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Old 09-10-2008   #1
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Unlabelled Passage Of The Day

You asked me about my assertion that life is a condition, like a terminal illness, for which there is not so much a cure as a protracted but always provisory series of allayments, mere distractions for the brain to keep it occupied and far away from the dangerous questions of human existence. Well, I thought I had made all of that clear before, and so I apologize if I hadn’t. But if you must have it again, I will summarize the more salient points one last time, not because I feel you would understand it any better through a by-rote repeating of the words--indeed, the events in question are such that with each iteration new insights emerge from darkness, things formerly hidden, and what had previously seemed undeniable fact dissolves into a mist of uncertainty--but because I hope to work something out for myself, some new take on the problems that have been bothering me ever since it all began.

You are no doubt aware of the condition of the streets hereabouts in Barstowe; and not just their physical condition--the way they always seem to be covered in a gray soot, with oil and grease lining every brick--but even the way they are laid out, with no discernible center, no easily identifiable direction, busy thoroughfares suddenly petering out, without turning, into shabby half-lit side streets, and seemingly blind alleys alternately giving out onto open highway one moment, and, uncannily, a remote ploughland the next. The maps of our city are hopelessly inaccurate, showing references to places that don’t exist, and vice versa: try to find the terminus of Pinnacle Street and you my friend shall be left wanting! Yes, various intrepid individuals have been brought in from time to time to help figure it all out, but what have they shown us? Half-finished projects, abandoned in frustration, pointing up the fundamentally insoluble nature of the problem. Ho, they’ve even tried to take a picture from outer space! Can you imagine it? A tin box spinning two thousand kilometers above the earth to find something we can’t even see with our own eyes, right here in front of us. Maybe it is not my place to criticize these things, when it is a wonder that such feats are possible at all, right? Well, to this day the mystery remains unsolved; but what if I told you that I once knew a man who had done it, had at last come up with the only accurate and reliable map of Barstowe, our beloved but most amorphously inclined city of improbability?

--- From 'Terminus' by S.D. Tullis - published 'Zencore!' (Nemonymous 7) 2007

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Old 09-10-2008   #2
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Re: Unlabelled Passage Of The Day

Ahahaha! the unlabelled passage is a great idea!

I want to give my contribution:

"Then the Heart of Heaven
Blew mist into their eyes,
Which clouded their sight
As when a mirror is breathed upon.
Their eyes were covered and they could see only
What was close, only
That was clear to them".

Popul Vuh

Love Love Love
Rise! Rise! Rise!
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Old 09-10-2008   #3
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Re: Unlabelled Passage Of The Day

Quote Originally Posted by Nemonymous View Post
From 'Terminus' by S.D. Tullis - published 'Zencore!' (Nemonymous 7) 2007
Excellent and very intriguing (opening?) passage, Des!
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Old 09-10-2008   #4
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Re: Unlabelled Passage Of The Day

Yes, that was the opening of Scott Tullis's story 'Terminus'.
A vastly under-rated writer in my view.
des

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Old 09-11-2008   #5
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Re: Unlabelled Passage Of The Day

There are degrees with being alone with someone. It was not till they had driven down Sandgate hill – not till they were, even, clear of Sandgate itself, on that flat stretch of road above the beach, passing cream-coloured houses with gardens of tamarisks – that she saw what made them completely alone for the first time: there being no sun. Always before, at Twickenham or Boulogne, the sun by happening to shine had been a felt presence, adding itself the whole time. It had been insistent on the flowery pink tree, the salt quay stones. Till today, they had not, when alone, ever been two; always either three or one. [...]
Rain made the day dark for day, but till late the light did not change. Saturday stayed late, reflected on wet roofs and straight wet paths uphill. The west broke, the grey went white, lightening across the rain that did not stop but still veiled darkening houses and trees. At nine they went out and stood on the canal bridge; the band pavilion was empty, the chairs stacked up. Hearing the sea creep up on the far beach, they walked that way, along the Ladies’ Walk. Along this tunnel of trees lights hung quenched under arching branches, rain glittering past, no June moths. On a bench back from the walk another couple of lovers were blotted out, faceless, sheltered by the unfrequented night. On the embanked sea-front a house with a tower stood up; next door, in the lodging-house terrace, someone played a piano, but then stopped. Here the sea air was washed unsalt by the rain; you only smelled tamarisks and wet grass. The sea crept on the shingle with a half-living rustle; on its far-out silence Dungeness lighthouse flashed, stopped, flashed. At the sight of this one light Karen remembers her hand, wet with rain and for some minutes forgotten, tightening on Max’s wet india-rubber sleeve. He made her face inland, where the High Street lights rose steadily through the rain and windows studded the hill where many people would sleep tonight.
From Part 2 (9) of ‘The House In Paris’ 1935 (by Elizabeth Bowen)

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Old 09-12-2008   #6
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Re: Unlabelled Passage Of The Day

"'Let me introduce myself, as no one else is likely to do so. My name is Bloodbone.'

His voice was neutral, neither frightening nor comforting. He fanned out a series of photographs in his hand, bearing what seemed to be black and white snapshots of various cuts of gory butcher's rubble. 'Do you recognize any of these?'

'I don't understand, Mr Bloodbone, I'm afraid.'

He withdrew the flickering torch from his face. By his look, I could tell I had failed the test. There was a cruel gash for the mouth where the grey giblet tongue lolled out, an over-nourished ringworm turned inside out by a cancerous infection. The eyes opened directly on to the pulsating brain, which was incubating blackened cultures even as I watched. The nostrils of the bulbnose gaped wider with each of Bloodbone's breaths, revealing a whole system of twitching, fatfolding bogies - a whole scabby township of them - in varying shades of pure white.

He sighed movingly, as I realized he had unravelled my innards like a lecher undressing a comely wench just with his eyes. He had been searching desperately for another of his kind, whose bodily parts were black and white - like in the old B-Movie days.

I fled in tears.

As the lightning's crazy zigzags paved the night sky, I realized that God must be taking photographs."
D. F. Lewis - "Bloodbone"

"What does it mean to be alive except to court disaster and suffering at every moment?"

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Old 09-13-2008   #7
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Re: Unlabelled Passage Of The Day

I was much struck by this, which I read recently:

Methinks I see her now in her broad-brimmed beaver hat, and an immense shawl, slowly pacing along with her hands behind her, stopping ever and anon to look into a shop window. Like her sister, Bessie, she was extremely fond of snuff and blew her nose with a trumpet-like sound on a vast Indian silk handkerchief, which she carefully arranged before use with a sort of cushion. Another curious trick she had of turning round several times before settling herself into a chair, much like a dog upon a hearth-rug... She was a Tory of Tories. One chief object of her vituperation were the railways. I believe she never trusted herself to this novel mode of locomotion, and constantly declaimed against the wickedness of devoting so much fertile soil to these barren iron roads. She found it hard to forgive my father for allowing my brother Charles to be apprenticed to Stephenson and take part in executing these nefarious works. But she had a kind heart...

Henry Liddell on his Aunt Anna, quoted by Colin Gordon in Beyond the Looking Glass. Reflections of Alice and Her Family.

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Old 09-13-2008   #8
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Re: Unlabelled Passage Of The Day

Fascinating. Thanks for posting it.
But shouldn't it be 'was the railways' rather than 'were the railways'?

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Old 09-13-2008   #9
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Re: Unlabelled Passage Of The Day

Quote Originally Posted by Nemonymous View Post
But shouldn't it be 'was the railways' rather than 'were the railways'?
I thought that too, but quoted it SIC.

There are, I think several wonderful things in the passage -- including the snuff and Indian silk handkerchief. I also loved the assumption that Tories are opposed to capitalistic change -- would that they were still so!

(This was my 7th cubed post on this site.)

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Old 09-13-2008   #10
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Re: Unlabelled Passage Of The Day

Quote Originally Posted by Odalisque View Post
(This was my 7th cubed post on this site.)
Pet, throw in another side and a dimension or two, and you have opened the gateway to the Old Ones. I think you have invented the hyper-hyper-tesseract. I'm sending you a lab coat. Your next assignments (should you choose to accept them): time travel and immortality. ;) and

"What does it mean to be alive except to court disaster and suffering at every moment?"

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