NEWWORDS : BLOG
Divided by a large amount of land and water, Chad Vickery and Joseph Kolean were no longer able to use their telepathic powers to communicate as they had in days of closer proximity. Subsequently they decided to dialogue in the fashion of days of yore, via written correspondence. What follows is their first foray into this new and old way of understanding. Both parties attempt to replicate the outer limits of their interior excursions, the vast and not so vast expanse of the mind, and fail miserably. Thank you for your attention.
Hi. It is windy today. Pleasantly so. I like wind, so I suppose it’s always pleasant. It’s not a fair statement, as it could never be unpleasant. Perhaps it’s fair, but unnecessary. A sandstorm overtook us in the middle of nowhere. Not you and me, but someone else and me. It was extremely windy on that day. And yet, despite all of the flying grains and particles, the wind was more invigorating than debilitating. It activated that old dust and sand, gave it new life and purpose. The invisible hand or some spooky thing. Lifting dead matter, resurrecting it, that’s the stuff of late night tales not springtime drives. Yet there we were, on a nearly deserted road in the midst of a sand fog the likes of which we’d never seen. Excepting every photograph of a sandstorm, of course. And now it’s fall, the wind blows harder at night, and lifts me up up up up up. Above the house. Above the treetops. Above the clouds, which briefly and frequently obscure my view of the suburban lights.
Back on earth some man stares at the dead leaves swirling on his empty street. A light rain falls. Lying in his bed he thinks about the land across the sea. There are so many questions. Why does it rain blood? Why does not the snow melt upon my tongue? A thing believes because a thing believes because it believes. But does it believe because it sees or see because it believes? If someone, something, whatever stirs next to him where there is nothing, where there seemed to be nothing only moments before, is he awake? Will his dreams never end? Outside the wind will continue its blowing, the sky its darkening, the stars their dying, on and on without end. Until they do. Until we all do. And then? He really needs to stop asking questions. It’s hard to sleep.
When those eyelids refuse to stay shut, you’ll tell yourself to think of nothing. You cannot count sheep. There are no sheep. This is the suburbs. Sheep are unwelcome here. You want sheep for sleep, live in the country. We count shingles in this neighborhood. And potholes. Whatever. Don’t you dare try to bring those sheep to the city. That’s even worse. They count stories there. Parking garages and meters, buses, motorcycles, bicycles, and bad haircuts. Stupid sheep. That’ll never work.
I work in a store. I don’t want to talk about it. I won’t. Nothing you can say will change that. You can eat living human flesh. You can race cheetahs and bears and other exciting animals. You can brush your teeth a couple hundred times in a row while rowing a tiny boat across the English Channel and wearing that Martin Yan Halloween costume we all loved. I guess then, but only then, I might talk about work. What it entails. Where it is. Who signs the paychecks. It occurs to me that I do not know who signs the paychecks. Is that bad?
You’ve left me obliterated. I, too was having trouble sleeping. I never have trouble sleeping. But it was a moment in my life where I was forced to call upon sleeping tricks I’d learned from daytime TV talk shows, or from a children’s book. My day, the day on which I received your message, was one of the type I have been having a lot of lately. Both the longest and shortest of days. I spent six hours standing on a claustrophobic subway for a high-contrast push of 35mm and a barely-mediocre falafel pita.
Well, now I’m confused about your location. The details you’ve encrypted led me to purchase tickets on an open-jaw flight, a slew of bus tickets, and…. well I guess it doesn’t matter now. I’m not standing at your back porch and you can count on not seeing me for another year at least.
Sorry to be curt but I’ve lost a lot of money on this deal and you seem to be taking this so lightly.
Thanks a lot,
Upon who or what or why or when are you standing? Never mind the back porch. If there is someone or something that owns these terms, perhaps they can reimburse you for your travel expenses. Please never mind that I said never mind the back porch, because now I’d like to discuss the back porch. If I may. You have no way to deny my request, as this is a letter, not a face-to-face interaction. This is the nature of letters, so get used to it. Which means, I may. And in fact, I will.
My back porch does not exist. I live in a basement in someone else’s home, and they don’t have any porches, back or otherwise. This is the truth of living. All raw, all the time. You bleed until the blood dries or runs out, and most of the time you don’t know which is preferable. This is what it’s like existing in a basement, especially one that belongs to another. There’s a lot of weight overhead. I don’t possess the equipment to measure it’s deadliness, but I don’t doubt that it will kill me and anyone else underneath in the event of collapse. Telling the truth is hard, and I don’t know how, but I’m willing to try if it gets me out of dank, musty basements. So many spiders and critters and creeps and ugly children belonging to no one! By the way, I initially imagined this letter as an illustrated book for children, even those of the ugly variety. I say “initially” because I wanted to ask you first, before finding a publisher and making more money than anyone ever should. What are your thoughts (please only share thoughts related to picture books, in this instance)?
I apologize for the slight rabbit trail of the children’s book. I want to apologize for seeming to take things lightly, and much as I would like to do so, I cannot. I’m bearing the burden of your vanishing finances and drowning dreams, both of which are extraordinarily heavy. Were I not suffocating underneath their shared gravity, I would wish to take matters as lightly as you seem to think I do. That being said, I must admit that communication has become quite difficult in this stifling and increasingly dangerous environment. Do you like basements? One wonders if staying here with me would eliminate a majority of our communication problems? In the event that you are wondering who this “One” is, it’s me. Your drowning dreams are getting especially corpulent at this moment. And now, so are mine. My word choice regarding your dreams has led me to imagine them as a chubby child gorging itself on an endless bounty of fudgey, delicious brownies. Where are the parents?
Dreaming of brownies, and sincerely,
And though I’ve begun correspondence to you in the past with quotations from Carlo M. Cipolla’s “Economic History of World Population,” all I can do now is remind you of our directive. Your stay in the Hibernation Hive is neither coincidental nor frivolous. While your frustrations and delusions are unshared at this point, I will have a porch installed immediately. It may not meet your specific stipulations and be regarded as a back porch, but I hope something from the greater porch family will suffice.
And if you, by some chance, thought my station was roses and hot coffee, I’m sure the quick recollection of Teruel will quickly dispel that.
Thank you for the reminders. It is my great pleasure to report my out-of-season stay in the Hibernation Hive is over, through, finished, finalized, and so on. As you may recall, training for future champions of The Mansion of Happiness commences this week in Sepulveda, California. I will be attending if Dr. Mark A. Teruel finds it in his heart to offer me a ride. It’s funny that you should mention him. Since our encounter at the Conference for Supremely Attentive Nephrologists, he has largely ignored me. Of course, our initial encounter was turbulent, to say the least. I can hardly blame him for being hesitant. I too am a bit reluctant. I may be hopping into a vehicle with a man who could leave me in an ice-filled tub sans kidneys without a second thought. And, perversely, that’s what makes it exciting.
Shall I quell my excitement with thoughts of your boredom in strange lands? Perhaps. I sincerely doubt that the humidity, which is likely the cause of your lethargy, has anything to do with the tedium in which you wallow. Though I do see your point.
Would you be so kind as to send me a bee keeper’s outfit in the next care package? I nearly forgot to ask. I’m hoping to make a bold fashion statement at next month’s dental appointment. Don’t worry, I’m not getting my teeth cleaned, I’ll just be prattling with the dental hygienists.
I am quite confused by your decision to attend the training sessions, especially having read your report on the discipline of training. Perhaps you went off-course in confusing our mutual acquaintance Dr. Turuel, for the Spanish town in which we met. Both proper nouns, to be sure, but so very different both conceptually and spatially.
Let me report on one thing and then leave you to the obvious retracing you must do. On October 29th at roughly 3:45pm EST I received a phone call from my current tailor informing me that my suit would not be ready the following week as scheduled due to the untimely death of his seamster. I wonder whether you have any knowledge of this incident.
My recollection of October 29 is vague at best. Possibly nonexistent. It is likely that I was handling and not eating Cameo apples. Also, Empire, Gala, Fuji, Jonagold, and Honeycrisp apples. But not Pinova apples. In response to your question, no, I have no knowledge of the incident involving your seamster, excepting what you’ve told me. I am saddened by the death, and I wonder how you have been coping with the late arrival of your suit. Proper fit, I trust?
Let us get back to the apples. In my aquaphobia research, which has been extensive, I’ve found that those who suffer from the aforementioned condition have invented a version of bobbing for apples that does not involve water. It’s completely ridiculous and ruins the traditional Halloween game, but hey, at least aquaphobes have a way to get their mouths on apples without getting their hands dirty.
Which brings us to Halloween. Two days after the death of your seamster. Is it then possible that his passing relates to the holiday, albeit in the future (now the past)? I’d say quite plausible. Please please please please please tell me you’re investigating. Some haunted bay somewhere, somehow holds clues. Clues just for you. It’s all very special and specific, I’m sure. Report your findings to me, as is our protocol.
Hey, let’s not forget bobbing for apples! Do forget the aquaphobe arrangement; it’s awful. Imagine you are about to go for a delightful Mutsu. The water should be extra cold, no? Are you able to get that apple in your jaws without getting your hair wet?
Foreword: I didn’t read your most recent letter, for lack of time. I’m at the office and working on a number of things. Fortunately, I found a box of correspondences from years ago that I had intended to send to you. What follows is a randomly selected one of those.
Whose forefathers do you channel to design such headdresses? Where do you keep your tanning supplies? When can I expect a full report on your “bypass” hydrogenation idea?
I open with these questions because I believe doing so to be the most efficient way of getting full responses from you. Now I shall simply make two comments. You may read them or ignore them, I believe the resulting consequence will be the same.
One. I took Jesper’s advice and fermented 20 kilos of cabbage for some storable winter sustenance.
Two. With two broken toes, my gait is altered in such a way that you may not recognize me as I approach you, dressed in black, at our predetermined place and time. Use your other skills to discern me from the swarming masses.