Extant (Excerpts)

Extant (Excerpts)

A Story by Nostalgicc
"

Exercise in diction that has writhed and squealed in such a way that I feel like actually expanding it into a full-fledged novella.

"

(Excerpt #1)


The last time I saw my mother we were together at some iridescent river that wove its way through dense forest. She waded forward carefully against the force of the rushing water: she moved almost delicately, even.


I was seated on a heap of crumpled, dead leaves and I just sort of watched her and her fractured reflection in the water. They both appeared to move incongruously, as if separate from one another, and I wondered if it wasn't all just some mirage, like people lost in the desert seeing only what they need. I knew from the scant amount of time I had gone to school and all, that people shone differently on water, but this wasn’t like that; the figure in the water had this ever-changing hair: flowy one second, and bunched up the next, as if some marvelous transfigurations were taking hold of her.


I made an honest attempt to shield my eyes from the glaring sun that somehow, although I couldn’t explain it either, managed to filter in through dense foliage and blotches of trees and greenery. I honestly didn’t know where we were, or how we had even managed to get there, or why we were even there; but this terrific sun illuminated everything. It fell upon my mother from behind and she appeared to waver in the light and I could feel an unusual hotness in my head, like something was penetrating right through my skull and all.


I didn’t even notice there was a cigarette between my fingers, and that I was puffing out and breathing in as the butt ate itself and dwindled down to near my finger. I looked back up at my mother and she seemed to be rooted in the same spot, like she’d never advanced at all and I just wished she’d look back over her shoulder at me, even just a hasty look, but she never did.


And then it all turned dark and the sky charred away and that was the last time I think I saw her.


***************
(Excerpt #2)

There's a time and place for everything. I stabbed the syringe into my arm and stumbled out of the rundown Tokyo public bathroom. There was no way in hell I was going to find anybody in a city this chaotic and bustling without some s**t in my system, some sensation coursing throughout my whole body, some sampling of pure euphoria. 

With a blackened sky, the city lights all blurred into one iridescent bundle of electric and neon explosion, like some sticky residue from God's celestial penis. I saw green and red and yellow and blue and flashing lights zipping all across one another, a lattice-work of hyperkinetic bursts; the colors separated themselves, scattered, and then ran head-on into each other again, inducing further mini-explosions in my head. Worse than the many hues were the characters, which irritated me because they were indecipherable. My Japanese skills were lesser than average, as I hadn't even taken the time to memorize some basic greetings or travel-essential Hiragana, or Katakana, or Kanji, or whatever it is they use to transcribe s**t here, before arriving.

All I had was a post-it note, scrawled in what looked to be my mother's handwriting, that wasn't too helpful: TOKYO. 

I'd been so focused on the kaleidoscopic pops and orientations of all the flashing signs that I failed to notice that a) I was heading in the wrong direction and b) I was getting some pretty repulsive looks. I felt saliva and snot start to slip down my face, the former into my mouth, the latter onto the sidewalk. A young, bespectacled Japanese youth was hurrying by, plugged into his iPod and I begged him for a napkin or something. I even reached out, with one hand, colors dancing frenetically in the background, the tops of glassy edifices fluctuating out of control, while I held on to the wall of some corporate building. "Please, man, do you have a tissue or some s**t? Tissue? A tissue?"

He muttered something in Japanese, threw in a grimace near the end, and continued past me. 

This side of the street got particularly hectic now, with people flocking by, in droves, all giving me a cursory look-over and some sort of variation of a grimace or expression of disapproval. I had seen this look my entire life, getting it everywhere else outside of Tokyo, even getting it out of my mother. That's why I hated it. Because when I caught on to the pure and wholly disgusted nature it bore, I realized that any of those Japanese or Asian or whatever's could have been my mother, looking over me with such disappointment. It was so human. And I was so out of it. 

 

© 2013 Nostalgicc


Author's Note

Nostalgicc
4/14/13
Some hallucinatory, surrealist exercise in diction; thinking about turning it into a novella about a young man searching for his mother through separate universes. Please note that these are first draft excerpts, I haven't even looked them over. Just tell me what you think: constructive criticism, critiques, thoughts, all that good shite.

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TLK
As an 'exercise in diction', you certainly produce a sense of authorial style. The way that the narrator picks out details shows an almost maddening ability to stop, slow down time, and take a look at details which mainstream fiction publishers would decry as too thoughtful.
Your first paragraph doesn't focus on characters, relationship, set-up and/or drama, as a 'sensible' first paragraph might be supposed to. Instead you focus on an archetype -- one who I suspect would possibly remain somewhat anonymous even if this concept was to be extended -- and their interaction with the natural world. I can imagine a reader saying, "nothing is happening!". And perhaps the answer would be, "Yes, but why are they doing it?"
I believe that a conventional, first-person account of this scene would be focused on the child's feelings of separation. This would be clumsy foreshadowing of that precise event. What are you doing here? The words lie langorous and refuse to give an answer; they refuse even to admit precise question. The narrator doesn't know either. It is just one moment that happens to precede an event. To link them would be false narrative, psychological pomposity. What happened was nothing, and then something, and you steadfastly refuse to draw a rationalising meaning. I applaud that. There is a chronological honesty which most first-person accounts avoid with tedious flashbacks. "Here is what I now think about what happened...".


I think the second snippet loses some of its stylistic aloofness due to the psychologising of events. I would start with the 'variation of a grimace', and work from there. It would be interesting for the writing to be an exercise in understanding reasons behind this reaction from strangers. And the answer would be unacceptably simple: the task of finding the forgotten takes you outside of normal causality. The world cannot touch you when you don't want anything that is in it.
I feel that this is the core of a metaphysical adventure story -- this attempt at transcendence.

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Nostalgicc

7 Years Ago

Wow. Well, thanks. Finally a good review (can't really remember the last time I got one of those). I.. read more
TLK

7 Years Ago

I regularly lose motivation to write good reviews, as I am regularly rewarded by new writers just as.. read more



Reviews

Wish I could respond more constructively, other than to simply breathe happiness the idea's screamed long enough and I'll finally have something to knaw away at that's entirely my taste. After TLK, I don't know what else to say about the concept - your style and sensitivity for description is atuned to seamlessly merging the physical and psychological realities of people.

Posted 7 Years Ago


[send message][befriend] Subscribe
TLK
As an 'exercise in diction', you certainly produce a sense of authorial style. The way that the narrator picks out details shows an almost maddening ability to stop, slow down time, and take a look at details which mainstream fiction publishers would decry as too thoughtful.
Your first paragraph doesn't focus on characters, relationship, set-up and/or drama, as a 'sensible' first paragraph might be supposed to. Instead you focus on an archetype -- one who I suspect would possibly remain somewhat anonymous even if this concept was to be extended -- and their interaction with the natural world. I can imagine a reader saying, "nothing is happening!". And perhaps the answer would be, "Yes, but why are they doing it?"
I believe that a conventional, first-person account of this scene would be focused on the child's feelings of separation. This would be clumsy foreshadowing of that precise event. What are you doing here? The words lie langorous and refuse to give an answer; they refuse even to admit precise question. The narrator doesn't know either. It is just one moment that happens to precede an event. To link them would be false narrative, psychological pomposity. What happened was nothing, and then something, and you steadfastly refuse to draw a rationalising meaning. I applaud that. There is a chronological honesty which most first-person accounts avoid with tedious flashbacks. "Here is what I now think about what happened...".


I think the second snippet loses some of its stylistic aloofness due to the psychologising of events. I would start with the 'variation of a grimace', and work from there. It would be interesting for the writing to be an exercise in understanding reasons behind this reaction from strangers. And the answer would be unacceptably simple: the task of finding the forgotten takes you outside of normal causality. The world cannot touch you when you don't want anything that is in it.
I feel that this is the core of a metaphysical adventure story -- this attempt at transcendence.

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Nostalgicc

7 Years Ago

Wow. Well, thanks. Finally a good review (can't really remember the last time I got one of those). I.. read more
TLK

7 Years Ago

I regularly lose motivation to write good reviews, as I am regularly rewarded by new writers just as.. read more

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Added on April 15, 2013
Last Updated on April 15, 2013
Tags: fiction, literary fiction, experimental fiction, alienation, unreliable narrator, hallucination, drug abuse

Author

Nostalgicc
Nostalgicc

East coast



About
Been here since 2007. 20. East Coast. I dig ambient soundscape music and often write while listening to Boards of Canada or Aphex Twin. Don't be afraid to offer serious constructive criticism, .. more..

Writing
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