Archive for May, 2009

29
May
09

Like dominoes

Two more friends down.

Four left.

Dublin’s dying and it’s all too soon.

Feeling down in the mouth. I’ll make a proper post soon.

Adios, Sam and Josh.

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27
May
09

Demons caught my tail!

Well, not really much to report. I’m done with four of my five finals, two of them went smashingly, two of them went, well, they smashed me, i guess. I don’t much care, though. The year’s just about done and so is my imaginary life here in this imaginary continent its inhabitants call europe. Too, that means i’m heading back to the real world that i normally live in with all those real people that live in Minnesota. The friends i’ve met here will be left here. And it’s very sad, but i don’t want to talk about that now. I’ll get to it later. Afraid to put it down in words and make it an actuality. Best to let it drift a bit until leaving is inevitable, though it’s only eleven days away, i think.

This last weekend went quite well. It was Africa Day here in Dublin and there was a big africa festival. A very good time, that. Too, saw The Republic of Loose again there, which is an irish band that’s a bit funk, a bit soul, and a lot of a good time. I saw them for the first time way back in January at RagBall, which was also a good time that i think i never mentioned on here. I get lazy, it seems. I should link a video here of the Loose boys, but i’m feeling lazy.

Been spending my days doing not very much. Everyone’s off studying for their finals. Then Sam and Josh leave on Friday and there will only be a very small bit of our friend team together here. Writing some stories, about three being written at the same time here. All very different as they tend to be. One’s all surrealism and probably impossible to make sense of. Another one is conversations without context. And the last one is about a dead girl. Yeah, um, i don’t know. They’re all different in terms of style and structure and all that.

Well, i’ll get to more things at a later date. Just wanted to update life on here. Things are kind of winding down and it’s a bit sad and frightening.

Life goes on even when you wish it wouldn’t.

Oh, and i’m home on June Seventh, can’t remember if i mentioned that. Get hyped.

21
May
09

this is not for you

Published today over at RedFez Magazine. Here’s a link to my story, This is Not for You. Save you a bit of time there. I’ve yet to read the other stories, but i recognise some of the names, such as Christ Dwyer, Alex Martin, Colin McKay Miller, and Gavin Pate, so check them out, too.

My story, meh, i wrote it over a year ago. Some of you read an earlier draft for it either in my class or on facebook. It’s changed a bit from then, pulled back the violence, but it’s still dark and brutal. Probably the darkest thing i’ve written. It’s not right for my current direction, but i forgot it was out there searching for publication and i got the surprise e-mail of acception for it. I mean, it feels good to be published, but it’s, well, just whatever, i guess.

Yeah, all from me. Give it a read if you’ve time. Also, in case you’ve not noticed, i’ve set up a page with all my published works in it as well as linking the stories over there on the right side of the page.

20
May
09

four planes, seven trains, six buses

Possibly more trains involved there. Hard to tell. What am i talking about? My most recent travels. First, though, we need to head way back in time to Trinity Ball. Oh, and all pictures are courtesy of Sarah Burton, once again, because she’s our photographer and i’ve yet to upload any pictures on facebook. Oh, by the way, this si sure to be a post of epic proportions. Should probably cut it up into thirds, but whatever. Take a break midway through and come back to me.

So, Trinity Ball, a time to get all dressed up in the nicest of clothes and get wasted with over six thousand schoolmates whilst concerts are going on. And, yeah, that was the intention. We’ll get to that. I put on my tux around four in the afternoon to see how it felt and how sweet i looked. Pretty sweet, turns out. I headed to Trevor’s around seven and they’re still preparing themselves. Apparently him and Rob, his guest at the time, drank the day away, fell asleep, and finally woke up to prepare for the night of drinking about to start. We bumble about in his room and finally head up to the girls around eight or nine or something. We all party and get ready and try to take group photos though it’s impossible to get a good one.

That’s probably the best one we got. From left to right: Trevor, Sam, Claire, some idiot, Sarah, LR, Josh [not pictured: Brittney (Sam’s guest) and Rob]. Anyway, the fun continues and we head to the Ball.

Immediately the Ball goes a bit wild. Claire hurts her leg and her and Sarah disappear with the medical crew. That’s the last i saw of them for the night. The night was spent bumbling around in the dark whilst drunk with a constantly cycling number and variety of teammates. Me and Trevor were together for most of it, though. Sometimes Sam was there, sometimes Brittney was there, sometimes Josh and LR, sometimes my friends from the Butler program. I’m not sure if it was really a fun time, but it was definitely one worth noting. A very strange time, mostly. Oh, and part of the problem with getting lost is that my phone ran out of credit about ten minutes after arriving there. Apparently my free texts stopped being free, but i did receive about thirty texts only saying, ‘Where are you?’ or, ‘Come here.’ But, yeah, no credit so i couldn’t say where i was or ask where they were.

But, yeah, i’ll just say it was a good time and defiitely worth experiencing.

Oh, and Calvin Harris was there and this song below would dominate a lot of my earspace for the trainrides. The video, mostly.

So funny, that.

Anyhoodle, the next day we head to Barcelona. This is bus one, by the way, going to the airport, i mean. The plane ride, number one,  is unreasonably cold and i get a bit of cabin fever, but we make it there around 930pm. Of course, then we need to take a 90 minute bus to Barcelona because Ryanair never really takes you to where you’re going. Bus two. We check into our hostel and just kind of wander the streets of Barcelona for a while. Sam, Brittney, Trevor, and Rob buy some sexy beers as the random dudes selling it on the streets called it. Later, we would find out that they store the beers in the sewers. Real sexy.

We go to sleep and head out to explore Barcelona the next day. Mike, Sarah, and i take a sightseeing bus tour in order to see as much as possible. We do. Sam, Brittney, Trevor, and Rob, we would later find out, spent the whole day on the balcony of our hostel room getting drunk. The corner our balcony overlooked was also apparently the drug corner of the Gothic District. Very funny stuff went on from the viewpoint of that balcony. Anyway, some pictures of what we saw around Barcelona while the others drank the day away because it’s better than me writing it all down.

Most things of interest in Barcelona were constructed by Gaudi. He’s quite a famous architect who built amazing;y intricate and interesting looking buildings. Anyway, that night we went out and had a good time out in Barcelona, even ate some Spanish cuisine.

The next day, the last day i would see Trevor in europe, was beach day. Unfortunately, the weather was against us. It didn’t rain or anything, but it was quite cold, or colder than we would’ve liked. Pictures of the day spent on the beach and wandering around Barcelona.

A nice team photo to end there. Some of those pictures are from miss Brittney Winter as well because Sarah was missing some key moments in time.

After that, we had to say goodbye to Rob and Trevor and Mike. Mike we’d all probably see again, Rob was only here briefly, but we enjoyed him. Trevor, though, man, Trevor’s a real loss. I mean, him being gone here is like a huge hole in Dublin. He was my partner in bafoonery for the last couple of months. I mean, now there’s no one to call midday to start drinking a bottle of wine with and watch Jay-z mashed up with The Verve. I’m being serious, so don’t laugh. I guess it hasn’t hit me yet since i’ve been mostly studying the past three or four days, but today, man, i’ll feel it and i’ll feel it more when the whole group gets back together. But, yeah, sucks to have a true friend disappear, especially here, because back in amerika, we live a thousand miles away from one another. Gotta keep in touch, though. I’m bad at it, but these people here, i want to remember them and keep knowing them. I’ll get to more of these thoughts later, probably at a different time. When leaving europe is just around the corner.

But, yeah, we bid them farewell. Sam cried, which made me get real sad about it. After we gathered ourselves and tried to pretend like we’d see Trevor in just a couple of days, we ate and Sarah and i walked Sam and Brittney to the metro because they moved to a different hostel.

We spent the rest of the time planning Munich and Salzburg. Got to sleep early as we had to wake up at 4am to catch a bus to the airport to make our plane on time.

Yeah, the next day would prove to be nonstop traveling. We check out of the hostel and walk to the bus station, arriving around 5am. We wait for the bus, the third of the trip, to take us to the airport, our second plane.

The busride goes by as it’s meant to. We make it through the airport easily and then have about an hour to wait for the flight. The flight goes by in flashes and blurs, constantly falling asleep, but only staying asleep for about five minutes at a time. We arrive in Hahn where we take a bus, number four, to Mainz where we would be heading to Munich from.

Okay, something to keep in mind, we saved about fifty euros each by traveling in the manner i’m going to explain. However, it also, we discovered, meant six extra hours in transit. At Mainz, we take a bus, number five, to a train. That train took us to another train, which took us to another train and so on. Hard to tell how many trains we rode. Somewhere between six and eight that day. Also, neither of us speak any German and the train stations were very unhelpful about planning your journey. Basically, unless you know where you’re going, you’ve no business on the trains. We didn’t. We thought we were lost for a very long time until we talked to a train employee who barely spoke english. He told us how to do the rest of our trip.

At this point, we’ve been riding trains for about eight hours and we’re losing it. So, what do we do?

Yeah, we get candy, ice cream, soda, and Jagermeister. It was the first time Sarah had ever drank Jag and we decided to make a game of it. Everytime the conductor said something we didn’t understand, we took a shot. The Jag went quickly. It was a very funny time and there are more pictures from these two hours of drinking than there are of the rest of the day. Oh, too, the weather was miserable the whole day. Cold and rainy. And we’re dressed in shorts, the only people in Germany wearing shorts, truth be told.

We arrive in Munich and have trouble figuring out how to get to our hostel, so we take the underground, even though it turns out our hostel was about a fifteen minute straight walk. We check in, get a drink at the bar, and basically go to sleep. After more than fourteen hours traveling, there’s not much else to do. Especially because it was already near midnight.

The next day we went to Neuschwanstein Castle. It was built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria in dedication to the operas of Richard Wagner. It’s truly a beautiful place. It’s the castle that Disney’s castle is modelled after. Also, it’s built in the Alps, so there are amazing views everywhere. It’s a long steep walk up to it, though. It was supposed to be cold and rainy that day and we were dressed appropriately. However, it turned out being hot and sunny and the climb made you a bit sweaty. But, yeah, pictures because it saves my fingers time.

That’s probably sufficient. But, yeah, the glory and folly of kings. We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside, but we got a few. It’s a magnificent castle, but mostly unfinished inside. Funny how the castles that bankrupted Bavaria is now what make it the most money through tourism.

We got back to Munich and went to catch a pub crawl that never ended up happening. We waited for it, the guy eventually came and told us that we were the only two tonight, so it wasn’t going to happen, but he gave us a free beer and told us good places to go and how to get there. We headed to the Haufbrauhaus, the famous beer hall where the first Oktoberfest happened.

It was glorious in so many ways. They had traditional Bavarian music playing, traditional dress for all the people working, huge liters of beer, incredible traditional food for cheap [by Dublin standards, anyway]. Songs were sung, food was had, beer was drank. It was a great time and so much of it reminded me of being a kid and hanging out with my dad. It was quite nastalgic and my dad was right, i do love Bavaria; he promised me i would.

After that, we headed back to the hostel, feeling good. We drank at the hostel bar for a while because it was really cheap and we wanted to go to bed relatively early. Sarah had her first Jagbomb there, too. Eventually Sarah went to sleep and i just planned on finishing my beer and heading up with her. Instead, i got talking to one of the bartenders who wasn’t working that night. We talked and then when i was ready to go to sleep, around 130am, he asked me if i wanted some chili. I did, so i followed him up to the employees area where he fed me chili, we drank, and talked until about 4am. I went back to my room, Sarah asked me where i was, i told her i’d tell her in the morning, and i slept.

The next day, we got up early to check out and go on a free walking tour through Munich. It was a good time and we got to know the history surrounding the place.

Yeah dude, surfers in Munich. They do it on this river. It’s hard to explain how it really works. I’ve a video of it, but i can’t upload it on here. Just know it’s pretty cool. We hung out with the tourguide who was from Wisconsin and this guy from Vancouver for the morning and early afternoon. Then, off to Salzburg, the whatever number train it was.

First though, let me talk about Munich. It’s a beautiful city full of wonderful and kind people. It’s a bit like a fairy tale, really. There’s so much to do and see there. I really wish i had more time there, like four more days because we really only had one night and one morning to see and experience it. It’s beautiful and wondrous and i plan on going back someday, for a long time. Oh, also, Sarah and i picked up the word Dunkel, which means dark in German, but, to us, it means just about anything. A perfect word, really.

Anyway, Salzburg. It’s a truly magical little town. We checked into our hostel and then just wandered around for basically the next two days. First, though, we ate at this super traditional Austrian restaurant built right into the side of the mountain. Oh yeah, Salzburg is basically right in the Alps, lots of mountains and steep hills and glorious views everywhere. Pictures because it’s better than me explaining everything and this is already too long.

And, yeah, that’s Salzburg and basically the whole trip. Our last night we went out and got crazy. We danced and the Austrians watched us in amazement and told us that they loved it. Very funny. One thing, though, to note. Austria doesn’t have smoking laws, so you can smoke anywhere. It never made sense to me why we have them back home until now. After two hours of a room full of people chain smoking, my eyes hurt, breathing sucked, and i smelled like an ashtray. So gross. Really, i’m so glad you don’t have to deal with that back home. It sucks.

Other than that, though, it was, as you can see, an exceptionally beautiful place full of magic and wonderment. I loved it. The whole bit of Munich and Salzburg was one of my favorite times i’ve had in europe. Also, it was the first time i traveled with just one person. It was a great time, we never fought, and me and Sarah managed to still be friends at the end of it without getting sick of one another.

Oh, the last bus ride was to the Salzburg airport. That’s plane three that took us to London where we had a layover for about four hours. We ate, drank, bought booze, and came home to dublin. Oh, i guess that’s the seventh bus. From Dublin airport to home. I guess i could edit the title, but i’d rather not.

Current news, three exams done, two to go, only failed one of them [not for certain, but seems likely]. I got my essays back and did exceptional on two of them and nearly failed one of them [the one for the class who’s exam i think i failed (though that’s mostly because i discovered my grade on the essay)].

Yeah, life’s good and i’m tired of typing. I’ll be back on to tell you more about life and how it works and my thoughts on leaving.

Thanks for sticking with this gigantic post.

08
May
09

All the words you think are old and all the words you speak, you stole

Writing about writing is dangerous business and usually to be avoided. I avoid it when others start jabbering on about their process and how you should write. Nonsense, all of it. Unless, of course, you’re my hero. In which case, i’ll carve the words into my eyelids just so i don’t lose them. Anyway, this is about a movement.

I’m going to work from the ground up.

A story. It starts with a sentence. A sentence needs words to be a sentence. More specifically, a subject and a verb, maybe toss in a few articles, a preposition or three, maybe an object, and, if you’re feeling dangerous, throw a conjunction in there and watch it all slosh around until you throw down a period like so. So, yeah, a sentence. You need those. But what if you don’t want those? Well, then don’t write seems to be the common sense answer. However, we don’t need a sentence to be a sentence. We don’t need a subject or a verb. We don’t need a complete clause. This is nothing new. Fragments, we accept them as usable.

A scene in a film is usually comprised of several cuts. A cut is like a period. So, let’s say you’re making an fight scene and you have thirty cuts in thirty seconds. Those one second flashes are sentences, sometimes fragmentary, but they do the legwork. They progress a story. Now, sometimes you eliminate the cut like in The Russian Ark, which is a beautiful film made up of a single 90 minute uninterrupted take. The longer you go without a cut, the more complex and laberynthine the sentence becomes. Then you have the sentence equivalent in Grossman’s beast, which is about as perfect as writing gets. The represent a story told in one sentence. A novel length story. So we’ve two extremes here: sentences that aren’t sentences and sentences that are entire stories.

We want both. Or i want, rather. I want to write the longest sentence ever written and i want to write stories without sentences.

A plot, you need a plot. But that’s not true. Joyce taught us that lesson. But still, something must happen. What if nothing does? Is it not a story anymore? How much of life involves nothing? The days we spend just lying down staring at ceilings.

Characters, yeah, those are important. But they’re not necessary. A story without a subject, though, sounds, well, empty. It is. It’s very empty. Like the hull of a ship or a gutted cathedral. I want to tell that story. Characterless, humanless: it’s not a void, it’s a door. Or we can keep the characters, but watch them from a distance. Observe them, but never make contact. Then again, we can jump right in, jump straight into the meat of them and inhabit in a world existing only between the walls of their head.

Write using the five senses, they say. But what if i want none of them? Or maybe i’ll just pick a few of them.

Grammar, too, we needn’t bother.

Now, i mean, the postmodernists have done these things, i think. I’ve not read them, so i guess they don’t matter to me. Mostly, i want to just do a lot of things quite differently.

I always liked writing sentences like they were poems. Brandish the flourish like fencers. I wanted to be Will Christopher Baer, writing those sentences that sing with such elegance you nearly cry. But i feel like i’m cheating when i do that. Not to say any sentence i’ve written is that exceptional, but i think i do hit a few out of the park every once and a while. But, yeah, i’m done with those. I can’t do them anymore. It’s hollow to me and i get no enjoyment from it. I move towards a simplification. Simplify everything. That’s not to say Minimalism, which i’ve grown to dislike as well over the years. But i’m gutting stories, taking out half the meat and leaving a third of the bones. Rip down the setting, kick out the characters, and watch as nothing happens. Too, i will never write in first person again. Or, well, i probably will, but not for a long while, i imagine. I don’t like doing it anymore. Pull back to the narrator, the observer. When i’m in a character’s head, i get carried away with the sentences.

So what do i want to do? It’s hard to say, really. I’m kind of drawing on a lot of my influences and trying to tie them all together. Not just literary influences, but everything. Surrealism/magic realism, absurdism, existentialism, Taoism, Dada, film [Akira Kurosawa, Terrence Malick, and on and on], music [Tom Waits, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and on and on and on], visual art [Dali, which, i guess is just grouped in with surrealism], mythology, religion, transcendetalism, Theatre of Cruelty, Theatre of the Absurd, the wind blowing, the sound a rock makes when you throw it at a car, everything. I want to pull it all together. Too, i want to disorient the reader, pull them in ten directions at once and leave them curled up tearing out their hair trying to figure out which way up is. I want my stories to feel like those perfect scenes you see in films made by dead russians.

It’s about silence and stillness. Silence especially. How does one write silence, though? A good question. A very good one. But it’s what i want to write, what i’ve always been interested in. Stretch the limits of language, make it all something new. Form a new language. Words are just symbols and we can attach meaning of our choosing. Words are sounds too, though, and it’s important to keep that in mind.

Logic needn’t apply either. Life is a dream and the rules only apply because everyone can’t stop agreeing on the terms. Reality is maleable. It bends and shifts and turns and twists and sloshes over into the parts we tell ourselves aren’t real while the imaginary keep bubbling up from underneath and infiltrating what we once thought was real but now looks displaced.

So, where do we go and how do we get there? This is a process, possibly a very long process and i’ve really no idea where it’ll go. It’s so inarticulate at this point.

And most of it’s about theatre. Or the nature of theatre, rather. I’m going to write a play and hopefully direct it. I’m drawing on the Theatre of Cruelty, Living Theatre, and the Theatre of the Absurd for these ideas as well as the very strange experience i had at a play in high school. My mind was discombobulated and all these ideas about the boundary between spectacle and audience became to rigid for me. I want the audience to be an active participant in the show. I want the audience to have a visceral experience, one they’ll never forget. Bring a show to them and bring them into a show. Get everyone in the theatre jostling together.

Film, too. I’ve ideas there, but that’s later. Same with music. For now, i’m sticking with theatre and short stories and novellas. Maybe a novel will sprout up, but probably not for a few years.

It’s about reality and what it means to be alive in the world. Identity, even. Deindividuation and technology frightens me. Dehumanisation and the unreality of life boggles my fried mind. Because none of this is real. Memories are pure fabrications, imaginary, and wholly fictitious. Why is that important? Because memory informs who we are, every aspect of our identity. Which, oddly, in turn, effects our memories or how we remember our memories. Too, the way we remember our memories informs our present, which shapes our future. The past is everything, but it’s all imaginary. None of it is real. Or, rather, everything is real, which amounts to the same thing. Your dreams and hallucinations are just as real as the life you live, as the present tense of your actions. Which brings us to identity, i think. Identity, too, is imaginary. Or, rather, it’s never fixed. You are never the same person. Our identities are contextual and dynamic. Our identity even shapes our brain. Literally, the neurophysiology changes because of who you decide to be when you decide to be you, whichever version of you that may be.

But do those things matter? Certainly not. Then what’s the point?

Do we need one?

And we don’t. It’s enough to run down the halls naked banging a frying pan with a ladle shouting the Apostle’s Creed.

What am i trying to say here?

Does that question matter? Is it not enough that you’re reading?

And you see, i’m getting all lost and caught up here. What i mean to say is that we needn’t have a reason. For anything. There’s no answer because there are only questions.

But, anyway, back to it. There’s so very much i want to do and it’ll take me a long time to do it, but i’ve already started. Just experimenting with form and grammar. It’s a process, and it might be years before i finally get it right.

And that’s probably semi-good enough for now. A bit less than coherent and a bit more than nothing.

There will be more about this at a later date.

07
May
09

In the house in a Heartbeat

Someone’s in my apartment.

I know it.

My roommates left today. Left a mess behind, too. Anyway, i’m afraid of everything and there’s someone here, listening to the clicking of this keyboard just on the otherside of that door over there which looks more and more suspicious with every passing minute. And there, a noise, a door closing, one of my doors, and rustling of–i don’t know–lives colliding.

I’ll try to focus. I said i’d be more frequent. Apparently i lied. I’ve been meaning to write this huge manifesto on here of the art movement i’m architecting. I’m surprised that’s a word. Architecting. Sounds imaginary, more so than the rest of these symbols. Where was i? I may be losing it a bit lately. Life’s kind of unhinging itself in weird ways. Trouble’s following me and all of my friends. Too, the end to my imaginary life is almost done. But, wait, i was on the movement. I might get it up here sometime tonight or tomorrow morning or when i return from Austria.

Trinity Ball’s tomorrow. Should be quite a time. No idea what kind of time, but things are sure to be a bit crazy. After that, back to Barcelona, then to Munich and Ludwig’s castle, finally to Salzburg. My dad’s quite excited about it. Vicarious living.

What’ve i been doing lately? Too much drinking, mostly. I need to do less of that. Oh, i went back to Northern Ireland last weekend for the third time. Belfast is such a stupid city and i really don’t like it, but Giant’s Causeway is one of the coolest places on earth. Truly. Too, if i didn’t go up there, i would’ve spent the weekend in Dublin by myself. No fun, that. But, yeah, just been going wild as we tend to do.

Been doing a lot of thinking lately. My head’s in a weird place and kind of spiralling all over. I’m realising again that my memories are all barely valid and always falling apart. It’s nice to have a photographer, though. I have one, we all have one here. It’s nice. I can trace my weeks by the pictorial evidence left on facebook. My memories are all written on raindrops and sand, but these, these are real. I was at these places. I’ve seen them, touched them, smelled them. I’m alive.

Getting a bit weird here. All stream of consciousness and out of order. My head needs an editor.

Been writing again. Two shorts in the last week. They’re very short, hovering around 500 words, which is so much shorter than i thought i could ever tell a story. If you’re a regular to my site here, you’ve surely noticed my rambling incoherency. Strange that i should fancy myself a writer. These new stories, they’re not like the ones i used to write. I never want to write the way i used to. Also, i probably won’t be sending any of the new ones out for publication. Not that they’re bad, i just hate trying to get published. Writing e-mails, looking for magazines, so tiresome. Also, these stories need to be right. Correct. They need to be part of the aesthetic i’m trying to make. It’s a bit like grappling in the dark searching for a yellow feather in a room full of crows. Enough though, i’ll put up the whole atmosphere of my ideas eventually. It’s sure to be a gargantuan post and highly nonsensical and incoherent and structureless, which is actually the best way for it to be given the nature of the ideas.

Where were we?

They’re here. Who they are and what they want, i’ll never know, but they’re inside my apartment. Not ninjas because i never would’ve heard it. Ghosts maybe. Monsters–i certainly hope not–i’d probably already be dead if it was a monster. Ghosts seems most likely. Unless, of course, we’re being rationale and it’s a human or–and what a thought!–nothing at all.

I’m getting all wired and wound and lost here.

The words scraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamble on. Next time, which will either be very very soon, like in a couple of hours, or quite long from now. Leaving Saturday and arriving back the following Saturday.