Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The fear of Mannequins

Jesse S. Mitchell

previous part, http://santiagosession.blogspot.com/2014/09/vaudevillian-bombardment-fantasy-a.htmlhere

A long time ago, I taught myself to be afraid of mannequins.  All those hard plastic soulless things staring from behind glass.  Some slavery race, some mercantile tribe of awful dead-eyed creatures.  I confess at first, they did not fill me with dread.  In fact, I barely noticed them at all.  Like so many other things I am meant to have strong opinions about or on, feelings of, towards, love of…white wine, sushi, red-heads…they in reality have little to no effect on me.  But it eventually became apparent to me, that these immovable beasts of commercialism, being what they were, should be something I viewed with the most stringent of abhorrence.  I had set myself up to be a certain kind of man, with certain viewpoints and a particular morality, a strong if not different, code of ethics.  Mannequins, robotically appeasing, whorishly viable, ubiquitous, slavish, should be something of an enemy to me.  I should fear their gaze.  I should fear their appearance.  Endeavor to avoid them, to avoid being like them, shun being in places populated by them.
Now, I can barely sleep at night knowing the damned things exist out there somewhere, modeling board shorts or tank tops, bright neon-yellow low-top shoes.  My life is partially ruined having to share my space on this planet with their long polyurethane limbs.  And god, what they look like abandoned, broken apart, appendages slipped off, piled up in heaps, cast off into dungy trash dumpsters.  The coldness.  Brutal evil.
This is the life I have chosen to live.
My path.
Ah pedantic screwery.
Let us, you and I, freeze the blood then in the veins.  Throw up the barriers, and block the roads.
Let us clot the thoughts, and slow the words.  Let us expire as smoke and smoldering burns and not as fast fire.
Impetuous.  Petty impetuosity. Meanness.  That way lays death.  Rashness.  But fear not the dead, their ways are cut off from the living.
And then the sun retreats further behind the clouds.  Approaching storms.  The long gray overcast, under it, you can see the ghosts.  The phantoms hidden all the long bright days because those shadows do not show under the sun, the sun that can show anything but instead behind the gloom that can reveal nothing, nothing but them, the shades of things all long dead and supposedly departed.  And if you do see them, it is because you move quietly, more quietly than anyone else, or even the wind that wraps itself around you and all solid objects in the incorporeal lust of equalizing forces, no, you move quietly and you look quietly and you see… you see them and if you do, if you do see them then you can hear them also…the sounds they make.  The music, the symbols and little broken bits of harmony, of melody.  You can see them and you can hear them and you can watch them move, they won’t interfere… and you can hear them, then you can use their words, their words cut off from the ways of the living.  Speak their language.
You see, every moment in time is here with us.  Right now.  Everything is right now.  History, Immediate present, Science-fiction, we all stuck together right here, right now, and not moving, not one little bit.  Paying electricity bills, driving in our cars, serving rude businessmen lunch, losing our keys in the couch, stuck still and never ever removing a bit of ourselves.
And there are no such thing as ghosts, no such thing as illusions, phantoms or miracles.  That is just us.  Us seeing us.
Perceiving us.
Everybody just trying to make it.
Trying to survive.
But all we are is ephemera, everyone of us, everything we do, trivia.  Passing glances, something small, something slight seen from the corner of the eye.
In the great brave field of memory, something bold at first, writ large in gold glowing letters but the wilt and the fade creeps up behind the explosive and grand, and the colors run and the anemia sets in… and we all die by degrees and  gathering deficiency, we grow pale, we grow pallid.  So, long after we die, we die again.  But the joy in that is that we left behind the strength, strength enough to die again.
But what happens once, happens again, and there is no time, no nothing disappearing into the dark, climbing, clamoring over the horizon seeking to be gone and vanishing away.  You are watching a thing very different than any of that when you perceive the dying away of all your mortality. An evaporation not a casualty, a resettling of particles from one place to another, like flocks of birds that take flight from one tree top and land down in another. When the days escape you, they carry you away with them.  A second, an atom, an atom a second.  Falling off.
So what is it that makes a soulless thing such a monster, the immovability, the motionless frozenness, the staleness.  What doesn’t lie behind their eyes?  What is there to fear?  The certainty of never knowing uncertainty?  Mannequins.  Plastic brought halfway to life.    But not near enough.  But not near enough.
Us seeing us.
Perceiving us.
But not near enough.
But then, there is always that little light in the dark, low down, casting long shadows, flickering flame in our eyes.  Distorting all we see, confusing it for hope, for future, for faith.
And our hearts were formed in tempest, with wild winds all around.
Our bodies separately, far out in the calmer seas, ebbing near the shore with the tides.
And all that keeps them together still is the continual apprehension of storms, the amazement and appreciation of all those violent belligerent things.  Things destructive.
The  big booms.
The shaking walls.
But aye!
That’s the soul isn’t it?
All those can’t-be-forgot moments filled with tremors and grand mal, petite mort, vicious rush of blood to the brain, scary blurring of the vision, feckless, fearless, out-of-breath, speechless or over-speeched vacuums of space, abhorrent.
Believe me.
And I’m here with you still…
Believe me.
So, whispers and shadows and displaced minutes and sneaking away life, stealing confidences, weakening resolves, numbing sensibilities, and all the sweetest songs ever blown by winds or sung by lips, and all the wisest wisdoms, the grandest perceptions, the bitterest mistakes, and all the little words and biggest motions, belong…belong to us.  Stretch themselves long in our ever widening minds.  Nothing limited but by our imaginations and all our imaginings happen right here, right now, with us.
But the world is fucked
So, run amok.
No that isn’t advisable.
May be fun
But in the long run, hollow.
We don’t stand a chance.
Bound to lose.
Listen and I ramble on, some sort of suicide note, last will and testament of some old mythological god to my humble lot, worshipfully hanging on every word. I’ll rumble down the mountain, thunder bolts and lightning.
Well listen, my advice to you… What I’d to say is this…
I’d like to say, what an awful place this is, we all inhabit, a blood drenched sand ball, half-dead and the other half starving its way there.  Disgusting.  But it isn’t entirely your fault.  You turned out the only way you could have… You turned out the way you were made to be but I, I had no idea it would all come together this way.  But it did.  And it cannot stay that way.  Come on, you have to see that…I can’t let this go on forever.  I made you stupid and I made you smart and I made you tall and I made you ridiculous and powerful and ugly and wicked and I made you all good, I made you all good too.  But you have torn apart the world.  I did something wrong.  I meant for it all to be interesting, to be fulfilling on so many levels.  I meant for it to be a ’teaching experience’ for all of us.  But not to be broken and not to be wrong.  But it is.  My fault.
Existentialism isn’t you saying good-bye  to me.  It’s me saying good-bye to you.
But listen, at least do this…
Go out, scatter, every different direction, go everywhere.  Every corner and put your ear in the air, your hands on the ground, get a good taste for the place.  Get to know everything and everywhere that is beautiful and good.  But don’t ever take anything away.  Let it be.  Never take something beautiful, something good.
Make something beautiful and good.
Leave something beautiful and good.
Or at the very least
Do not distrub something beautiful and good.
A writer needs to say that to his characters.  I made you this way.  I wrote your little souls this way.  So if you disappoint me, it is my fault.  I didn’t refrain you.  I am still too rough.  Not good enough.  Wad up the paper ball, rub your forehead, toss the garbage away.  What on Earth is wrong with me?  Why can’t I get this right?  Just right?  Good and bad.  Wrong and right.  Heroes and monsters.  The ratios are all wrong.  The plot isn’t right.  The facts are all off.  Inconsistencies.  The characters don’t make sense.
Start again.
Sorry guys.
I can’t  believe any myth or any legend was ever born from a place of devotion.  Devotion deadens.  Takes away the human skepticism.  The flavor.
To write about gods, one mustn’t believe in any.  No story told in good faith has any life and no story devoid of life, captures, a story never heard never gets repeated.
You can never write about a thing you put any faith in, believe in…
Maybe you have a knowledge of it
Maybe you have an understanding of it
Maybe you even have a deep appreciation of it
But you never can be taken in by it.
Trust a word of it.
You have to be able to know when it bends and breaks, the lies, the embellishments, you have to be able to see it from the outside, all sides, the whole sphere, all the way around.  Not from the inside looking out, trying to perceive it all at once from down on the ground.  That’s how you get abhorrence of light, red shift, distortions, mumbles, slurs.
Further you can’t properly break the rules of a thing you reverence. You have to have a tendency towards anarchy… or at least treason.
That’s a thing that can’t be learned.
You have to be able to blasphemous, fearlessly blasphemous.
That’s a thing that can’t be taught.
Everything is a big damned lie and that’s what is so great about it.  Standing under this sky, populated with so many word-spun angels, those camp fire exaggerations, elaborations, tapestries, unwound and unfurled blankets filled with stars and lies of stars, constellations of stars, we know we aren’t under any titanic heavy weight but puffs and wisps and shadows of history…and not actual histories but the histories of total fiction. No pressure at all, no matter what we do.  All fictions and fantasies.  We made it all up.
 And nothing is ever all that important and nothing is ever all that permanent and it all changes and goes away and stays exactly the same and the only way into the perpetually of it is in the creativity of your storytelling.  In your lie making.
The only time any of those old stories matter is when you are trying to tell yours better.
Now, there’s a rock to build your church.
But settle down, all you psychotics, calm your minds.  All of that is history and history is gone or even if it is here, still with us, it doesn’t belong and we don’t feel it as strongly.  It is more the claustrophobic buzz you hear in the air anytime anything gets too near.
It is all biology.
Physical science. Properties of things.  Predictions.  Data.  And analysis.

Post hoc fallacy: latin, from ergo propter hoc. “After this, therefore because of this”.  it is the erroneous assumption that because something happens first, it caused the other thing to happen, or very leastwise directly influenced it.

Non sequitur fallacy: latin, “It does not follow”.  the linking of two or more ideas that have no logical connection.

Hikikomori: Japanese, “Pulling inward, confining withdrawal”. a psychological state of extreme reclusiveness and social withdrawal, to the point of an absolute refusal of society or culture.

But only memories left ever after, dried out tired old ground can only hold so much, and most of the best of it is reserved for the dead.  And we are left for ghosts, we who remain.
But it is the lifeless things though, it is all the lifeless unhuman things that really haunt this world. The unintelligible baffling roar of wild confusion, the struck-blind-bright emptiness, the huge rush static-loud of watery waves, the drowning in the unnatural plastic deadly-deadly numb of it.  There is the horror. There is the terror.
But we have control problems.
So, let’s invent the devil into it, into the whole thing.
Control issues.
Everyone of us.  That is what makes it so easy to believe all the stories.
We will accept anything.  Anything.  So long as it is about us.
Look, I resent it all too, the hate the power gravity holds over me.  Pulling on me, pressing me down, bending my knee.  I hate the feeling of being a chaotic whim of a super-big, super-massive mother nature, storm-head, invasion force, impartiality.
So we create something bigger than us, in case there ever is anything bigger than us, we won’t notice it and it will go away because we already have something bigger than us and we made it all up, so it isn’t scary and it isn’t threatening and nothing is wrong because we are in charge of it all anyway.
And that is why the multitudes of demons and scores of monsters and the countless books filled with them, when nothing of the sort ever existed but now, because of them, we have total power over everything, nature, storms, fires, floods, hurricanes, fear.  Perception.  We changed our brains.  We perceived.  And we became.
You will rue the day.
Paint it red on all your calendars, save the date,
You ever menaced a human being.

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