Grammarly aphorism


“It’s an online service that quickly and easily makes your writing better and makes you sound like a pro, or at least helps you avoid looking like a fool.”

However, I like to look like a fool. I would like to leave the blaze of wisdom to the experts.

 

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Interpretation of writing process LIVESTREAM, Ready, Set.. Write! (write in alive)


interpretation of literary process, livestream! a very important video for dummies. See the author (me) during the writing and cbserve a part of the creative process – this is a normal part of my day 🙂

You won’t need subtitles for this.

Camera 22


I do not claim that this tale will disturb many a heart, end an endless fear, nor lap up your blood. Besides, many have had stranger tales happen to them than this one of mine, wherein an unending fear reigns. Yeah? On Christmas Eve, no less? This is what you wonder. You, smiling, story-intoxicated reader souls. Should dark wonders emerge from the colors of Christmas trees, betwixt laughter and kisses, the flying confetti? People with no prejudice, I’m talking directly to you now, you that were touched by Pluto, perhaps cut off at the waist by his hand, or pointed by it to the road of an eternal weather wane.

During the Christmas Eve party, in the villa on Gravity Hill, I was invited by Oliver Daldry, a controversial horror director, a master in his field. His amorphous creatures were capable of shapeshifting human organs in Ineffigatius on the Blue Hill, which was selling out packed theatres. He weaved tales later in Reanimated Beasts, the colossal Amorphoso, and the cult classic Hand Shape. All four films were banned after the first screening.

I drove to the villa in my Polo, driving in neutral on the inclines of odd gravitational pulls. I saw streams flowing upstream. I heard rocks ringing. I spotted wavy trees, growing crookedly and its old, knotty branches pinned to the ground.

– Eh, nothing Escher had not already painted – I thought. I was hitting the brakes uphill, meandered circular roads of Danteian architectonics. At long last I made it to the top, parked, managing to wedge my car between two other vehicles. One was a Lamborghini of a plastic surgeon. An attractive purple-haired Mexican girl talked him into, just in case, turning the front tires “hacia el centro de la pista, con el fin de asegurarse de que nada va cuesta arriba”.[1]

I laughed at her superstitious comments, shifted gears and stopped the car in front of the castle gates.

The castle towered over everything, surrounded by pine trees, towered over the villa, shining with the light of the intersecting light beams. Dressed in satin-like soil, umbra-hued villa was filled with numerous guests. The reflectors on the pyramidal roof were squirting droplets of light onto the limos, adding shade to the hue of the horizon.

I exited my car and, as my nose was assailed by the wind from the mouth of a sculpture on the porch, cast in bronze (a mere porch figurine, a misshapen Aeolus), I was welcomed by Daldry, a merry Hitchcock, in a strange way merging with this whole powder keg of a scene.

– My friend! Duck head, rhino neck, horse ears! We lose life illusions, but not optical ones, never those, ha ha ha – he clenched my hand heartily, while his eyes kept check, it seemed, of the items in the background. – Why do you think I chose Pasadena in the first place?

I shrugged.

– I see you have no response. Strange things make up life, my friend, and the creepiest of those have long been swallowed by celluloid – he mumbled with melancholy, only for his face to again be adorned by a smile of a Santa Claus.

– But, do you believe…if you don’t mind me being so personal – he had his hands outspread and whispered to me in a conspiratorial manner – that I feel repulsion towards the dreamlike, to the banal dreamlike. In a paranormal experiment lies the key. I want to assault the world!

– And if the world strikes back? – I followed, hands in pockets. Daldry moved quickly, hunched again, like a determined primate.

– Bingo! – he drummed on my forehead with his finger. – When it strikes back, then, at the very least, the seats are full. – He giggled while we were climbing the stairs up into the inside of the castle.

I was welcomed by a sight of shiny dresses of the female Guests, interspersed with a cacophony of voices.

The ladies were nonchalantly handling the Swarovski glasses. The conversations of various frequencies were intertwined with a lush color palette of the inside of the castle. The enchanting aura of the eve was intersected by Auld Lang Syne.

At times my lust for the film was grand. Oftentimes, as a lad, I went to the local cinema which had a small yet always packed room whose walls were laden with movie posters. While I was sucking up the magic from the big screen, like a vampire, the images merged with one another, like one shape submerging into the next. Enchanted by cabaret dancing, the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, I became a boy-worker in the dream factory. As a kid, I was distributing mail, did odd jobs which were still of importance, and as such had the opportunities to be part of casting tryouts – I was excited by the chair creaking when shooting began as well as the canned laughter. And the cameras… ever moving, living, fisheye. After the war, a strange set of circumstances and decisions led me somewhere else, thus having lost nearly all illusions about life, and consequently about art, I was satisfied with an occasional hangout with the film’s greats. After a decade spent in banking investment, with maps of financial schemes as focal points, my war siege on the Big Apple ended in a Caesarean manner, I became a benefactor and collector of film paraphernalia.

Recognizing this passion of mine from my words, the host, followed by a Jew-nosed butler with a tray filled with glasses where we drank large sips from while conversing, quickly and not too formally took me through the villa towards the upper rooms, where many a cinematographic miracle was hiding away: from a vast cinema-for-one built in a surrealist style, to museum props from some ancient and unknown times.

– You know, Jack, this castle belonged to a famous director who died under mysterious circumstances – he gulped – they claim he is the true author of Nosferatu!

I stared through him with an eye of an impressed interlocutor when my eyes rested on an old camera model in the middle of the showcase.

– An this?

– That’s…a very rare model – he said.

I felt the magic of the evening tightening. I took one look at the camera. It was an almost forgotten film projector model, made to shoot silent films, a 9.5mm recorder. I was looking at this appliance of unusual craftsmanship, its round fluorescent lens, its spiky rodent-like tip. As if it were shaped in magma and cast out of the boiling innards of this Earth by sulfur. What are eons but a whisper of living dreams? The reflection of the fluorescent night, snatched away from Nature, was caught in the Shape.

This camera is an artist’s revenge. Down the camera’s lens flowed tears of souls sleeping frozen in time. The walls were the dance floor of purple shadows, as Daldry scraped about in silence smiling.

– Reality checks and checks and checks! – a twisted giggle continued. A Daldrian surmountable gap of comedy and horror. Devil’s teeth.

– Is it working? – I downed another glassful of champagne.

– But of course. Push the button at the back of the thing and you get a frame. The most natural movie action, my friend. Using this Old Shatterhand I made a pure cinematic beauty last year on a… hmmm… a lady. The damned motor of this thing! – my merry host giggled.

– Who, the lady? – I downed the third glass too, but my sight was clear and sober inasmuch that I could not miss the fine print on the camera’s back. It said: Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens, 1922.

– This is one aging lady… for a Sony CA d50…

– RCP… HDV… HDCU… Ah, those modern ones, and yet her acronyms, opposite an old glow of Antiquity. I guarantee you that this age-old camera, and even the models predating it, contains the elixirs of cinematic youth. To replace living human beings with amorphous actors, or rather, to replace a seemingly staged order with a chaotic form, but with a very non-chaotic fixed function, does that seem not-artistic to you? A howling old machine contrasted with the power of new diagrams. The grotesque, bug-eyed larvae, shells of amphibians, formlessness, outline-lessness!

– But…where is the life?

– Life? – Daldry was confused. – Life is merely a function. I merely replace the logical function with an illogical one… I don’t understand…

– Life, a message to people, even if it bleeds, the artistic act and means, unacceptable to many, but safe in the hands of a humane master of horror.

It was as if he was holding back until that point, Daldry burst into laughter and covered his eyes, while his shoulders shook at the same time.

– A humane…master of horror… hahahahahaha, say it again, my friend! If they find it so confusing, why are there so many rows of ticket buyers, standing before the bizarreness…

Suddenly he got more serious, rubbed his bald spot, stared at me with his tiny peepers and mumbled with his lips tightened.

– Why do you think that Cronenberg did not make his new film with this camera in particular? –he pointed to my new metal mistress. – with Camera 22. Maybe a strap or coil were missing here and there, but Tesla managed to fix that for the filmmaker as well. – he said and devotedly looked at the ceiling.

For a moment I thought this man was not about his wits. Too much Socrates in the afternoon heat, perhaps.

– Because it is unbelievable! Those are two mutually exclusive alternatives – I rationalized.

– What if there’s a third?

Wishing to end this conversation that went nowhere, I said this with a funny accent.

– If so, I would love to use it to snatch the fruit of fortune on these faces – I was pointing, over the terrace ledge supported by steel columns, to the merry guests were, entranced as if tangoing, dancing a furious waltz.

– If the perforation between those two images (considering your stance) doesn’t bother you, go on ahead…But, a few more words. You say something is incredible. Is Necker’s cube impossible? It is, but again not as a product of optical illusion…Excuse me a sec. – Daldry went for a couple, a senior gentleman wearing a cylinder hat a la Vienna which, somewhat, covered the entire forehead of deeply sunken black eyes, accompanied by a gorgeous photo-model.

The last thing I caught with my camera’s Eye was Daldry’s hawkish semi-profile enough to uncover a wide smile and extended hands in order to greet the Newcomers. Both directors wore expensive black leather gloves and a similar earring whose shape I could not discern… I looked at the woman. She did not look back even though she was aware of her female power. She shook the hand of another director somewhat more intimate than before. A response, maybe?

– Dario, il mio amico, come stai. Benvenuti nel mio castello di Dracula 3D. Questo deve essere Tania, la nostra bellezza.Miriam, one of numerous Spanish actresses you wouldn’t believe!… Mirriam, darling! Abbi cura di lui. Se lui non è mangiato da un lupo o Dracula, Mina’ll lui mangiare.[2]

While the voices swung like the gowns of gracious ladies waltzing like Furies, I was flipping the wooden box of the old Model, immensely curious yet without someone to share it with. I clicked the button. The camera buzzed.

It captured pompous faces in an unusual clarity of colors, or did the pompousness touch the mystic coil in the rotting idol of technology. It captured the flash of a firecracker, the shining of a distant star. I shot a lady with a generous cleavage trying to hide the dimness of melancholy sprayed in her eye, opening it widely, supposedly impressed. Her husband flirted with some minister’s wife, listening to her interested on the surface while she spoke of secret arrests.

I turned the lens towards a bearded man with gray eyes, inebriated generously, unaware of his surroundings, at the same time gritting his flimsy teeth to giggle, toothless, at the joke of a she-dwarf with a stiff and ridiculously bleached hairdo, mumbling all the way.

– A trinket lady, wee lady, lady…

The rest seemed almost happy. The minister and the she-dwarf danced a primordial tango. The children jumped out and let loose purple balloons from their launcher. It was a specific plastic funnel down which heads of water balloons rolled, sliding down the tube.

– Aim! Fire! – the children were dancing around the popped balloons, tapping their little hands. One tried to save the last balloon. The others chased after him. Someone spoke of da Vinci’s flying contraption, when suddenly, suddenly… The Camera stopped buzzing.

I looked at it from all sides, but found nothing that would stop the hum.

Recording was still happening. I had already downed the fifth glass of champaigne, then spun my head like a proper drunkard, sticking my camera anew into the she-dwarf, but instead saw a centipede crawling on the dance floor of Macabre! I shook my camera with all its might and looked at the recording. Instead of the insect, I saw a geometric abyss where it crawled, vanishing in the macabre darkness. I then spotted a female creature and pointed the camera at it, while my hand shook but faintly. I saw the miracle – instead of a smuggled smile, in the corner of the lips I spotted something inhuman, girlotesque, which increased until a spider crawled out of her mouth. The minute she saw me record, her tongue darted out while the spiders contracted their legs. I grabbed the doorway, frail, dazedly observing the tiny bubbles of the intoxicating drink, while water and latex balloons surrounded me.

– They must put something in this drink. It might be a better idea to go outside, to sober up. Fresh air, lighted area, that’s what I need.

I moved cautiously to the alley… But instead of crushed quartz, I saw a trail spotted with amphibians’ husks. I saw ancient things on the guests’ faces, The important director, an archeologist in his spare time, sat on the bench and slowly turned towards me giving me something resembling hands mumbling with his face in utter fear. The retired general was now a centaur. I set the camera down. The elder centaur was smiling at me, a bit confused because I was already lead by a dark force, on the road to horror, upright on my feet. He fixed his shoulder straps and turned his head to the side in disgust, mumbling.

– Drunkard…

The bench mumbler shrugged, pointed to my camera and giggled.

Again I raised my lens – instead of a mouth it had a small chasm. It was the blackness that sucked up trees while blood moistened his forehead… With dim swipes the black shades were running, animals from the eon of horror, ancient beasts, devourers of time, furious zombies of women with eyelashes, the size of a small sea star, three more othercentaurs.

A white-skinned child, whose face was chiseled into a mythological construct with two all-white eyes, was smiling at me. It was blond, with a red bump growing out of the top of his head and splashing around. It was his brain! I pointed my camera towards the second child which stumbled about, even more disgusting and deformed than the former…

– Diablo, Akuma, get away from that man – a voice of a concerned mother whose face was on the wrong side. Worms crawled in her hair.

– Why, mom?

– Something is wrong with him, on.

– Indeed, kids, look at his face.

– What’s with his nose? It’s bubbling up.

– A Tuber-man – the doppelganger of the first degenerate child laughed disgustingly.

I lowered the camera and turned it to me. I then recorded my own hands while getting confused, still going around and recording the monsters and the rot. They grew, matured, festered, mated, held hands, Hitchcock’s birds on a single wire.

All I could see was all the guests looking at me with open bemusement. I took the lens to me and recorded for a while. I caught nothing, for I had no face, but a fog, maybe a halo.

Horrified, I lowered the camera again, until maddening fear shook me by the shoulders, I saw corpses lined up and cannibals ripping their flesh, while merry people danced around them, and I was crushed by madness, it grew roots in me and was swallowing me whole…

– No, that’s not possible, no! – but, something still made me record it all, was it the summoning of evil in the heart of man, a built-in wicked matter egged on by curiosity and finally hope for an acceptable explanation? Maybe a quest for irony to justify my orgy with averageness. I was an artist, a fascinating Creator archetype, creator of symphonic fantasies at film studies. My shots even impressed prof. Eckhart, an old pro who was now less than a phosphorus mist of memory.

The tape branched into foils of engraved imprints of a decent master of my Nightmares. They were after me ever since I got rid of illusions? That maybe? Conscience?

No mythical foreheritage nor amphibian heroines. And he, Daldry, the merry beast, looked like my role model, the professor. A merry little imp. In a weird way things are becoming set, suppressed anguish grow through the cracks into optical legends viewed through the disfigured noise and theatrical Repentance. But why like this? How come?

I saw the recording, while guests looked at me strangely…Kids played about the corpses.

All of this outside the chasm, the dread, innocence replaced horror, and mouths breathed through the deepest pits.

Within them, oh how strange, in the rhythm and beat of the First of the Ancients, live modern men and civilized thought – fascinated, I looked at the camera. Instead of my face I saw a lichen.

– Where is my face? – I shrieked, to which some ladies fled, and the octopus-man crawling atop some Sisyphus-like rock, as recorded by me, was a gracious gentleman, sober, ever-sober and disgusted by my drunkenness.

– Sir, you’re scaring the children, step away!

– But they’re not children! – I lifted my camera again to see tiny monsters. I felt someone’s enormous hand on my shoulders. I jerked. It was Daldry.

I feverishly pointed the lens at him and saw, not without relief, that his face was his own. The only one, the only…

– My friend, please realize. These are not your friends.

My host fidgeted and looked at them with unease as they stepped away. A mother took her children staring at me with disgust and horror.

– Jack…

– This… – I did not even know how to say this to him. – These are not humans.

– If not, who are they?

Should a genius ask me this? Who are they? Monsters. The price of secrets, all of our hiding, which the lens uncovers. Camera is God, it contains truth of the Guests, this night, the noise, the glimmer, the cold night of warm colors…

– You had a whole bottle of Daniels, Jack.

I grabbed his lapels and shook him.

– Snap out of it, man, look for yourself, look at your friends through the lens of truth an you’ll see. Degenerates, passed through the wall of the paranormal, extended their hairy hands, found the broken window separating man from ancient beast!

A lucky firecracker exploded in the distance.

– It must have something to do with the story of the dead director. He saw what I saw, and THEY killed him – I was waving my arms, getting in his face.

– Shall we call the police, Jack? – he took me down the Amphibian trail, while a wrinkle of unease dominated his forehead.

– Grand idea! Two of us, it will be easier to prove?

– Two? – my friend turned to me, while his bald spot shone on the moon, tearing the whole of his head suddenly split in twain by the butcher’s knife of moonlight. I saw his head top and a tunnel dug through it – At least four, my friend, at least four – he laughed maniacally.

I fell to my knees, barely breathing, mind and body collapsed, with me, on the ground.

I was covered in husks. Daldry took the newly-abuzz camera. I looked at him with hope. He was recording a child. As its facial structure changed, an impish smile emerged on his lips, and tears of joy moistened his cheeks.

– Such wonderful amorphous shapes tailor-made for my flick. Such fungi! All dead, yet living, living! Ah, Rheta of Gable, you will dance again for me!

I was enveloped by non-epitomized fear. With feeling totally disoriented, I felt a sad apathy towards death. While nerves were running down to my feet, I ran as fast as I could, looking for my keys mid-flight in my pockets. I found them, but they fell out of my shaky hands and onto the ground. I got them back up, while a fish-scale monster was coming closer, but they fell again and several times more until the lock snapped them into place.

In that time, the Creatures were coming closer. Various creatures they were, from Volvoxes, following corals, to El Chupacabra.

– Get him! He’s ours! – a woman said who had cilia instead of hair. A half-man, half-sponge was following her. A producer-euglena pointed at me – There! He’s getting away!

At that moment my gaze was directed at the hidden tunnels of the Pasadena forests, so I went on with effort through the trees, chased by euglenas and ciliates, with antigravity tugging my legs back, towards the filthy visions.

My limbs were rods of concrete. Shaking, drenched in cold sweat, I went head first into some endlessly muddy pipe rotating around its axis, with neck-break speed, until it made a powerful gust of wind. Aeolus cast whirlpools, while my scream charged from my tortured consciousness’ deep, until the muddiness stopped, and nausea kicked in. Then, my nostrils swelled up and spread to make room for two nasty tarantulas.

They started lunging. Wicked spirits soon all in my face, shifting, stepping forth and back, hissing and tongue-darting of swollen snake jaws, iris-less eyes covered in cracked skim. What posed as faces would stay for a short while, only to disappear, sucked into the whirlpools.

With my remaining strength I hugged trees in order to use them to stand up to the power of inertia dragging me back. But the trees, demonic allies of my pursuers, either moved away or turned to plastic flowers. The moment I made a bigger step in my inert state, the more the Force would get me back. They were about to get me, but I managed to run uphill and roll down at the end of the path, at the very entrance to the circular forest, a circle above the Upper woods that surrounded the castle.

The Grotesques were sunbathing down roads. Midnight sun roasted the ice land. Pasadena turned to an oven. For a second it was as if I were at the very edge of Calahari, grabbing the mystic heat with bloody fingers.

– Some vector must have twisted, and the sexes switched, ghoulish points dug deep into the dark heart of Pasadena – I mumbled at the mirage, while pine trees rose, stately like tombs. Mid-laughing maniacally, I let out an eerie scream under the nightmarish sky of Gravity Hill.

I ran down the snowy road with tire tracks OF ONE CAR! – nigh fanatically images of a surreally packet Daldry villa parking lot came into reality, towards which only one road led, one tire track.

While running up one of round inclines, I was encouraged by a cynical voice – Daldry’s.

– Against the wind, yes, my Friend, run like the wind, for only Aeolus can save you. Hence why we cast him in bronze.

I was out of breath, while my desperate face was dyed titan-white by the ghoulish light of the moon.

– None can save you. No one. Ever. – spoke the spirit calmly, his voice sprayed by winds.

I pressed myself against a tree, sweaty, shivering, gradually calming my breaths, my heart pounding, when suddenly a leaf-cloaked serpentine apparition materialized and spoke.

– Go on, Forest, a good jump! Though you are already rather deep in the forest…

From the treetop an anaconda’s ancestor descended, wrapping my body along with the entire tree trunk. Shrieking I tried to get free from the powerful constrictions, while something within me was being choked, dehumanized. My mouth agape I too darted my tongue which fused with the Serpentine tongue, which made me puke on the wet grass. Suddenly, it let loose and I dropped to my knees, troubled, at the very edge of my life and sanity.

I got up. Anew. Followed by a symphony of shrieks and laughter mixed in with dread which condensed within, like a hot, culminating note.

I tried to move in a straight line, looking for anything to serve as a landmark. I looked skyward. No clouds, nothing other than the full moon. I moved north (or south, I thought desperately, amid the abnormal forest) when I saw the broad mountain path with marked rocks. I followed them whipped by icy wind, their red arrows and numbers going in this sequence: 4, 3, 2, 1 (spaces between rocks were about a hundred-ish meters each), and each number was punctuated by a geometric shape, only for the final stone to contain 01 and a figure of a tetraxis.

– It’s the reverse Pythagoras’ theorem of matter. It shows laws of matter don’t matter. Matter falls apart…into – ROTTING MEAT! – growled a dog-headed man and barked a few times, licking my face and breathing at me with the breath of a rotting corpse.

The creature lunged several times, and it was incorporeal and said – Have a grave!
TAKE IT! TAKE IT!

I was writhing in pain, screaming, my eyes already sunk and arms before my knees, waiting for the bastard to stop barking. When he did, a strong wind crushed the head in a whirlpool, which made me realize that trapped Aeolus was protecting me. I stepped into the forest and saw round water shining in the dark, and above it a far more shapely girl, bedecked in flowers.

Leaning above the lake, enchanted with her reflection, she touched the icy water with her breasts, dipping her sandy hair in it. I approached, enchanted, while twigs cracked under my light steps. Taken by these feelings, I moved my hands towards her, while branches bent towards the nubile body, wishing to pounce, to the safety of her hips, her wild eyes, o let her hands console me… Her indigo eyes looked at me askance and she got up, revealing a cow’s tail. At that moment, a rotten function started disfiguring the flesh of her face, shifting it into a complete mineral, polyhedron in shape, malachite green.

Fear not. It’s just me. Your Hydra. Marry me, marry me! If you don’t, I’ll turn you into an elephant – the degenerate nymph threatened.

No! Flee! As far from the cow bride, this Night, this merry, cadmium night, as soon as possible, leaving giant elephant footprints behind –while the mythical Hydra chased me with a desperate shriek “marry me, Jack!” I was destroying bushes and with my tusks plucked trees from their roots, but the green lined behind me suddenly grew from her vengeful hand, a nude girl alone for eons, threatening to cover me up and stop my elephant heart.

At that moment, in my unending joy, I spotted the Light shining through everything, and while my dark elephant skin was dyed in albinism and my trunk ripped, a degenerate baby passed by me with even steps, at least a thousand years old and forty-five centimeters tall, wishing me good luck, toasting me with a Swarovski glass, while a pungent cloud of champagne breath steamed from its fangs… Through all of the firecracker and banging noises, suddenly a car went for me, rammed into my semi-open body and I did not hear the Warlock’s final words to his butler, which were as follows.

– This Jack dude has no sense of art. Get the camera back to its place, Peter, and call the Next one. But, hold on…

He smiled watching the projected model on the Camera’s recording, isolated from nature.

The thing, stuck in the recording, forever at its new home, was yelling in the chamber.

-My friend, you’re having a catharsis Antigone would envy you for. – Daldry uttered these mellifluous words to the bizarre creature banging on the eternal glass with human hands, pushing it with its trunk.

– An antique ideal – he was impressed. Looking at the Elephant-man, the uncompromising director wiped a tear discreetly.

– Pure fascination! – a fourth person added, a woman with the brain of an amoeba in the body of a giraffe.

– Still, at the end of the day, he wasn’t that bad of a sample – the long-nosed butler joined the observation, touching my trunk in envy.

Daldry removed his gloves and scratched the glass.

– Do you hear him screaming? He speaks! He says I trapped him! No, I didn’t trap you, my friend. I put you in the film’s context, the context of the role, the impossible, heh, impossible. The things he comes up, I swear… Anyway, your reaction is merely a phase. I’m sure I’ll find a good role for you. I will install such a diffusing system in your body that every single hydra will envy you.

The Elephant-man was howling, trapped in the camera, while larvae crawled over his eyes, and tentacles of the bride-to-be-hydra jabbed into his salty wounds.

– Why lament? – Daldry wondered. – You’re not alone. Your darling is budding with you. You married her, and didn’t even invite me to the wedding. And he wants me to free him!

On the other hand there was a begging, muffled sound.

– Please let me go. I didn’t want to be an actor anyway, but a director. What will come of me now?

Dracula2000wide

– Ah, my friend, you’ll get used to it, others did. Trust your Creator. It’ll pass. The Chinese said so – the giggles were now becoming howls – But if you insist, I love to mold you rebels into statues. Dionysius rebelled, and look what happened.

– What?

– Theater! – Daldry nearly swore.

Daldry then used harsh words to reprimand the present bastards, contextuals, actors, extras, all as Your Grace commands.[3]

– What, you monsters? What is this procession silence? You’re not in Les Misérables, but in a stinking film on rotting tape. Let the fun continue, for…this’ll be a long New Year’s Eve – he mumbled, covering his bald spot with a Santa hat, going back inside with claws in his pockets.

 


[1] Towards the middle of the driveway in order to make sure that nothing goes downhill for them.

[2] (in Italian) Dario, my friend, how are you? Welcome to my Dracula 3D castle. This must be Tania, our beauty. …Miriam, darling! Take care of him. If he is not eaten by the wolf or by Dracula, he will by Mina.

[3] Directed at the reader

TILL WORDS DO US PART, The Theatre of the Dead


Contemplations from the grave

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The place of action is a grave deeply dug within the architectonic of Père Lachaise. Whenever the dead start conversing beneath the soil, it turns simultaneously green and blue. Many burial plots around the world look up to the Père Lachaise grave. It is a black hole, exactly as imagined by one reading the observations of Dante and Petrarch or hearing about the experiences of people who lived through a clinical death; it is like watching death through a kaleidoscope, the way it was lifted by the movie directors from a common, collective consciousness of the living and transplanted onto a movie screen. In the opacity of the grave there is water, and gifts from the deceased one’s kinfolk stand carefully aligned. Close to the sthenic bedstead made of wood upon which the deceased is displayed, there is a lid which each of the departed – once their eyes get used to the darkness, that is – knows how to open. He picked up the gift from his half-brother – the one who stole his wife after he died – lit a stale cigarette with his silver lighter, and inhaled.
JOHN HAYNES (an obscure and in his lifetime unrenowned author) Oh, please… When people die, what do they know about gods and kings and honors? My whole life I suffered from vanity because my manuscripts were rejected. Quite a few times I had jumped off of bridges, like Balzac, but I would always get noticed by some fishermen St. Peter look-alikes – even when I wanted to kill that successful le Simon. He never knew a first thing about writing. I wanted to slay him; to hear him screaming and begging me for mercy. Death, just like birth, is an even line – but it is the ultimate metaphysical censure as well. Between those two even lines, that cardiac arrest, there is life, embodied by the virtue of vanity. It made me suffer, my life was spent on contradictions. Eventually, I turned shard-like: evil to the core. My decline was psychological, not physical. No one knew of the tempest that raged through my body. Deep within, I howled like an idiot. Screeching and spasming, my essence was decomposing; the relentless silence of a fruitless existence my perspective for all eternity. Eternity? Ha ha! Have I had any grasp on eternity then whatsoever? Now, as I writhe and worm on the graveyard floor, I do. This grave is guarded, and the dead men still do dream. We dream, but we cannot get up anymore. And even if they let us open the lid and crawl our way above ground like worms, the mortal air would simply drive us insane. To us, the earthly air is filled with poison. It presses against our nostrils and our mouths and suffocates us, constricting our ossified throats. Granted, it was very much the same when I was alive.
Between each two graves a thin loamy wall stands, easy for the dead to crack open with a single arm. They can crawl through the loam, open the lid and settle comfortably alongside their fellow deceased – the fellow sufferer – provided, that is, that their fellow sufferer allows such a thing in the first place. The very architectonic of the graveyard crypts boasts the so-called Dying rooms of darkness, which can accommodate a number of dead simultaneously. This is where the deceased come to socialize and relieve an eternity of boredom.
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (from his coffin): How pathetic! Such suicidal maudlinism from a vainglorious extraordinarium, contemplating life and scribing butterfingered sentences. Haynes, could it be said that you have managed retain your catchpenny vanity even HERE AND NOW? You say you are possessed of a talent and have been purposely denied rightful glory, but I do not recall ever catching you in an attempt to rectify this grave injustice following your death? When have you written anything, these two hundred years past? And do not use the pretext of not owning a pen! I was inhumed with a hoard of quills and ink infused with the secrets of Da Vinci, who is domiciled in the adjoining painter’s lodge. He diffuses my ink and asks for naught but sexual favors in return which, truly, is hardly an imposition. I am willing to share my ink with you, but never ask for it – all you wish to do is grouse. You put yourself to death in the wake of an unsuccessful story with a poor storyline in which you speak explicitly about a nameless authority mocking the reader by way of a fruitless mystery with nonsensical plot. Hence a misdirected bullet appears in your novel, randomly entering through a window, its origins unknown, assassinating the main character of all people. I will not argue events might have unfolded that way, but this is where your maudlinism shows – because you cannot bear to bid adieu sans the drama, without the whimpering and pathetic scribbling in which you lay the blame on everyone but yourself. I am a playwright, but you truly do not lack in pathos. Nonetheless, you dying is not pathos – it is not a painful event. On the contrary, your killing yourself brought glad tidings to the world. Extolling the sperm of Schiller and Whitman, attempting to annex them with apologetic motives, not to mention penning a novel about a girl having Schiller’s child out of wedlock, is utterly foolish. You are not a fool in Christ, sire – you are a fool in Schiller!
Nacra the Eigth, a heretic poet burnt at the stake slightly before Giordano Bruno was, in the year of 1665, is listening in on their conversation.
NACRA THE EIGHTH: I did not kill myself but rather killed my soul out of sheer cowardice, and I am ashamed of it. Fire had always terrified me, and the thought of my limbs dissolving in it made me write a poem before I died in which I became a woman.
WILLIAM: A woman?

NACRA THE EIGHTH: It is titled “Ovary of an apostate”. Both small lymph spheres in which a child is spawned lanced through the belly in momentum when my organ, melted away by the fire like a burning sausage, crumpled into a pair of fiery red spheres from which the Agnus Dei – the lamb of God – sprung forth. The Inquisitor himself read this poem in his bath, laughing out loud while gnawing on a spicy sausage. No, it did not save me from death; but the Inquisitor suddenly wished to see whether I was as involved in poetry as to become what I could not possibly be – and which could only be verified in the most traditional of ways. As I burned, I felt sorrow for the poems I had never written. I also felt the impotence of a man, seeing as I had had the chance of entering the soul of the High Inquisitor. I have never considered myself incapable of pleasuring a man. But it seemed as if the Inquisitor was enjoying himself; so much so that there was a moment in which I thought the blazing could be avoided. Such a business man! He told me:
“Nacra, this is extraordinary. But the poem is a sorceress of a witchdoctor, and you did not TRANSFIGURE yourself. Your body shall burn, but your creation shall live forever in my heart…”
JOYCE: O mine mister man O’Neil! You grazing on the Irish pastures; your entire life you wanted to be a simple shepherd, and detach yourself from the homeland that made you dedicate a stylized, though dull prose dealing with wandering, wanderers, garbage collectors on an odyssey, Odysseys on the garbage heap of the world, you whose mother wanted you to be a priest, you who…
KAFKA: Raving about his mother again. I have heard some talk about a movie being made about his mother; it’s called “The Braveheart” and his mother is portrayed by Mel Gibson.
JOYCE: You confuse me with the wandering Dutchman again.
THE WANDERING DUTCHMAN: Stop confusing me with Scots and let me sail. Hiccough!
RIMBAULT: Who buried this drunken ship with us?
HAYNES: Quiet! You celebrated nicotine addicts thinking I don’t belong among you, you who had your landed estates, printing presses and titles, oh how outraged you are by my novel which would, had it ever been written, outshine all of those burning thoughts brought to you by a gust of wind, which you fruitlessly call inspiration. None of you had ever hymned their own suicide and then destroyed the manuscript!

SYLVIA PLATH: I did.
HAYNES: Get your head back into the oven and shut your mouth. Women!
KAFKA: It just occurred to me that Haynes might be the only one among us who managed to extol his own self into a myth and be resurrected as one. Certainly the greatest mythologist here is Mr Ulyssus, but…
JOYCE: If a writer manages to resurrect his demon and turn him into a myth, he is saved. This is the reason everyone writes.
Kafka covers himself with a handful of soil and pretends to be asleep.
DOSTOEVSKY: Would anyone care for a game of cards in the Nocturnal Chamber?
He exits the coffin. He enters a seemingly impenetrable wall. Under the soil there are huge underground tunnels and catacombs. Everyone can take a stroll to any of his fellow deceased, to the very end of the Earth and back. The Earth is the Earth. It belongs to the Living more than it belongs to the Dead. Soon all the fellow deceased will traverse to the Nocturnal Chamber where they can talk in peace, their voices freed of the dark tone of cymbals caused by the loamy walls separating the coffins of fellow deceased.
HAYNES: Do not glorify your storylines too much! This Dane of yours, for example: an indecisive flunky playing at insanity. He is rather well known, of course, and you shall remain so as well – even if your idea is a far cry from being original. In the end, you kill. At least I stopped with myself. But people like their heroes to be in two minds; for who still likes determined, brave Odysseys, who writes Iliads still? The philosophy of war drove Achilles to a determined fight with Hector. Imagine if Achilles sat on a stone wondering whether to strike at Hector or not. I have always suffered headaches from your books. Your comedies of ambition, your tragedies of romance, your comicals, crazy priests, poisons and bloody stains. What is it that makes you better than ME?
WILLIAM: Oh, human vanity! Even shouldst thou wish to miss it, thou canst not.
HAYNES: You think I don’t belong here with you. You even dared to declare I was but a grain

of sand from the mind of Mr. Joyce, some sort of a fictive, whoring character more heroic than human. I wrote. Do you understand English? I WROTE! No worse and no better than any of you. Why does one become a writer? Had I known, I would have stabbed myself through the aorta with a pen without delay – had I only known! Oh God, I will not forgive and forget this deception.
WILLIAM: All right, Haynes. Let us say I do believe you a writer – and a live one, too. Demonstrate thine artistry. Namely, the angels had brought for us fresh baskets of modern literature and – among the folios of one Salman Rushdie, Kerouac, Ginsberg and José Saramago – I discovered drafts of a book by a modern poetess who wishes to take a stab at prose and calls herself Eileen Dunne. Allow me to read it for you:
“You, poets, who threaded all the dirty waters of existence, grant me your compassion and an idea. The new literature is spreading its jaws to swallow me, so I drown in illogicalities. Some would say that all of you suffered through it, but I do not trust you. I think I am the only one suffering. Till words did you part, life was but a trench in which you dug for gold smelled and twiddled for you by others, and your sin lies in disappearing and not being able to help me. I want to be like you, even if I were to die. Do not be ruthless; help me finish this novel, because I do not wish to end up like the famous suicide writer John Haynes.
HAYNES: So they heard about me, after all! After all! After all! But how?! I incinerated my novel – or, more precisely, my wife did.
SYLVIA: Keep reading!

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Vincent Price reads to Peter Lorre, Boris Karloff, and Basil Rathbone
HAYNES (reads):
“To gladden Haynes, the manuscript his wife used as kindling was found ten years ago with an old man, a bibliophile, who claimed to have found it in the Library of Babylon. I’m kind of springing this on you, I know; but your wife was just joking, Mister Haynes. Rejoice! And help me. I will be waiting outside for the book cart, on the night of the full moon. Don’t ask me how I know about YOU. As a matter of fact, everyone does. You, my good sirs, are an inspiration to the world. The writers of today are merely aping you, and the everyday word is no more than a paramecium. Humans are just salt in the world’s wound. Soon the Mutants will come. Mutant literature appeared. They have infernal genitals, diabolical mouths and smiles the shapes of the clouds; they have tails, horns and goat ears! The synopsis is on page 144. Read it!
HAYNES: My dear child, they don’t want to help you but I… (is writing back)
WILLIAM (tearing the paper out of his hands): Desist! The child is naïve if she envisages us penning her work, only to be omitted in the critique. ‘Tis a vanity of all vanities. Leastwise she could have entered and regaled us some. Although the air might not have agreed with her.
SYLVIA: Gentlemen, we don’t always have to wait for the gong. Rattle your old bones, and let us creak over to the Nocturnal Chamber and read the page 144.
KAFKA (allegedly waking up): Let’s!
RIMBAULT: Let’s!
THE WANDERING DUTCHMAN: I shall sail right after you.
So he said and splashed straight into the graveyard water, while the skeletons of the authors ground towards the Nocturnal Chamber in which the deceased killed their eternity, gambled and played cards. Somewhere in the distance, over a throng of underground hallways, secret passages and catacombs – one branch of which leads into the Purgatory, the other into the Painter’s Assembly and the third into the Department of Music&Theatre – a heavy, piercing strike of a gong is heard. Reverberations lag behind the initial stroke, rippling through the stagnant air in the vast cave of the famous dead’s burning thoughts. Hordes of extras are shouting at the gong from the darkness; murmurs, muttering, coughing and disapprovals are heard, mixing with hysterical laughter coming from the Department of Music&Theatre.
HAYNES: Mozart is laughing again. Those drunken, talented German brats have always caused trouble in Artist’s Hell. And he’s yet to finish the Requiem.
The gongs produce outlandish sounds which are yet to inundate each other and, in the end, every vibration forms a single steely blow making the bony lobes of the skeletons’ former ears bleed for a moment. A spectral voice speaking a human tongue booms anon exhibiting adjacency, unlike the remote effects of the gong. The voice is an authoritative and shadowy bass.
“TO THE GAMBLING HALL!”
A throng of skeletons moves towards the Chamber of Darkness, entering the Catacomb Number One.
NACRA THE EIGHTH: I hope I will not meet with the early Christians. I fear them rather a lot. They have red crystal balls in place of orifices. It is fire!
The gambling hall. Dozens of tables covered in green cloth are overflowing with plastic buttons; the deceased use them in place of tokens, ripping them off the items of clothing they were buried in. Dostoevsky had plucked his prison uniform completely bare, followed by the uniform from his Cadet School days, managing to amass roughly twenty buttons which he placed on the table to his right. Across from him sits Pushkin, waving the Queen of spades; the dead from the Department of Music&Theatre around them are singing. The sound of piano is heard from the Gambling Hall. A tiny skeleton is plucking at the keys, making the atmosphere more agreeable, while Pushkin is fervently arguing with Dostoevsky that he had indeed won that round and the man should not try to hide the money pretending not to have committed the robbery owing to the pangs of conscience nor pretend to be unable to recall the stone under which he “hid some small change”, but rather tell him where he hid the cash so that he, Pushkin, can turn the stone over. He, Pushkin, does not believe the story batjushka Fyodor had tried to sell them, because Fyodorchik is a crook and a thief, and the fact that he had never been caught is on the head and the conscience of the police. And if he fails to pay up for the lost round, he would challenge him to a duel. A duel! The remaining skeletons walk in obediently, taking their places at the table. In that spookily grotesque music salon with two Russians at odds, the famous deceased are carrying the page No. 144, papers and pens, and the solemn silence is ruined by Sylvia. She is insisting on seeing Ted so she could crush his skull and complaining about the lack of refreshments, stating that she had baked the man cookies her entire life whereas nowadays she is not allowed to do anything and is barely refraining from making bone-filled mud pies; she keeps arguing and staring into nothingness, asking for a phone as she has to consult her doctor.
KAFKA: Lady and gentlemen, let us begin. Then we can by all means ask for a counter favor from Eileen Dunn, since literature demands sacrifice. And this Eileen Dunn can be our link to the world, seeing as she keeps circumambulating our grave and like every fanatical, fervent authoress is unlikely to desist. She is the demiurge in the new; from her we can learn whether and how grand we remained in the eyes of the futurism which, mixed with the outside wind, awakens a sense of solitude in me which I would not experience were I so honored as to read some contemporary piece or another; and we do know, lady and gentlemen, that materialized things are all that makes us alive. I view the synopsis 144 as out ticket to the outside world, how about you? Will you begin, Sylvia? Will you read the synopsis?
SYLVIA: Which synopsis? There is nothing here! You, Mister Kafka, are as grueling as the Alzheimer’s. On and on you go about the synopsis. Well, there is nothing here; an empty piece of paper. Do you see any letters there? I see no letters. Maybe I went blind from the suffocation, but I do not see. Someone show me, so I can see the letters, because this is a hoax. If we are dead, we are not blind. Senses, truthfully, we have not; but through this darkness and deadness we look and we see a speck of white, especially if it is a blank piece of paper we are dealing with.
HAYNES: It’s true, there’s nothing written on it. It’s all up to us. Do you hear that? Someone’s coming? Someone who does not belong here.
While the dead argue about the empty piece of paper disintegrating on the table, blackened by the mud dribbling from their bones, another gong strikes and a tall black shape wearing a cape and a gas mask appears in the gambling hall. The shape approaches, lifts its arms, and then falls to its knees. Mozart starts playing a variation of Salieri’s motifs and giggles.
MOZZART: Papa!
The form places its hands on its knees and, still kneeling, begins speaking with a sigh. The voice is strong, human and female. While the cape rises, two flash-filled arms twist their hands, dripping blood, towards them. Upon noticing a living being, the dead start protesting in one voice.
THE FORM IN BLACK: I am Eileen Dunn. There is no literature left on Earth, and the writers became hardly better than the garbage collectors as they both deal in waste recycling; granted, the former recycle their own souls, but at least the garbage collectors get paid for their work. We have guts, blood, eardrums, spleens and other intestines; they have bottles, glasses, broken and crumpled cans, old paper and other waste.
SYLVIA: Quo vadis, waste! To some extent, it does make sense: so much waste and no one to recycle it.
WILLIAM: No, do not! We also have our old papers; I myself have kept a parchment from a king next to my heart to this very day. Who allowed you entry?
EILEEN DUNN: God did. I am, to a certain extent, an Apollonian reincarnation; a Vestal witch of Literature, a Muse… whichever you prefer.
WILLIAM: Do thou still livest?
EILEEN DUNN: I live.
WILLIAM: Bless you!
EILEEN: Thank you. But I bring dark tidings about the imminent disappearance of the written word, because the people are busy with machines which consumed their souls. They write quickly, and as short as possible; they even buy audio books and would sell their own mothers for a hard cover, as a hard cover will sell a book more quickly than the contents thereof. I was sent as a Muse, to get some different words from you; the words to make a book that would save us all, as it would bear the lightness of bygone poets and times devoured by those petty, money hungry merchants of canvassing tables. And thus, I get to mix dulce cum utili. Namely, it’s been a while since I laid my hands on a book which I wanted to read, so I decided to write it. You, undoubtedly, understand me?
HAYNES: I’ll never drop my accusations of these gentlemen, who only pretend to want to write for you. Eileen, they can’t write a single thing for you; we’re talking archaic vermin here, they who love archaism above all (and archaism in plotting, at that) and Mrs. Sylvia…
SYLVIA: Miss..
HAYNES: …is too preoccupied with herself. On this solemn occasion of our meeting, I have an idea on designing a space for your living flesh to inhabit. Look how beautiful your hands are, how very flushed and bloodied. Write, for example, “The Vampyrics” dear Eileen; or perhaps “The Daemonics”. After that, simply kill yourself.
SYLVIA: Actually, that would be my advice too.
HAYNES: People are hankering for mutilated flesh. They wish to flirt with immortality and will not complain if you stuff their mouths full of broken limbs. They like gnawing on the bones of others – we’re talking animals here. Your hands beckon even me to sink my tooth in (if only I had one). Would you mind if I brushed my cold bones against the warmth of your being? Let Herr Mozart play a quadrille so we may dance! We want laughter; we want shades to go dancing with us so that, akin to the stars, we may walk this dark purgatory of cadavers. Start up the lights, antagonists! Let there be MUSIC!
The Dance of Death commenced to the sound of a cacophonous piano brilliantly commingling variations to Salieri. As the tempo accelerated unwaveringly, Mozart kept flooring the piano pedals as if they belonged on a priceless car. His diminutive skull and compact hands alternately rising and falling, he guzzled from an empty bottle, cackling, basking in the luminescence of lanterns supplied by the archangels, spilling over the entire gambling hall. Mr. Haynes’ skeleton lodged the fleshy body of Miss Eileen Dunn and the two of them slow-danced their way across the clay stage while the rest snapped their bones and teeth, clapping their metacarpals and phalanges (of which, it is well known, there are many). This crepitation lent rhythm to the eerie waltz, while Eileen Dunn – led by the firm bones of the acclaimed Mr. Haynes – danced and laughed under her gas mask as it moved steadily upwards so that her smile, like a cloud, could swell her living cheeks and fiery blood.
HAYNES: Fellow artists, write! Compose an ode to this lovely lady, dancing to the rhythm with such skill! Get your bones clapping and your pens scraping, smear the ink across your cranial bones! Here we are, performing for you the Dance of Death – perform for us the story of a life! Bring out your musty quills, lady and gentlemen and with those marvelous brains of yours – laden with letters, quills, brushes and paints as they all undoubtedly are – highlight the wax figures’ tragedies. Grant them minuscule lampion houses to cram their meek lives into, dress them in patchwork quilts or golden harem pants; make them heroes or cowards, thieves, traitors, moralists and/or decent folk. Let your quills glide as we, borne by this eerie waltz, glide and lend rhythm. We entertain you, resembling those models who, weary of posing, start pitching apples at each other in order to keep their spirits awake; and thus, seduced by the lyres and the naked bodies wrapped in rugs covered in Persian patterns, those beauties maintain their perfect comeliness devoid of boredom!
The rest are gathered at the table, except Dostoevsky and Pushkin (who is pointing a gun at him). Each with their own piece of paper, they are busy inscribing, scribbling, squiggling and scrawling.
JOYCE: My heroine is a dame who wishes to murder her brother – a priest terrorizing an entire village. She antagonizes him and, eventually, sets all the churches on fire. The priest has an entourage of freaks; they wear horse faces and the bodies of snakes.
A courteous clap of bones creaks around the room.
SYLVIA: My heroine is a sweet and ambitious lady who happens to be a housewife. Detached from the world she dresses in secret, in front of a mirror, pulling on circus rags and hiding from a husband who wears female clothing and cheats on her with a man simultaneously.
A barely-there applause vibrates through the Gambling Hall.
KAFKA: My hero is a happy lunatic whose skills of mimicry grow stronger by the day, until he transforms into a monstrous bug with two hundred feet. After a failed attempt at surviving the world as a bug he chooses the form of a tomcat, sneaking through the courtyards, alleys, brothels and cubbyholes like a thief. The tomcat is satisfied with this body so he starts purring and, like a bouncing ball, jumps onto the lap of the damsel incidentally driving by on a barouche. She strokes him until the tomcat is completely ensnared by her petticoats; sensing the clear, fresh breath of the lady, he puffs, nuzzles, and becomes the pet of the aforementioned Frau.
A clap of bones grates around the room. An applause!
EDGAR ALLAN POE: My heroes are a band of people fleeing from their landlords, having previously failed to pay the rent due. Jostling, they pursue each other along narrow gothic streets, until they arrive at a lonely castle with steeples resembling the spiked and jagged cones of doom. They heaved a sigh of relief upon realizing they can temporarily hide from their landlords, who kept drooling so much they eventually transformed into rabid dogs. They run into the castle, trailed by the sound of barking…
SYLVIA: Oh, you’re here as well.
A few more giants join them at the table. Sylvia handed each a copy of the synopsis 144. Only Dostoevsky and Pushkin are still counting buttons on their officers’ uniforms: Pushkin with a gun on his right, Dostoevsky with vodka to his left. They have no wish to join the bevy of giants at the table; in turn, their faces focus on the vodka, then on the gun, and then on the buttons.
DOSTOEVSKY: There! Three hundred buttons. Past tense. Now there is nothing. How do you plan on collecting the debt?
PUSHKIN: The Queen of spades is an advantage here, not an illusion. I am rich and you, you lost. I want my three hundred buttons before this time tomorrow, or else…
Through all of this, the dance is still flowing smoothly. Oh, if Eileen could just take her cap off; but the god of Death, God the Divider, will not allow her face to turn into stone. She is a demigoddess, and she watches the giants of the written word keep pass notes to each other through the fog of music: suggestions and corrections and complaints.
WILLIAM: Hark the two ribalds! ‘Tis no dance, but a mass that accompanies our toils. We crafted this synopsis, filling the empty pages. Yet we still dawdle, gentlemen, notice you not? Thou, fledgling scribe, dost not perceive this; thou hast accompanied us but a short time. The gift of life is yet to desert thee; thou feelst the pain still and the passions, and the love. In the end, thou wilt be burned with the tedium and the boredom of the infinity in Purgatory. As for us? We squirm like the fish out of water, having forgotten our human nature in all things. That is, we quit it. Which of us remembers pain anymore? And when the pain is gone, so is incursion into the human psyche. Consequently, so is the literature. We are lessened, estranged from everything human and thus incapable; we have been robbed of greatness and are slowly being overtaken by the writing dementia. What do we feel? This story line that we wrought is but an unwieldy slab of literary meat, abhorred by our Eileen. Our words spawn not gold, but sausages – minuscule meaty monsters. We have lost the gift of existence and with it the gift of words. They have abandoned us. Our story is discordant. Mozart is out of tune, the dead and the living dance. Grotesque are our faces painted in white rouge. Tiny caskets collecting the lymph undulate in our bones, insensitive to touch, to music, to love. We are finished!
Haynes is done waltzing with Eileen Dunn and, subsequently, his bones start creaking. He doesn‘t resemble a living man anymore, but rather a dead one: he moves with the ease and the skill which, with no body to perform the actual movement, can be achieved only by the full of heart. He places two bones over his eye sockets and looks about to cry. The music is winding down. It is only occasionally interrupted by Mozart’s frenetic giggles. Eileen Dunn places a gentle, fleshy hand on Mr. Hayne’s skull. She is a living doll made of flesh, whose deep inhales and exhales can be heard from under the cape; they are making her body swell.
EILEEN DUNN: What a gentleman of the past, Mr. Haynes. The world used to bring out nothing but the best in you, and you forgot none of your skills. But you are crying. Whatever for?
HAYNES: Miss, you still believe THEY (pointing to the bony giants) would have tackled your writing even without me standing up for you. You are a naive, faddish poetess – as you yourself stated in the synopsis 144. But you underestimate yourself! As soon as we began dancing your words came to me, somewhere, in the depths of my heart; for it is still alive and ticking, incredible though it may seem. If only, if only I could hold… Only once.
EILEEN: Whom? The loved one you lost while alive? You had a true love?
HAYNES: My love? Such gibberish! The book! My book. That is my loved one, my one and only. In eternity I am tormented by the images of a great opus which used to swarm in my head, torn as it was out of my hands on a witch’s whim and burnt in a fireplace. I sang my suicide and then committed it. But no one could read it. What was it all for? If no one could ever read it. And then you… You’ve made me happy.
During that time the giants around the cloth-covered table were arguing.
JOYCE: The grand playwright! Those are stage directions, yes, yes! You are foisting your genre on us, mister. You think I’m not able to follow your stage directions; that’s what you think. Description – you despise it! Redundant representations? My prose, boring? So be it, lady and gentlemen. Let’s once and for all settle whether we are writing a novel, a story, or a play.
SYLVIA: I do have some experience in radio dramas.
JOYCE: Novelists, let’s leave this table. To hell with you all!
WILLIAM: You claim youself all-knowing, all-powerful. Pray then, exclude me from this. You keep complaining about me. You, with your heaps of text and footnotes, which do little more but disturb the action and bore the reader to insanity. You are impossible. You and your stylistic bacchanalias with no real effect.
JOYCE: Oh, you and your conflicts and potently effective parts! He can’t decide on a duel like a man, like Mr. Pushkin here, but rather enacts insanity and brings the actors in, making it a comedy. The curtain stirs, and he goes PUFF! This Danish prince of yours checks nothing, he just stabs. This makes it a comedy, not a tragedy.
SYLVIA: Gentlemen, let’s not argue. Let us use the capacity for story lines from the genre of which William here is the unsurpassed master, and then we can easily write a novel based on the motifs from his drama.
WILLIAM: I was just explaining that all of your so-called novels can in truth be dramatized, if we dispose of all superfluous characters such as thine mother.
SYLVIA: My mother a superfluous character!
POE: Peace, lady and gentlemen. I used to write plays myself. Let us vote. All in favour of Shakespeare?
A variation of Salieri is heard again, supplemented by Mozart’s hysterical laughter. With a creak of bones the giants raise their skeletal fingers; almost every one of them except for Joyce, who leaves the table in protest. The tables are illuminated by lanterns. The torches lining grave walls throw fire-red glimmers at the giants’ bones. Joyce retreats into his burial casket, covering himself with the lid and preparing to sulk for the next fifty earthly years or so. That means he will be back in the Gambling Hall within the next couple of minutes.
WILLIAM: For our Eileen we shall write a play worthy of the giants; she may do with it whatever pleases her. But ere I expose myself to any further criticism I say unto you – with all the conviction of my erstwhile glory – that the books in print today, the modern books, the never more poorly scribed books with which the archangels strive to amuse us, pushing them around in cartloads from coffin to coffin in order to kill the boredom. Each phrase of mine tore at my flesh while this – and I present to you as an example the fashionable author Le Simon – would not pass muster even with Le Simon himself. Willie (he used to say), I know exactly what I am doing and what the hoi polloi wants to read. The landlady wants her rent and I have hungry children to feed. I broke into the human psyche wielding a knife, not a quill.. People still write today, asking the same questions. But this, lady and gentlemen, is utterly unheard of! Drooling and rabid dogs, prepared to sell anything for money. They cut and they grind and they carve every half-decent phrase. Hark, I bring you an octavo of the story “The Sataness”. It is a family drama about the satanlets spawned by the Sataness in cohabitation with the Satan… A few gags, a couple of antics, and no differentiated dialogues. A subpar plot and a barely average subject: a married man takes a mistress, and then leaves her. She wishes to avenge herself. In the end the two divorce, but the lover renounces the Sataness believing her to have ruined his life. Scenery: a market place. She is a commoner, while he is a gentleman of renown.
MAUPASSANT: I had a similar story.
WILLIAM: You see? They hardly moved from us. We have been dead for two hundred years; three hundred, in my case. Yet they hardly moved from us. On the contrary, we are lampooned. So lady and gentlemen, the stage directions. Pay attention to the parentheses. They contain…
SYLVIA: Let us commence, gentlemen. And do not halt for the characters’ states too often. The movie audience cannot see it, just like the readership cannot see, for example, “The Theatre of the Dead”.
WILLIAM: A marvelous title, Miss.

The scribbling continues for hours, until a gong resounds. Eileen Dunn, visibly agitated, approaches the cloth-covered table; Haynes is attempting to stop her with his bones.
HAYNES: You’re not going anywhere without me. I have to see it, I just have to.
EILEEN DUNN: Gentlemen, lady, it is time. She flings her fleshy arms onto the manuscripts.

The skeletons grumble. Who is the author? We have to sign the author.
WILLIAM: I am the author.
SYLVIA: You are just boring. Of course you are not the author. You never moved any further than The Scottish Play. You keep repeating yourself. There is no beauty in your works.
EILEEN DUNN: Is this supposed to be a drama? Gentlemen, lady, nobody reads drama today – just short stories and parables. The less sentences there are, the more literature there is.
SYLVIA: We tried really hard, but it wasn’t good enough. We have no words, because we don’t feel. Everything we wrote is boring. Now we are truly dead and Eileen Dunn is going to declare this to the entire world.

KAFKA: She can’t say anything if we stop her and turn her into one of us…
The skeletons reach towards Eileen Dunn; they wish to grab her, to suffocate her with the maggoty air of the grave.
EVERYONE IN UNISON: One of us. One of us.
HAYNES: I will help you escape, providing that you help me in return. I have to see it, at least once. My book. I have to see it, touch it, smell it. You will not be returning here in any case. I know all the corridors which lead to the outside world. I can trick the guard. And if you see the early Christians in the corridors, do not be afraid. They are all just shadows. Just immortal, drooling shadows and besides, their faith prohibits them from committing violence.
Haynes and Eileen Dunn escape, the skeletons chasing after them with widespread arms.
THE SKELETONS: Don’t let her escape with our manuscript!
Haynes and Eileen Dunn enter the Catacomb One and run down the hallway to the very end of the World of the Living and the Dead. A guard is standing there, sword in hand. It is THE Guard.
HAYNES: I can pass through him.
The Guard sticks out his tongue and his gorgon hair starts undulating, creating wind.
THE GUARD: A fugitive! Get him!
The Guard’s sword passes right through Haynes’ bones. The howling skeletons are swarming through the catacombs. Eileen Dunn throws a torch at them, setting their eyes on fire. The skeletons recoil. They both run towards the exit, passing through a throng of guards frantically swinging their swords at Haynes and ignoring Eileen Dunn completely.
HAYNES (shedding invisible tears): Just a bit more. A bit more. Until the meeting.
Here comes the pit, and the ladders up which one climbs towards the sun, towards the earth and the living. Eileen lifts the lid and exits the grave. She pulls Haynes outside at the very moment the sun bursts through the clouds, dousing his skull with its golden blades, like a knife. His bones momentarily turn to dust. Eileen Dunn is not surprised by Haynes’ doom; nevertheless, she reproaches herself for not bringing his book the usual way. Even the Purgatory has its rules. She failed to obey them, denying a giant the assurance that his life, in the end, was actually worth the effort. Manuscript in hand, she walks slowly towards the sun-burnt horizon, singing with the nightingales of morning, remembering the nightingale of the darkest night.

Writer


When you have stories, you always have your family. They will always be your priority. Your responsibility. And a writer… a writer writes. And he does it even when he’s not appreciated.. or respected… or even loved. He simply bears up,.. and he does it… because he’s writer.

www.facebook.com/leilasamarrai7

Leila Samarrai: A good writer is one who is not afraid to speak out interviewed for “Afirmator”, the magazine for the arts and social issues, by Tamara Lujak


http://afirmator.org/leila-samarrai-dobar-pisac-je-onaj-koji-se-ne-boji-da-progovori/

The master of of the short story, Leila Samarrai is both published and
award-winning young author. She loves to write, she lives for the
literature, she dreams about having her own manager, like
American writers. Inspired by the Monty Python, by Chaplin, by
everyday situations in our country, she creates sharp, funny,
satirical stories, full of liberating rage and bitterness. Dive into
her world, for a moment…

What is the task of the writer?

The task of the writer is to write well and that’s all. It seems to me
that this is the striking thesis of Joseph Brodsky.

Why do you write?

For pleasure, and because I believe that I have something to say…

Where do you get your ideas?

Is simply, when I hit the table with my fist, a genie from the magic
lamp appears, bowing down to me, saying: “I beg your pardon,
my Magistra Ludi” Then I express my desire which is, immediately,
fulfilled.

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What is a good poetry/art and how would you define a poetic
skill?

Art is a game. Poetry is a game. At the end of the day, either
you know how to play or not…

What is a good writer to you?

A good writer is the one who is not afraid to speak up; the one who
dictates the art of the written word. A writer who only scribbles
in silence collecting praises is nothing but an idle reader. He to
whom the written word is flowing through the wounds in the
world descending to the paper, he does not hesitate to give either
criticism or praise. It is his aspiration.

What is the best literature and the purpose of art?

The survival of the human race.

Where did you get the idea to write Boris K (“Everest media”,
Belgrade, 2013)?

In the age of absurd events in Serbia, which go against common
sense, it was not difficult to come up with the idea to write an
absurd satire which would reflect the reality in the witch’s “old
woman Valentina” mirror . Pythonesque burlesque in conjunction
with Kafkaesque atmosphere, in the spirit of Monty Python and
perhaps Chaplin or SF passenger through space and time, are just
some of the references that build the atmosphere. Why
Kafkaesque? Because Boris K. in spite of his Johnny Bravo
powers and abilities is just plain, small, but not so common man,
milled by the wheel of the kafkaesque torture machine “in the
penal colony” – which grinds and bites, in a sophisticated way, but
it… kills … Johnny Bravo effect, the muscles of superhero are
part of the comedy of the absurd. The hyperbole that I like to use,
sometimes to the extreme, is part of the comedy and the comedy,
so to speak, becomes even more comical.

Can we expect a continuation of The Adventures Of Boris K?

Yes, you can. Ideas ideas everywhere.. (I share Plato’s thought), Boris K. is not only the satire – short story hero, he is an omnipresent avatar representing disruptive, although an imaginative cosmopolitan. He deserves the best assembled fable, the beginning, the plot, my favorite peripetia and spicy denouement with a touch of bitter irony at the expense of society.

What are you currently doing?

Like a sculptor, I am chiseling a novel made up of interwoven narratives, fighting for each sentence. This work does not require precision in terms of the well formed plot. It is itself a sleepwalker fantasy in which the vigilant one walks in the dream. It is surreal, like moonwalking…
The title is “The Sleeping Matilde”. It has something magical in it, for me… It follows my narrative sensibility focused not only to action but on shading of complex characters in novel. It has the characteristics of magical realism and’m good at it and I am endlessly enjoying in my work.

Melpomene

Tips to the younger writers?

Go not by the beaten paths. Break the patterns and remember that Kafka, who was the genius, was very unsure of himself. He thought he did not know to write, which he covered up by his famous hysterical laughter when urged to read aloud his works to his friends… Also, he wrote late into the night. This advice does not apply to you if you’re an early riser 🙂

translated from Serbian into English: Leila Samarrai