Monday, September 3, 2007

rules for trees and grass, my people, the moon out of focus, the possibility of a vast network of tunnels beneath the earth.

- lionel richie

why hello, lionel. how's the kids?

this is a funny little story. i'm not sure about it but i get the feeling it's time to let it go and find its fortune, out there in the kingdoms and prince-bishoprics and so on. it can cross streams and talk to magical beasts like for example unicorns and cicatrices and griffins and the enigmatic sphinx, the sphinx who knows all but speaketh in riddles &c &c. i'm not sure about it cos i sewed it up from the corpses of other things. dr frankenstein did this and look where it got him: running for his life across the icy tundras and floes of the arctic circle and if nothing else enters into the matter we should at least consider that the arctic circle isn't quite what it used to be back then.

nonetheless: i hafta let it go cos it's distracting me from the story i really want to write (which is about invisibility and has a spell in it and everything). hopefully it'll be ok out there in the world, the world all bright and radiant, radiant with the light from various motherfucking celestial bodies, bodies all burning far from the earth we wander and people will be nice to it. one thing in its favour is it's made of fragments, just like everything else in the world.

you: f-fragments?
me: yes! fragments!


you: w-what about trees?
me: yeah! trees too! which reminds me:

1. rules for trees and grass
i've been looking at trees recently, at the way they extend through space and feed on what passes through that space. it's neat: they apply the same rules over and over, trees do: go this far (where 'this far' is a proportion of the distance between where you are now and your total height, like say 2/5ths of it or maybe 3/7ths) and then split into this many pieces (give or take 2) at around about this angle and then keep doing it again until you turn into leaves.

what ends up happening is that trees control a field, roughly barbell-shaped, around a central vertical axis. they leave a gap in the middle for the horizon to pass through.

grass, on the other hand, is all about occupying a plane. if grass has a rule it's 'go about this far and tie yourself in a little knot through the horizon. repeat until you run out of planar space.'

what ends up happening here is that grass has no trunk to cut: it's got no central point to attack: howabout that.

you: ok, but w-what about people?
me: wait, i thought we were talking about trees?
you: we were! but now i want to know about people!
me: well... howabout this:

2. my people

it is the right of every traveller to vent their frustration at every minor inconvenience by writing of it to their friends. expect long descriptions of everything.
- jonathan strange, in jonathan strange & mr norrell, susanna clarke.

i went to the writers' festival the other day. i got there just in time. i was going to hear a talk about the creative commons. it was in a theatre. i walked in and sat down.

something felt funny and then i realised what it was and it was this: i had, gentle reader, the distinct sensation that i'd suddenly come home, somehow, that i'd found my people. i was.. uncomfortable. i wasn't sure i wanted to be having that sensation at exactly that time, surrounded by exactly those people. everyone was, well, bookish.. a little uncool perhaps. and surely, surely waaay less cool than me. surely. i was a little disturbed so i took a water bottle out of my bag to have a drink and then noticed everyone around me already had their water bottles out. my people carry their own water, apparently. i drank anyway. i wasn't going to be put off. i sat there for a bit. the speakers weren't there yet so i took a book out of my bag so as to pass the time and then realised of course everyone around me already had their books out. damn. however, women were wearing shawls and sensible jeans. i wasn't wearing a shawl. that was one point of distinction i could hold onto. i was dreaming when i wrote this. what?

3. the moon out of focus

i was dreaming when i wrote this
- prince

the other night i kept walking out of the house to look at the moon. there was a lunar eclipse and i wanted to see it. the first time i went out it was cloudy and so the moon was hazy. eventually the cloud cleared but the moon still looked hazy. it was weird. it reminded me of the actor who was always out of focus, a character in woody allen's deconstructing harry. one web site summarised the plot of deconstructing harry like this:

"..revolves around the problems of a new york writer's creative and erotic life."

gee, i thought. now that narrows it down a lot. doesn't it? hacks down the allen canon a tad, wouldn't you say? excludes one or two films, hm? or maybe not? perhaps? maybe i have my sarcastic voice on, hmm? maybe it's actually a pretty fucking succinct precis of the old man's entire motherfucking corpus, hmm?

but i am being unfair! it excludes all the films by woody allen which aren't about woody allen! which by a shocking coincidence are probably also my favourite of his films, like sweet and lowdown, or purple rose of cairo.

by the way: these emails are best viewed in html, if you have the option. if you wonder why i keep fucking up my formatting with <str> and </em> and shit like that, it's cos you're looking at them in plain text.

and you know what i hate? not much, actually: i ain't a playa hater. still, i hate comedians who feel the need to link all their gags somehow: "and another thing about squirrels..", say. steven wright is the perfect example of a comedian who doesn't do this and is very funny. why do the others bother? maybe they are distracted by the possibility of a vast network of tunnels beneath the earth.

4. tunnels
what was i talking about? i can't remember but it's possible there is a vast network of tunnels beneath the earth. underground cities and everything.

i wrote the other day about a hole baterz and some other people dug. i got some of the details wrong and benjow wrote to correct me. his story contains these words:

the smoke got thicker and thicker. they started to freak out and called the firemen (or maybe they arrived on their own accord), but anyway they turned up with some police, to help look for the fire. and they were all wandering around our house in their gear going 'wow you guys are really BUMS'. at the time we were all vaguely moving out and most of the rooms were full of piles of must have been a bit like one of those tenants from hell ACA exposes. anyway, eventually they kicked down the door to baterz's old room (or maybe they just unlocked it, who knows) and discovered the source of the smoke--the hole, which was now billowing blissfully.

..among others. it's very funny: go and read it .



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