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Emotional Equilibrium

AKA Typewritten Impressionism

For reasons, I compiled four super-short stories, to be read in order. Why? I hope I can trust you to read them first, and leave the explanation until the end. Focus on your emotional state while reading each in succession, in one sitting.

And have fun, they aren’t meant to be literary masterpieces. :)

Deep breath now. (exhale)

 

Sociopathology
IT was the absences he noticed the most. It’s a truly amazing phenomenon, he thought, that at this moment none of her family cared about her or her body; they only cared about the absences. That new hole in her chest. The thoughts of living without her life. The lack of objects that would be brought into the home that might have been were she not, well, naught. Soon, there would be tape on the floor where her body lay, and that would again trace around something no longer existing, no longer real, no longer persuasive to a physical world of touchables.
HOW funny, he thought, looking at the family. How strange that they scramble to prevent that which has already happened.
He had already learned not to say those thoughts out loud. But he couldn’t help thinking it. If when we die we become an absence, do, when we become an absence to someone relationally, spacially, or temporally, we then die to some extent? Are we so contingent?
HE would write that down in his notebook later. A complex logic, death.
BY now they were all dumbly staring at him standing above it all, knife already cleaned and sheathed. The sun set outside; it was 7:29 in the evening – another note to write down.
HE liked the precision of dates and times.

 

Warmth
THE universe was alive and had become its own symbology as the sun reared the top of its mane into the window in roaring red: the red of blood and the red of the victor. The blood had started to come, as he stood quietly outside the observation window of the delivery room. She was giving birth, in that odd turn of phrase, as if, at that moment, she was giving life more than that life was demanding release. Such ‘giving’ is like that of an artist’s; when does the artist or poet put onto the page inspired strokes and words that are not his own? And yet, at the same time, the universal truth of his art is contingent on that same inspiration, those muses which burst forth from their heads and hands, coming out of its own will – intelligent, desiring, crying, covered in sticky life.
ART is giving to the world only that which has been given to you by God. All else is excess.
THAT is a beautiful baby, the doctor said beside him. You should be proud.
YES, proud, he spoke softly. He smiled as his wife caught his eyes. A new life on the horizon, and the sun agreed.

 

Slow/Fast
BEYOND the false blue contacts, her eyes forced upon her brain the image of a blonde in high heels stumbling out into what was probably the light of the city. The girl’s ears had begun to bleed from the noise of it all: the club music synced your heartbeat with its own, slowly depriving you of the sense of yourself. The pain of it just made Blue Eyes feel that much more alive, if life, as it was for her, meant being a part of what was around you. That’s what she was about – finding her experience in the great vicarious.
SHE eyed her first victim. Brunette this time, with a perfect white neck, slender, unadulterated and unadorned. She was drawn to that simplistic sterility, like the beauty of new stainless steel gears or freshly white, sharp teeth after leaving the dentist. The music had until now drowned out the migraine Blue Eyes, but the draw of it all meant that she was coming into herself again, becoming poignantly aware of her own pains and desires. The heroin no longer came to save her, no longer let her float through another’s dreams.
THE brunette left the circle of dancing bodies, that macabre, yet existential ritual of the club crowd; moved toward the rear to sit down at a shaded booth, for whatever reason – hopefully she hadn’t been drinking, that always diluted the experience. In a blur of practiced swiftness, Blue Eyes was sitting beside her. Time slowed; all eyes in the club went to blink, and in that moment time became a singularity of infinite vastness. She turned to the brunette and as the blood drained from the girl, those contacts covered the drugged dilation of pupils. The blue eyes watched in rapture as the girl’s lifetime of memories floated past her vision.
IT was beautiful.
IT was a thousand lives that betrayed the perfect whole. The last bit of red slid down her chin as the club once again came to life in syncopated serenity.

 

Silliness
KRISTOPHER and Elbi giggled as Mother shouted ‘go’. The forest—their enveloping bower of tall birch trees and evergreens a mile high, of all their memories, of their eternal childhood, of Mother and Father—it became a blur as the they ran their race. They raced each year to mark the beginning of summer’s touch, that day in late May when the snow had gone for good, the ground had warmed and lost its soggy moisture and the trees were in full parade costume. She thought she could hear the leaves far, far above her head rustling their cheers, urging her to not fall behind her brother. In his mind, he swooped with the jays and the robins who chirped their question, “Why do you not forsake your kind, and fly with us? Come, find a new world vision in the azure expanse!” Perhaps he would answer them another day, when his mission was finished, and he had had a bit of dinner and an iced lemonade. He liked those the most, the lemonades.
HE peaked out the side of his eyes and there, through the bramble and brush, flitting in and out of view amongst the rough brown towers, was Elbi, blondest of hair flowing out half her body length behind her head, trembling with the speed of her. Looking aside he nearly tripped on a root, and would have had he not known the path so well: each damp, mossy stone and hidden fox hole.
ELBI had become enraptured in the roar of nature, all noises condensing into symphony in her hypersensitive state.
THE joy of it all was too much, and the forest fell away, replaced by a warm glow. This might be the only memory they would ever need.

 

END

 

So the point of it! Sidenote: I really enjoy writing these tiny pieces; at one point in time I wanted to create an interactive website where story fragments can be posted, and (moderated) comments could be added at paragraph length to continue it, allowing users to make a coherent story together—community art, as it were. Perhaps one day I’ll get that going. I should start a kickstarter! Please don’t steal my idea, it’s a lot more complex than that and you won’t do it as well as I can. :) Sorry.

Mainnote: But this is not why I wrote these specifically. The first, cerebral and a bit too ambivalent; the second arty, a bit cerebral again, but with a growing sense of excitement for the future; the third, creepy, sinister; the fourth, blissful. Each story serving as a thesis and antithesis, or at least that was my intention. 

I was struck while writing this week at how much constant change in emotional states, highs and lows, sensitivity and insensitivity, can create discomfort in all aspects of mind: emotionally and intellectually. Maybe this means something, maybe not. I’m easily thrown around when it comes to reading stories, listening to music, viewing movies or plays or videos, so it is perhaps more poignant to me than others—mania is more powerful than artificial highs.

To me this represents something all good authors (and readers) should take part in: the fact that good art affects people in ways they do not expect, which results in discomfort—we loathe the unexpected, or at least our reactions do, whatever we tell ourselves consciously. Mental discomfort is necessary to put us on the path towards learning, not just about the world, but foremost about ourselves and how we work. It’s one thing to read theories in a psychology textbook, it is another to experience psychological states yourself.

Literature should never be underestimated for its power to make us learn lessons about how people work, to demand from us new vision, to wrestle from us our rooted paradigms.

If what you read each day results in no discomfort, then you have no incentive to actually learn. Physically, you have to put yourself in discomfort so that your body will work as it should. They say you shouldn’t believe most of what you read on the internet: I’m here to tell you that you shouldn’t be bothered with most of what is found on television or the internet period. 

Thanks for letting me tell you what to do.

Go be healthy, you bunch of fat-brained people. Work that neural-organ. Work it.

 

With Love,

Garrett

About gaflatt

Homo sapiens sapiens, follower of Christ, musician, linguist, russian scholar, philosopher, science lover, cat adorer, soon to be graduated and poor, et cetera. If I can be both helpful and unique, I think I've succeeded.

2 responses to “Emotional Equilibrium

  1. Rebecca ⋅

    In my opinion, it speaks for someone’s talent when they are able to write effectively and convincingly from the point of view of a person almost entirely unlike themselves. But I think we can forget that one or even two or three marked, “sinister” traits do not define a person; these are traits shared by all in varying degrees of dormancy and exhibition. There is a Smerdykov in all of us, and that is a discomforting thing to admit.

    • gaflatt

      As a sort of tangent relating to Smerdyakov (and have you read Sologub’s Petty Demon? It’s characters are way more disturbing than Smerdyakov was), I was thinking about Dostoevsky and mental illness. Looking back at Rodion Raskolnikov and Brett Cooke’s class on it, I feel surprised now that nobody talked about Raskolnikov as perhaps not completely in control of his actions. Treating the character like a mentally capable person doesn’t quite make sense. It would be an interesting study to compare Raskolnikov’s symptoms with Dostoevsky’s own depression and gambling compulsion.

      And I agree. When an author can write in a perspective of someone so different from them, it simultaneously speaks to the commonality of potential human experience. It is sad when someone doesn’t have any base experience to begin to understand what someone else is going through. C’est la vie, I suppose.

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