Thursday, 19 December 2013

Eaten at arm's length (Short Story, first draft)

  "Heey..!" She calls across the field, just a short distance really, the mischievous whine in her voice clutches that single word, carries it across to me, above the noise of the ever gathering crowd, above the rumble of the bass-line.
  I pretend not to hear.  I'm standing at the edge of the gathering maelstrom of the evening, away from the three of them, chatting amicable to my friend, to my friend's girlfriend.
  I'm standing nearby chatting amicably to my friend.
  "Hey, Niick!" she calls again, a shrill note to her voice, a smile dancing on her face.
  I noticed them minutes ago, without really turning in their direction.  It's the three of them, and as early in the long day as it already is, they are way less than sober.  I glance what must be west; the sun has barely begun to set.
  As long as I pretend not to hear them, my friend standing next to me follows my lead and we continue chatting casually.  Our words and effort would seem casual to onlookers, anyway, but I'm talking about my Dad's death again.  I can't be sure who brought the subject up, but it seems likely it was me.  Talking to her soothes me though.  In general, people outside of family have been reluctant to look me in the eye, much less discuss how difficult a time this is.  But right now she's offering her condolences again, a humble and mature individual helping out a friend with some kind and encouraging words.  She's reassuring me that it's natural that I'm going to need quite some time in order to feel better, in order to feel like myself ag~
  "Niiiiiiickk!"  she practically screeches my name at me this time, her again, one of the three stumbling about, each of the trio swinging  their arms around in a such a way that I can only surmise it's supposed to be dancing.
  My friend, my actual, real friend who has bothered to make an effort to talk to me as an adult and an equal about something serious that has oh so recently occurred in my life, is cut off brutally by the sound of my name launched as us from fifteen feet away.  We can't pretend we don't hear them trying to get my attention anymore, but although she's been rudely cut off, my friend says nothing of it.  She doesn't even grumble.
  "Hold on a moment, I'll be right back" I say to her, smiling apologetically for some reason, and walk the short way to the three of them.  "Yeah?", I ask.
  Of the three of them, only the Screecher looks directly at me.  The other two, shorter and more weary, continue dancing but slow their pace, smiling softly and not in a pleasant way.  They seem to me eager to hear the exchange between their friend and myself.

  Around sixteen hours ago, we were all dancing maniacally not too far from here.  None of us sober, all of us having such a good time.  At some point, this woman - no, this girl -  who the next day screeched at me with such gusto, she started a group hug, her and her friends.  I was close by, and was happily pulled into the throng.  "Thanks", I said, trying to look into her eyes as we all wrapped our arms around each other.
"You've all made me feel so welcome", I exaggerate wildly.  Her eyes are rooted on the ground beneath our feet.
  "You're one of us noooooow" she sings.  I believe her.

  Back in the following day, I stand before the swaying trio, my brand new friends.  "Yeah?" I ask.
  "Nice COAT!" she shouts at me, standing three feet away.  The tone of mockery in her voice is unmistakable, and I'm confused.  I bought the coat on site, that afternoon.  It doesn't really suit me, and it's ugly and cheap.  But the nights thus far have been so very cold.  I bought a coat to stay warm.
  Me and my confusion are ignored by the three of them, or rather, their reaction to the Screechers open mocking is instant.  Their laughter is howling and long.  One falls against the Screecher, holding her stomach, contorted by the hilarity of it all.  The other stumbles as she cackles and actually falls to the ground.  None of them are looking at me, or looking to interact with me any further in any way.  In coming over, I've served my purpose.  The three of them feel that little bit better about themselves now.

  I turn, swiveling one hundred and eighty degrees on the heel of my left foot, and move to walk back to my friend.  Her face is tipped to the side quizzically.  Having not heard the exchange, she's wondering what I could have possibly done to elicit such a dramatic reaction from my three new friends.  Before I reach her though, there is a large puddle in the way.  How I missed it on the short walk over, I have no idea.  I'm wearing waterproof boots.  I am protected, I could just march through this puddle as though it is nothing.
  It is nothing.
  But the colour and the unknown depth of the water terrify me.  It's clouded with mud.
  I cannot see beneath the surface at all.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

The amateur bloggers surrealist rulebook (Prologue, part 2/2)

  This is not a story. Enjoy the narrative.

  Depending on the intent of the author, blogs can be a strange thing.  The primary purpose of this blog will be to provide myself with a dumping ground/showcase for short and micro fiction, maybe some haiku or poetry if I feel the urge to write some.  I've been writing fiction on and off for around fifteen years, and it's high time I put myself out there a little.  Haiku and poetry are mediums in which I've often dabbled, but rarely committed myself to, and the idea of experimenting and posting some excites me.

  This is not a diary, but things do happen.

  So, fiction and poetry.  But there'll be a third element to this particular place, one I initially intended to avoid, one that is prevalent throughout the blogging universe.  I'm referring to the kind of self-referential rambling posts that tend to ooze narrow minded selfishness in which opinion is often presented as fact, and where the mundane has the stickers of excitement pasted all over it like so many flyers.  These posts tend to be labelled 'essays', or if the authors self esteem leaves something to be desired, they are sometimes jokingly labelled 'rants'.
  Now, I more than understand the compulsion to smear yourself and your thoughts all over your own personal little square of the net. I get it.  You're the one who understands, right?  No one gets it but you, and it's up to you to educate all the rest.  You're important, perhaps more so than the rest, and you'll prove as much by shoving your thoughts and broad theories down everybody's throats.  You'll make them understand just who you are.

  This is not a journey.  Enjoy the trip.

  I want to do that, too.  I wish I could.  But I lack both the broad universal knowledge required to do so, and the arrogance to believe I can.
  I do, however, possess something.  That's why I decided to write this blog, and it's why this blogs introduction has a secondary segment.
  The point I'm attempting to make is that the rambling essays' I've condemned here will play a part as far as the content of Abstract Footstep goes.  My intention however is to make them more focused in form, and didactic in nature.  Anyone who's ever heard me rant while on good form may testify to my ability to simultaneously inform and entertain - both myself and the sometimes spittle riddled recipient.

  The content of Abstract Footstep will be Art.  It will also be the art of communication.  I believe there to be great value in that.

  I'm not writing this for you. I'm writing this for me.  Gather round anyway.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

A Loop (Prologue, part 1/2)

  Fuck it all. I'll try it again.

  'Try it again' - the name I've touted all year to myself for this, my third and final attempt at a blog.  Since I've started, become frustrated with and finally abandoned two digital notepads prior to this, the name seemed apt.  I'd decided to try one last time.

  Apt indeed.

  'Try it again', in case you've not realised, is just about the worst name you could possibly bestow upon a blog, or indeed any project in which there is any creative element or potential for creative insight.
  What it has taken me more than six months to understand is that in deciding to name a new blog - a final attempt at a blog - this 'funny', self depreciating name, I'd already totally given up on the idea of writing and to keep writing a blog.  Or more significantly and accurately, I'd willingly but unknowingly decided that spending so much time and effort on such an endeavor was not worth it.
  In naming a new blog 'Try it Again', I would have been simultaneously announcing both my intent and my defeat.  It was a name with a backdoor built in. A name with an escape pod primed and ready.

I'm gonna try. I'm gonna try again.  It's obvious from the name I've tried before. It'll be no great surprise when the posts cease and the blog is eventually deleted.  The important part is to be seen trying by others - it doesn't really matter whether I succeed or not.

  It's difficult to properly articulate just how ashamed of myself I was, once I'd comprehended just how dedicated I'd become to avoiding the mountains of hard work that awaits me.

  Winning may not be everything, but losing is meaningless.  Those who lose without ever really trying have no currency.  Not with me, not with anyone else.

  I've spent a great deal of my short life slowly and carefully constructing my own set of standards.  This, I believe, is an integral element to existing as a true individual, one that is set apart as much as realistically possible from any and all religious or social institution, or any such dogma that may be passed down by said institution.  Such as they are, I'll not dare list these standards here, or likely anywhere else.  My point is, I'm falling short of even my own benchmark.  Money isn't something I particularly value, nor is a large company of friends, a career to brag about, or a pointlessly powerful, clean car.  I'd acquiesced before I'd even started; that I care about.

I've been wallowing in apathy.

Fuck that.

Fuck it all. I'll try it again.