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Fifteenth Sitting

Wow, this feels dandy. I'm telling a story, now, a story arising of necessity from the free association gradual self-realization that is Tripe (I say this to try to convince myself that I'm not merely going to digress at some great length). Many issues are undoubtedly arising as we speak. For instance, I've hinted at the relation between Tripe and the actual outside social world with its purposefulness and its sweet taboos. We will have to get to see how a narrative form such as this can embrace the accounting of actual situations, and how people who think like the preceding prose can actually deal with other people without being slapped too many times. This is no longer just a stomping ground for you lonely reader and the rest of me, but an open window on the frightening world with actual peoples with names (though I'm not sure if I'm going to tell you any of them or not). Then there is the question of narrative form. A story can obviously be told from a number of points of view, but the best stories are told from lots of points of view, which means I/we must pump up on this sympathy thing and see if we can't bullshit a few chapters spoken by a character other than myself. This may be easy if the spouting of Tripe truly is a universal impersonal language inherent in and uniting every one of us, but this may be difficult if I want to actually create characters, which are of necessity smaller than real people and certainly smaller than the great pretentious monolith of cosmic inevitability which has been the pretense for getting you to keep reading this book (or was that a different book, that one on 609 ways to make pizza out of various obscure vegetables, most of which look like internal organs scorched by years of smoking?). Okay, maybe I don't have a clue what I'm talking about. My point was that there's lots of fun stuff to think about in taking this little turn of style and plot, so you should stop sneering please. Thank you, my sweet.

Gurgle gurgle. Fizz fizz. --Crack!--

Thank you. That was a short passage written from the point of view of some random inanimate object. I will not specify which, as such objects have no sense of self, and I feel I should respect that. ("Bah! This is Tripe!" a reader cries, slapping the book shut with a resounding <<Thump!>>. Well duh.)

...Just doing narrative warm-ups. I betcha don't know how many fingers I'm holding up. Well, I will not tell you, but instead show you, using a short parable:

...And so Las Vegas sat out in his garden speaking to the many children, who frankly seemed more interested in pulling all the bark off a certain unfortunate tree. "The bark is to the tree what the GM plant is to this city; it is an eyesore, knotted and imperfect, but supplies the fuel to keep the citree growing and growing, for you and your children and your children's children." The kids continued peeling, heedless of this, Las Vegas's first and pretty feeble though obvious and inaccurate attempt at a parable. "Cut it out," snapped the wise and venerable soul, smacking a few of the kids with his stick, no, not just a few kids but exactly 3. Three, that is.

What this narrative shows us is that narratives need characters. Why, who could forget the trials and travails of that lovable old codger Las Vegas and those mischievous children? This is because they were all so thoroughly yet effortlessly characterized, using literary devices like the simile ("The kids continued peeling like limpets, heedless..."), the roundabout ("The, uh, the youngsters, I mean, no, they were... kids, I think, and they, um, uh, continued peeling, heedless...), and the randomly-chosen adjectives ("The pervasive, droll, and scintillating kids continued peeling, heedless...). With this in mind and a vague but sharp uneasy gnawing in my stomach, I will have to introduce some characters for the present endeavor. They may have the same names as people you know, but this only means that I am parodying your life because I, once again, hate you, for you have degraded yourself and brought shame upon your family for not paying for this book, or in any case not paying enough.

If ya want my body and ya think I'm sexy, come on baby let me know. I'm 6'0", oozing with skin and bones; I like biking, music, and playing with the garden weasel. Though I've graduated from college, I'm thinking of going back, because Jerry Fallwell made Liberty University sound so appealing (once again, if you fail to catch a reference, simply pass on and watch more TV so you'll be ready for the next one.). Why, did you know that rock music today is teaching youth to worship pleasure as an end in itself in opposition to Christ, and glorifies violence and perverted sex both explicitly and through back-masking (try to play your CD's backward (by placing upside-down in the player) and see if I'm wrong. Go ahead. I dare you. Plus, if you scribble on them in green marker, they'll sound better (Yes, more media references. I refuse to explain them. You may be frustrated, but grit your teeth. Humor depends upon common experiences, and can I help it if you're just too special? (I am a children's TV game show host.)))? ((((Did you know that people sometimes disappear into parentheses and are never heard from again? `Strue!)))) I usually feel high like an eagle, yet lower than the deep blue sea (You see, we characters, to be related to others through narrative, are necessarily permutations of various clichés strung together.).

"I will touch the sky should you dare me," said I to she.

"Jeez. While I find your taunt titillating, I wish you'd just be normal for once," Camera follows She. She's a gray-eyed bombshell with a heart of soft warm clay spinning on the potter's wheel-thing, and a mind divided. Shall she stay with the habitual -- the deep and powerful with a gut-wrenching hold yet boring and ultimately destructive, or turn towards the unknown, the appealing yet slightly scary and ultimately hopeless (as all things are)?

And, of course, Him the damaged. "I'm so damaged I can taste it," He was once heard to say. He's into nuclear engineering, Pakistani history, and necromancy. He was once seen in a bowling alley, but he claimed he was "just buying a smoking pet." When asked for a skin sample he replied "I have no skin. What I have has no name that can be pronounced."

All right. This will stop now. I obviously can't deal, whether it be with the narrative as a literary form or with speaking of myself or others as actual human beings, or with my impending doom. I don't know, and the fact that this is a what? section doesn't help.

Okay, I will define: A what? section involves lots of unexplained loose ends and seemingly nonsensical (i.e. free association but not Tripe(TM)) references, all set forward with the malicious intent of making the conscientious reader say "what?" What is self-defeating about this is the conflicting intention with which it is purveyed. On the one hand it is a joke set to make "conscientious" readers a bit less anal and tacky and just flow with the prose. On the same hand in a different spot it's a lament at the gap of Being (GaSein), the separateness and isolation and other synonyms between author and reader. Frankly, I'd like you to write this book for me with your own imaginative expectations, yet still give me your money, and buy me a Slurpee besides.

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© 1993 Mark A. Linsenmayer [ Contents ]