EP: The Real Janelle by Bratmobile
1994 Kill Rock Stars KRS 219
Favorite Track: And I Live In a Town Where the Boys Amputate Their Hearts
A couple of weeks ago, I attended a reading at the University of Cincinnati. Alissa Nutting, author of Tampa–a book I was going to suggest for my Sexy Bookclub before it dissolved, read excerpts from her forthcoming book. It involved a grieving father fastening a sex doll on his scooter. Ed Park read from Personal Days. I bought both books and had them autographs, both authors being very generous.
On the walk home, the brisk weather cooled my heated imagination. I was inspired.
For a couple of years now, I have had a novel brewing in my head. However, instead of working on it, I forced myself to tackle and write short stories. The excuse was to hone my craft. Maybe I was really afraid of the time commitment. But I am ready now. And this blog will be a catalyst. Here I will start to outline the plot, create character histories, attempt scenes, and, most likely, vent that I am a terrible writer.
The usual trash.
In a bit of rushed stupidity, I am going to write a little bit of the plot down for you here today. One of my favorite pieces of advice I’ve read is to never talk to anyone about your story. Just write it. But I am going to do the opposite today. I must refresh myself and draw courage from others.
The idea came to me after I read two books: Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany and the Illuminati Trilogy by Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea. I fell in love with labyrinthine structure and setting of Dhalgren. Anarchist kids with animal neon lights running amok a changing and forever burning city while having lots of sex and poetry, what is not to love? The Illuminati Trilogy opened my mind to the truth. And born was a story that borrowed heavily from each, Dhalgren a bit more.
In my university, a new city is built for the Isolationists. Isolationism is a movement where heavily anti-social people move in droves to their own city so they can live in peace and quiet from the rest of society which they hate and hates them back. But tragedy strikes this perverted utopia. The city crumbles in on itself, leaving the few survivors trapped and alone. Everyday they are witnesses to atrocities including dead bodies falling from their newfangled ceiling. From the survivors comes the dream of Dr. Kaufmann: the Black Widow–a supercomputer capable of downloading people’s memories from their brains so they no longer can remember them.
At first, people use it only to clear their heads of the catastrophe, but soon they start erasing petty things: fights with their significant others, the memory of the last time they ate, all the reveries of dead relatives. They become addicted to the Black Widow to shield them from sorrow. Dr. Kaufmann disappears or, at least, no body knows who he (?) is anymore including himself (?).
Enter the reporter (character name undetermined yet-please make suggestions). What started as a basic news story for a news channel becomes a harrowing adventure to find a lost sibling in the messy maze of the Isolationist city. As she explores this twisted world and interviews its strange denizens, can she keep back her growing desire to try the Black Widow herself? Meanwhile, another unnamed character (possibly because he has deleted his memory of his own name) has fallen in love with Parker, the beautiful and mysterious lady whose body is entirely tattooed with mystic symbols. The unnamed character suddenly wants to remember something for the first time in how long, however, Parker is dead serious about deleting all memories concerning intimate affairs–“every time must be the first time” she is known to say. The unnamed character begins his journey to find Dr. Kaufman and the original Black Widow–to save everyone’s memories or just his own? However, there are forces that will kill to keep that a secret…
Ambitious, huh? That has always been my problem. I really need to not try and write a book with so many characters and themes to encompass 700 pages. But oh well.
Be prepared to start meeting the characters soon.