The Society of Otherness Grandly By. C. Allight
I am having this thought, she thought:
She was absent from it.
She was delighted she was able to think that. The absences normally fell upon her invisibly. She was in the present, the NOW at rates that were wildly unpredictable. Sometimes she was in the HERE for an hour. Sometimes she was in the THERE (of so-called reality) for a day. She was, very rarely, around for an entire week of life wakefulness. She had now lost most of her life to exterior inattention. That is, that place outside her mind, the WORLD outside her world held very little to maintain her mind.
She dove ever deeper within.
Inside of her mind she was writing books. They would never be read. She was crafting images. They would never be seen. She was building movies. They would never be experienced. Level upon level her interior world was built as level upon level of her exterior world degraded. You can’t be in the WORLD without living in it. Similarly, a fish (barring the obvious robot water suit or magical metamorphism situations) would be unsuccessful living outside of water. A human needs the air of contact, of communication, of world interaction to remain human. The gossamer of a soul atrophies just as easily as the tissue of a muscle.
The crucial moorings that tethered her imagined reality and REALITY together were slipping apart. She was ever dipping in and out of a kind of fugue state. This led to all things having an unreality about them. This led to the FUNK.
The FUNK ate away any moments of self-happiness. Oh, sure, she could feel immense joy at one of her characters saving a life, stealing a first kiss or defeating evils both personal and supernatural. Each of these imagined activities brought just enough serotonin to produce a faint glimmer of a happy person, a whole person.
Clearly, a lie.
She was disparate of unity. A separated thing.
One day while she was sitting in CAR (a world every bit as complete and apart to her as WORLD proper) tears began SCREAMING out of her eyes. These loathsome gasp causing puddle makers extruded her face. Soon, this would turn out to be a fun new hobby of hers. The tears, endless, were no longer confined to failures of real life. No, she became the therapeutic outlet for any trauma one of her characters was undergoing inside of her.
It was much easier to feel for the people in her world of heads and hearts than to feel for her own head and heart.
Recently, on her way to the copier at work one of the Bears of Sorrow, a group of abused orphans and concubines that had banded together to set right their society, had become grievously injured. She began sobbing with an apparently frightful intensity. Apparently as, instead of offering comfort, her coworkers had audibly scurried away in an exodus of downcast faces, averted gazes, and palm shields. They had to save themselves from her monstrous lack of emotional restraint.
Her waterfalls spotlighted how the mass market appeal of normalcy was increasingly absent in her. At the enforced insistence of her employer she slide down the spiral of the medical establishment. She was neatly clericalized as bi-polar, depressed, socially anxious, in other words unbalanced but very normally so.
The diagnosis was…
It was very uncreative.
This pained her. She had always hoped to have the life of a balanced creative or, failing that, a creative life. The Tearful Depressant was not her first choice of title. The Creative Anarchist would have been a nice. (Thou she would have settled for the Demure Demiurge.)
Once and only once she got the creative balance right. It was the night of her last birthday as a child. She had just graduated high school AND lost her virginity. Huge night! In the hierarchy of importance on her soon to be hopelessly obscured life plan she had thought the later event held great meaning. But it was an event of truly terrible sexual casting. She chalked it up to her inexperience as a director. She hoped to find better actors to fill the roles of crush, suitor, lover, and partner in the future. (She didn’t.)
She had thought, I will write something that bridges the gap between these two states of being. And then to her surprise: she did. More surprises: it was effortless. She swam upward from the inside of each sentence. She let them splash outward onto the page. Her ability as a typist could not keep up with the speed of her ideas. She stopped typing and began recording her own voice. She giggled and thought: I am creating me!
The making felt marvelous.
The next day, eager to return to that state of being, she sought out her conceptions. Empty. Everything was empty and formless. The words and recordings of her voice erased. She stood there a full 15 minutes trying to understand what had happened.
And then the final thought of the previous night returned to her:
Not. Good. Enough.
The high of her mind had produced an appropriately low judgement response. Creation then destruction, it was natural really. Still the violence of it all frightened her. In her fear she turned away from herself.
A drop of fear was all it took.
The waters of her mind became polluted, darkened. Her childhood ambitions of being a creator were to be slowly pried freed from the exacting work of becoming. She went to school to be a doctor, failed at that, tried again as a web designer and failed at that. Her exasperated parent’s savings (and no few student loans) allowed her the final luxury of going to a trade school. She became versed in the arcane nothings of office management. Months later she was awarded a versatile and dreary slip of paper that would ensure self-sufficiency and years of further self-eradication.
After the copier exhibition and the doctor visits she stayed away from her exterior self for still greater swaths of time. She came vibrantly into the NOW briefly when her weeping became prohibitive to vehicular piloting. Nearly ruining a dozen cars at once does bring things shockingly into focus. Staring at that sea of angry drivers with their looks of absolute loathing beaming back at her way made it clear: this was simply untenable. An untenable form of being she locked in that. She decided it was time to fully commit to her on again off again dalliances with purest self-hatred. A long gestating solution returned. Suicide, yes suicide could be very tenable indeed. She was too creative to live fully asleep and to used to being asleep to live as a complete creative.
There was only one thing left to do: craft a grand, no, the grandest, drollest most literary liturgy ever authored.
The note, her note, her suicide note.
Her first draft was…
A B Y S M A L .
A failure as a death notice writer?
Somehow, she rallied.
Woolf and Whale, Howard and Thompson she learned the absence of rules from the masters.
The magic in the form is its lack of simplicity (life isn’t after all). No one package of words may summarize and neatly leave a life behind. An epic note may be as short as single world. The pinnacle of craft may produce a poem of release that creates nothing more than a history of heartache stretching lifespan after lifespan for those who read it. Yet, somehow, it’s been a very attractive form for those whose minds and hearts that have become burdened by the presumed joy of a soul. Thou it seemingly has never been the first choice of creation from any creative she could find who left one behind. Still she found that all the dead and almost dead and the resurrected (for some few come back) all those who have written or will write a suicide note think there is some element of bravery to it. Pitiful. She tried that flavor and then so many more.
She wrote brave notes. She wrote blame filled notes. She wrote ugly, cruel notes. She wrote life goodbyes that sought peace. She wrote with self-pity and then begging forgiveness at a scale that could start a religion or two on an island nation. (A captive audience is a prerequisite for any good religion to take hold.) Ever so slowly she began to conqueror the art of saying a final goodbye. An infinity of suicide notes emerged from within her. Over and over she repeated: I will not be swayed to selfsilence here. I will ask no permission. I will take this form and I will make my own way.
The notes, the many, many suicide notes were each as different as tombstone decorations. Each note blamed, drew upon and built upon other notes. She wrote an interconnected universe of guilt, grief, faltering joys, anger of spirit, lusts unrequited, lost chances, blame or forgiveness, granted or desired. But no part of her long journey through written exiting felt like it fit just so. It was all wrong in a supernatural sort of. The nature of the nature of the thing was still twisted, not fully true. This was to be the piece of her that stayed behind, it wasn’t enough.
She critically reads over her drafts. As per usual most of the writings she wishes she hadn’t set adrift into the air of reality. She thought they read as poor death fan fiction perfumed with the essence of macabre teenager. She spreads them out carpeting her desk. She is swimming in suicide possibility.
A spark. A series of words, one from each of the pages, alight in her brain.
And then… a secret.
There it was. There was the way to write her suicide note. She had to let go of every version of her, of her selves. All her grudges, her hurts, her pains, her depressions, and even all her interior worlds, all had to be set free. It was only by being someone else that she could write truly of who she wanted to be and what it was she would miss when she left the world. She began her final, final, final, final draft.
Ice chips grinding beneath her teeth help to contain her boiling mind.
Her knuckles crack.
A series of tremors and aches run through her arms.
Then: it is.
She re-reads what she has written expecting her voice of criticism to point out the innumerable faults of her writer’s craft.
An actual piece of writing. She has finally allowed herself to be.
Here at the end she has become a writer.
She must hurry. Here is where regret and doubt can easily derail the process that she has fought to create a letter for. Now, the last signal of goodbye, her signature. She picks up and dips in ink the faux-antique quill pen. She bought it just for this bit of romantic punctuation. After, she envisions they will find her body still grasping this quill. (A touch of gothic flair is expected from every good writer’s early release.)
Once signed her ego will not allow her to step backward from this edge.
Half of a half of a drop of ink falls on the page.
A voice, even smaller wonders.
Must she sign it, her life… away?
It was at this moment, this moment of hopes realization that the letters before her fall deep within the page like a tragedy of horses falling off a cliff face. Her tiny drop of inked-self expands. The words interconnect, link create a symbology alien, arcane but nonetheless completely her. She starts, a last gasp of her old reality rears up trying to block the magic. This must be a hidden cancer? A hemorrhage? Dying, was she… dying? A ghost! She must be a ghost already dead. Plot twist!!!
No. A cliché dodged!
SHE ENTERS THE PAGE VERY MUCH ALIVE.
She was in the place. She had sought it all her life length. It was the source of her ideas and dreams and worlds. It was the source of the her of her imagination. And it was much more than even that. It was the SOURCE, of imagination. She could see the great well, the trans-dimensional subconscious tapestry, the Kings of Paper and Type, the Celluloid Queens, The Agency of Imaginary Friends, The Peacock and the Snake and Makers of Motion and on and on and on. All the representations of what can
be created when body and mind and heart and soul intertwine existed here. The answer of her creating was here.
Knickty-knock-knock. Knicky-tok-tok. Knickty-tok-knock.
Magic all around and then: she blinks. She is once more in her room, at her desk, facing a mountain of death.
Knickty-knock-knock. Knicky-tok-tok. Knickty-tok-knock.
A sound never heard before was being born just outside her door.
Knickty-knock-knock. Knicky-tok-tok. Knickty-tok-knock.
Dazed by what she had (or had not?) just experienced she stumbles towards the door. Despite her training in the imaginary logic was a pervasive shit. Now, a stumble of thoughts…
A neighbor? Not likely. A disaster? No smoke. Food?
THAT MADE SENSE!
She must have ordered food and forgotten. She absently fumbles to get her wallet open as she kicks the door release button with her foot.
The figure waiting there causes her fumbling to turn into a sort of pratfall wherein her wallet jumps into the air, bounces off her head and then tumbles across the floor. Frozen by what is streaming into her eyes she is can’t care to retrieve it.
Before her: a figure of complex and yet sweetly, unknowable knowable-ness. It was experience of flying through dreamlands as a child made flesh. She set aside logic with a gentle shush-ing in her mind.
She wished to be fully HERE however curious that here might turn out to be.
She wished to be.
She wished to see.
She saw… a monocle wearing wombat-panda in a top hat? No sooner had this definition image come to my mind than the wombat-panda reached out a paw holding a gleaming square.
Having decided she was seeing what she was seeing she felt no fear and took the square without hesitation. Then the wombatpanda with a gleam in its monocular eye doffed its top hat. It spun around three times and, in a CA-TOOF of flowers and crackerjacks, promptly ceased to exist.
She shut the door and tripped over her wallet. She stood in stillness holding the square. An involuntary exclamation exclaimed from her.
So that’s what that felt like!
Often her characters upon discovering their special powers, achieving treasures or just plain old saving the world would have a feeling about them that she never was able to adequately describe. She was in that sort of daze. She couldn’t help but file the sense memory of it away. Her characters might need it to express their selves in the future.
She sat at her desk and opened the small parcel. Inside she discovered a note card with only these words printed in clean bold script:
YOUTHOLDY HADDISH ACCEPTISH
THE SOCIETY OF OTHERNESS GRANDLY.
Despite her best efforts to remain illogical the content and spelling of the words did make her brain wince a bit. She set the card atop the stacks of suicide notes where it gleamed. The paper was obviously not some mundane pulped tree, obviously. It
looked like the inside of a seashell covered in translucent bird feathers inlaid on the moon, obviously. She allowed herself the luxury of thinking fantastical paper thoughts for a time. Her brain rebooted, and she returned to the words. She set her eyes on the final line of the card.
She said it out loud, once, twice, dozens of times before screaming, “CREAHBEAHSEEAHMAYZ!!!”
Gibberish? Gibberish. Obviously. Gibberish! In a flash she knew the secret. Gibberish was the language ideas are transmitted in before they became ideas.
A long-lost sort of smile sets flight across her face. The smile tumbles into the bouncy blue then sour red and then oafish green of her quill’s ink bottle set. The smile careened off the walls of her room before bursting out the window
A smile of this sort…
Had it ever been on her face inside of adulthood?
No, but the her of her before adulthood had smiled this way almost every day. It was the smile more than anything that let the glorious Gibberish take full root inside of her.
It was what her heart, her mind, the very essence of her had been waiting for all these years. She picked up the card and set it on the wall. It stuck there as if magnetized. (Obviously.) Then, in one great sweeping motion she cleared everything from her desk. The suicide notes, those 1 million heavy slivers of death were made dainty and cloud-like as they fell away. Ink pots, spin, uncork and spew: gorgeous abstracts born anew.
Her laptop: she caught that mid-air. It was expensive-ish and after all while she was perfectly happy to live without logic a little sense never hurt. The most wonderful thing about wonder, she realized, is that wonder wishes to be.
I think I shall write something new today she thought.