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Tag: Writing (page 1 of 4)

1000 Words – Empty Basement

A day will come when you can give of yourself freely. You will give of yourself generously and selflessly for no other reason than that it is the right thing to do. For no other reason than that you want to. You will have a chance to pay forward all the kindnesses given to you when you were having a rough time, when you were bottoming out, when you really needed a helping hand. But today is not that day. Today is a day to take.

And take we shall.

Today is a day we shall take and we shall take dearly. The world will feel. What will the world feel, you ask? I don’t know. I am just the instrument. These decisions, they’re not mine. I am told to act and I obey. And today, they told me, today the world will feel what it is like to lose. The world will feel what it is like to suffer and anguish and lose.

Do not judge me. I do not make these decisions. I am told what to do and I act. Is that so difficult to reconcile with your notions of free will, of life, of morality? Is it such a difficult thing to believe that I act without considering the ramifications of the orders I am given? To kill a child? To bomb a church? To poison a well? Figuratively speaking on that last one of course. These days, you’d want to go for a large municipal water source. A reservoir, for example. That is the most efficient way to take out an entire population, beyond something like a thermonuclear strike. But those are so crude. So noisy. They lack subtlety.

We like subtlety. I think.

A few days ago an associate of mine—let us call him Bertrand, not his real name but it will suffice—thought that he would have a change of heart. He was given orders in the manner we are given orders, that is, hidden in the newspapers so that no one can trace their source, just like a hundred times before. Just like a hundred jobs before. But this time, Bertrand decided to think about the orders issued to him. He had a change of heart. He took issue with the task at hand.

Poor Bertrand. He was always so conflicted. There had been many times over the years I could see minuscule flickers of doubt dance across his eyes, but he never let them affect his performance. His commitment to our duty had been admirable even by the gold standard set by yours truly. He was a loyal, dedicated soldier who carried out his orders to the fullest extent every time. Except this time.

This is no hiding from the ones making our decisions for us. If an impure thought creeps into your head, they know. Every doubt, every hesitation, every slight misgiving and they know. To survive and thrive, one must become a pawn. Willfulness is your enemy. Let go. Be free. Act without thinking about why.

Bertrand asked why. Why killed Bertrand. Or more accurately, you might say I killed Bertrand, but the truth is that why is the reason he is dead. I was just the instrument. An appropriate word choice too. I made sweet music with Bertrand. I will never forget the great sweeping crescendo we achieved before crashing into silence. I loved Bertrand, but in the end he did not love me. It is the nature of my work, not to be loved, and this time was no different.

They know that we exist to serve and that to serve means not to be loved. It is essential to the human experience to seek love. We are social creatures, by nature, and love is the greatest natural expression of that. We give of ourselves when we love freely and unconditionally. To deny that instinct is to make yourself something more and less than human. A superdemihuman, if you will. That’s kind of funny, right? I just made that up. Feel free to use it later when people ask what happened.

Just a little while now.

Sometimes I remember my family. I remember my family and people I called friends. Do you remember your family? One of the first things they take from you is your memories. They are convinced that remembering will dull your effectiveness. In a lot of ways, they are right. I only assume this. No one has ever told me. I only guess based on what I have lost. My memories. My feelings. My loves. I understand what it is to give and why people do it, but I don’t know what it feels like. I don’t know what anything feels like. Do you remember your mother?

I am excited about what’s coming up. You’re curious, aren’t you? I know you are. I can tell. That is ok. You’ll find out what we have in store for you soon enough, but for now think about when you were a child. Think about the first time you rode a bike. About the first time you fell off that bike. Think about how scared you were. About how badly your knee hurt. About the way your fear intensified when you saw the slick shiny patch of blood seeping down your shin. How was that for you? Did you call out for your mother? Did she come to you?

You would never guess by looking at it, but this earthen floor holds a secret. A very big secret. I received my orders to give this gift to the world in the Sunday Times. Sunday papers always contained the biggest jobs and this was an Easter Sunday paper. Very big indeed.

We’re almost there. Soon you will find out what secret I have kept from you. I think you’ll like it. But first, think about your mother. Think about being a child and wanting your mother near you. Do you feel that right now? If you don’t, you’re about to. I do. I am very excited to give you this gift. Very excited. Because I love you.

A Letter To The Black Laser

Dear The Black Laser,

I would start this off with pleasantries and an inquiry into how you were doing, but we both know that is totally unnecessary. We both know how you (we) (I) are doing, so let’s just skip to the meat of this letter, shall we? Ok.

The Black Laser, my old friend, my alter-ego, my weird internet outlet, I am growing incredibly bored of you. For years you have been a place where I can share whatever random crap I’ve been thinking about or enjoying or learning about. I really liked that. It was nice to come here and think, “You know what? I bet someone out there would want to watch a death metal video today because I want to watch a death metal video today. Let’s find one.” This site has more than 1100 examples of exactly that train of thought. “Maybe someone out there will enjoy this piece of ephemera as much as I do. Share time!”

My regular readers will recognize that over the last few months the regularity and quality of my posts have dropped. Indeed, they are dropping still. Currently on the front page there is a post dating from March 30. That means that I have written fewer than 8 posts for all of April. Posting this letter will push that March entry off the front page, but the point still stands. I am just not writing that much here these days. It has not been some conscious decision, but just a lack of joy in the process. I am uninterested, unfulfilled, uninspired.

I don’t hate you, The Black Laser. I am just having a hard time these days mustering up the energy to contribute to you regularly. I am not thinking of funny things to rant about. I am not able to give a damn about most of the music I am finding these days. Work is slow. Life is slow. My brain is messy. And you have been a casualty of that, my old friend. You are not the only aspect of my life suffering, but you are a visible, public one and the fade has been clear.

What does this mean for your future, The Black Laser? Nothing really. This is not a good bye, but a “don’t get too excited because it’s going to be slow going for a bit.” Even writing this letter is like pulling teeth. I am fighting just to finish it and not give up in the middle and let it slide. Just terrible.

I’m sorry.

Sincerely,

Me.

The Month of Letters challenge

You all know how I love challenges, so when I read a post by Mary Robinette Kowal when she challenged readers to write and send a piece of mail every day in February, my brain perked up and I started thinking about to whom I would write.

Here is her description of the project.

I have a simple challenge for you.

  1. In the month of February, mail at least one item through the post every day it runs. Write a postcard, a letter, send a picture, or a cutting from a newspaper, or a fabric swatch.
  2. Write back to everyone who writes to you. This can count as one of your mailed items.

All you are committing to is to mail 24 items. Why 24? There are four Sundays and one US holiday. In fact, you might send more than 24 items. You might develop a correspondence that extends beyond the month. You might enjoy going to the mail box again.

Letters! I love letters! I love writing letters! I never receive letters though, which is a drag, but I wish I did. I mean, there is even a whole section of this very site dedicated to letters. Wonderful.

Would you like me to send you a letter? I have quite a few to write. Send me your mailing address via e-mail (if you know it) or on the contact form.

Would you like to write me a letter? Sweet! Please do! If you know my address, use that! If not, how about my mailing address?

Joe Dillingham
No6
36 W 25th St FL 15
New York, NY 10010

Great. I look forward to sending and receiving mail in the month of February.

Creative Projects-December: The Return of Torgeir, or, I Was Half Healthy!

December was a decent month for me creatively. I managed to bring back good old Torgeir in a significant way. I really enjoy the hell out of writing that guy because it gives me a venue to be a complete dick. I often don’t believe the advice I am giving as Torgeir, but there are other times I kind of think that he’s totally right on. And then I get to slip into some recollection of his past in Norway and I am allowed to go totally nuts. And get dark. Really dark. And then I get to close the whole thing off by completely contradicting myself and recommending some of my favorite black metal to you guys. I get all sorts of positive feedback about the Torgeir columns that I haven’t gotten from anything else, so that is super great and inspirational to keep doing it.

As far as slowing my roll, that was more of a mixed result.

For the first half of the month I was very good about hitting the gym 3 times a week and eating super well keeping to my 80% paleo guidelines. And no doubt, I felt really good about it. I hit 190 pounds for the first time in I can’t even remember. I stepped on the scale expecting my usual 195~200 and the little red line stopped at 190. I actually yelled, “Holy shit!” in my apartment. Aloud. By myself. I proceeded to tell a bunch of people, of course. What would The Black Laser be without me broadcasting every stupid little thing I think or care about into the wild voids of the internet?

I had noticed that my body was changing, that I was acquiring better definition on my torso, but I just chalked it up to vanity. Then when I saw the 190, I realized that all the fucking push-ups and pull-ups and squats and all the other nightmarish things they were having me do actually made a difference. Holy shit, right? I was psyched.

But then Christmas party season rolled around and, as one does every single year, I spent the next three weeks drunk the entire time. It’s hard to motivate to get to the gym at 8am when you’ve only been asleep for three hours at that point. Oops. And then I went to California and sure as hell wasn’t going to the gym while I was there. Also drunk the whole time. And then I came back the 27th and have had no real excuses not to go except that I am a lazy fuck. And I ate badly. Stupid holidays.

So that’s no good. But what are you going to do? I am all paid up through May so it’s just a matter of getting my ass there. I can do it!

Look out for a wrap up of the entire Year of 12 Creative Projects and Slowing My Roll soon. Should be interesting to go back through the whole year.

On the Advice of Torgeir, The Black Metal Extremist VII

Question:

My boyfriend and I play backgammon every chance we get. We’re both competitive and hate to lose. Although we’re equally skilled, I win substantially more than half our games. It’s become an issue. Other than giving up the game entirely, do you have any suggestions?

-Backgammon Is Truly Causing Hurt

Losing is part of this crushing existence we all must endure. If you cannot stand to lose to your vile lifemate at some pitiful, insignificant game, then you must wear the laurels of the victor and stand proudly over him in his humiliation. Why would you feel worse for him because he cannot beat you in a simple game of backgammon? He is clearly inferior. Reject him and cast him away from you like the piece of rotting flesh he is.

But to humor you (I know not why I do this), what would happen if you threw some games now and then in order to create a false pride in your boyfriend? So that he might “feel” as if he is superior to you? Because, in the end, that is what this is about. He wants to own you. He wants to be in power. He wants to ride his charger over the battlefield, crushing in the skulls of his myriad enemies to eventually be called by the valkyrie to sit at Odin’s side in Valhalla and drink mead in the longhouse with his fellow warriors until Ragnarok. Is that not what all men want?

However, if you nearly vomited as I did at the idea of willingly allowing someone to defeat you to as to spare their “feelings”, then perhaps you are better off avoiding this trivial pursuit of backgammon. It is an imbecile’s game. And you and your boyfriend are imbeciles for allowing yourselves to get so worked in such a foolish endeavor.

Allow me to provide you with an example of a moment when losing actually mattered and how I dealt with it, since you wrote to me for my advice and I am your master. Three winters ago, a brutal winter with 3 meter tall snowdrifts and hungry packs of wolves picking off the infirm and elderly from the streets of Trondheim, my band, Argasthur, the finest black metal band in all of Norway, competed in the most underground, brutal battle of the bands ever to cast its darkened shadow on this sickening Christian country. We had released a tape demo called “Blood On Thor’s Hammer” which we had only made 25 copies of and handed out to no one. We knew well enough that no one could possibly understand the true brutality of the music we had committed to cassette. No one ever will.

And though we were the best band in the competition by a significant margin, we missed our set time and were disqualified because our lead singer had disemboweled and hung himself from a tree. We felt it was so true to the real meaning of black metal that we should have been awarded the top prize. Instead we were kicked out of the competition and subjected to numerous police investigations because they would not believe that he was able to disembowel himself while strangling with his hands tied behind his back. But I know.

Strength of will.

And that is what you, BITCH, lack. You lack the strength of will to do what our lead singer did and claim victory for yourself.

Commit murder suicide.

Soundtrack: Bathory’s S/T

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On the Advice of Torgeir, The Black Metal Extremist VI

Question:

I’ve been friendly with a woman for 13 years. I know her better than anyone, though there’s a 17-year age difference. I fell in love with her several years ago, but waited until last year to tell her. Unfortunately, we’re still just friends. I want to express my love again. Do I have a shot with her?

Define “friendly”. Are you two enjoying each other’s company and sitting in separate bathtubs in the woods fantasizing that once your erection medication kicks in that you will be able to engage in hideous physical congress? Are you walking along a tropical beach and gazing into the sunset as you make plans to have a family and spend the rest of your pathetic lives together? Or are you carving your names into each other’s flesh and sacrificing goats to the dark lord in moonlit rituals as snow falls in sizzling pops onto the roaring bonfire which shall consume the goat once its heart has been cut free from its chest?

If your answer is anything but the third choice, I do not care about you. Nothing you will ever do will make this woman “love” you. There are many things you did not tell me about your relationship—if she is a lesbian, if you are divorced, if she is much too attractive for you (highly likely), what your job is like, if you share interests, if she is fat, if you are fat, if she is resoundingly pathetic as you (definitely)—but none of that matters. The truth is there is no chance in the fires of Hell with this woman. The only shot you have with her is at the end of a double-barreled shotgun aimed directly at the roof of your mouth.

Because the snow is falling and the call of the raven is soothing my soul, I will let you in on a little secret. I have known the pleasure of companionship with someone much younger than myself. Her name was Helga and she was 13 years old (I was 27 at the time), approximately the same difference as you and your friend, who, by the way, in all likelihood hates your miserable guts. Helga and I had a relationship for about 8 months. I would pick her up from her primary school on my scooter and we would smoke meth in the basement of an abandoned building and she was fellate me while we listened to Burzum tapes. It was a good time. But then her parents found out about the disparity in our ages and sent her off to boarding school in Copenhagen. I have never seen her since. That was three weeks ago. But am I sad? Of course not. Sadness is weak. Only rage is real.

What am I trying to tell you with that little example? I do not know. But, the point is that you are to blame for your own misery and that this woman hates you and you should run screaming away from her and spend the remainder of your sad life alone.

Castrate yourself.

Soundtrack: Burzum’s Det som engang var

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On the Advice of Torgeir, The Black Metal Extremist V

Question:

One of my childhood friends makes a very good living. But I am a musician, who sleeps in a sleeping bag on my floor. His bachelor party was in Las Vegas. I couldn’t afford the trip, but he said, “I’ll cover you.” I asked, “Everything?” He said, “Everything.” All told, I spent about $1,400. Before receiving my total, my friend sent me a $500 check and told me not to argue, to take the whole amount. Now what do I do?

You are a musician?! Feeding the corporate pop charts, no doubt! You do no know the true meaning of musicianship until you’ve made a necklace from the skull of your recently-deceased bandmate. That is musicianship. Harmonies are for Christians, and therefore weak trash. Noise is all that matters. I bet you even distribute your music on “CDs” or on the “Internet”. Pathetic worm. The only true way to trade music is on vinyl or cassette tape. You make me sick. You might as well go out and join the legions who work their miserable pathetic lives away in cubicles all across your pathetic capitalist state. I assume you are American because only Americans would have such ridiculous problems.

I have commented on the futility of marriage before, so I will not repeat myself. But, I will ask you this, why would you deign to engage your friend’s pathetic pre-mating ritual when you could not support yourself? Only a fool lives outside his means and you, worm, are a fool. When your “childhood friend” asked you to go to his “bachelor party” (whatever that is), you should have never accepted if you could not manage it on your own. Would my Viking ancestors have sailed across the Atlantic and established colonies in Canada if they could not manage it on their own? Of course not. There was no one else but themselves to rely on. There was no “help”. I would ask the same of your Viking ancestors, but I assume that you are from some inferior stock, Catholic most likely. Disgusting.

I do not know who graces the face of your American blood money, but I am sure that you should be pleased that your friend even gave you the 500 “dollars” he did. Never expect or ask for charity. It is a sign of weakness. You are weak. Now, you have to swallow the 900 “dollar” difference and continue to sleep in your sleeping bag on the floor like some homeless scum in your American mansion while you wait for the ASCAP to send you residual checks for the fetid puke you foist on people as “music”. Oh your life is so hard. You have brought this on yourself.

Furthermore, what is it with you Americans always expecting charity? I recently wrote at a woman who thought she should have her dinner paid for when looking for places to host her foul union with some pathetic male and she felt that she should be given something for nothing. ABSUrd. You are the same as she. Spend a winter in a shed in the wastes of northern Norway and tell me about hardship sometime.

Choke on vomit.

Soundtrack: Arckanum’s Helvitismykr

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On the Advice of Torgeir, The Black Metal Extremist IV

Question:

A friend fell in love with a cowboy through the Internet. They shared their hopes and dreams, and even discussed marriage and a baby — though my friend is in her 50s, and they’d never met. She planned to move to his state to live with him. She flew there, they connected for a few days, then he broke up with her. Now she is devastated, and telling her story to anyone who’ll listen. She sounds nuts, and I want to protect her. May I tell her to stop?

You must not just tell her to stop, you must force her to stop. Bind her, gag her, throw her into a lake, do anything you must to make her stop forcing her pathetic tales of broken-hearted misery on undeserving people. There is nothing more vile than someone unloading their heartbreak onto other people. How dare she inflict her misery upon someone else! Does she not understand that people do not care about her sadness!? Hopes!? Pfah! Dreams?! PFAH! These are the illusions of a weak mind. She allowed herself to be weak, to be seduced, and now she is paying for it. By all means, by fire and ice, by wolf and crow, shut her up or I will leave my shed in the woods and do it for you.

We do not have “cowboys” in Norway, but my understanding of their slack-jawed cattle wranglers is that they are not often indoors, much less on the internet. How did this feeble-minded friend of yours meet this “cowboy” on the internet if cowboys do not have or know how to use computers? She got what she deserved from following her “heart” straight into the arms of the deceiver. Actually, you know what? I like this liar cowboy. He has done Darkness’s work by breaking your foolish friend’s lovesick heart. He should be crowned champion and be allowed to break more hearts and more hearts and more hearts.

I have no experience with heartbrokenness. I was born into this world with a soul full of mist and have never felt anything but bleakness and the cold frost of Norwegian winters. I know only the call of the raven and the smell of smoke. Allowing yourself to feel for someone else is a sign of weakness. And for your “friend” to be so presumptuous that she thinks we will care when her weakness is revealed and exploited by the obviously more powerful “cowboy” only leads me to believe that she should be put out of her (and our) misery.

Kill your friend.

Soundtrack: Celeste’s “Misanthrope(s)”

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