Spill yer guts.

General discussions of interest to readers and fans of Harlan Ellison.

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Tim Raven
Posts: 255
Joined: Wed Dec 22, 2010 10:30 pm

Re: Spill yer guts.

Postby Tim Raven » Mon Sep 22, 2014 7:11 pm

Chuck, that was cool! Also, you are still true to your naturalistic style, except this time it was nature as modified by Man. I liked it! More, more, more.
I'm still slogging on the 29 Doors thing. I think that I've cooked up an entire story, now I gotta squeeze it out. Currently up to an impressive 825 words!


The House of 29 Doors

Garret



I cross my arms and fall forward into the ocean.
Shoom.

The bubbles clear and my body descends into the gloom, gliding and cartwheeling. A
grotesque face appears from the deep twilight to greet me. Then another; the faces rise toward
me again and again at increasing pace but I don’t care.

My thoughts drift in colors.

When I hit bottom in slow motion it surprises me. My vast infinity instantly becomes
mundane gravel and mud. Looking to the left and I sense something dark. A ladder. I pull myself
up through the syrup tangling brine and plants. The water becomes warmer and warmer. Finally
at the top of the ladder I see a hatchway. I spin the wheel and crawl upward through.

Slam! The heavy lid slips from my fingers and now I’m dry. Dry and naked as a
dinosaur. I listen to the silence intently.

Life is an illusion, we think. A cliche, but true.

“I know where you are.”
“What?” he said, looking up.

He spotted where the voice was coming from. Gigantic book shelves of fine dusty wood
encased the room. A small woman was in a lounging position speaking from one of the empty
shelves. She was the same color as the wood and just as bare.

“Who...?”
“We’re acquainted.” she interrupted. “Your first question is usually where am I?”

He was confused. He hesitated for what seemed to him a really long time. She remained
motionless, staring back.

“I‘m not breathing. How long did I just stare at you?”
“No clocks here.” She rapidly scratched the bridge of her nose with her left pinky. “You
pinched. You came in through that door, one of many.”
“A door?”
“Exactly”.
She swung herself to the floor, her bare feet chuffing on the lush antique carpet.
“You know my name?” he said with an uneasy rush, “I can’t get used to not breathing. It
feels like glue inside me.”
She approached closer and her eyes became bright.
“No” she said.
He could feel her corona of body heat even before she placed her hand on his chest. He
gripped her upper arm and noticed that she was covered in fine hair fuzz, almost white.
“No clothes, no secrets.” he said.
Grinning, she reached down and squeezed.
“We must talk first.”
He disagreed.
Strangers or not, they fit each other perfectly.



The view from the tower was impossible. It looked like a fall to the ocean coast below
would take an hour. He leaned out of the window farther.
“You ever jump from here?” He was joking, but her face said otherwise.
“Sometimes I feel like I've done everything possible and there’s nothing new left in the
world. I look out of these windows and wonder.”
“The world is constantly new, it’s our minds that rarely change.” he said. He backed out
of the opening and looked around the room. About two hundred feet in diameter, they were in a
tower room, part of the garret of a larger structure growing out of the top of a cliff. Looking
down, the grey ocean pounded mindlessly amid eternal salty mists.
Everything in the room looked familiar. He had the feeling of nostalgia that you get when
looking at an old catalog that sells things that no longer exist.
“It’s weird that I’m not more freaked out by this.”
She flopped down on a large stuffed chair. “We've been in this room together before.
You never remember. Out of everyone, you’re the one who never remembers.” She squinched
her toes a few times in the air.

He let that simmer for a bit. Then he jumped out of the window.

The wind whistles violently.
I’m just realizing now that I jumped out of the window. That was not an intentional leap.
It seems like an eternity ago that I woke up in the ocean. Was that real? Or this?
The wind whistles.
I can’t see the ground, the wind is too strong. My eyes are watering out of control. I let go
and my thoughts drift to colors. Spinning and cartwheeling, a wondrous chaos of feeling.
“Hey!”
A new vista - a sun bleached Roman garden comes into sharp focus. I walk over to the
green and white marble fence and sit.
“Hey!”
A tiny dog licks my foot. I reach down and smooth my thumb along the top of his little noggin.
“You!”
The wind whistles.
“You have to pinch now!”
I listen to the silence intently.

Cross your arms, close your eyes, look down and push.

“...gonna hit the rocks!!!”
The small woman must have jumped after me. She’s upside down, gripping me by the
hair. She pulls me close and screams into my ear.
“PINCH YOU SONOFABITTTTTCH!”
Dappled light. Across the hairs of my arm, a faint breeze brushes them to attention.
“NOW!!!”

Shoom.
I open my eyes and we’re back in the garret.


Tim Raven 9/22/2014

Tim Raven
Posts: 255
Joined: Wed Dec 22, 2010 10:30 pm

Re: Spill yer guts.

Postby Tim Raven » Sun Oct 05, 2014 4:35 am

A bit more progress. I cleaned up the first part a bit, and I'm poised to march forward. I'm on vacation in Maryland visiting friends and family and I hope to have plenty of time to chip away at the rest of the story over this next week. The formatting of this as I post it here is a little rough, I've compensated manually as best I can but it forces right justification.

The House of 29 Doors

Garret



I cross my arms and fall forward into the ocean.

Shoom.

The bubbles clear and my body sinks into the gloom cartwheeling and gliding, riding the subsonic current. A grotesque face appears from the deep blue twilight to greet me. Then another and another; the faces rise again and again at increasing pace but I don’t care.

My thoughts drift to colors.

I hit bottom in slow motion and it surprises me. My vast infinity morphs into mundane gravel and mud. Looking to my left I sense something dark; an ancient rusting ladder. I pull myself up through the syrup tangling brine and plants. The ocean’s broth becomes warmer and warmer, almost hot. At the top of the ladder I see a hatchway. I spin the wheel and crawl upward through.

Slam. The heavy lid slips from my fingers and now I’m dry. Dry and naked as a dinosaur. I listen to the silence intently.

Life is an illusion, we think. A ridiculous cliche, but true.

“I know where you are.”
“What?” he said, looking up.

He spotted where the voice was coming from. Brobdingnagian scaled book shelves of polished wood encased the garret all the way up to the shadowed ceiling. A small woman was in a lounging position speaking from one of the empty ones. She was the same color as the wood and just as bare.

“Who...?”
“We’re acquainted.” she purred. “Your first question is usually where am I?”

He was confused. Hesitating for what seemed to him a really long time he stared. She remained motionless, staring back. The sight of her was a shock, she was so attractive. And her voice...

“I‘m not breathing. How long have I been here?”

“Old man, there are no clocks to measure it.” She rapidly scratched the bridge of her nose with her left pinky. “You pinched. You came in through this door, one of many.”
“I’m not an old man. Do I look old to you?”
“Exactly”.
She vaulted to the floor, bare feet chuffing on the lush antique carpet.
“You know my name then?” he said with an uneasy rush, “I’m not breathing. It feels like glue inside.”
She padded toward him and her eyes shined bright.
“No” she said.
He could feel her corona of body heat as she gently slid her palm down his bare chest. He gripped her upper arm, pulled her closer and noticed that she was covered in fine hair fuzz, almost white against her mahogany skin.
“No clothes, no secrets.” he said.
Smirking, she casually reached down and squeezed.
“I know that and know you well, but we must talk first.”
He disagreed.
Strangers or not, they fit each other perfectly.



The view from the tower was impossible. It looked like a fall to the ocean’s coast below would take an hour. He leaned out of the window farther.
“You ever jump from here?” He was joking, but her face said otherwise.
“Sometimes I feel like I’ve done everything possible and there’s nothing new left in this place. I look out of these windows and wonder.”
“The world is constantly new, it’s our minds that rarely change.” he said. He backed out of the window opening and calmly studied his surroundings. About two hundred feet in diameter, they were in a stone tower room, part of the garret of a larger structure growing out of the top of a massive cliff. Behind him he could hear the muffled slate grey ocean below pounding mindlessly against the rocks amidst eternal salty mist.
Everything in this room looked familiar. He had a strong feeling of nostalgia. That strange dusty taste that you experience when looking at an old catalog that sells things that no longer exist.
“It’s weird that I’m not more freaked out by this.”
She flopped down on a large stuffed chair. “We’ve been in this room together before. You never remember. Men hardly ever remember, especially you.” She squinched her toes a few times in the air.

He let that simmer for a bit. Then he jumped out of the window.

The wind whistles, rising in pitch.
I’m just realizing that I jumped out of the window. That happened without conscious control!
The wind screams.
I can’t see the ground, this hurricane of air is too strong! My eyes are watering out of control. I let go and my thoughts drift to colors. Spinning and cartwheeling, such a wonderful chaos of feeling!
“Hey!”
A new vista appears - a sun bleached Roman garden comes into sharp focus. I walk over to the green and white marble fence and sit.
“Wake up!”
A tiny dog licks my foot. I reach down and smooth my thumb along the top of his silky little noggin.
“YOU!”
The wind whistles violently.
“YOU HAVE TO PINCH!”
I listen to the silence intently.

Cross your arms, close your eyes, look down and push.

“...GONNA HIT THE ROCKS!”
The small woman must have jumped after me. She’s falling upside down, gripping me by the hair. She yanks my head close and screams into my ear.
“PINCH YOU SONOFABITTTTTCH!”
Dappled light. Across the hairs of my arm, a faint breeze brushes them to attention.
“NOW!!!”

Shoom.
I open my eyes and we’re back in the garret. I don’t want to do this anymore.

He lay on his back. The small woman was on top of him. She broke the silence. “You’re head is full of lives. You’re an impulsive and impatient ass.”
“I’m impatient with you.” he said as he shook her off of his chest. Fuck you and all of this bullshit, he thought. What is this place? The small woman smiled. “What are you angry at? This present? How about the past? Tell me how angry you are about your past.”

“ You talk but you tell me nothing, woman!”

Tim Raven
Posts: 255
Joined: Wed Dec 22, 2010 10:30 pm

Re: Spill yer guts.

Postby Tim Raven » Wed Oct 15, 2014 3:52 am

It’s Clearly Evident Now

Someone stole something from me yesterday
It was not overly expensive
but something that I’ve been nurturing and
I consider myself a reasonably average person
and if I knew without a doubt who did it
and was certain to get away with it
I would kill them
enthusiastically
I don’t think the problem is
Shia versus Sunni
Republican versus Democrat
Black versus White
the problem is that
our emotions
are controlled by
our primitive brain
that still thinks it’s
sleeping in the trees
somewhere in the vast scary jungle.

Sure, that’s evident
That’s clear
But there is a deeper truth
which is that the vast scary jungle is an illusion
Schroedinger’s cat assures me of this
a clear clue
that the physical doesn’t exist
unless I observe it
as either a particle
or a wave
which proves that the physical universe is malleable
depending upon
my observations
and as an observer
I can dream
that I am dreaming of
a mirror's image of another mirror
My intellect is separate from the physical universe
as an observer
different and non-malleable
thus my life experience is an illusion
and I am writing this note to myself
because I’m the only intelligence
that exists.



Tim Raven 10/15/2014

Tim Raven
Posts: 255
Joined: Wed Dec 22, 2010 10:30 pm

Re: Spill yer guts.

Postby Tim Raven » Thu Oct 16, 2014 3:47 am

A little bit more on the story....



Shoom.
I open my eyes and we’re back in the garret. I don’t want to do this anymore.

He lay on his back. The small woman was on top of him. She broke the silence. “Are you ready to talk now?.”
“ Yes” he said as he shook her off of his chest. “I’d stay away from that window.”
They both stood up and wandered over to the nearest shelf which was filled with curios, dusty books stacked on top of themselves and strangely, a child’s chemistry set. Small vials of chemicals were standing at attention in the old antique wooden box which was opened on its edge. It was hinged in four different sections.
“This is very familiar” he said quietly.
“You've seen it many times before. Tell me, do you remember anything of your past this time?” The small woman pulled a vial of sulfur from one of the little wooden shelves and tapped it until the yellow powder loosened.
“This time?”
She waited patiently. He furrowed his brows and began to close the chemistry set.
“Wait, let me put this back.” She put the vial back in its spot and he folded the sections closed. Light from the window suddenly streamed across the garret and fell on the spot where they were standing; one of those random events that seem oddly significant.
“I remember nothing, not even my name. You seem to know me, have I never had a name? How about you?”
“We’ve lived lives together,” she replied. “At one time your name was Dominic.”
“And you?”
“The earliest name that I remember having was Edde. You can call me that.” She danced suddenly towards the middle of the floor and gestured dramatically. “And this is the House of 29 Doors.”

He looked about. “Huh, I don’t see any doors, let alone twenty-nine. Is this all there is? Are we trapped here?”
“Oh, no. Come with me.” She walked over to an intricately carved area of the wall between two shelves. “If you press here…” A doorway opened. Circular stairs led down.
“How did you find that?” he marveled.
“When you have time, any puzzle can be solved. Let’s go.”
They wound their way down the wide wooden steps which were illuminated but not by any mechanism that he could discern. At the bottom of the steps, they exited the closed space and beheld a room so vast that air density itself obscured the farthest reaches.



Tim Raven 10/16/2014

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Lori Koonce
Posts: 3538
Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2007 12:10 pm
Location: San Francisco California
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Re: Spill yer guts.

Postby Lori Koonce » Thu Oct 16, 2014 10:04 am

That is an amazing bit of wordsmithing Mr. Raven. Publish it so I can read the entire thing without needing to feel like a cheapskate.

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Rick Keeney
Posts: 1099
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2004 4:40 pm
Location: Minneapolis, MN

Re: Spill yer guts.

Postby Rick Keeney » Thu Oct 16, 2014 12:46 pm

Keep it up, Raven. You too, Chuck.

Tim Raven
Posts: 255
Joined: Wed Dec 22, 2010 10:30 pm

Re: Spill yer guts.

Postby Tim Raven » Sat Oct 18, 2014 6:45 am

Five Thirty Eight

Reality
is the blissful
and ignorant plane
of existence.
In one hour we are crossing that street and
digging a hole. Ready. Start.
Now in another ten minutes gather together ahead we have another
hole to dig. And then another.
So goes Reality
and everyone is happy
but has no one asked why we are digging holes?
We don’t ask because then
we would stand alone
on our lawns
wondering what to do
frozen and crazy
because reality is all about digging holes
not asking why we are digging them.



Tim Raven 10/18/2014

Tim Raven
Posts: 255
Joined: Wed Dec 22, 2010 10:30 pm

Re: Spill yer guts.

Postby Tim Raven » Sat Oct 18, 2014 6:49 am

One more edit....


Five Thirty Eight

Reality
is the blissful
and ignorant plane
of existence.
In one hour we are crossing that street and
digging a hole. Ready. Start.
Now in another ten minutes gather together ahead we have another
hole to dig. And then another.
So goes Reality
and everyone is happy
but has no one asked why we are digging holes?
We don’t ask because then
we would stand alone
on our lawns
wondering what to do
frozen and crazy
because reality is kind to those who dig holes
and unkind to those who do not.


Tim Raven 10/18/2014

Tim Raven
Posts: 255
Joined: Wed Dec 22, 2010 10:30 pm

Re: Spill yer guts.

Postby Tim Raven » Sat Oct 18, 2014 6:55 am

One more, better title.


My Letters of Resignation

Reality
is the blissful
and ignorant plane
of existence.
In one hour we are crossing that street and
digging a hole. Ready. Start.
Now in another ten minutes gather together ahead we have another
hole to dig. And then another.
So goes Reality
and everyone is happy
but has no one asked why we are digging holes?
We don’t ask because then
we would stand alone
on our lawns
wondering what to do
frozen and crazy
because reality is kind to those who dig holes
and unkind to those who do not.


Tim Raven 10/18/2014

Tim Raven
Posts: 255
Joined: Wed Dec 22, 2010 10:30 pm

Re: Spill yer guts.

Postby Tim Raven » Sat Oct 18, 2014 6:57 am

Now it's done.


My Letters of Resignation

Reality
is the blissful
and ignorant plane
of existence.
In one hour we are crossing that street and
digging a hole. Ready. Start.
Now in another ten minutes gather together ahead we have another
hole to dig. And then another.
So goes Reality
and everyone is Happy
but has no one asked why we are digging holes?
We don’t ask because then
we would stand alone
on our lawns
wondering what to do
frozen and crazy
because reality is kind to those who dig holes
and unkind to those who do not.


Tim Raven 10/18/2014

Tim Raven
Posts: 255
Joined: Wed Dec 22, 2010 10:30 pm

Re: Spill yer guts.

Postby Tim Raven » Tue Oct 28, 2014 5:51 pm

Here is some more of the short story. Lori, I take your point, and my long term plan is to try and get this published if it turns out well. I've purchased a blog website and I'm working on building it, and next time I'll publish the story there, where the formatting is correct. I find it hard to read prose here when the site insists on hard left justification. Thanks!




I open my eyes and we’re back in the garret. I don’t want to do this anymore.

He lay on his back. The small woman was on top of him. She broke the silence. “Are you ready to talk now?.”
“ Yes” he said as he shook her off of his chest. “I’d stay away from that window.”
“Don’t worry about that,” she said. “I want you to see this.”
He followed her to the nearest shelf which was filled with curios, dusty books stacked on top of themselves and strangely, a child’s chemistry set. Small vials of chemicals were standing at attention in the old antique wooden box which was opened on its edge. It was hinged in four different sections.
“This is very familiar” he said quietly.
“You've seen it many times before. Tell me, do you remember anything of your past?” The small woman pulled a vial of sulfur from one of the little wooden shelves and tapped it until the yellow powder loosened.
“This time, you mean?”
She waited patiently. He furrowed his brows and began to close the chemistry set.
“Wait, let me put this back.” She put the vial back in its spot, restoring the numeric perfection and then he folded the sections closed. Light from the window suddenly streamed across the garret and fell on the spot where they were standing; one of those random events that seem oddly significant.
“I remember nothing, not even my name. You seem to know me, have I never had a name? How about you?”
“We’ve lived lives together,” she replied. “At one time your name was Dominic.”
“And you?”
“The earliest name that I remember having was Edde. You can call me that.” She danced suddenly towards the middle of the floor and gestured dramatically. “And this is the House of 29 Doors.” She jutted out her hip and farted slightly for effect.

He looked about. “Huh, I don’t see any doors, let alone twenty-nine. Is this all there is? Are we trapped here?”
“Oh, no. Come with me.” She walked over to an intricately carved area of the wall between two shelves. “If you press here…” A doorway opened. Circular stairs led down.
“How did you find that?” he marveled.
“When you have nothing but time any puzzle can be solved. That’s one of my rules, you know! Let’s go.”
They wound their way down the wide wooden steps which were illuminated, but not by any mechanism that he could discern. At the bottom of the steps they exited the closeted space and beheld a room so vast that the air density itself obscured the farthest reaches.


The Gallery

He stopped, senses on overload. With so many strange things perceived at once he was rendered speechless as well as vexed.
“It feels big, doesn't it? she said. “This is called the Gallery.”
Chairs, chairs, chairs, as far as one could see. Here at the front they were movie theater chairs, big comfortable ones. Farther back they seem to be more like benches at a ballpark. Details beyond that were obscured by distance as the horizon sloped upward. Upwards?
He turned to Edde and she spoke first.
“It’s curved upwards, yeah. I don’t know why.”
“How did you…?”
“It’s always the first...”
“...first thing I notice, right! Let’s sit down for a minute.” He walked to the nearest chair and plopped down, squeaking the hinges. Edde sat next to him, sitting cross-legged easily.
“So Edde, explain this place.”
“Sure. You died.”
Dom peered from beneath his dark eyebrows and scratched the back of his neck.
“The biological body that you inhabited has died. Once that happens, your intellect automatically pinches to here. Most people eventually find the hidden door and make their way down here to the Gallery. Then they wait.”
“Wait for what?”
“For their return to Earth in a new baby body with no memory of the past. A fresh start. It’s not like people actually know this, but they always rest in these seats and if you sit too long, you pinch back to Earth.”


Tim Raven 10/28/2014

User avatar
Chuck Messer
Posts: 2089
Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 9:15 pm
Location: Lakewood, Colorado

Re: Spill yer guts.

Postby Chuck Messer » Thu Nov 13, 2014 11:28 am

First attempt:

THE HOGBACK

At the foot of the Rocky Mountains, by the Red Rocks Amphitheater,
There is an undulating ridge called The Hogback.
Etched into its side is a simple two-lane road, faded gray by time
Veined with tar-filled cracks, the road runs along an exposed sea bed
Rippled by the waves of a shallow sea long since receded
Sand compressed into stone, then shouldered upward by a restless Earth
Halfway up on the surface is the faint impression of a fish that swam those waters
Pressed into the pages of Nature’s Pre-History Book like a leaf
Now opened, oceans of time since it passed into extinction
The ghostly skeleton of the fish whispers to us, if we would only listen:
“Remember thou art mortal.”
Some people are wedded to their ideology the way nuns are wed to God.

User avatar
Steve Barber
Posts: 294
Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 8:02 am
Contact:

Re: Spill yer guts.

Postby Steve Barber » Sat Nov 15, 2014 9:11 am

Chuck - Wow. That's tremendous.

(Loving this thread, Tim!)
All I need is a change of clothes, my Nikon, an open mind and a strong cup of coffee.

Tim Raven
Posts: 255
Joined: Wed Dec 22, 2010 10:30 pm

Re: Spill yer guts.

Postby Tim Raven » Sun Nov 16, 2014 1:07 pm

Chuck, I feel something different in this latest poem which I can't quite put my finger on at the moment, but I like it a lot. You're developing a distinctive style, please keep writing and posting here, I love reading your stuff!

Steve, thanks for the encouragement! I love this thread, too.

I've written some more of the "House of 29 Doors" story. As an experiment, I posted it on a new web page, which can be found here:
http://timraven.apps-1and1.com/

I'm still constructing the site, and having weird problems with formatting but it looks better than posting it here with left justification. The link for the story is on the left. I've password protected it, so type in Harlan's birthday 052734

User avatar
Chuck Messer
Posts: 2089
Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 9:15 pm
Location: Lakewood, Colorado

Re: Spill yer guts.

Postby Chuck Messer » Mon Nov 17, 2014 6:54 pm

A little adjustment:

THE HOGBACK

At the foot of the Rocky Mountains, by the Red Rocks Amphitheater,
There is an undulating ridge called The Hogback.
Etched into its side by humanity’s fast-forward erosion is a simple two-lane road
Faded gray by time, veined with tar-filled cracks, the road runs along an exposed sea bed
Rippled by the waves of a shallow sea long since receded
Sand compressed into stone, then shouldered upward by a restless Earth
Halfway up, on the surface is the faint impression of a fish that swam those waters
Pressed into the pages of Nature’s Pre-History Book like a leaf
Now opened, oceans of time since it passed into extinction
The ghostly skeleton of the fish whispers to us, if we would only listen:
“Remember thou art mortal.”
Some people are wedded to their ideology the way nuns are wed to God.


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