Skip to main content

This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things

I wrote a new short over the course of three lunch hours this week.  The word of the month for September was learning, and I started a thing that grew and turned out pretty OK, I think, just finished editing it yesterday.  I'll probably put it up here, let you all take a look at it.

I had this idea about an AI that scientists teach to learn and then they hook it up to the internet, to absorb the entirety of human knowledge, and then when they talk to it later, it comes back with cat videos and says bae and LOLz and all of the moronic shit that can be seen every second of every day on this steaming shitshow that is the internet, the whole point of which was that given this amazing tool of communication we just poop on it, and then seek to spread our poop as far and as wide as possible.

And it was going to be a funny story, a cute little parable.

This is not the story that I ended up writing.

What I wrote ended up being a terrible reflection on guilt and suicide and shame. It's not a nice story at all; it's sad and violent and sweary and filled with terrible choices and regret.  And I wrote this thing, and I started to wonder: why can't I write nice things?  Why is it always abuse, drugs, shame, sadness, violence, and fear?

And I think it is really all about fear.  I wrote this story, filled it with details to make you feel something, to make you experience the thing, not just read it.  There is a point when you read something and it absorbs you and your heart starts beating and you don't think about the words at all, you are there, you are enveloped in the world that the author created, your mind fills in all the details and the textures... It is very much like magic, though it isn't; it is just words, arranged in a nice order.

I wrote this story and it isn't nice, not at all.

It is about fear, it is always about fear. 

I'm terrified of suicide.

Not my own, I want to be very clear about this, I am not entertaining thoughts of self harm, you don't need to call the authorities, or my wife, there is nothing to worry about here, hell, I'm just getting started.

But

I had a friend call me once, he called me to tell me goodbye, that he was going to kill himself.  He said he had a gun, he said he was going to use it, and I was thousands of miles away and there was nowhere to go, nothing to do but to helplessly plead with him to not do it, tell him that I'd hop a plane and get there tomorrow, just hang on, wait until tomorrow, I would be there...  He didn't do it, thankfully, and I don't know if I did the right thing, said something that turned it around, or if he just needed to hear a friendly voice, someone who cared whether he was still around.  I don't know, I have never mentioned it again, we never talk about it.  This was years and years ago, and even now I feel shaky, what if I said the wrong thing, what if I didn't answer the phone that night, what if I was in a dark place myself, like I could very well have been.  Even today, knowing that it all worked out for the best, even now I'm still scared, it could have gone so wrong, could have gone terribly terribly wrong, and then how would I live with that, how would I carry that around, how could I absorb that into my experience?

It didn't happen, but what if?  What if it did?

What if?

And this is where this shit comes from, why I can't write nice things, because I am filled with memories like this, times it worked out, times I failed, times I wish I had said something or times I wish I had paid attention, had been a better man, had listened to what people were trying to tell me, times I was too self absorbed or too drunk or distracted or too anything...

Whatever.

This is stupid, self flagellation, total nonsense.  I don't know why I hold on to this shit, don't know why I feel compelled to write this shit, I don't know why I remember this shit, why I can't let things go.

I don't really write too much about my own experiences, except for here I suppose, mostly because I'm pretty boring, and also because it's all pretty pedestrian; I was no worse off than anybody, and better off than most.  I have been surrounded by people that loved me, cared about me supported me my whole life, and all I can do is think of how things could have gone wrong, the times when I failed at being a good person.  I just feel sometimes like I am too soft, like I am made of dough, and the world presses on me and leaves a mark, and where other people just bounce back, I don't, I stay pressed, and now at my age, I'm covered in marks, and maybe if I write something that people can relate to, make them feel like they are not alone, maybe they will bounce back instead of staying marked.

I don't know anything.

And like in the new story, I never learned anything, either.

Bless.

Still Writing

RP 9-11-15

Reach me if you want to, Twitter @RDPullins, on Facebook, comment here, or email me at dissent dot within at gmail dot com.  I WANT to hear from you!  REALLY.  Even if you just wanna say that I'm dumb. 

 

 

Comments

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

We Would Be a Song

I seem to define my life with soundtracks, playlists that encompass epochs or periods of change or development.  My earliest music was my mother's: Van Halen and Judas Priest, Def Leppard and AC/DC.  I remember a friend of hers explaining to second grade Ralph that the big balls that Angus was singing about were parties, but even then I didn't buy it.  My teen years were heavy on grunge, Nirvana and Alice in Chains and Soundgarden, and that was the first time that music ever felt like it was mine , that I discovered by myself or through the radio, or like minded friends, that was the first time that I took it and owned it and loved it, and even now I'll hear Black Hole Sun or Rooster or Smells Like Teen Spirit on the radio and back I go. In the fifth grade, I moved to Kelso, Washington. I want to say that it was hard, but what I remember mostly from childhood is just this sense of taking every day as it arrived.  What else do we have except our own experiences to measure th

The Wall

I originally wrote this story for an anthology of cosmic horror that ultimately never came to fruition.  It is based on an idea from my son, Cayden, who asked during the run up to the 2016 election, what if they actually did build a wall, and then there is some kind of  apocalypse and instead of keeping people out, the wall ends up trapping everyone inside with the sickness?  So when I saw the call for submissions for cosmic horror stories with a political theme, I asked him if it was alright if I stole his idea as long as I give him a co-author credit, and that he had better say yes, or I would make him pick up the dog poop all summer.  He agreed, his brother got stuck with the poop patrol again, and I sat down and wrote this story.  Since the anthology never came to pass, and it was written for that alone, it has been sitting in my file for quite some time.  Recently, there has been a lot of wall talk in the news again, and so I decided to just put it up here because, after reading

I, Failure.

Listen carefully, because this is important. You are going to fail. There will come a time when you will think it was all for nothing, all of your time and effort, you will think it was a waste. You will look at all you have accomplished, all that you have done, and you will not feel pride at the things you have managed to do in the face of resistance and adversity, but a numb despair that, after everything, this is all you have to show for it, these shabby relics, these nothings. You may consider quitting. Maybe you will quit, you will tell yourself that it isn't worth it, that arriving at the destination is not worth the hardships of the journey. You will try to walk away. You are going to fail, and if you fail, you are then a failure. You will be a failure. Maybe you have had nothing but success up to this point, maybe you begin to believe that the usual hardships have just passed you by, maybe you will begin to think that you are just lucky, or that all the warn