[Ulric's Scrapbook] Pithy Conceit and Cursing

(This is a thread from Mizahar's fantasy role playing forum. Why don't you register today? This message is not shown when you are logged in. Come roleplay with us, it's fun!)

The player scrapbooks forum is literally a place for writers to warm-up, brainstorm, keep little scraps of notes, or just post things to encourage themselves and each other. Each player can feel free to create their own thread - one per account - and use them accordingly.

[Ulric's Scrapbook] Pithy Conceit and Cursing

Postby Ulric on February 23rd, 2012, 2:56 am

22 FEB 12 – ON INFIDELITY

I’m afraid my friend’s wife is going to be unfaithful. I don’t even know her. I don’t know why, but it’s like a huge, vicious worm that’s gnawing me from the inside, eroding even my issues. If we talk about her, I’m consumed by intense pangs of guilt. I don’t want it to :retard: happen. They recently tied the knot, though only after dating for a few years, and he hasn’t seen her since. That’s just what happens when you divest yourself of everything to do what we’re finally about to do, which I can’t tell you about.

Osan, that’s where he’s going. Korea, for two years – without her. Today, he said to me, “You know, I’ll be surprised if I come back without a divorce,” with the saddest look on his face. Fuck, that tore me up really bad inside, but we don’t talk about feelings and that crap. Everybody is always fine. Except, of course, that we’ve got a huge rate of suicides. But let’s not get into that sordid mess.

They won’t amend his orders so he can see her, so they’ll only be together for two days. That’s it. Y’know, I really care. He's just one of, well, so many airmen I've got close to, closer even than my own family. I'd always thought I was too cowardly to take a bullet, but now I know differently. They're my life now. There’s a kind of injustice in this, an inherent tragedy that can’t be averted. He’s a really good guy, and he doesn’t deserve this. She doesn’t deserve it, either. She’s going to have a rotten time, but she’d be to blame. No matter what, I’m not going to give a shit for mitigating factors. There’s nothing worse than being deserted. The guy’s making huge sacrifices, and for me to see him hurting even now, even before the worst of the ordeal has begun, is destroying me, too. They’re creaking near grinding, crushing ruin.

Fuck.

Maybe it’s not ordained. Maybe we’re just being downers. Maybe, just maybe, they’ll both be okay. That’s what I need to clasp to my chest, because I don’t want to consider the alternative.

That love, when plunged into the sacrificial crucible of service, just smolders to ashes. That eighty percent of our marriages end in divorce. That I’m losing faith in people.

They never said it’d be sunshine and rainbows.
User avatar
Ulric
The Warrior-Poet
 
Posts: 554
Words: 629666
Joined roleplay: May 20th, 2010, 5:51 pm
Location: Ravok
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Scrapbook
Medals: 3
Featured Character (1) Featured Thread (1)
Donor (1)

[Ulric's Scrapbook] Pithy Conceit and Cursing

Postby Siiri on February 23rd, 2012, 6:46 am

Don't know you well. Don't know your friend, either. This post struck a chord though. Not going to pretend I'll be saying anything that makes sense here, but sometimes, it's a matter of choice too. You can only hope they make the right one. Not the one that would make everything look good in the end, but the one that would make the both of them happy.
Apologies to everyone I'm threading with, but it's like the Danaides for me right now.
==/==
Image
"If it doesn't solve all your problems, maybe you're not using enough of it." - Violence
User avatar
Siiri
Beast of Prey
 
Posts: 776
Words: 521753
Joined roleplay: September 18th, 2009, 3:22 am
Location: Falyndar - Fall 512 AV
Race: Myrian
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Scrapbook
Journal
Medals: 7
Featured Character (1) Featured Thread (1)
Peer Reviewer (1) Trailblazer (1)
Overlored (1) Donor (1)
Extreme Scrapbooker (1)

[Ulric's Scrapbook] Pithy Conceit and Cursing

Postby Ulric on March 18th, 2012, 5:34 pm

16 MAR 12 – PIPS RHYMES WITH…


This is insipid. That’s what jerked under the bony preponderance of my skull, beneath a fade unkempt after nearly two weeks, as I ripped bulging eyes from the finished form. There it was, the itinerary for my permanent change of duty station. The paper pristinely scribed by my shiny, utilitarian space pen in all the correct boxes. The few receipts were in my fraying, sky-blue folder. This was done. There surely couldn’t be anything else to cover.

Except, of course, to redo everything else online, scan every document on defective machines, and await imminent rejection.

Finance. They toil for our hatred. This girl was in blues, two stripes and a bit of pudge creeping under the band of her skirt. That Hello Kitty water flask, her artificial red hair, plump face. The squeaky, sticky-sweet, little girl’s tea party voice grating perilously on my nerves. The way she spoke as if we, if anybody, were the morons.

To make her nervous, I doggedly glare at her tits for the remainder of the briefing. The corners of my lips draw back to display a pink sliver of tongue.

The clunky, online forms are different. The ‘cheat-sheet’ they gave us merely consists of a few pages describing how to navigate to the site, and a phone number that nobody bothers to answer. There are barely any functional, CAC-enabled computers on base, either. The connection speed is glacial. This form takes me several hours to complete, nor does it seem necessary. That flight was paid for by the government, and I’m not claiming any reimbursable travel expenses.

But whatever.

The next week, they reject my package. There’s no receipt for my commercial flight. They need to determine how much to reimburse me for, and I promptly suggest they reimburse me for having to suffer their idiocy. To the flickering screen, like a bitch. That doesn’t matter. They want the receipt. This takes time to find, mislaid in the crevices of irrelevancy. There are so many fields, but scant clarification. That’s difficult when you’re working with unfamiliar acronyms. They’re going to reject me again, but that’s okay. The average is about five requests, I’m informed. There’s a guy here who got one of those banshees to fill out and submit his itinerary, only to later reject her own work. That’s troubling.

There are so many sites, so many portals. There’s no coherence to any of them, like a vapid cloud. That’s the military for you. Those mandates, regulations, and directive just leave us slapping together shit pies, trying to ignore the disparity of functional adequacy and civilian intervention. 

This makes me bitter, though sentiment manifests infrequently. The way you get through it is by not giving a crap. The other day, I was driving my mid-size sedan (which apparently indicates a latent desire to sow my wild oats) when I spotted her entering the rainy crosswalk. I’ll admit it, I briefly thought about flooring it. The squeal of rubber, the luxuriant crunch of her mocking bosom on the carapace of my vehicle would’ve furled like music to my ears.

But whatever.

Those oats require sowing, preferably outside of a prison.
User avatar
Ulric
The Warrior-Poet
 
Posts: 554
Words: 629666
Joined roleplay: May 20th, 2010, 5:51 pm
Location: Ravok
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Scrapbook
Medals: 3
Featured Character (1) Featured Thread (1)
Donor (1)

[Ulric's Scrapbook] Pithy Conceit and Cursing

Postby Ulric on March 26th, 2012, 1:10 am

25 MAR 12 – WHEN I TALK ABOUT RUNNING

I’m a runner. I’m that guy, not bulked like a bull, not gaunt like a hostage. I’m fairly ordinary, just a mongrel of upheaving migrations, until I put on my sneakers. I’ve only just grasped how vital it is to me, like an atoll of constancy rocketing over the bedlam. I may deal with my quota of messy incidents, but like writing, it’s always there. I’m also very good at it. I’m not a prodigy kid. I never was, nor do I harbor any illusions that I’ll abruptly develop the devotion to run fifty miles every week, for many years. I can’t charge through a 5k at a sub-6:00 gait, or just go out and run 26 miles without severely incapacitating my joints for weeks, if not longer.

Right now, I’m part of a running squadron. That means my commander is a runner, which means there’s a huge emphasis on running in PT sessions, which is incredible for me. There’s not much time to run when you’re doing shiftwork, not that I’ve finished my gruesomely long inprocessing.

I’m the kind of person that enjoys a brisk clip. I enjoy feeling the wind through my bristly fade, just watching the world slip on by. It’s rolling hills daubed with grazing cattle here, with snowy peaks in the distance. I’d like to run forever, but my body is a cage. It doesn’t let me do that.

I can run 13, just not 26. I can do a 5k in under 20:00, if I push myself. I’m sloppy, though. I don’t train. I just go out and run. I’ve never liked fancy gadgets, nor stringent diets. I shudder at those gluts, the vision of being shackled by cycles of long runs, fartleks, and speedwork. 

Here’s why I can’t do that. I’m from fairly plain stock. Mennonites from Germany who jumped the pond early in the 18th century, carved out swathes of farmland from the wilderness of what’s now Franklin County, PA, and when the factories replaced their harvesters, invested in industry. Coal miners from Cornwall, who toiled in Michigan’s steel industry. Sicilians and Italians sweating in steerage until they reached CT, grinding down so their grandkids, if not their kids, could get that diploma.

Me, I don’t want to be anything more than that. I’m doing my duty, to my country and myself. It’s not that difficult, but only if you stay modest, hang your pride up like an umbrella in the foyer. I just do what I’m supposed to do. I don’t suck up, or try to dupe anybody. I’ve always felt, deep in my chest, that you can’t go through life always looking for gold stars. It’s not proper.

But I digress.

I began running, not quite so seriously, during the waning of my first semester of college. I’d just been jilted by a girl, I think. I’d felt caged for a while, and I’m prone to brooding. It was shortly after dusk, in the throes of a half-baked, multi-cultural shindig (in the indolent, ignorant style of liberal arts colleges), when I was subjugated by a desperate, jaded detachment. I was bereft. I departed in haste, forced my palms into that metal bar. The glass swept away, ushering me under the immensity of night. It was chilly, and I stared through the inky dark, down the brick path.

Just then, this urge surged through my synapses with a great, pervading clarity. Run. And so I did, in cargo pants, olive long-sleeve (ugh) v-neck, and tricky sneakers, looking quite the fool as I hurtled through an empty corridor of dark, over brick and then faded, patched asphalt, beyond the fog and the yellow glow of street lamps. It ended in sweat and a dazed calm, my troubles just sloughing away. I felt good, and I began to run after that. It wasn’t long before my life slowly came together. I got the girl. It wasn’t long before my shins gave out. I wanted to run fast, and I wanted to run far. I wouldn’t give up, and I got hurt.

I don’t do manuals. I don’t do advice. I just do what I want, whatever feels right. I’m kind of stupid, but it’s a fully intentional stupidity. I enjoy pushing myself, and back then, I didn’t know any better. It’s like a sickness. I can’t not go fast. I’ve gone with slower runners, and it’s just not right. It hurts.

I’ve had a rocky path. It was only, perhaps, a year after that jaunt of magical realism, that I was badly injured. I’d just had one of my best runs, under a ruddy evening sky. It was morning, and my legs were fine. I began to run, but I’d only gone a couple of miles when I felt this scraping. I can’t describe it. It was like my right knee just dropped. It was excruciating, so I half jogged, half limped back to a warm shower, my bed. I’m also that guy who can’t bear being seeing walking, as if it’s a deficiency of resolve at work, spun of an inner cowardice.

I just hobbled, for a week. I gave it a week, but I couldn’t run. It wouldn’t go away, and I couldn’t run. It got to me. I’d tied my head in knots, and I didn’t have that escape. It took three, maybe four months. I ran again, driving myself faster, trying to get better. I’ve always had grace, but my form got better, my legs got stronger, my endurance sewing up like a catcher’s mitt.

And what happened then? India, a handful eye-opening, enlightening months of a 110 degree furnace, long, exhausting, amazing journeys, plates of unsalted rice and a yellowed slurry of lentils (30 rupees for a meal is pretty good, though – less than a pack of gum), and barely any meat. I didn’t run, just fumbled my way through that amazing, different country, piecing together all those shreds of myself. I returned gaunt, wild-haired. I swiftly ruptured my engagement. I knew what I wanted, finally. It wasn’t law school.

I finished college, and enlisted in the Air Force.

My life, for all its twists and peculiar junctures, has retained that overpowering urge to run. I realized that when life gets stressful, or my time was in short supply, I let my running suffer. I didn’t enjoy that, and after that, I refused to let any week go by without running. I was that guy who forced himself, when we’d all left our flashlights and web belts in perfect formation, to go faster and faster, finally free. It was the only time I spent by myself, in a sense. I kept it up, through blocks 1-16, through FTU, and now, during the course of CCR, tepidly working my way to the floor, I’m still running.

And I’m fast. I’m always first, by a lot. I’m seeing a change, and it leaves me hopeful. I used to run behind the leaders, waiting for them to get tired, and then continue at a comfortable pace for me, but now I’m just out there, by myself. I’m not used to that. I ran a few races, back in a day. I’d never see the leader after the first couple of minutes, just stay in my groove and reel in all the guys who’d just charged out without a plan. I don’t run to win, though. It’s deeply personal. I run for me, though I can’t deny that I enjoy being the best in a field.

As ever, when I receive praise, I brush it off. I’m uncomfortable being center stage. I just do what I’m supposed to do, or what I enjoy. I disregard that kind of stuff. I like it, and when I deserve it, I’ll just get annoyed, but the fact remains, it’s now what other people think of you that counts, it’s only you. 

And I’m a runner.
User avatar
Ulric
The Warrior-Poet
 
Posts: 554
Words: 629666
Joined roleplay: May 20th, 2010, 5:51 pm
Location: Ravok
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Scrapbook
Medals: 3
Featured Character (1) Featured Thread (1)
Donor (1)

[Ulric's Scrapbook] Pithy Conceit and Cursing

Postby Ulric on March 27th, 2012, 4:50 am

26 MAR 12 – WHAT THE NIGHT GAVE ME

I ran tonight, duplicating the sort of episode you’d find in magical realism. I suppose I’m all gooey and sentimental like that, which probably isn’t very manly. But screw you.

I’d forgotten how much I love pelting over vague smudges of asphalt when rosy dust sloughs away. I’ve got more endurance. I’ve got more willpower. I run faster, and it’s though I’m just skimming through a gulf of lights, strangely weightless as if part of a dream. It’s as if the world shrinks around me, though I’m cognizant of it being there. It’s just a mystical enormity, proverbial in the stark deficiency of my vision. I see the lights, but my focus isn’t on them, it’s on me. It’s on the pulsing of music over the ridges of my skill, and the blaring of twisted wind by my ears, the scent of cropped grass, and the warm, pungent daubery of cattle sloped over crests.

The path I run is long, and hilly. There’s plenty of lamps at night, and as the sun plunged under the horizon, they warred against the press of darkness. They flared, though faintly, with that orangey-yellow glow that doesn’t bathe your way in friendly incandescence, but merely funnels you on a long, snaking journey to a world that’s purely inside yourself. It’s like a spiritual experience for me. It’s just me, plumbing the extremity of my frail cage of a body, while the immensity of night keeps a hushed vigil. It’s my only witness. It sees, and that’s enough.

I’m poetic when I run, but I never remember anything when I’m done. It’s a keen loss, but I falter. It’s as if the act of recognition would sully that magical, meaningful instant. I find the most precious instants in life aren’t the ones you’ve got captured on film, but those where you’re living so intensely, you sense somewhere, confuscated by the primal depths of your heart, that you’ll never remember it with such clarity.

Before this transience, I’m often bereft.

Then, I begin contemplating my life. Not melancholy, just wondering what might’ve been, and what’s yet inscribed by the stars. Right now, it’s the girl I loved, and how I brashly gave her a ring. The tragedy, I think, is that I always knew it wouldn’t come to fruition, for though she loved me, too, she couldn’t ever feel it like I did. I couldn’t ever say those few words without a twinge of guilt. In time, she uttered her doubts, and like I always do, I did the right thing. I did the noble thing. I let her go, even though it shattered me in many ways. It’s no use loving somebody that can’t return what you’ve given, for it’ll just end up in misery for everybody. I just wanted her to be happy.

It’s kind of dull now, those feelings. It’s as if they’re constantly shaping my perception, displaying a world that’s somewhat devoid of innocence, yet retains a certain beauty. It haunts me, I’m not going to deny that. I’ve moved on, though. It’s these insights, like my running, that let me understand myself on a glacial, more soulful level, devoid of pride or animosity.

And now, since I’m reflecting, let me display a swatch of my boyhood. The seeds of early, tremoring love, as a literary voyeur. That’s how it usually is, kids reading about life and love, forming expectations that’re usually smashed, fended, and perverted from ideals to reality. In a good way, that is. I must’ve been twelve, maybe thirteen. I’d just received a present from my great-aunt, Early Love and Brook Trout, by James Prosek. The title was inauspicious, seeing as I wasn’t very involved in girls back then (residing in that utterly confused, yet inherently curious fashion of boys), and I hadn’t ever, not once in my life, been fishing.

It was, to be quite frank, cringe worthy.

Now, within a score of pages this guy began to describe, in laborious, though probably tasteful detail, mind you, his youthful coupling with a freckled girl and the subsequent, clearly tidal ferocity of his cycling of paramours. It was probably introspective, I don’t remember. But suffice it to say, this was a singularly mortifying book to accept from an octogenarian aunt, and my letter of tiptoed, discomfited gratitude was, at the very least, a contrivance.

Ugh. I know.

But that’s not what I’m trying to get at. There’s a defiant brevity to life. There’s no value in piles of gold, or climbing higher in the social pantheon. There’s just you, and what you’ve made of yourself. Thing is, they forget us. There’re novels that nobody ever reads, music springing from your piano, or your guitar, that nobody ever hears. There’s a magic in the moment. I’m not trying to be corny. I’m very far from profound. I’m just affected by these tiny things, but only when I take the time to regard them. The world’s beautiful, and ugly. And in the end, there really isn’t anything I can say to change that. The world doesn’t care what I want, or how I feel.

But it’s what you make of it.
User avatar
Ulric
The Warrior-Poet
 
Posts: 554
Words: 629666
Joined roleplay: May 20th, 2010, 5:51 pm
Location: Ravok
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Scrapbook
Medals: 3
Featured Character (1) Featured Thread (1)
Donor (1)

[Ulric's Scrapbook] Pithy Conceit and Cursing

Postby Ulric on May 4th, 2012, 4:17 am

03 MAY 12 – TO HELL AND FLINDERS

I’m getting ahead of myself. It’s three months ago, and I’m reading The Thin Red Line, by James Jones. Lying on a thin, russet-orange comforter furled by a palatable floral pattern and thinking, I’ll never quake with dread at a barrage of mortars or the rattle of machine-gun. I like Fife, and Witt. It’s a year before that, and I’m watching the Terrence Malick film, rapt as Jim Caviezel utters, “I love Charlie Company.”

Shave off that year, and change.

I miss holding an M-16.

I’m drifting, but I don’t know where I’m going. It’s difficult to explain. I’d like a raft, dredged buoys of flimsy, ersatz conception, partially bilged by flumed swells. I just want to lie back. I’ve not slept for a while. I’m the sentry, though. I don’t fly the bird or tweak  its systems, but I’m always there.

Three months earlier, and I’m reading Howl, by Alan Ginsberg. “I’m with you in…” I wonder what he’d think from a rummage of my days.

Return to present, and with your black marker, censure every thought, every feeling that’s plaguing me, then scuff the surface into a glum crater. I grew up along the way, I think. I found myself, and I gave him away. I can’t take my eyes off, you know. I can find the blot, but I can’t peek into the culverts. Wynn, why didn’t you figure it out? I peruse the reports, and I falter. It sinks in.

I’m defined by mud-bricked tribes of henna and the fuzzy thobe and ruffles of alien ridges, by black livestock. I gave me away for this. I’d do it again. I just want us to leave.

Discontent fills, and jaded disregard. Disturbed thoughts. Twelves beckon, and I prepare to degrade. I’m trapped. Amanda Ghost sings, “I’m wrapped in cellophane.”

I just want anybody who isn’t us to get out of my face, and get on with unruly existences. I’ve only been thanked a handful of times. I don’t like it. I feel uncomfortable. It shouldn’t be so infrequent, though.

I realize that I gave up. I can’t see myself leaving, no dhobi ghats and squealing smacking trains past the clucking crowd. I don’t think of kids. I walk, and gawk, and envy. I’d like that freedom. Rawly immolated by testosterone, I become a eunuch. I deride lesser men for their lack of discipline, their folds of skin, their ignorance. I deserve more than they do, but their freedom confines me, and I pine, and I drink. I won’t punch ballots with you this year. I’m just the hound.

I want my M-16, and I want to fire a few rounds to delay the raising of our stick, if only to salvage a hundreds of ring fingers. I know they’ll go bare, but I can pretend they won’t. I realize my distrust for women has mushroomed to disgust. I’m strangely ambivalent. Jake Smith sings, "the Devil is a woman." I flout a departed cadre of friends. In college, in waste. I deplore the naiveté of collectivist claptrap, when it’s really bitter and hard, and you’re just waiting for the dream to end. I dream of black livestock. I dream that I can run forever.

I mostly don’t dream at all.

B--en, why’d you have to tell me that? I can’t forget that he abused her, and I think, if justice was mine, all though pigs would die. I can’t sleep because you have such a good heart, and I can’t put everything to right. I only wanted to kill the fuckers. I wanted to get them for Nate, and for Ayman.

I just want you to be happy, K----. I look for you infrequently, and find nothing. I suspect you’ve gotten fat. I knew you would. I always despised you as weak, but neglected your strengths. I’m a lot prettier, y’know, and we both knew it.

You gentlemen, and ladies with pens, I’d like to know you better, but I can’t spare the time, and I can’t see your faces. I might like many of you better that way. If you’re not there, I can’t get irritated. It’s me, it’s not you. I mean, it’s not really, but if that perspective was universal we’d have fewer problems. And screw that conceit.

See? I read all of your stuff, except when it’s just (lame) reposting of images or attempts to kiss ass.  

My father used to kiss me goodnight when I was six. I’m not sure I enjoyed it then, but I remember the scrape of his patchy beard against my forehead, and that scent of his exhalation. I remember kayaking with him, and all our awkward conversations because we never really conversed. I wish we could do that now. I wish I’d let him in, but we’ve gone too far now, and I can’t stand to go back. I’m afraid of it. I love you though, dad, and you too, mom. I wish I could say it. I said it to K---, and it felt wrong. It twisted me up inside, and I don’t want to say it again. I want it to feel right, but it doesn’t. I just feel ashamed, and empty inside when I do.

Wasted so much time back then, and now I’ve got no time. I believe that irony for you. G-Aunt B says I’ve got a firm grasp on irony, but let’s face it, she’s going to die soon. It happens. I always feel selfish for not weeping, but I’m not a bitch. I’d shatter your face for insinuating that. It too bad we’ve all got limits.

Now rewind ten months, the forty-seven of us face down in the dayroom, pushing for G-----, or rather T-C’s excuse of G-----, and I’m suffering and slacking like everybody else. I droop under the kevlar, and drowse in the heat, and fuck up every so often, and realize that I’m just like everybody else. Ten months forward, I’m humbler. But I don’t like seeing Black O----- again, or W-----. I didn’t want it to end, but it did. I don’t want to remember because it’s over.

I’m drifting on my raft, and I’m looking for meaning on the pebbly coast. I’m living in retrograde, sucked into a surreal chamber of dark rooms and bright blocks of screens, trying to make a difference. I’m not downrange. I don’t know if I want to be, but they won’t let me go anyway, so why should I think on it?

I’m thinking of Murakami, Solzhenitsyn, Kipling, Mieville, Man-Sik, Maugham, Nabokov, Ginsberg, Palahniuk, and poor, poor Peake, who died from the brain malady that’s ruining my uncle.

Maybe in my dreams, I’ll recline as Harun al-Rachid, finally having found my Scheherazade. I’m wondering if I shouldn’t just erase this, and lay my head on the sheets, and cease my introspection because it’s no use anyway and I’d be better off joking and being myself. But if I’m writing, it’s because I’ve been upset for a while. Maybe I’m not always giving so much and receiving nothing. Maybe I’m just folding into myself. Maybe if I found that meaning, I’d forget all of this.

I tried to pray, but it didn’t matter. I haven’t considered God, death, or the cosmos for nearly a year. I wonder if I’ve stopped caring.

Drifting. Drifting, drifting.

But I can’t find myself again. I’m all sharded pieces, and I can’t think to puzzle them together. The melancholy sea lasts a few hours. I always see those black planes flying low, and I make out the buzz of their jets, and I wonder, what’s it like to fly? Probably exulting, but then again, you’ve got to land sometimes. The more I pour out, the more I deduce that I’m just rootless. There’s a lazy discontent, a flicker of a mind barely ever in repose. Bharat was a fever dream for me, never to return. I wonder, what happens if enough’s never enough?

Yuba-Sutter grasslands sprawl where the chickens rub shoulders with dragons, blemished by penury and fringed by tiny peaks. Hooverville placards over the cardboard dusk of Yuba and run-down, gun-shotted Marysville. Linda right out our gates, meth heaven beside the Wal-Mart. Hobos and crack whores. Code Pink dissidents lofting pasteboards, crying that drones kill people. Well, yes. Foes are foes, and you don’t know the collateral, or what goes on every day, so drink a cherry coke and keep on bleeding from your aortic sphincters. If you haven’t realized it, nobody cares what you think.

Nearby, the yellow T-int sign’s metal is riddled and twisted by bullet holes, dozens pumped in by a semi a few miles from where I work, and sleep, and I don’t really mind. There are others like it.

What d'you do when your're isolated from the world, but the world's squeezing around you? What d'you do when your happiness dies?

Caches, IED, Direct Fire in my head, I stumble from the gloom and find Comm slouched by their desks, not doing anything. I wish that was my job. The short Asian looks okay, but she has a man voice, and maybe fleshy thighs. I instead think of culvert emplacements, control wires and remotes.

Caviezel saying, “I love Charlie Company,” and me thinking, “I love Charlie Flight,” just like I loved 531. Front sir, back sir, then to my tanks and vessels. Admiral Kuznetsov, why did I even learn that? But now it’s over, and I frenzy in workspaces.

No, it’s not your science fiction.

Peter Gabriel singing, “my body is a cage,” and me pushing for 6:58’s over five, shouting my way to the finish. Maybe my mind knows the key, I don’t know my mind. Haruki Murakami penning What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, and I feel close. I wanted to be a writer, but I can’t. I don’t have it in me, or I don’t want it badly enough. Kafka failed his whole life, and though Peake didn’t, he faded. Maeve waited as he dwindled, his sketch of her haunting my eyes. The specter of a man on a bench, clawed fingers unable to clasp a pencil. Isolated figures in dunce caps were his last drawings. Titus Alone forced through Parkinson’s Disease, Titus Awakes a few, squiggly pages, and then it’s over, genius ending in tragedy. The story’s left hanging.

Sitting here, Jack and pencil and paper, my few hours expiring in waste. “Nothing really matters,” sings Queen. Dusks swallows up, Jake Smith and Two Gallants, coffee in the morning doesn’t do anything. Mendocino, fleeing to the coast to forget, Malakoff busting in gravely snakes. Fusion’s my getaway, gnat splats on the glass, black interior getting hot, hot, hot while I’m gone. Pygmy forests, pebbles and sea glass, giantess redwoods further in, and before.

Moloch.

Moloch, and Zembla.

Pubic beards, INKlings, Fuschia.

Direct fire, can’t get away. Research, shift it through acronyms. Roil and burst, lose another. Got my badge, got my mission. Won’t falter, won’t fail. Pixies sing, “Your head will collapse
But there’s nothing in it
And you’ll ask yourself
Where is my mind?”
 
User avatar
Ulric
The Warrior-Poet
 
Posts: 554
Words: 629666
Joined roleplay: May 20th, 2010, 5:51 pm
Location: Ravok
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Scrapbook
Medals: 3
Featured Character (1) Featured Thread (1)
Donor (1)

[Ulric's Scrapbook] Pithy Conceit and Cursing

Postby Ulric on May 17th, 2012, 4:32 am

16 MAY 12 - HEARSES FOR HORSES


Today, I snapped to the position of attention, and saluted a funerary procession. I still don’t know who it was, just that we lost another guy. There were four, maybe five hundred airmen lining either side of the road, dress-right-dressed halfway between the flightline, where the cargo plane dropped him off, and one of the gates. There were motorcycles, four by fours, shiny paint kneeling under long faces. Flags on helmets, or flying loose. The quiet deluged over ninety-degree scrub, just swept by, muffled.

Eerily, hundreds of taupe-and-cream winnebagoes looked on from their chain-linked domicile. Dismissed.

Then we left. Nearly two hours waiting, sweltering, and I barely noticed. Left, fixed a sandwich from cheese, rolls, and campari tomatoes, munched a few pretzels, and headed back to work. That’s how it goes.

Flash in the pan, then maybe forget. But not really. Though I’ll see this again, and again, I won’t discard that walk back to my vehicle. There’s just no use holding on.

Lately, I’m getting back in my groove, looking for my zen. Nightly runs, my reading routine. Iron Council, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, and Among Thieves, fall in quick succession. Typically, I tackle three books every night. Nabokov’s Pale Fire was the camel-straw, and it’s still dogging me. I’ve added Glen Cook’s A Fortress in Shadow, and John Borneman’s Syrian Episodes: Sons, Fathers, and an Anthropologist in Aleppo, which I recently unearthed on my Nook. I don’t recall buying it.

That’s generally the paradigm, varying pace so I’ll analyze the prose, and take more out of each individually. I’ve got a reductionist mentality, having always liked vignettes. It’s part of my growth as a writer, I suppose. It’s also because I’ve got many fields of interest. First is the Purpose Narrative (Mieville, yielding to Nabokov), steeped in value, then the Trashy Narrative (Hulick, yielding to Cook), which sells out meaning for the sake of diversion, and finally the Personal Narrative (Murakami, yielding to Borneman), which puts me directly in another person’s head, usually augments my comprehension of our manifold reality. That’s my system.

That makes me a snob, maybe. The Trashy Narrative? There’s no avoiding the fact that I’m calling Cook, who’s an especially gifted writer, trashy. It’s just my frame of mind. I don’t want to argue this. I don’t want to discuss this. I could explain myself in a way that wouldn’t get you (possibly) butthurt, or amend my statements not to be incendiary, but whatever. I’m very testy about writing, both its process and its calling. I’m not trained by by any means. I’m baffled by all terms technical, and I never learned how, exactly, to form a sentence. I just glean by reading, and fuse what I like into a style that feels right. I think I’ve said that before.

But then, I didn’t think I’d ever make it as a writer. If I’ve got talent, it’s unrefined, uncompromising. I’m difficult, like Gauguin.

Ah, a painter. That’s right. That’s why I differ. There’s two kinds of writers my book, those that tell, and those that paint. I’m allergic to normal words, those appearing in every lexicon, by excess made shabby. I enjoy manipulating, juxtaposing, plucking and tweaking so my words conjure up images that I’ve defined. Many writers just tell you, let you imagine. I want to whittle. […]

That wasn’t very deft. I’m getting tired, and I’ve lost focus. I don’t care. I’ll finish this later. I’m going to bed.

You’ve got my condolences, grunt. You didn’t have to swear your oath, but you did anyway. You were a man.

Fuck you, punks. I’d strangle you with the wires of your consoles if you didn’t hide behind them. I’d like to see you find some cojones, pick up a rifle. I think you’re selfish. I think you’re soft. I don’t give shit for your imagined problems, kids. I only care that he’s dead and it was all for you.

Right now, I'm just sad and disgusted.
 
User avatar
Ulric
The Warrior-Poet
 
Posts: 554
Words: 629666
Joined roleplay: May 20th, 2010, 5:51 pm
Location: Ravok
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Scrapbook
Medals: 3
Featured Character (1) Featured Thread (1)
Donor (1)

[Ulric's Scrapbook] Pithy Conceit and Cursing

Postby Ulric on May 27th, 2012, 1:28 am

26 MAY 12 – RUMPLED STILTS (TWO YEARS)

I can’t fathom it, really. I don’t know if I’m tired because of this, or the clamping of insomnia. I joined, I think, out of frustration. I couldn’t write for myself. I tried, but I couldn’t. It’s why I came here, and why I’ve stayed for so long. It just hasn’t been the same lately, though.

I’m tired. It’s mainly my work, the stuff I’ve got to do, but mostly the final line of the creed, I will not fail.

I’m finding the joy is gone. I want to go on adventures, but I just go through the motions. I don’t terminate anything. If I’ve got threads, they just trail off. It’s just vignettes. I’d say I’ve accomplished jack shit. I haven’t had any grand schemes carried through to fruition. I’ve got a presence, but I’m not affecting the game. It’s kind of a running jest. If I focus on forgetfulness, it’s because that’s what happens when you’re absent.

It’s the bubbles, I think. I’m so burned out, I didn’t even realize it. It’s my fault.

I kept to myself in the beginning. I spun my yarns, trying to glean a bit of respect. I’m generally unassuming and, grudgingly, oblivious. I don’t rock the boat, anyway. I just remember, there’s no value in something given, only something earned.

I’ve changed along the way, too. I’m a better writer. I’m nearly twenty-four, and maybe, just maybe when I’m thirty I’ll begin piecing together my first novel. I’ve got the potential. I need to refine.

I’m not walking away, if that’s what you’re thinking. I think about it, you know. I’m pigheaded, though. I’m attached.

But I’m tired. I’m tired of being asked for everything. I’m tired of taking threads I don’t care for. I’m tired of people departing. I’m tired, and I’ve left chat for good. I don’t like people hanging out all the time, the innuendo that shouldn’t persist, and the juvenility. I’m alienated from civilians and that dam’s leaking. I can’t abstain from cussing, either. It’s for the best, I think. I didn’t pop in chat for months after I’d joined.

I’ll put writing first. I’m fond of quite a few of you, though. If you ever need to talk with me, I’m not difficult to find.

And, contrary to my intention, this is sounding like the final speech at some gruesome farewell dinner. About Schmidt is stuck in my head. Haven’t seen it for a while.

I’ve been thinking, maybe I’ll hold out until my spirit returns. I’d like to find that joy again. If I’m not mistaken, the first fantasy novel I read was The High King, by Lloyd Alexander. It left a seed in my imagination, germinated all kinds of dangling, unripe fruit.

I want that again.
 
User avatar
Ulric
The Warrior-Poet
 
Posts: 554
Words: 629666
Joined roleplay: May 20th, 2010, 5:51 pm
Location: Ravok
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Scrapbook
Medals: 3
Featured Character (1) Featured Thread (1)
Donor (1)

[Ulric's Scrapbook] Pithy Conceit and Cursing

Postby Ulric on June 6th, 2012, 12:27 am

5 JUNE 12 – THROWING IN THE TOWEL

I won’t grasp at straws any longer. I’m dealing with depression and anxiety attacks, partly because of guilt at my inability to keep up with writing, but mostly because of my job-related duties. I’m dejected, frustrated and exhausted, and I’ve been that way for a while. I don’t want to do this. I feel intensely guilty, mortified of letting many people down, but it’s finished.

I’m stepping down as Cantrip and phasing back Ulric. I apologize profusely to everybody affected.

I remember being in the first grade, brushing off the mechanics of time because they didn’t matter. I had so much of it. I floated by in imaginary worlds, carried off on wild larks that usually involved treasure maps, without worries. But you only appreciate what you’ve lost after it’s gone.

I’m gearing up to work longer hours, so it’s clear that something has to give. In the intelligence field, you’ve just got to suck it up. It’s difficult, it grinds on you, but every day I get to feel that I’ve done something. I’ve seen this coming for a couple of months, tried to beat it. I used writing as mechanism for escape, but lately it’s all been grudging. I don’t see movies or play games not because I don’t like them, but because it’d take away from other things. It gets to the extremity where simply driving, waiting, and conducting business at the DMV cuts into your sleep. In actuality, I haven’t wanted to write for a long time, and it’s getting worse. I simply can’t cope with any more stress at this junction. It’s crushing to let people down, so I kept going for a while. It was a mistake. I haven’t seen many of my friends lately, but hanging out with them again makes me realize what I’ve missed. I’ve missed out on hiking treks, whimsical jaunts to the coast, all those little things that I used to relish.

Being involved in these missions over an entire day, for the greater part of a week, means the one of the last things I’m concerned with is keeping up with threads, and that’s unfair to their participants. I’ll write with smaller groups, but the days of juggling ten-fifteen threads are finished. I’m going to stick with five. If you’re working with my character I’ll keep going, though probably sluggishly, and I will do a bit of weeding.

I’ve enjoyed working with many of you guys, watching your writing develop and enjoying your yarns. I’ll try to keep doing it, but I refuse to invest myself so deeply. I don’t think I’ll return to capacity. I’m disappointed that I’ve failed myself as a storyteller. I longed to do so many things, but I didn’t execute, and I’ve got only myself to blame. It really hurts. If there's anything I feared here, it's being that guy who goes away and leaves everybody in the lurch. Yahebah  deserves so much better than being ditched like this. I’d been so stubborn about staying that I can barely fathom the implications of what  I’m saying.

Right now, I’m thinking of the curtain of Harold and Maude, when Cat Steven sings, “If you want to live high live high, and if you want to live low live low.” And I’ll keep being me.
 
User avatar
Ulric
The Warrior-Poet
 
Posts: 554
Words: 629666
Joined roleplay: May 20th, 2010, 5:51 pm
Location: Ravok
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Scrapbook
Medals: 3
Featured Character (1) Featured Thread (1)
Donor (1)

[Ulric's Scrapbook] Pithy Conceit and Cursing

Postby Ulric on June 12th, 2012, 5:45 am

11 JUN 12 – BEATINGS, A RETROSPECTIVE

They were remarkably effective. Thursday marks my first year in the Air Force, and fittingly, I’d like to reflect on those first eight and a half weeks, the sweltering, painful, exhausted, dreaded, footsore, hilarious stage of Basic Training. There’s a lot to talk about. That’s why I’m focusing on the beatings.

TSgt C, bless his devious, libidinous heart, gave us a fair shake. As far as MTIs go, he wasn’t much a beater. Mostly, he wanted us to become good airmen. Integrity, instilled by him, got one of my buddies discharged shortly after that, and really didn’t help when another got raked over the coals during that coffin debacle. But that’s a different story.

This one takes place on the floor of our dayroom. There we are, the forty-seven of us with our combat boots, blouses, canteens, satchels, and tacky web belts, sweating and straining with no space. “There’s no value in something given,” he used to say, “only something earned.” Early most profound thing I’ve heard.

Fifteen seconds of push-ups, fifteen seconds of flutter kicks, fifteen seconds of squat thrusts, get up, assume the position of attention, scream, “Aim High, Fly, Fight, Win!” That was the deal. Think it’s easy, but it’s was remarkably difficult. There were people who couldn’t do it, people who went to attention wrong or too slowly, people who couldn’t keep the words straight.

Even if we’d do it right, he’d find something wrong and make us keep going. Then you’d be pushing for five minutes at a time, kicking for another five with everybody screaming, back to pushing, and keep going. EG was the first guy to get singled out, this doe-eyed islander who couldn’t get the words out, and we’d all get pissed and scream, then kind of forgive him. MTI Tools is the technical name for beatings, used to inspire discipline. Typically, these lasted for an agonizing hour, depending on what we’d have on the schedule. They brutalized us something awful. There’s no way anybody can push rapidly for so long, and I quickly faced my limits. I left with the highest PT score in our flight, so I can only imagine how everybody else dealt with it.

Every man learns what it’s like bitching out, and if you say you didn’t then you’re lying.

These beating are the willing infliction of pain, because somebody asks you to do it. There’s part of you that goes out trying to prove yourself, but then you’re going and going, and you realize it’s not going to stop. That’s when you begin stocking your reserves, being as sluggish as you can without attracting any attention. Frankly, it was a long, demoralizing slog. Early on, they had to go on whether we did it or not, because we hadn’t earned the luxury. Only later did we get away with token fifteens, when people began realizing they had to go for the gold and get it, too. 

Break ‘em down, build ‘em up, that’s how we do it.    

MTIs are a mixed bunch, all beaters, builders and some sadistic fucks. I’ve got a buddy whose TI was being investigated for rape while he had a flight, and is currently in jail. I know of flights having to drink water until they puke, or having to endure these “tools” during shower time.

These guys have lots of power, and though we’re good at cleaning our houses, severely, the dynamics are screwy. 

Worst for us was that day, third week, when everything simply exploded. We screwed up a fire drill badly, and I took everything hard because I’d been a part of that. I believe the beating lasted five hours. I began with us in the bays, getting on our faces and leaving pools of sweat. Then we’d do open ranks, where you’d have your left arm up for something like fifteen minute. If you don’t lock it right, it’s excruciating. I certain it only took so long because he’d wait for somebody to give in. Then he’d send a pair of guys to flip all sixty mattresses in a minute, which they’d never do because it’s impossible. Then he’d get two other guys to help push all the beds to one side of the bay, messing up the weapon cases and shoe displays. That left us forty-five minutes, and later an hour to fix everything back to the way it was, hospital corners and all. If they weren’t good enough, which was entirely subjective, he put us on our faces again, and we’d the whole thing again.

Three times, and we were ruined.

This beating was such a ball buster that we promptly got everything in order. TSgt C hadn’t presided over a Warrior Flight before, his last flight having missed narrowly by getting sloppy. They deserved it, he said, but they also deserved to lose it. There’s usually a couple out of every sixteen flights. 

Apparently, we did just enough to keep him from beating us badly after that, got royally screwed in the field exercises but then made it by a single point. That’s how we got it for him. There wasn’t anything good about us. There was only us working as a flight, looking out for our wingmen, assisting the screw-ups instead of demonizing and trying to get them washed back. “You’re like a flight of heifers before they start tearing each other apart,” he’d say to us, looking demonically at the wall that divided us from them, and we’d try not to giggle. You do just enough to get by.”

That may be so, but we busted our balls in the latrine, the hallway, the dayroom, the stairwell, the bays, and pretty much everywhere. The only way we got stronger and made it through was by pulling together.

I think the beatings served their purpose.
 
User avatar
Ulric
The Warrior-Poet
 
Posts: 554
Words: 629666
Joined roleplay: May 20th, 2010, 5:51 pm
Location: Ravok
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Scrapbook
Medals: 3
Featured Character (1) Featured Thread (1)
Donor (1)

PreviousNext

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: merlepk1 and 0 guests