Neon Codex

Where digital meets classical.

Filtering by Tag: writing

Writer's Workshop Short Story: The Ring

Hi there. It’s been another two weeks and therefore another writer’s workshop has been held with Brandon and Lauren at the Coronado. This week I have something special for you, and by that I mean something fairly long and involved that probably won’t translate terribly well to the micro-attention span of the internet.

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This, The Best of All Possible Worlds

I don't know how honestly I've ever written from my own perspective. By that I mean that I'm always using some form of abstraction; whether it's simply riffing on someone else's ideas, read in a novel or seen in a movie, or writing characters who are intentionally very different from me, especially so lately.

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Writer's Workshop Prompts

For the past few weeks I've been meeting up with a few friends of mine and holding a writer's workshop. We meet up every two weeks and at the end of each meeting we assign some homework for the next meeting based on a prompt we all agree on. I thought I'd get in the practice of posting the material I come up with for each prompt on the blog.

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July in Retrospect: Car Fires, Utopian Visions, and the Fourth

There's this quote at the beginning of The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin, where it gets its title. It essentially states, and I'm paraphrasing, that in Genesis the rainbow was a sign sent from God, a solemn promise, that He would never flood the earth again. That next time, He would simply set it on fire. Pardon my sacrilege, but that always struck me as kind of a fucked up trade-off.

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Public Relations

The receipt prints,

"Oh, that's fine." they say, waving it away,

"As long as you don't tackle me on the way out." 

I've probably heard that same joke, over a hundred times,

From over a hundred different people, 

So much so it's like a common expression, that people don't know is common,

Just something they all say in this situation,

A thing almost as strange as how people always start walking up,

Just as soon as I try to write this down

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Why None of Us Want to Be Alone

I feel bad, simple as that. The who or the how of it ceases to be important on a long enough timeline, these things happen to us all many, many times over the courses of our lives, and begin to bleed together without identity. A minor heartache at best—let's call it a disappointment. The feeling almost becomes like a shapeless, faceless abstract; like a force of nature that exerts itself upon your life every so often when conditions are right. Rains that pelt the rooftops, winds that rattle the shutters and windows, but you make it through. These black-and-white phases of life that tilt and skip off of the film track from some caricatured notion of 1920's German expressionism; the cold, grey planes of Fritz Lang, the dark, delirious ruminations of Murnau—a loneliness so complete it's almost romantic, a misery so perfect it's almost artful. The depths of it can become sort of ridiculous. This is not quite that, if anything this is that in micro, a small pang of heartache, of longing. 

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The Temptation of Saint Anthony

His story becomes a living human parable, populated by impossible creatures and events, such as the ones I've described, illustrating a grander psychological reality. And the idea passes down through history, transforming naturally with the passage of each era and in the translation through each unique artistic voice. The Temptation of Saint Anthony has been immortalized for the past six-hundred years by master painters from every generation, stretching all the way from Bosch to his twentieth century descendants in Dalí, Carrington, and Ernst. Even the Renaissance Master Michelangelo's first painting, when he was just 13 years of age, was a rendition of Schongauer's copper engraving of Saint Anthony.  And it's influence of course hasn't been isolated to the world of painting, Gustave Flaubert alone spent the years of his life from the ages of 24 to 53, just 4 years short of his death, drafting and redrafting his novel based on the story. He considered The Temptation of Saint Antony his greatest achievement and, quite literally, his life's work. 

And it's in these transformations and mutations down through time that I think the real magic lies; the true fulfillment of Saint Anthony's lifelong journey, his walk across the delerious desert landscape which stretches now endlessly, along with his ultimate triumph, through the infinitude of human expression.

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System-Shock/Fragmentation

The broken people, the fragmented people. Subjected through information and technology to thousands of contradicting ideas and narratives, no main thread of consensus, no guiding principle or system of values. So many options and yet so few, left crippled in indecision by information and stimulation overload. Hung out on a limb by previous generations whose incentives were things; economic stability, financial comfort, jobs, college. Things which are in shorter and shorter supply, and are of less apparent intrinsic value. Everything is chaos now, fact is fiction, fiction is fact, the overwhelming urge is toward peace and understanding but what's manifesting in the world is destruction and ignorance. More and more people are suffering from depression, anxiety, and mental illness, as they struggle to articulate themselves socially, intellectually, and emotionally in an increasingly confusing and disorientating environment. I've decided I'll try and do something to address this. This terminally paralyzed and frantic generation, of which I am very much apart. The aspiring artists and entrepreneurs who've spent the first quarters and thirds of their lives reading book after book about their craft and trade, trying to learn how to live through the buffers of instruction manuals, without having taken a single step. The children of online self-help and routine inspirationEcho and Narcissus made one.

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Tingly Blushing Silence (Night Jogging, Hot Tea, and Books)

Finally reading Hear the Wind Sing, by Haruki Murakami. His first novel, it's that nifty 2015 edition that collects the first two, Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball, 1973. It really has no back or front, because one side of the book is one novel and the opposite the other. Except they're upside-down relative to one another, so 101 pages in, at the end of Hear the Wind, you turn the page and are on the upside-down last page of Pinball. Given Murakami's penchant to flip between worlds, one ordinary and one dream-like, one real and the other imaginary, it's a really inspired little gimmick. Especially because, as his apprentice and journeymen efforts, these are two of his least regarded works and it ties them up into a nice little package for fans and collectors. No mess, no hassle.

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Choose Life: T2 and Coming Full-Circle

I first saw Trainspotting when I was 16 years old, which in retrospect was the perfect time. Though I was never a drug addict of any kind, the film perfectly illustrated the process of growing up, in relation to your friends and your culture. I naturally gravitated towards Renton as a character in those days, his thoughts were my thoughts, on growing up, on going into the machine of culture and becoming a product of it. What if I didn't wanna do that? What if I thought my culture was bullshit? What if I thought it was unfair I was inheriting the mortal debt of generations of ecological and economic psychotic self-destruction? 

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What is Life?

So, what is all of this? What is it that we're doing here? That's really the question, that's what you're here and I'm here to find out, to talk about. I've been rolling the question of life around in my head a lot lately, one might even say that my life has been geared towards it all along.

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The Alchemy of the Word

In A Season in Hell, Rimbaud describes a phenomena which he refers to as "The Alchemy of the Word". He describes his poetic flights and whimsies giving rise to vivid hallucinations which describe entire free-standing worlds of images and ideas. The idea being that language can actually alter or affect reality, or one's perception of it--which really when it comes down to it, is all that there is. Words serving as the program-script to the operating-system (to borrow Grant Morrison's language) that is the physical universe. With them you can communicate the entire spectrum of human emotion and experience, build entirely new worlds, create people. And the delivery system itself, language, the word, shoots like quicksilver across the page, going through ranges of elegant transmutations from feeling to feeling, idea to idea. 

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The House of the Spirits

 As we turned the corner down the alley, adjoining 1st and Adams, we seemed to slip between the cracks of the sleek, shiny business district into a whole different world. One that was seeping up from the pavement and spilling over, from where people had tried to bury it. There were elaborate murals sprayed all over the alley walls; huge, looming, colorful pieces depicting a transforming tapestry of heritage and culture. The alley was rife with symbols and expression. And it didn't stop on the alley walls, it bled down across the power boxes, decommissioned ice coolers, and dumpsters. It was like a shamanic vision quest of the Amazon jungles or the Navajo desert, twisted up into modernity, pop-culture, National character, and made manifest onto gritty, urban environs in brilliant technicolor. 

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Los Angeles in Abstract

Who could one be, as he or she slips through the eye of this needle? Alive one moment, not the next, bounding between sleeping and waking worlds, dreams and reality, in confused instants. Blurring the two together, indistinct of time or place. A city of angels dancing on the head of a pin...

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Psychic Currency

Hey, you. That's right, you, there in front of your computer screen or smart-device. You could be anyone, anywhere in the world. In fact you are everyone. I'm speaking right now to a universal audience; a sexless, faceless, person of no particular nation, creed, or set of generalized principles. It must be pretty exciting to be you right about now...

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A Glass Asylum

...So I was driving down the street on my way to work on the morning of January 1st, 2017 and I got the impression that the entire world was hungover, if not still intoxicated or totally unconscious. Any hangover I might've had was actually pretty slight, I'd only had a few beers, an absinthe martini at Sidebar, and what I think was a glass of complimentary champagne at Hanny's at midnight (though things get a bit fuzzy around that point). And somehow I'd managed to get home early enough to get a full night's sleep before I had to wake up at 9:30 and go in for a late opening on New Year's Day.

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