Friday, September 20, 2013

The Canterbury Deaths

When I die, it'll be with a perky goth girl who's been waiting for me her entire life. She'll be gentle, and whimsical, and philosophical about easing me into a void where even the damned dream. They must dream or else they'll escape.

You read too much Neil Gaiman. When I die, it'll be an androgynous, tall figure in a black robe. It will carry a sickle. It will think of me as little more than grain to be reaped, for what else is earth but a field upon which death grows harvests?

You don't know that. When I die, it'll be a Backspace key. It'll delete the end of my life, then the midlife crisis, then the mistakes in my thirties, my time interning in Silicon Valley, then the mistake of going to college, then my all my awful teenage romances, and I'll de-adolesce into a string of nonsense sentences about childhood, until the only remark that's left is, "Unremarkably, Mario Marquez Jianming was born."

I'll wrestle a serpent down the trunk of the first tree that ever bloomed, only resting when it submits to my will.

When I die, I'll get into an elevator where all the floors are 13. It's where they keep the places every other building is afraid to go. Sometimes I visit skyscrapers that have a 13 just to see what death is like. It feels a lot like a tense ball in your gut and minimum wage insurance auto-dialing banks.

Death isn't a thing. There's a sweet man with skin like a cardboard tube and hair the color of toilet paper, and he's a shameless flirt, and everybody wants his attention and his gaze and a dance and then another dance and then another of something else. Some people are stillborn and never meet him, and someone people stumble on the first step of the papery waltz. He's Life, and he's real, but death is just when he stops paying attention to you. It's a petty absence.

I imagine it'll be midway through the journey of our life, and akin to finding ourselves in a sloping and darkened forest, surrounded by wolves and lions that stir in us such feelings that we question if we are body or shade. That's the death of it – not the afterward. I need to flesh out the afterward.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Bathroom Monologue: Why do you own so many pillows?

Photo by GardenKings.
This is the Monarch of the Pillows. Unlike most animal monarchs, this is not the biggest or strongest, yet it must be the ruler because it always rests on the top of the arrangement. It is unique in that it is circular and possesses gold frills, and too small to be of any utility in sleeping. Lenin would smile to know that the Monarch of the Pillows is the first cast to the floor every night.

The twins it rests upon must be the arch-dukes or some form of Pillow Priesthood. They are a stark color against the Monarch, standing out like wings behind his back. They take flight second and third to the floor every night, unless one of us tosses or turns in our sleep, in which case we may pretend one is useful between our knees for a while. That delusion is always brought to end by the Priest-pillow being punted back to the carpet.

One would expect them to descend into a pyramid of pillows. Instead, the Priesthood rests against two larger pillows, of size to jut out and remain apparent despite being three rows back on the bed-top. These are some level of elite Laboring pillows, stuffed enough and of mass to support the head. Why they have not cast off their ruling classes and taken up sole occupancy of the bed is beyond me. I sleep with one; my wife with the other. We need no additional cushioning for most of the year.

And yet there is a fourth layer, a wall of Gargantuan pillows the size of my torso, stacked like soldiers behind the Laborer-class of pillows. These are clearly too large to serve for sleep; a shoulder jars, and the neck is never at a comfortable angle. Sometimes one is of use to cuddle during a depressing or romantic film, but only until my wife returns. They are as ornamental as the Monarch, yet considerably more pathetic, adding such volume to the pillow display while adding almost no actual aesthetic. Oftentimes other ornamental pillows are placed on top of them, adding a second tier to the ranks. It is my belief that the laborer pillows pity the Gargantuans, and shelter and hide them, knowing they have no right place in the world and yet trying to afford them continuation. These I drop on the floor last, out of shared sympathy for something so large and so useless.

I do not understand why there must be so many pillows on the bed. I have wondered, but I have never been so foolish as to ask.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Best of Beta Reading

I make it no secret that I love my beta readers. On both of my recent novels I've been gifted with some smart, incisive critiques. But sometimes the best of it are when they lose their composure, to laugh, or to mock me, or fighting to grasp what just happened.

A few of those moments bear sharing today. They're all anonymous, unless a reader wants to come forward as having typed one of these beauties.

Blogspot is being very testy about image sizing. Please let me know if any are illegible or won't embiggen when clicked upon.

How couldn't you love these folks?
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