Two-thirteen . . . the number that wouldn’t leave.

ImageI’ve never really been that into Numerology. Like a lot of people I’m sure, I saw the movie The Number 23 (2007), and while I enjoyed it, I never really thought about attributing something like it to myself. But perhaps I should have?

It seems a long time ago since I was introduced to the meaning behind Slayer’s seminal track, 213 (from what is still my favourite of their records – Divine Intervention, and for me the best they’ve done) and since I was already hooked on the song, I became hooked on the meaning. It is of course a reference to the apartment number of Jeffrey Dahmer; the notorious serial killer and cannibal who stalked Milwaukee during the 1980’s and early 90s. Not only do I find interest in the subject of serial killers, but I felt drawn to finding out about more about Jeff, and later what happened to him while serving time for his crimes.

But something curious happened.

This number kept popping up. Everywhere. I mean to say that at least I noticed it everywhere. There, that might be more apt. But there it was nonetheless, as though my darker interests and thoughts were staring back at me on pretty much everything. I was drawn to noticing apartment numbers marked 2.13 or 213, focusing in on the number, staring in while it stared out, right through me. And seeing it pop up on till receipts always brings a wry smile. Even notice it sometimes when checking the time. I laugh to myself at the idea that it follows me of course, but there’s something rather intriguing embedded within it. Maybe I just tuned in to it, and it to me. Seeing it brings a sense of being watched. Not celestially, but as though something peers out at me from time to time; eyes in the great Dark, or perhaps not even that. An idea in the chaos of nothing. Something just out of reach of conscious thought, dancing on the edges of Nothing. Maybe I’ll find it one day . . .

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Jim Carrey in The Number 23 [Dir. Joel Schumacher, 2007]
I mean, I’m already all about the number 13, so maybe it’s not that huge a leap? Who knows. But one thing I do know is that the thought never scared me. Never scared me that this particular number was connected with Jeffrey Dahmer. Or that it has seemed to follow me everywhere since 1995. So much so that I decided to get it tattooed. Both as an indicator of my fascination with serial killers like Jeff, and also because I embrace its presence always. There’s something oddly comforting in seeing it pop up, weird as that might seem to others. But weird is good. And always welcome. Image

Mind you, it’s only one digit away from being the number that torments Carrey’s character too . . . 😉

Well, there’s my rambling for the day. Best go be productive.

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What if the chapters never end? . . .

Imagine staying with a character (or plot arc) or just staying inside the world of the last book you read once the world is saved, the girl won and the villains dealt with. I could get utterly lost and not care, were I stuck on the same beautifully dystopian L.A streets as Rick Deckard in Philip K. Dick’s seminal novel long after the replicants are brought to heel, the story arc has run its course and all seems well enough for example.Setting, for me at least, is as interesting and worthwhile as great characters and stories.

To be fair, I really enjoyed Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (1968), but Blade Runner (1982) blew my mind!! It’s still my favourite movie of all time, so it’s not really difficult for me (also having read K.W Jeter’s later sequels to the Blade Runner story and universe – worth a look) to imagine myself in that world. Of course being a Blade Runner myself springs to mind immediately, living in the shadows of a grim cityscape where replicants could be hiding on any shady corner. But just exploring this neon-lit monstrosity would be enough; living amongst all the exotic trappings of a rain-swept future where there’s not much chance of sunburn being a problem – sign me up!!

So what if you could stay? Pick up the torch so to speak and carry on Deckard’s work? Wouldn’t that be really something?

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The lurid, dark cityscape of Blade Runner 1982 [Dir. Ridley Scott]
Ah, but a peak into any of Raymond Chandler’s sleaze-grime noir worlds would also be irresistible, as would soaking up the engaging historical atmosphere of a Bernard Cornwell epic (particularly the Viking series for me).

There’s just so many damn worlds to choose from, but I am so grateful for having the imagination to take me there and hold me for, well, I haven’t ever come out of any of them just yet . . . They’re just too enjoyable.

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Humphrey Bogart, the definitive Philip Marlowe, in The Big Sleep 1946 [Dir. Howard Hawks]
I suppose what I mean to say is that setting can be incredibly important; not just for the expansive fantasy worlds of Pratchett or George RR Martin (which are incredibly multilayered and well worth exploring!) but also for the extremely boxed-in, in-your-face drama of The Sunset Limited (a conversation that could continue well after the movie – and the play on which it is based – has ended).

All these places have something magical about them, and draw you in to read or watch on and imagine yourself in their places, in those worlds, conquering, exploring, fantasising and much more besides. I know the possibilities of droning on without realising I am alone in this madness are remote to say the least (there has to be at least one other, right?) But I always seem lost on my own, never really connected with others who may or may not share such thoughts once the curtain goes up or the page is closed.

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The Sunset Limited 2011 [Dir. Tommy Lee Jones]
I would love to hear how other writers form their respective worlds, and how those environments might well play a part in the stories they birth. For me the chance of building new and interesting worlds (most likely terrifyingly brutish, stark land/cityscapes) is one I just can’t ignore. I guess what I try to do is build places I’d want to get lost in myself, and explore without having to worry about tearing myself out of such fantastical and fascinating places.

It is indeed one of the most fun parts of writing for me.

The lonely deep . . .

I often get lost within myself. It seems to be the only place where I can let go of everything, to feel able to commit to paper (or, well that lovely, open word document) all the things that I wish to say. It’s not always beautiful, or expertly crafted, but then again the purpose is to write raw and true.Image

 Hemingway would be proud. 

But something always tugs at my bones in those dark places we visit as writers to wring every last drop of imagination and inspiration from ourselves in order to create artistic chaos on the page – that we aren’t letting go. Not really. Everything is within us, there’s no reaching out beyond human consciousness. There’s no Other. Each of us suffering the great Alone of our lonely deep, drowning under the weight of expectation; that we can and should and will produce something of intrinsic value.


These creations are uniquely ours, and yet we design them in a way as to be something more. More than us. More than we can ever say or feel or experience. Like Dr Frankenstein’s Monster, they take on a life of their own, becoming more than we could contain, disassociated from what we thought we knew all along about ourselves and the worlds we draw.

But are we going mad in the process? I often wonder if perhaps we ought to be a little crazy to go so far, or to get so far in the first instance. Creation can be a lonely place, yet also a magical one.


 It could be that in order to be free, truly free we have to enlighten ourselves to the knowledge that we are not free at all. Perhaps only then can we expect to be able to reach into our imaginations and pull out something special. Something worthwhile.

In the end it’s all we can do to leave behind a thumbprint of our lives:

The written word.*

 

*Procrastination can be a fine thing too, but time to get back to that lovely word document . . .

Horrorwood or bust . . .

It’s been coming for some time now.

A strange kind of thing creeping across the social community skies. Its ambience among the throng of updates, requests and pictorial links is one of growing distaste and (perhaps more frighteningly) free to manipulate and manifest in every manner those delicate fabrics of conscious thought are able to conjure.

Therein lies a deliberate horror; one brought upon the senses while the struggle to process those yummy, often delicate little pieces of reality (that isn’t always our own) takes its toll. It sees any who may find themselves unlocking invisible gateways to peer into its majestic nothingness.

But linger not a moment too long, for rumour abounds of that terror striking in the Deep Dark, and once lost, all paths back might cease to exist . . .

Well, in the interests of fiction there may have been a little tampering with the rationale here*.

It  might be simple conjecture, or it may be that others find themselves in the pit, unwilling to relent to a force that seems to be growing at a monstrous rate, while somehow feeling sucked into an unending abyss (or some other horror that likes to engulf things . . . )

I could also give a shortened account of things by saying I’ve quit facebook after 7 long years.

Phew! Easier than I thought, only not as exciting as the aforementioned horror (which, lets face it, can make things more interesting).

Turns out I like writing, and I’d like to get better at it. It’s a daily struggle, but then there isn’t a lot that, err, isn’t. Yes.

So with that in mind, and since being new here (waves – not in a creepy way, possibly) I’d like to just say hello to everyone out there who likes to share their passions, fictitious works of adventure, horror, romance, fantasy, and all things weird.

 

*Absolutely, quite profoundly conceivable. Possibly.