Sunday, 27 February 2011

Invisible


P   R   E   V   I   O   U   S   L   Y      I    N 
S   P   I   D   E   R   F   I   N   G   E   R   S
Doesn’t take a genius to figure out how a Russian Doll story might go, and that each layer is held together by a common theme.  Though you can be forgiven for not knowing the golden rule: if the listener asks a single and particular question correctly, the narrator is obliged to tell the story within the story, oh yes.
London.  Morning.  The shower from the heavens, seemingly eternal, thought Spiderfingers. 
Should I live through the night, I'll change the rules of the game.  Forever.
He slogged up Crown Street’s dire colourless landscape, his mind whipping through recent adventures, memories of a Play-Doh figurine dubbed Danger-man, and of course, he leafed through the memory of his black folder, the collection of wild stories inside.
He planned on welcoming his star with a wave, that new pal of his, all bundled up in that oversized heavy green overcoat; that curl of brunette poking from under her niqab.  She’ll be the one to say hello – if I’ve played my cards right.  Only one way to be sure, he thought, half-jogging against the cold.  When he reached the bus stop, he snuggled into the corner of the long bench, grinning, journal in hand.
ENTRY Three Hundred and Twenty Six
Operation Genie Bottle is going well, despite continual observation by Doctor’s Kwame and Silberman.  Kwame sat through Bradley the Boy Wonder, patiently taking it all in.  Not a fucking word.  A few signals to Silberman across the road.  Just sits there next to Steph, watching.  They wanna be noticed.  Fuck em.  They’ll get what my enemies get: nothing.  I number these entries for a reason.  I do this so that the next time I meet battalions of Odin or Thor, I’ll show them.  I’ll show them how I don’t acknowledge their ownership of the week.  Thorsday can kiss my arse.  There is only entry three hundred and twenty six, fuck you very much.
The banner on the side of Steph’s bus, advertisement for a movie called Death Warrant.  Starring Vicky Buchannan.  Her face all covered with blood.  I heard Nat’s voice in my mind as I read the blurb: Mayhem, mental illness and murder await those who discover Spiderfingers.  I must be mindful of these tricks of the brain.  I’ll never forge direct contact with Miss World EVER again.
The intervening weeks since Bradley the Boy Wonder involved considerable task-work, so much in the way of preparation.  His actions felt noble to him.  His tactic of making her wait and wait for so many weeks, a logical necessity, tension being a fantastic application for an audience.  He turned the corner of Pratt Street, dived into the huddle of waiting businessmen and other bus stop users and sang, “A smile is free, so grin with me!” His stink caused enough movement, but not enough for Steph to leave with a gaggle of deserters.
The umbrella she’d laid out on the bench enthralled him.  If life were his play to direct, the stage would quickly fade to black for a moment, a lone spotlight illuminating the brolly’s navy blue canvas, studded with droplets of moisture, to really drive the point home, that this formed a makeshift barrier between them.  Her nervy excitement radiated through the letterbox opening of her religious tailoring.  No need for the guitar-playing to render me harmless.  Besides, he thought, there are only so many tunes I can play on that hard-to-tune travesty.  He watched her produce a small silver-chrome Dictaphone from her bag.  She reached into her coat for something else.  A gold coin.
                                                     
What?  Hey, my stories are free so close your purse, save your money.  You may think I suffer chilblains throughout the night, but this Superman hoodie works wonders.  Sometimes I’ve gotta shake off the jacket cos it all gets a little too much.

Warmth, food, happiness, all these creature comforts exist only in the mind.

Like that one?  Thank you.  Vagabond Zen 101, that is.  It’s a how-to book for me; society’s trash.  I’m still soft-writing it.  These days, I rarely write anything down.  Notebooks aren’t cheap and that crazy idea I had with a spray can never quite worked out.  Believe me, Steph, you don’t wanna know.  So yeah, Vagabond Zen.  Some choose the street-life, y’know?  Some people hate themselves that much.

Yeah, maybe when it’s done – if you play your Babushkas right.

Maybe, but then you’d be guessing wouldn’t you?  You’re going to need at least three stories before you can sleuth out the theme that holds all the dolls together.
Steph clicked the red button on the Dictaphone whilst Spiderfingers noted the smile upon her lips.  He warned her to, “Listen with the mind-set of a writer.” She ignored the stink of him for his words, for this wasn’t true kinship, not yet.  He reintroduced himself as Rumple,
“Why Rumple?”
 “I get bored.”  He replied.  Spiderfingers slipped seamlessly into the Jane Faye character once more.  The Southern black American drawl, the ample attempt at feminising his timbre, these telling details all displaying Jane Faye: Back-Specialist, not Spiderfingers: street orator.  With a well-practiced wink, he began the performance. “Time has stopped,” He projected his voice toward the whirring machine, leaning in, closer.  His voice raised above the hiss of rain on pavement, affecting it with as much black American twang as possible. “Now, Bradley, this tale begins with legs.  This story starts with people walking.”
Invisible
By Jane Faye
Through red-rimmed glasses – a little like my own – you look around you, Bradley.  Above you, legs rush to and fro; busy lives, fleeting, judgmental in their indifference.  What do they know, those unfeeling carnivores in Dolce & Gabbana? Always penniless when they spot your sign, they shake their heads at your outstretched hands, as invisible coins jangle happily in their disappearing pockets.  Somewhere you can hear children sing jingle bells.  You remember someone from your past ask for help:
“The tree needs tinsel, man.”
You’re younger, not quite yourself, half-asleep on a charcoal coloured sofa in a student pad over-looking Turnpike Lane station.  You’ve long since taken on the scent of wet dog and cigarettes.  The uncomfortable furniture twists your spine, until you can barely feel the aching that shoots through your weary protruding bones.  But that was years ago, the concrete has since become your pillow, and you know something, Bradley, cement bedding’s completely free of charge.  Daily trips to the job centre are no longer required.  You’re a loser, and now you belong to London’s pavements, part of a colossal company of losers.  You’re sitting on the pavement outside a Starbucks, and you’re lost.
When your bottle of White Lightning fails to drown out the jackhammer drumrolls of London Town, you escape.  Your fantasies are relief, a parallel universe to escape the drab bleakness of your minute to minute.  It is a London – of sorts – but it is your London.  In this realm, ‘history’ is too weak a word to describe your chronicle.  If your life were printed in primary coloured collectibles, you wouldn’t have a biography – you’d have an origin.  And the O word equals saga doesn’t it?
You see, thousands of years ago, the demigod Boleraam fled to Earth, the last survivor of a brutal civil war.  A clash sparked over the proposed emancipation of mortal-kind.  In agreement regarding the nature of gods and the horrifying weakness in human souls, Mother Nature helped Boleraam create a wall between deities and the apes, it being in her best interests to prevent the arrival of your jealous off-world brethren.  So many eco-systems sucked dry in their wake.  So many of Gaia’s scattered sisters, raped.  Dying planets forced to eject living weapons, odd creatures in the form of microbes buried deep, securely placed within the heart of meteorites.  Those meteors landing on Earth for champions to discover, wield and defend her. 
Deciding that his own need for adulation might become a threat, Boleraam allowed Mother Nature to suspend him under the Earth’s crust, to only awaken him in her darkest hour.  When warriors of the gods eventually found their way through the age old division, Gaia released Boleraam from his slumber.  She bound the welfare of the barrier to Boleraam’s soul.  Should one be destroyed, so would the other.  To aid his integration with twenty first century life, Gaia spliced Boleraam’s quiddity with the egotist, John Clay.  Oh yes, Boleraam seized John Clay’s soul, wrapped himself inside and ruined them both.  The scruffy tramp whose eyes you wear today? Well, you’re the fusion of god and human.  You deserve a new name.  Back when John Clay played in a blues band in a bar on Kingly Street, the barman mocked him mercilessly.  The silly way he fluttered his fingers over the keys like an insect scratching against the glass of a jam jar.  Ladies and gentleman, I give you John ‘Spiderfingers’ Clay.
As your focus shifts back to the present, you find that your pace has slowed.  Loser.  You’re a liar, pretending you can’t feel the ice creep across your flesh.  One foot follows another, on and on.  You’re a traveller without a destination.  Cold can’t kill what it can’t catch.  Then you turn a street corner and meet him.  An ordinary man, in need of help.
“He came to me in a dream and he says he don’t care,” says the twisted weakling before you.  This man has no legs Bradley, and, entombed within his rusty wheelchair he points, stabbing his fingers into the torn white Levis that hold two broomstick stumps where legs ought to be. “Jesus don’t love me.  He told me hisself,” he cries, pointing at the squat black lady with the winter coat and sensible shoes.  She towers above him, a malevolent presence; holding photocopied lies in her gloved hands.  Each word that leaves her mouth in a polluted, oily bubble, a foul expulsion that coats her lips with a slick of dishonesty.
“That wasn’t Jesus, m’dear.  That be the devil!”
How can you save him, Bradley? You see the twisted untruths of Christianity for the rusted bent out spokes they are, but you remember your promise to Mother Earth so clearly:
Do not show your face.  Do not spread your faith.  Protect humankind from the shadows.  Gods bring suffering to the apes.
The old lady’s trying to push the cripple now, her fat hands curled around the thin frame of his wheelchair, wrestling with the handbrake clamped around the left tire and mumbling lightly under her breath.
“You got the devil in you, son,” she growls, covering his bald head with a sheen of black effluence that drips down into his blinking eyes, “You must visit our church.  Tonight! My congregation can heal you.  You’ll see.  We must burn out the fallen one, burn him right out!”
Her accent is thick, West Indian, quoting passages from the bible as she shakes the chair, sending the shrunken invalid flying this way and that, in time with her wash of lies.  Gloomy, oily bubbles float around them both, until the air is heavy with dark falsehood.  The man in the chair moans, refusing to relent – oh – part of him wants to believe he’s a victim of demonic possession.  The man in the chair wants to be special, just like you, Bradley.
Do not show your face.
This disabled guy, he sounds proud of his nightmare, the way only the wretched can when listing the details of their own wretchedness.  He says he lost his legs in Afghanistan, but he’s far too old to have fought that war.  You can hear her screaming now.  It’s time to run, run, run!  Behind you, Bradley, passers-by shout for police.  The wheel of an upturned wheelchair spins slowly and silence descends.  What happens now, after all that chaos? You’re slumped in between two buildings, staring at the red smears across the pale skin of your palms.  You hear yourself whimper, “I could have handled that better.”
You stop for breath after another five-minute dash, deciding prison is a better place to dream.  You sit out in the open, where any passing bobby can confirm your identity via radio, and you beg, paper cup in hand.
Monsters in the shape of humans pass you by as the city’s orchestra of eternal road-works and vehicle honks play the Ballad of London.  The mechanical opus cannonballs against your chest, and it keeps you hating.  The song crashes through your torso, reverberating off each rib, shaking your lungs with tremendous melody.  Without warning, the words tumble from you, out into the night.  You’re bellowing indignant rage, your mouth a siege of angry ulcers and abbesses the size of golf-balls.  God, it’s a horrible hole in your face and it just gets wider and wider, barking over the world’s constant automated din:
“DO NOT SPREAD YOUR FAITH!”
Bradley, you are Spiderfingers, and you’d gladly swap street life for a sexual embarrassment, a couple of weeks in a wheelchair after – ahem – that incident involving a wardrobe and your ten inch cock.  You look down at your cup; the word ‘Starbucks’ is barely legible under the grime.  You loser fuck! That’s right – you just glare at your empty paper bank account.  A cup, thrown away by someone you used to be.
“They chose to be homeless, you know.” John Clay would tell his date, over a three figure bottle of wine.  Her head rests on her right palm, the noose of a golden chain swings limply from her wrist, but she’s smiling, glowing pleasure from across the restaurant table.  He can feel it.
“You can’t let the weight of life drag you down.” he says, nodding, gesticulating. “You can take a break, maybe.  But you can’t give up.  Or the weight will pull you under.  Like them, a lifetime of drowning.” Oh God, her dress! Its bright red – no – inferno red – generously cut.  Her breasts strain against the fabric, but John Clay cannot employ the safe distance available to others, those other males seated at other tables.  Unlike them his focus cannot linger there
Then, she hits him with it.  Blocks his last point.  Counters him with some hard-hitting statistic, some wall of fact, erected high and out of nowhere.  He must pole-vault this hurdle to win her.  And so? He leaps:
“Homeless people aren’t victims.  There are jobs for the strong-willed.” This is, of course, long before the break-up, the agoraphobia, the resignation.  All this before he joined with Boleraam to become what you are today.  Spiderfingers.  But your rebirth as a demigod came with such a high price.  You had to give up living with humans, didn’t you? Your presence turned housemates into superheroes, pets into demons, rooms into kingdoms, vast microcosms ruled by multi-coloured mechanised descendants of video cameras.
“Bloody living DVD players and remote controls.”
Best to stay out of the way then.  The man you used to be watches from the inside and cries for you.  It was him, wasn’t it? John Clay was the weak part of your psyche that convinced you to get out of the game completely.  Forget keeping tabs on your clergy, you have to keep yourself safe, right?  Their deaths instead of billions.  Oh yes, it was John that succumbed to the promise of an institution’s warm bed – never mind the electro-therapy – at least you time off from fighting invisible monsters.  A clink of coins, interrupts your reverie.  Or did you imagine the instalment? What does it matter? No small change loan can erase your on-going tragedy.  You’ve slept on so many benches, eaten from so many bins, skulked inside so many doorways; lost your job, adopted family, warm bed.  Or maybe you gave them away? For a task more noble, perhaps? But your inner city, your secret London, she allows you to re-record an outcome with an artists’ eye.  Like a twenty-first century Homer perfecting some Neo-Iliad.  You, its chief protagonist.
You perfect the bloody scenes in every detail, editing out sharp truths too prickly for your own recollection.  In this alternative world, you could never drive your thumbs through the eyes of an old lady, a Jehovah’s Witness.
No way.
If that were a story, you wouldn’t tell it.  Not to anyone.  No, what really happened is this: you dealt her a spiritual blow, delivered via a weapon that sleeps in saliva.  Yes, that’s it.  You’re a loser reconstituted, Bradley, an unsung hero, unappreciated by those you swore to defend.  You are made from a rib of the real.  Oh god of Chaos, you’ve a worthy tale to tell! You need only be asked.  A man without legs needs to know the truth.  You know his begging spots; it won’t take long to find him.  But you hesitate in your tracking.  Mother’s words slow you down:
Do not show your face. Do not spread your faith.  Protect humankind from the shadows. Gods bring suffering to the apes.
No, you mutter, Gaia lacks the understanding of humans.  Her words deal in absolutes that blind her.  That’s why she needs you.  Your half-human existence is perfect for occasions like this.  The more followers you have, the greater your power.  You need to be powerful to protect Mother Nature.  Besides, what she doesn't know won’t kill her.  
Safe in the disused toy factory you drag him to, you speak your words.  No trees or animals to pick up on your blasphemy.  They’ll be no interference from mother tonight.  The disabled war veteran sobs through his new penitence.  Oh, his fear, it feeds you and you invite him to see your flaming hair, a fiery crown of celestial royalty, which flickers pale ochre, round across your scalp.
“Bury your idols,” you warn him, “The inferno of jealousy I harbour is but a misplaced prayer away.” The event is branded onto his memory, your hair sizzling in his mind forever.

“I love the backstory for Spiderfingers, er, Rumple?” said Steph.
Spiderfingers nodded, clapping, confirming that Rumple was his new preferred name. “Harry Potter’s England has a government in cahoots with the fantasy world to cover up any weirdness.  How does Spiderfingers’ ongoing battle with minions go unnoticed?  What’s the conceit?”
“It helps to think of the divine as … celebrities.” he played with Steph’s umbrella, “There is a ‘clean-up crew’, neutral entities.  The Pseudologoi.  It’s their job to erase any sign of supernaturalism.  Anything that can’t be explained by science, gone.  Any witness to the oddities of war, they have their memories cleansed.”
“Cleansed?” asked Steph.
Spiderfingers edged a little closer to her Dictaphone,
“There is no way my jealous brethren would risk me – sorry – risk Spiderfingers gaining the fear or the praise of humans.  Gaia shares their point of view, albeit with a few exceptions.  She allows the clean-up crew to pass through the god-hex and scrub any potential scandal from civilian minds.  What good is power without Public Relations?”
“Sorry, but how come the Pseudo-whatsits didn’t cleanse the mind of that wheelchair man?”
“The Pseudologoi rely on the Earth Mother’s guidance.  So long as there are no plants or wild-life in the area, Gaia’s embargo is ineffective.  Lot of people see stuff they can’t prove, all cos the Pseudologoi missed them in their rounds.  In short: Miss World has blind spots.”
Steph nodded.  Then she asked another question, the right one, but intuition told Spiderfingers that she really wanted to ask something else entirely.  Something risky.
“Spiderfingers is delusional, and if he would retell his story about the old woman, what would he say?  What happened in his version?”
“I don’t follow ...” he lied.  And he allowed himself to hope.  He poured a molten deluge of belief into his plans for Steph.
        “A weapon that sleeps in saliva?  You … He told her something that hurt her, somehow.  That’s the next story isn’t it?” She rose to her feet as a bus hissed to a stop at the kerb, disgorging its passengers into the street.  He made a show of brushing himself off, moving to embrace her, forgetting his particularly pungent smell.  Eau de Tramp.  Steph flinched, and shoved the Dictaphone into her pocket, not even bothering to press stop.  The bus she boarded?  It wasn’t even the two seventy-four.  In her effort to flee from him, she’d forgotten her umbrella.  Spiderfingers waved it madly, shouting above the roar of the bus engine, trying to make Steph hear him.  He ignored the stares of people who’d played silent witness to his ramblings, withholding eye-contact with the more curious as he roared “Steph!” He glared at her during her furious swipe after swipe of her Oyster card.  He bellowed during her frantic rubbing of her wallet, the leather case rolling over the scanner again and again.  He didn’t know what she was saying but when Steph pointed at him, he realised some deal had been struck with the driver.  Everyone watching him as he held his head with both hands, screaming Steph’s name.  He watched her not swivel round like last time.  No wave goodbye, no smiling.  He ran through the hail after the bus, Steph’s umbrella clung to his side as he charged through the heavy spray that had become the enemy, an opposing force determined to blind and confuse him.  On his left flank a young man ran beside him.  That young man from two months ago in the billboard.  Tall, slicked black hair, a giant bloody cavity where his chest ought to be.  Nat, go away, not now. He batted away at his imaginary running partner, spluttering through the fumes of the bus, his tunnel vision married to the speeding vehicle as it steadily became a red blur on the other side of his rain-speckled-badly-cracked glasses.  He pressed on, belligerently fighting through the reek of pollution, nowhere near fast enough to catch up, his super speed a thing of the past.  A story motif to share with youngsters one day, perhaps.  He would look into the eyes of eager children as he conveyed a sanitised version of his street theatre.  Soon, the distance between himself and Steph’s bus was far away enough for him to drop the act.  His face full of success, his hand gripping his Navy blue prize.

N   E   X   T      T   I   M   E      I    N      
S   P   I   D   E   R   F   I   N   G   E   R   S
“I want you, Steph.  I want you.” She giggled at his absurdity.  His words sweeping over hers, rescuing her from the great sea of worry.  No small-talk, no “hey, how's your morning been?” Just in with that voice, ransacking her baggage, issues she’d promised to resolve one day.  His voice slinging problematic history into hungry waves 
(N.B The comments posted below pertain to an extended version of this story, truncated due to issues of pace). 
WARNING: THESE COMMENTS INCLUDE SPOILERS.

15 comments:

  1. There are some wonderful parts in this, the evolving relationship with stepth. the views on homelessness. The deconstruction of SF's identity is fascinating (must point out you critised me, for fear of 'its all adream')

    Though annoyingly i dont get the story, or rather the direction its coming from. You say its the Dr telling the story to WonderBoy. Yet their is absolutely no evidence of this. Babushka, i know. But there isnt even evidence of SFs pov telling the story of the Dr telling the story.

    Just Sfs encounter with her and poking out her eyes/spreading his venom. From his POV. Why would she tell the story from his POV, and not her own? Even if he, in turn, is recountig the story.

    It seems the overall ark is his story, his chaoes-whether inner chaos or divine??? Told thrugh these convoluted and interconnected tales.

    Still curious as to what makes Steph special.

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  2. Thank you for liking the 'wonderful parts' and yes, Steph and Spiderfingers have a chemistry don't they? I think that the views on the homeless by an angry (and lets face it) mentally deranged character such as Spiderfingers makes for good fiction. Who knows where these views might lead him. They've certainly scared the bejesus out of Steph.

    Another pal bites the dust? We'll see.

    Cutting and prodding at Spiderfingers identity is something he self indulges in. To keep that idea fresh we'll be looking through the eyes of another character next month. No, I'm not telling you.

    Regarding the story and its point of view: Spiderfingers is deranged. He doesn't quite realise how much and that his inconsistency and logic, not to mention his allusion to murdering a Jehovah's Witness have alarmed Steph.

    Babushka story or not, I myself feel a little cheated that he has made no attempt to follow through on his promise to us the reader to give us that rather tricky story telling experience. Without spoiling it for you, this here is one of the many errors that will resurface later on.

    You're gonna just have to trust me on this one.
    If that's a little difficult, reassure yourself that the 'P.O.V Scandal' as we'll call it was one of his many transitory indulgences. I'm sure Steph hasn't really given this much thought. But then she hasn't played back the Dictaphone yet has she? Still, I think she's keen to think him mad, and leave it at that.

    Yes the story arc belongs to him. So I guess that puts an end to people expecting so much more from Steph. People don't expect much from Captain Robert Walton when he's relaying Victor Frankensteins story do they?

    Still, and as I'm sure you can guess, Steph will begin to emerge as an integral part of the plot.

    I hope you remain curious ;)

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  3. I enjoyed this, although, like Ms Fox, I wasn't sure of the significance of the story within a story. I'm hoping that each element connects with the others at some point in the sequence - is this true?

    In terms of the story, I thought the second person point of view was a clever twist, and artfully executed - it's the most difficult point of view to instigate and you kept it consistent throughout the piece which was great.

    I also enjoyed the personification of London, which made it seem as though Spiderfingers is battling with the very streets themselves - an interesting perspective.

    I like the idea of the tv production metaphor, but I must admit that some of the more technical terms didn't hold my attention like the rest of the piece. Try not to alienate your audience with this technical language that people who know nothing of the film and tv industry won't be able to follow.

    Really enjoyed the story - looking forward to the next one :)

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  4. I enjoyed this, although, like Ms Fox, I wasn't sure of the significance of the story within a story.

    The significance of the story within the story idea will sneak up on you all as it did me when I thought up the idea around Christmas last year. I won't dare spoil it for you.

    I'm hoping that each element connects with the others at some point in the sequence - is this true?

    Will everything connect up? Will there be form created out of the chaos?

    Nope. I just won't confirm anything except that I know maybe too much about plot structure to leave you all hanging/feeling unsatisfied in the end. The arc looks set to continue until Jan 2012 (12 parts NOT posting late Dec due to Xmas).

    In terms of the story, I thought the second person point of view was a clever twist, and artfully executed - it's the most difficult point of view to instigate and you kept it consistent throughout the piece which was great.

    Second P.O.V can feel really gimmicky, but I adapted it from the original third person, as that wasn't allowing for the 'link' 'tween Bradley the Boy Wonder and Invisible. If you get what I mean ;)

    I LOVED writing in second person but don't expect another story quite this heavy until a few more months from now. Maybe.

    Spiderfingers is at war with London and so I figured to personify the enemy. Made writing the story a damn load easier!

    The T.V production metaphor comes and goes and was in the Hero-worship arc as well. I think its the best way to illustrate Spiderfingers self importance and vanity.
    He is the L'Enfant Terrible of The Oma and he doesn't care if the cameras catch his good side or not. Just so long as he's being watched.

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  5. would you say that the idea of a story in a story, like the last spiderfingers tale is to create a bond between steph and spiderfingers? he is drawing her in, making himself appear harmless 'don't worry about me..., i'm just a harmless homeless person'?
    looking forward to see who will be telling the story next month. (okay i read some of the comments :) )
    i will not lie, i think you need to be in a particular mood to read spiderfingers. maybe a very reflective mood? Spiderfingers, as a character is hard to pin down. he likes to play with the expertations of the reader, he does it with almost concious effort.

    at times i'm intrigued by spiderfingers, another times i want to hit him over the head and shout 'for the love of all that is holy man stop with the mind fuck'

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  6. It certainly seems as though his story within a story is a way of forging a relationship with Steph doesn't it? And for what reason? I guess we'll have to wait and see (even if you guessed here, it would be evil for me to spoil it here right?).

    I guess he has come across as rather harmless though the details of Invisible suggest that Steph had better put some distance 'tween herself and him. Is Spiderfingers a killer who has written a story about editing it out of mind, or is he a demigod who has written a story about being a killer?

    Postulate away.

    Next months story will be functional and more subtle than the previous instalments. It's turning out to be easier to put together than i thought (we'll find out more about Steph).

    Tell me more of this mood you need to be into read Spiderfingers? It isn't a hard read, but it (If I may say so) is different from the run of the mill swords and spells fantasy riffage.

    I play with the reader. Spiderfingers is my side-kick.

    Do you think that if he stopped fucking with your mind he'd stop being the demigod of chaos? I think he can't help it and every month I've got to find ways of persuading people to like the prick. Spiderfingers, for me at least, is a hit and miss character. As long as he keeps surprising me, I'll write him.

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  7. I like the way you use language to bring things to the mind's eye. However, I have to be honest, and maybe it's just me, but I tended to get lost and the lose the focus and the direction of the story. Maybe it was the use of second person, I just got confused. I'll be interested to see what 'functional' type you have next time.

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  8. Hey man! Sorry I lost you. Writing from the standpoint of a character as warped as Spiderfingers has lost some in the past. Tell me where it could have been clearer?

    Next time we'll get some answers as to whats going on and hey, Steph finds Spiderfingers a tough ride too ;)

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  9. Hey John.

    Sorry it took me so long to get back to you - I wanted to take the time to get through at least one of your stories the whole way through, seeing as you took the time to check out my blog.

    There is a difference between a 2-300 word post and a 5000 word post though ;-)

    I really liked the term 'citadels of shit'. It struck a little chord with me (E minor add 9 since you ask), and I also liked a lot of the observations you make. Things like the money magician, her dark creativity, innocents that can still see you...

    I found the story a little difficult to follow, but maybe it just took me a little while to get used to the voice of Spiderfingers - he's a little relentless... - but I think I got it in the end. I liked the ending too, with the damsel in distress.

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  10. Glad you you liked it because hey, Spiderfingers is quite heavy-he's been through a lot. Did you read the part before this? It's called Steph's Gold Medal and might make this episode more worthwhile. Hope to please your brain with the next part which goes up on the 27th.

    Spiderfingers like most gods comes across as angry but even more interestingly, he seems so very focused on impressing his audience. Lets just see where such actions shall take him shall we?

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  11. http://www.facebook.com/album.php?fbid=10150104136811507&id=727021506&aid=279564&l=7e31215cd4

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  12. I just wrote a big ass comment and lost internet connection and with it the text :( ...it went a bit like this:


    Hi john...
    I've been sitting thinking how to tackle this one...

    I enjoyed the story as a whole though at times found the character, within a character within.. a little confusing at times I got the jist of what is going on (i think(,

    I only found one error in the whole thing, a slightly confusing wording ("not being at all uncomfortable for the either of you "), maybe it should be either "for the both of you" or "for either of you.

    ...I think the strongest part of this story is the intro(s), the imagery is very vivid and engaging.

    I'm not sure if it is intentional or not but I find myself more interested in learning more about Spiderfingers than the subjects of the stories... like the story behind the story behind the story...

    looking forward to the next installment.

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  13. Spiderfingers appears to be an unhinged homeless guy - the bricks of reality have been rearranged in a way that seems to help him survive London's streets so, i apologise if his storytelling is muddling from time to time. I think I'll use your second suggestion regarding the sentence clutter. Nice.

    I was worried about the intro in that it is quite dense. Leanne (Crimson EBlog) reckons that those who are not versed in reading scripts/use T.V terminology might not get it. I guess this is no problem for you but yeah, I almost cut it out ;)

    Spiderfingers intentionally drawing attention to himself via others? Surely not! He does believe himself to be a deity and how many deity work alone?

    Looking forward to what you make of Man is the Meal.

    Plot twists await you.

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  14. Hey John, comment 1 out of 2 for you this month.

    Wow so much here, so busy, chaotic bursting with information which on initial reading can be off putting but really on reflection does parallel your themes. Really I must put my post modernist head on when I read your work because I get a lot more enjoyment out reading the reflection of the story in the style and structure.

    Like Stephen I have to agree that I feel a bit lost at times and find I fall outside of the story, I'd like to be pulled in a little more. Obviously the perspective is coming from a derange character, as you've explained, I think it's important to keep that in but I'd like to warm to or associate to the character a bit more. Thus far he's quite an intimidating force and I think that's where the distance is created. You say Spiderfingers has been through a lot perhaps more of his backstory a little sooner would enable a closer connection between the reader and the protagonist?

    Looking forward to reading the 3rd chapter and commenting this month :)

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  15. Thanks for reading and as for the promise of another comment (I presume on MAN IS THE MEAL), I'm eager!

    I've been reading through the whole series from beginning to end and this one is a prime offender when it comes to density. Yeah, the theme is paralleled but it takes a while to get through and the prose is as intimidating as the narrator.

    In the full scale effort I and another will be carrying out (over 2015) I will DEFFO take under consideration that the story is as dense if not more than a Will Self novel. Oh how I like to get people to think about the many aspects of Spiderfingers!

    About that guy - we do get quite a hefty amount of chaos' backstory (his being two souls...one a chaos god and the other being a human, we spy upon a relationship of John Clay's begin and then crumble as fear of leaving the house and joblessness snowball into dereliction), not sure if this chapter could do with more delving backwards. Still, you seem keen to get to the heart of him although the next part throws the spotlight back upon Steph. Interestingly you assume that Spiderfingers is the protagonist. Bit like Stokers Dracula this one...

    So yeah, I will draw people in by simplifying some language and imagery but shan't be adding more backstory. Nice one!

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