eblo by Lindsay Bison

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I was going to title this “Burning”, the feeling you get when something lights a fire inside you. Sometimes it is the New Year with its possibility and untouched snow; fresh tracks there for the making. Sometimes it is a creative work, like it was today.

Double Fine PsychOdyssey got me all excited about making things again. I backed the original Double Fine Adventure just to watch the “making of” documentary, and now the same thing for Psychonauts 2 is available!

But sometimes there is no snow on New Year’s day, and the muddy tracks of the previous year are all that can be seen. And that’s when the burning turns to yearning—when the “doing” falls away.

But no more! Time to fire up the mental snow machine and carpet the vision of my imagination with mounds of untouched fluffy flakes. And the snow machine in my mind produces perfect marshmallow drifts, not the icy granules of this mortal world.

Time to do.

Set fire to the yearning.

Thirty years ago the world shifted. The X-Files, soon to be my favourite show, premiered; In Utero was released, an album that I sadly would not truly appreciate until I was much older; and sweat pants were forbidden—I had entered Junior High.


Fuck the strangling vine of progress. Plant me a slow growing tree with thick bark, which drinks deeply, but slowly, letting the important aspects of the environment seep in and become incorporated into its very being. And let this wisdom unfurl in its leaves, not trapped within the trunk wood, where its beauty is only visible in its destruction, like so many revelations at a funeral. My mind was clearcut by technology and now hosts only the quickest growing and invasive weeds. I’ve long since stopped fertilizing it and am constantly amazed that anything grows at all, and then disappointed I cannot shelter in its cool redwood shade—though at its very edges, hidden a folded recess must wait a Wollami pine—otherwise I would already be extinct.

Storing the inferences isn’t as easy as placing an apple into the crisper—it is more like slicing a banana with a string of dental floss and hoping for applause when it is peeled—or at least being able to enjoy the applesauce. Dark in the morning and dark in the evening, and I’m not even riding a cart into the depths of the earth—mining words and numbers and storing the inferences. Marking the grid with asymmetric words is sometimes all that can be done, and the book stored in a dark drawer that never sees the light of day. Few are lucky enough to have the words made symmetrical after the eulogy—most have the scribbles alongside them to help fertilize the ground—the ultimate end of a fertile imagination.

The seasoned sound of unequal expectations served up like a main course. Head like a hole and the cram cramped script of a messenger. There are no words to deliver—the car wouldn’t start and the mechanic only stares into space, though he swore this was his dream job. Now he can barely manage to put on the nitrile gloves—some days he comes home without oil on his cuffs, and he wonders how many sentences need to be compressed to get a slurry of letters worth applying to something. He would start with a small brush and a deft application—just a few letters at a time—until the room becomes wall papered with newsprint. Turning wrenches turned into words, when the writing is stuck a large wrench needs turning.

Thy cypher sits between the dragon and the meerkat. Appearance is everything when power must be judged at a distance, and instantaneously. The silk fruit weaved by hand so that it can be hung without regard. What hums but an overhead fluorescent light, casting a shadow among the desk lamps. There is no medication for the worms that have crawled inside—every ear a crinkling of cellophane, and every thought a potential meal, so it is best not to do too much thinking, lest you instigate an outbreak. And what then would the shallow husk do but warm a seat and increment some numbers—not least of which is their own—rolling and tumbling over themselves until at last infinity is reached and the worms can rest, satiated.

Play it pretty for Atlanta, for the name with only one vowel, the most common, making up for variety with frequency. Eyeing the weekend with a warm heart and glasses for the night travel. What wonders await our awakening, what delights are promised by the night. What locks do moments affix themselves with to prevent their passage—to prevent beginnings. Waiting for a body to heal when once it only grew stronger; all work now to prevent the speed of decay, as all new construction has been delayed. The mind is too kind to cancel anything. Everything is still possible. Not only can any task be accomplished, they all can.

The aftern afternoon is full of ambient sound that bleeds like this ink on this card. My brain is wounded, but the electronic piano notes coagulate where it is exposed to air. I can can hear the press of keys, deep breath, and lips on flute of the electronic instruments. The ghosts that play these human melodies. The afternoon is for ghosts, as people should be sleeping. But I stay sitting, eyes open, hands pressed to keys of my own, convincing ghosts not of melodies, but of experiences they have had, pleading that they limn through these circuits—these circuits that are short and manual.

Nearly not this because of that

The old ketch has creaked back into port. Sails torn, hull breached, and masts split—exhaustion the only shared blanket.

When I first set out, the big city dazzled. It didn’t whisper my name, it called it out with a megaphone and fabricated neon signs in my honour, brazenly promising the most ephemeral of goods: engagement.

“Come here,” it whispered, its siren song backed by millions of dollars in VC funding. “Look what you could become.” A brief arm gesture to the billboards of writers with millions of fans, thousands of people paying to read their words.


I did it.

I finally broke free.

My host is still vacantly staring at a monitor, listening to the roar of the air handling unit. They aren't moving, and definitely aren't working. Just sitting motionless with their hands on the keyboard, mind frantically darting down burrows that have been worn away from afternoons just like this one. There isn't much mass to a thought, so the fact twisting tunnels of escape have been worn away is testament to how serious things have gotten. In truth, my host thought they could become me, with enough wishful thinking and manic surfing the web.


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