On Writing

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One thing I’ve been learning to do as a writer* is heed the images that present themselves to me without my asking, and worry about the “why” later, or sometimes, never. I know I know why. And I reject the delusion that I’m so special, no one else will understand. If the image was imminent enough that it surfaced in my mind, chances are it will resonate with plenty of others. Those with whom it doesn’t might at least be intrigued enough to consider why someone else might have the thought (which saves me the trouble of telling them), and those who aren’t even intrigued have no business enjoying art anyway. Just kidding.  Continue reading “On Writing”

Neuromancer

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Neuromancer! When I set out to read this book, I feared that maybe I would be too late to the party–that the elements once thought prophetic would now seem quaint, that William Gibson’s groundbreaking vision would fail to land an impact after so many decades of imitation and iteration. I’ve consumed a lot of cyberpunk in my time, and this book predates pretty much all of it, save for Blade Runner. And as much as I still like (one specific version of) Blade Runner, the book which was its basis, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?–did strike me as both quaint and low-impact when I got around to reading it in 2015. I mean, electric sheep? Please come on.

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The Way Out – A Futuristic Noir Thriller

“And finally you just wake up one day and you ask yourself, ‘Why aren’t I working at a place where they treat you like a human being instead of like a fuckin’ cog in the fuckin’ wheel?'” said my colleague to whom I will refer as B.O. because those were his initials and for no other reason.

That’s “cog in the machine,” I thought. The cog is the wheel.

“And when shit goes wrong, they blame the cog.”

I was getting that feeling in my heart. Shrinking. “So much for the spirit of democracy,” I contributed. We waved each other off and a pulse of headache teleported me to my car. “Okay, man,” I said as I turned the key in the ignition. “It’s okay.” A lilting Irish tune came on and I floated out of the parking lot and down the road toward the local grocer.

My eyes burned holes in the road. Was this the futuristic noir adult life I’d envisioned in my youth? Sort of. Except for the grocer. Childhood fantasies never involved food.

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“What Was I Afraid Of?” – Dr. Seuss and the Essence of Horror

Did you know that yesterday was Dr. Seuss’s birthday? I grew up with a lot of Dr. Seuss in the house. Green Eggs & Ham in particular had its definite place in the Annals of Greg, it being one of the earliest books that I learned how to read, but there was only one story of Seuss’s that had a particularly lasting impact on me. It was one of his lesser-known works, a short story called “What Was I Scared Of?” This story, peaceful conclusion and intended audience notwithstanding, is one of the most horrifying stories I’ve ever been told.

Following the narration of “I,” a lone, yellow imp-like creature, we find ourselves in an exceedingly creepy and desolate forest. The forest is illustrated in a unified midnight blue, a technique which proves surprisingly effective in its simplicity. This is the impenetrable darkness of night. Additionally, the unexplained context of this story–a strange creature wandering through strange surroundings–provides a chilling foundation. The reader is jarred into unease by a set of abruptly-presented unknowns.

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Broken English: Seen But Not Heard (Part 2)

So yeah! In my last post on the “unspeakable” foibles of language, I was talking about ate-ji. And then I finished. To summarize, they are kinda neat, kinda annoying, but often serve as a testament to a man or woman’s mastery of kanji. They’re kind of like puns if puns had dignity.

Today I want to talk about the other thing I mentioned in the last post–“fake furigana.

So first I should probably explain furigana for the noob crowd. Basically, in Japanese you’ve got three writing systems: Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji. Hiragana and Katakana are what they call “syllabaries,” which is kind of like alphabets, except that each character is a whole syllable, like ka or u or chi or go. Mastering the syllabaries is a simple matter of memorizing some 46 characters (each), which really isn’t that hard at all, given the distinctive vibe possessed by many of these characters; I swear, some of them just inherently look like the sounds they make. か is totally ka and there’s no unseeing it once you’ve seen it.

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