Monday, December 15, 2014

Gravity of the Past

These are all thoughts and reflections on some related ideas as I continue to work on the next Fallen Cycle book, Tales From When I Had A Face:
"It seems strange, but I think so. We experience time; it is merely space being made for a story, like an indentation in our being. But maybe the problem is finding /that/ story. Colliding with that right one at the right time. You have to know the past to know the present. When our lives overlap, it is not an unbroken line but instead overlapping ripples. In a sense, everything happens at once. In another, there is nothing that happened, except the remaining story, peeking out like fossils after a rockslide.
They say Gran Nadja fell hands over feet in the forest, and they burned in that starving ice, burned like fire. Running for a clearing, a desolate field with a lone tree at its center. She looks to the sky and sees her granddaughter, her granddaughter who will carry the fire of her light, but in her, that Nadja, the fire will one day burn all the brighter. That thought keeps her going, it warms her, saves her from frostbite, and it is not wishful thinking it is What Is To Be. She cannot die, just as those who have no Life Bearer are cursed to die and see that fire extinguished. She cannot die. She must push on. Because after all, doesn’t she have a granddaughter named after her, and isn’t she to be her Voice to the new world? It is, so it must be. The pain of broken ribs, and worse, suddenly didn’t seem so bad. She would have her revenge, a razor edge, not honed but cracked from a blunt whole in one single stroke, like obsidian: me. 
The void was given a shape.
It was given her name.
But it did not yet know itself. 
You need only the will to peer between the cracks in your fingers as you drift toward the blinding light at the end of that corridor, your heart shuddering offbeat triplets in its broken cage to find the real secret that this invisible Snipe has for you, wedged between the bloody thicket of every noun, character, tone shift. The only secret. Regurgitated, mouth to mouth—you do know that mythos means “by mouth,” yes? Stories only matter because we are made of them. They have to out. And with every word, breath, image, we are not conveying a fiction, but passing on something more vital."
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What is the point in trying to reclaim a lost past? If we look back we’d end up like Lot’s wife. But sometimes you reach such an impasse that the only way forward is to go back. It’s one of the peculiarities of some people that for them everything is backwards. For those wired in reverse, we already know how the story will end — and who doesn’t? death, despair, loss — but we want to work backwards toward a halcyon beginning, a Garden of Eden bordello. But the road to the past is asymptotic, so not even Atlas can bear the burden of truly fresh starts. Every day the past takes a little more of you, like a homunculus perched atop your diaphragm, gloating with a broken smile. The ugly little dwarf. He’s breaking you down. Filling your head with daydreams of a backwards Eden that gradually makes the approaching death seem pleasant. There isn’t any other way out of this thing. Beginnings are forever out of reach.

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I don't think you really choose what gravity a past or event has on you. Just because you've stopped thinking about it doesn't mean it's not there, determining everything that will be.

Beginnings and ends to life (birth and death, specifically) don't exist as they are. They exert an invisible effect from some hidden vantage point that can never be directly encountered. Gravity is the most apt metaphor I can find.

I've yet to find any kind of freedom from the past -- whether moving across the map or burning everything and 'starting over', sure I've done that plenty, more than most (not by choice), but again none of that is a beginning. It's all a part of the middle of life. We really know nothing of fresh starts because we're always already ourselves.

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Check out the first at Party At The World's End.


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