period. As they pierce, bruise, gape, slash, slice the skin of our tree-fellows upon impact, this is not to be misconstrued as some cheap long winded metaphor for the deterioration of American contemporary literature. Nor a satire of the formula upon which storytelling has been methodically condensed to. No, none of that.

I am only here to serve one purpose. To chuck rocks at a couple of faceless people that mean little to me and you. I will do so without spite, anger, contention, but rather out of necessity. This act is completely impersonal and no, that is not intentional as to represent the terrible atrocities committed to those who cannot speak for themselves or the disenfranchised masses. I will make the distinction as clear as the day that you may have envisioned this story to take place in: I am here for the rocks. You do the rest, or don't do the rest since we both know where destiny and fate is heading. So why invest the emotion or the imaginative energy? Now you may ask yourself, “well then why should I invest the time? Why don't I go ahead and stop reading?” and to you I will pose the same question.

Maybe you’re intrigued or maybe you can’t tear your eyes away like a car crash unfolding or a hangnail you are working at that is getting more painful per millimeter, and by God stop it already. Or maybe, probably not, you are holding on to hope for a happy outcome. That, you think, I’m stalling. That I won’t do it.

But these characters were made to die. Look at how they live so unassuming in the tree, content with nothing or everything. And that is in fact my one condition. That they have no knowledge of their fate. I don't give a damn who, why, when, what, where they are or how, all that I insist is that they have no premonition of the events that will be unfolding. Because if every sexy teenager stabbed to death in a slasher film knew about the masked murderer hiding in their closet, than where would the fun be? We would finger the hole on the bottom of our red felt chair and eye the cuticles under our fingernails, as they what? marched to their death with a solidarity of Jesus facing the cross?

You watched the movie so you could see a bunch of kids get cut up with the assumption that maybe one or two make it out, doesn’t matter which one, probably the one who was against camping in the first place or the 2nd hottest teenage girl, but rest assured there will be blood. You don't even have to see the movie to know that. In fact, if you didn’t see the movie there still will be blood, because you really don’t need to hear a tree fall in the middle of the woods to know that it made a noise. Because of course it did.

But what of the countless stories shelved in frozen animation inside the heads of short-attention/disinterested readers? What of all of Schroedinger’s boxes suspended in hypothetical limbo due to indecision? Do hypothetical kittens need to eat as well?

Well, regardless. You’ve made it to the end. You’ve opened the box. This time Pandora found rocks at the bottom. So take them and finish the story. Will you?


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