When I Learn To Swim, Will The Water Change?

In a mythical future things would be better. Isn’t this what we all think about? One day, some day, maybe next time it will turn out right, turn out better, or turn out differently.

We wish we were satisfied while we realize there would be no progress without that struggle.

We feel guilty for our dissatisfaction since so many have it worse, and it could always be worse.

We strive for something better while we grasp and fumble on the details of how one actually accomplishes such a thing. How can I make things better? Can I? If it could be done, if it were so easy, wouldn’t life already be that way?

I can make ripples as an individual, but won’t the water just return to it’s still surface? Even if we all make splashing waves, the water stays the same.

Still, I have to believe we were put here to do more than just tread water.

When I learn to swim, will the water change?

If I start to drown, will someone save me?

Spiral Book – The Chili Sauce Did Not Enhance the Flavor of Blueberries

Was Ernie Hemingway writing at the turn of the clock? The chili sauce did not enhance the flavor of blueberries. Don’t leave without saying a swear word.

Have you received a grade for your book report? The northeastern states and the southwestern parts of the country received heavy rainfall each year. The cross-country runner has never been shot before.

Lucy has always excelled in mathematics. The flowers and the trees in these areas depend in grapes for growth. The cowboy swung into the saddle and rode away.

Writing, Dreaming, Remembering

I wish I didn’t have to write like I do. I wish I would just think in a narrative and the words would form on the paper. Or, at least I wish I could write as fast as I think. So many stories and ideas I think up are left unrecorded. My mind seems to be most active right before I go to sleep. It’s the only time where there’s nothing else I can or should be doing. It’s the only time I don’t have to think of anything, so I’m allowed to think at my own leisure. All of what goes on in my head while I sleep I’ll never be able to record. I seldom remember what I dream. All I can remember is how strange or extraordinary or amazing it was. Even if I do remember, I don’t remember it enough to write it all down. I don’t remember things as they initially were when I thought them up. I will think of something and it will be forgotten, maybe because I think too much. One thought comes after the next, piling up quickly and soon they replace the previous, lost forever.It will probably never be thought of again. There are too many things to think of. My thoughts are story ideas, sayings, analyzing, poems, songs, what I need to do, what I want to do. Thank god for paper or I would never remember anything. Events slip away. I would really have to think if you asked me what I did yesterday. I remember routine, but only because it is routine. The things I do remember, I can’t always remember the order when they happened.

Journey of Journaling

My first attempt at keeping journals was unsuccessful. You get these ideas from people that things must be done a certain way. You say, “Dear Diary”, keep a record of events and thoughts, and write daily. You start on page one, you always write the date, and for the most part, you write.

When I was in high school, I was given another set of ideas behind journaling. Instead of a book of lined paper I was given a book of acid free, white paper that was as great for drawing, writing, or pressing fall leaves. I was told to fill it up with whatever.

The art teacher showed us his. Some pages were writing, some doodles, some serious sketches, and some contained nothing but a business card and some notes. There were saved napkins, random thoughts, lists, and newspaper clippings. He explained that a journal was for all kinds of things. It was there to help us record whatever and it didn’t matter what it was as long as you filled it.

Other journals I would start and write a few dated entires, not write for awhile, begin the next with an apology and a new commitment. Maybe I’d get to page ten.

The first book I filled was still from page one, but I filled it to the end with writing, drawing, painting, collages, clippings, thoughts, doodles, ticket stubs, and anything else.

These days I’ve found that I loathe page one. The pressure of beginning and end doesn’t lend itself to capturing a moment, or any space of real time. You can’t chronical it all in a time line, because when it’s happening we’re out there living it. To try to relive the exact thing on a page is tedious, boring, pointless, and really impossible. Instead I collect bits, reflect, and reassemble. It wasn’t before long that I started keeping a collection of paperish stuff. It didn’t matter if I didn’t have the time to say “Dear Diary” every day. When I went to a concert, I would keep the ticket stub. When I made an elaborate doodle on a post-it, I kept it. Ever wonder what to do with the cards you get, the packaging that seems too pretty to throw out, or the best fortunes you get from cookies? What about the posters that are too ragged for the wall or the wonderful color you saw in the hardware store and you grabbed a swatch of it?

Who ever said that they needed to go into the book the same day?

Years later, my first few folders are now a large leather case and a small plastic box. The big case has full pages and stuff I just haven’t looked at. When I am journaling, I can grab something from the case to put in. I usually cut it up and collage it. The small box is for the little pieces that are left, but I don’t want to throw away. That bit of gold paper might work on another page.

I befriended glue sticks and scissors, magic markers and pens, a utility knife, a glue gun, and colored pencils. I don’t like to be idle while watching TV or a movie or listening to music. I might be giving the book my full attention or just my subconscious.

I have more than one book going at the same time. I add to old pages as often as I start new ones. A bit from 1998 might be on the same page as 2008. I care more about the order of composition than the order of time. It’s how real life works anyways. In a weeks time you won’t remember the exact order of everything you did last week. It doesn’t matter either because you today are parts of your past, but not in any kind of time order. The events from 1998 sit beside those of 2008 in how they’ve shaped you. If that makes sense, they can make sense on a page next to each other.

Why do we try to make a strait line when a journey has twists and turns?

Sun Squad – Yuppers

Stuck in a stutter
Fear the fallen utter
Nonsense in senseless death

– The Coming of the Condemned

In the black of space, a ship fell quiet. About fifteen minutes before the sounds of shouting, running, slamming, and gunfire echoed along the hull.

I hid shamelessly. I technically passed basic combat training some ten years before flying into the black to study and never used it since. As a scientist, I didn’t even carry a stun gun.

I’d heard of pirates out in the black. People figure the law won’t find you if you fly far enough. Those people live by plundering vessels and leaving them stranded. I thought we’d been raided, so I’d just lay low until they took all of our supplies and left.

I thought it was pirates before the silence. The silence didn’t make sense.

Then a murmur started. It echoed and vibrated across the hull. It was the sound of a house fly from Earth, circling around. As the sound grew louder, I thought of a hornet’s nest. I moved towards the sound, thinking of investigating, thinking there might be a mechanical failure. I froze when I detected a human quality to the sound. It was like a word being stuttered on the same syllable over and over. Maybe it was a recording the ship’s computer was accidentally playing back, caught in a loop. Maybe there was a system failure. I backed up again, trying to be patient, resigning to wait hidden in my lab.

It wasn’t long before I grew restless again, the unnerving noise echoing around the corridors. What if it everyone was evacuated? What if I’m the only one left here? With the systems failure, heat would deplete along with the oxygen, and I knew I’d freeze before I suffocated. I’d die alone because I was a coward.

I couldn’t sit still. Maybe I could fix it. I turned away from the corridor I’d seriously considered going into and went back into my lab. I sat at a terminal easily, even in the dark I knew my lab, my home.

There was no power. How could the computer system be making those noises without power? Was only this terminal down? What about the backup systems?

I reached under and pulled off a large panel, exposing the wiring. I crawled my way in about a half of a foot to find the connections for power and flipped a switch to manually engage the backup power systems. My terminal switched on.

From the new light I could see vague shapes coming from the corridor I was standing in before. I stood and inched forward. The shapes were moving in the same stutter of the buzzing noise. The shapes looked like human figures, but the movement were jerking and repeating.

As I began to see it clearer it was like a stiff dance, forward a half step, back a half, forward a full two, back another half step… It seemed robotic, but their faces were getting close enough to make out in the dim light.

Their vacant eyes were wide and blinking in the same stuttering cadence. I recognized some of them. It was the crew and not one of them looked alive.

Single file in their eerie march they came forward, not responding to anything I said. Their minds were gone or being controlled. I looked around my lab to hide. That was the only exit. I squeezed myself into the panel with the wires in desperation. Under and inside the terminal, I pulled the panel back on after me. With their vacant stares, unseeing and unintelligent, I was hoping that they wouldn’t be able to pry the panel off.

By some luck I was right, but they didn’t leave. They mill about outside stuttering, day and night without rest. I don’t know how long I’ve been in here any more. The background noise blurs together in a meaningless cacophony. It’s possible I’ve gone mad.

If I’m still sane, someone still might find this terminal I’m tapping into from the inside out. Someone might download this log and make some sense of it.

If I weren’t facing a slow death, madness, or whatever malady has befallen my crew mates, this might have been funny. Sometimes the sound is like “yup yup yup” as if they are agreeing with me.

Doomed, “Yup yup yup,” They agree.

I know the crew is either dead or one of those things outside. I won’t leave. Whatever my fate, I won’t become one of them.

This passage comes from a recording on one of the first ships that were found. It is the first recorded encounter with The Condemned. Though the ship was also found contaminated with Type Two and Type Three Condemned, it appears that in a single case one of the crew was able to avoid immediate detection and transformation.

There was a decomposed body found in the panel below the terminal. The cause of death appeared to be self inflicted electrocution. From the estimated time of death, the woman would have long since died of dehydration, and leaving would have surely resulted in her joining her crew as one of the Type One Condemned.

From here on the Type One were known as Yuppers in reference to her log. Though suspected, this allowed us to discover that Yuppers are attracted to noise and sound, but are unable to reason or perform motor functions other than moving towards its source.

– Compendium of The Condemned

Live It

I wait for the universe to unfurl for me and
blood curdling, sitting, watching
trying to see the moment,
but it’s gone.
Seizing pretty sayings,
trying to remember what or why
so I can make it come back to a
‘if I knew what I knew’,
but I’m only hurdled forward.
I know I was forewarned,
but I still thought that mortality meant
I could do it tomorrow.
Tomorrow is never today,
is always a blank page,
a clutched fist,
an active mind,
unsure how to hurl itself onto the page
and make something worth making.
Take heart while you
take your bliss.
Write fiction as if you
don’t live it.
Live it.