Chapter 1

Chapter 1

“THERE IS A LANGUAGE older by far and deeper than words. It is the language of bodies, of body on body, wind on snow, rain on trees, wave on stone. It is the language of dream, gesture, symbol, memory. We have forgotten this language. We do not even remember that it exists.” ― Derrick Jensen

Sometime in the recent present.

A scream woke me up. It was my own scream. The ending of the nightmare transitioned seamlessly into my awakening. The horror stayed with me. A horror of everyday life that will keep me forever enslaved in an unconscious state of mind, numb and indifferent to the suffering of the world. Was I actually awake? Had I ever been? I wiped the sweat off my forehead with the palm of my hand. Bodily fluids regulating the organism. I wondered, was it the sweat of fear in anticipation of what was about to happen very soon? Or was it the sweat of the hard work of my subconsciousness, tirelessly trying to reveal to me the hidden truths about my life that had traumatized me. I finally got up, out of my bed, butt-naked, walked straight to the fridge, opened it, reached for the orange juice bottle, and took a big, refreshing gulp.

The taste of citrus still in my mouth, I mumbled with all the comfort of a late riser *Alexa play music*. The atmospheric sound from Nils Frahm filled the room. A re-enchantment that created a dream-like world around me, in which one felt protected and simultaneously uplifted. My cognitive cinema began. Synaptic explosions that fired up images of past, present, and future, a universe that did only exist in the imaginary realm of fantasy and fiction. A joyful moment, a trance-like-state of which I hoped it might never end. However, I looked at my watch and realized that I was late for my Sunday’s creative writing class.

There were always those voices in my head that argued and whispered. Various characters had occupied my thought processes before. These voices were not always archetypical or even pop-media related. But right now, I had to admit, I was actually witnessing the fictional characters Rorschach from Watchmen and Yoda from Star Wars debating each other. Their argument was somehow about whether I should attend the class or not. Hesitation and doubt, those ever re-occuring themes in my life. I could hear those two characters dueling each other with their unique voices, their particular speech patterns, specific sentence structures, and their contrasting philosophical point of views. A cultural related pessimism versus the spirituality of hopefulness and wonder.

Rorschach: “Life is dark and we are doomed to decay. Resistance through creativity is futile. Better don’t bother the world with your pathetic shit.”
Yoda: “Continue to believe in yourself you must. Fear in you is strong. But wise you are when you fear only fear itself.”
“Kick and scream, your fear will devour you anyways. Maybe you think you don’t deserve it. Just think again.”
“Always in motion is the future. Change only you can be. Not an object art is, but the very life you live.”
“If you create art, you might create yourself as a creator. But confronted with your own mortality, all it really is, is an attempt to escape the inevitability of your own death. You will still just be food for worms. Better get used to it”
The mixture of Rorschach’s grimness and Yoda’s obscure prep talk was fueling my morning routine. Ambivalence in its prime.

An hour later I rushed through the hotel foyer, where the creative writing class was already in full swing. I quietly sat down. There was a certain minimalistic degree of elegance in the furnishing of the hotel corridors. However, the notion from the French intellectual Marc Augé, his anthropological non-places, crossed my mind. Non-places are places that do not hold enough significance to be regarded as “places”. Transience and oblivion is written all over them. Supermarkets, airports, and also hotels are typically such non-places. While sitting in this hotel lobby, we essentially could have been anywhere in the world, and nobody could have noticed the difference.

An oversized TV was shining over our group table. It broadcasted some banal promotion videos. The radiating glowing screen representative of cybercapitalism with its attention consuming and hypnotizing frequency, throned fatefully above us. A busy hotel lobby might be a fascinating place to observe the arrival and departure of curious characters, but it poorly satisfies the need for deep thinking and flow states of the mind, due to the implicit hectic. The equation obviously favors inspiration rather than concentration. Nevertheless, since writers were advanced engineers of sacrifice by nature, I was absolutely okay with being here, in a non-place full of contradictions.

My late arrival was noticed. Cooley’s looking glas reflection loop began to work. “I am not what I think I am and I am not what you think I am; I am what I think you think I am.” I realized, the group stared at me in silence. Eyes wide open. Mouths closed. Not a single word was leaving their lips though. I felt my own insecurity in the presence of those darting malignant glances. Nervously fumbling my fingers around the writing block, which I just took out of my bag, I finally managed to open the page, where I ended my prose during the last writing session. At the very exact same moment, everyone around me instantly lowered their heads again, and continued their writing as seemingly nothing has happened.

It took me a few minutes to shake off the bizarreness of this awkward moment, before I managed to get into my usual writing flow. But then, awesomeness just sprawled out of me. Fuck sincerity, I thought to myself in relieve, writing is play, and play is a dramatistic negative, consisting of self-conscious meta-references, pop-cultural references, metahumor, cynicism, irony, irreverence, intertextuality, metafiction. Play is an altered state of consciousness. The limits to our language might indeed be the limits to our world. But the limits to our imagination are going above and beyond anything else, like a what-if to infinity, transgressing and transcending insanity itself. Fuck you world! I create my own! Try to stop me. I build a world where the limits of reality are my own goddamn, fucked up imaginations going absolutely berserk.

I was totally absorbed in my thoughts, in my inner dialogue, laughing about the fact that probably nobody would ever want to visit my mind for spending a vacation there. Not paying attention to my surrounding, I first didn’t even notice the sudden darkening of the hotel lobby. Only when the light became too dim for my eyes, I looked up and saw the most surreal scenery. A black fog slowly surrounding us, a scary wall of darkness closing in on our group table. It seemed like a moment where fiction and reality began to blend into one another, began to bleed together. Everyone else around me shared the same fearful look, paralyzed by the dissonance of what we saw but simply couldn’t believe. What was going on?

A sound slowly rose towards an unbearable volume. Screams not from this world. Tortured souls. The thickness of the black fog then somehow swallowed the noise. The guy in front of me jumped up. I always forgot his name. He was the first to move, to unfreeze out of his paralysis, the fear that has taken hold of all of us. The moment he moved, he began to turn inside out. Seemingly hit by something it began in slow motion, only then to accelerate. Within a few seconds, he then exploded. Warm, red color splashed in all directions, painted our faces, made us almost drown in it. His guts bursted into pieces, decorating the walls and ceiling. The nasty smell warned us. This was not a CGI special effect.

I wiped with my hand through my face once again, this time, reassuring myself I wasn’t wearing a mask. Reassuring myself I wasn’t only imagining any of this. Like the sweat earlier this morning, I thought about the information stored in those bodily fluids, now dripping down my skin. Then my thoughts shifted again. The possibilities of the next few moments seemed crucial. It was about survival. The rapidness of the succession of images in front of my inner eyes tried to reveal how to escape this situation. My brain was trying to solve the puzzle of these cracks in reality. But what did I try to escape here? What was going on? What was this dark fog, annihilating life? With which rules and laws did any of this operate? How did it find its target? Based on which parameters did it choose to execute its program? My thoughts were spinning wild. Could I beat it? Will I survive it? What was it? And who was I? Which role was I meant to play? Why was I actually here? Where did I really come from? And where was I going?

My whole perception all of a sudden felt like ‘Drawing Hands’ from M.C. Escher. I was existing within the paradoxical act of writing myself into existence. We strive for superiority by seeking to actualize our self-ideal. But all ambitions seem simultaneously futile. Although I already knew that we will eventually self-destruct, I was still hoping that my story would resonate with someone. Someone must remember me. Someone must remember the future.

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