Thursday, February 28, 2008

Memories Can't Wait -- updated May 22, 2008

Alan Moore commented in an interview (that has become lost in storage in my garage) about how memory is a form of time travel. Our memories aren't in a linear progression as we stroll through memory lane but rather jambled together in perhaps order of importance or randomness. That last date strolling the cold streets of the city with your loved one looking for a restaurant but the stores are all closed, a memory only a few weeks old -- is that it, only a few weeks, it seems like so long ago -- is right next to the image of your Gramma walking in her floral prints with her chihuahua down the street to the meat market to pick up pork chops.

My magic memories start with L________. Even though I won't give you his name, it has specially meaning for me, not only my grandfather's name but the masculine of my middle-name. I met him while I was tutoring English in college. He was a skinny kid but the type that had that dorky sex appeal, not shy but full of life, like a flower you'd want to pick and smell, knowing full well after plucking it, it would die. I would trap him in a private cubicle, talking his ear off about my boyfriend's fraternity, perhaps subconsciously trying to both push him away but keep him stuck with me until his hour was up and then leave him unfinished so he'd have to come back for more. And he would. He had exuberance in his voice when he would come to the front desk and ask for me by name: "is Kristen there?" It sounds so normal on paper, on your screen, but memory turns the simplest words into poetry. A friend of mine and myself, however grammatically complex that phrase sounds, were walking to the cafeteria when we passed L_______. He and I stopped to talk, that fidgetty sexual tension of youth that can never be bottled. How I miss it. My friend, afterwards, gave her thumbs up, go ahead and screw him, but as with all memories, that's all L______ was. The first of a string of memories.

What do you care for my memories? None. But this IS my blog.

I took a writing class in college. I hated the professor. It was her first time teaching writing and she didn't know how to do it. I remember how she slaughtered one of my poems. I had typoed breath instead of breathe but she read it as breath knowing full-well that it was a typo and ruining the whole mood of my poem. I hate people reading my work because they simply don't have the same emotional investment in my passion and memories that I do. My final project was a story I wrote about twin boys named Clarke and Bradbury who were the first children born from cybersex. In the utopian society, children of royal houses were named after important science fictions writers, Bradbury after Ray Bradbury and Clarke after Arthur C. Clarke, but originally Clarke was named Kent because I had modeled him on superhero science fiction, Kent referring to Clark Kent Superman. Clarke became a compromise when I realized that my story was lacking in some continuity.

I got an A- on my story. The professor would never give straight A's and I can see that: an A means the story would be perfect and stories are never perfect, just finished before deadline.

Three months later, I met the twins from my story. I was at a mall on the outskirts of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, just waiting for me mum to finish her weekly shopping, when I saw strolling down on the other side a pair of twins with their mother. They were identical in appearance not only to themselves naturally but also to L_______, who I must admit I had forgotten about in the enjambment of time. Even more, the twin to the right was wearing a Superman shirt. I stared at him and he returned my nearsighted hazy gaze with a polite smile of general "why is she staring at me?" confusion. Oh, how much I fell in love with that moment!

I believe that people select their new boyfriends (or girlfriends, for you guys) based upon a resemblance to previous lovers. Even though L_______ was narily on my mind, the nostalgia of him was buried in my id influencing my libido.

After a bad break-up with my boyfriend K__, I caught myself in a stream of consciousness rambling admitting that K__ was just another incarnation of L_______. I never noticed, only felt the attraction like an irresistable pull, but when that bond, that chain, that link, was severed, the xenoglossia of a broken heart reveals the truth. I only loved him because he reminded me of L_______.

K__ and I had a couple months of separation and during the time period I had a vivid dream that compelled me to write it down. I had ran into K__, in my dream, how foggy that dream is now -- I hate how indistinct dreams are visually, impossible to translate into anything but fragments and poetry -- I ran into K__, in my dream, he was crying and dressed in something Victorian, old fashioned with ruffles that went out of fashion around the time of the Civil War. Perhaps we were at a play. We had to talk. No privacy. We walked tugging each other by the hand through the hallways of my middle school in Long Island. We found a clothes rack and hid underneath. Suddenly, although in the logic of dream, the changeover wasn't so startling, I was a puppet sitting on his lap...

I won't continue the dream because, well, because I don't see the point.

I have a small stand by the side of my bed with paper and pens so that when I wake up from a powerful dream, even before opening my eyes, I can flop my hand over the side of my bed and write out my dreams eyes wide shut before I lose them. This dream became a story about a pizza delivery boy who falls in love with a puppeteer. I had to write it because the dream crushed me. I could never enjoy a dream about someone who no longer loved me.

Three months later. K__ and I had reunited, at least for a fleeting date or two. I was sitting on his lap, my feet dangling over the side of his thigh, far off the ground, his hand on my ass. A common scene between two lovers making out, but what does it remind you of?

I met L_______ again, last year, a single father of two young children. His name was M____. This was the time I started noticing how haunted I was by this image of someone who I never truly loved as more than a hindsight of a moment precious because its importance was lost on me at the time.

I met L______ again, a few months after the last time I saw M____. Of course you understand that I am not talking about L_______ but rather men so distinctively like him that the resemblance is haunting, to encounter the same person continuously, like they were a stock character in a story.

I seem to meet L______ every few months now, particularly in the changeovers of my life. I saw him again and again several weeks ago but then lost him, looking for the same happenstance meeting of schedules at 1:50 pm every other week day.

After a few weeks of his absence, I ran into him again. He caught me crouching on the floor in a quiet hallway while I was reading "The Tell-Tale Heart." Like the narrator, I became dreadfully nervous, nervous because I knew I was going to start stalking him.

And I did.

Wednesday 1:50 pm, there he is again. I had my papers scattered on the floor making a list of books and short stories to read -- Booker T. Washington, WEB DuBois -- he stepped up to my scattered papers and asked "can I step over your papers?" I told him that he could step all over me if he wanted.

This blog entry isn't ending up the way I had imagined it when I started.

A couple years ago, has it really been that long, after me mum died, I did some traveling, spent time off homeless sleeping in my Kia Sephia at local rest stops. I'd spend the late morning hours lounging and reading at whatever book chain -- Barnes and Nobles or Borders -- was nearby.

On one of my lounge acts, I came across a book called the Book of Lies published by Disinformation. In it was an article called "Pop Magick!" by Grant Morrison, a writers whose work on the comic book series "Animal Man" had been an influential part of my love of comics.

Morrison referred to the strange events in my life as hypersigil, when the borders between fiction and reality blur to the point that elements of a writer's fictional works actually happen in real life.

Alan Moore describes in an interview with Wizard Magazine how his fictional character John Constantine has met him in real life:

One day, I was in Westminster in London — this was after we had introduced the character — and I was sitting in a sandwich bar. All of a sudden, up the stairs came John Constantine. He was wearing the trenchcoat, a short cut — he looked — no, he didn't even look exactly like Sting. He looked exactly like John Constantine. He looked at me, stared me straight in the eyes, smiled, nodded almost conspiratorially and then just walked off around the corner to the other part of the snack bar.

Similarly, in an interview in Writers on Comics Scriptwriting, Morrison comments on his own experiences with meeting characters from his stories:

I said, ‘I want to meet that girl’ and I did a magic thing on it. Within months I met a girl who looked exactly like Ragged Robin.

I get letters and photographs from a shamanistic transvestite, a Brazilian transvestite that's living down in Brighton and does magic. Now I know people exactly like The Invisibles; they're real, and they have all started to come out. I communicate with them, I go and meet them.

Ah, I knew the feeling, having fallen in love with a serial fictional hero.

I was somewhat familar with the concept. In film, we call hypersigil metafilm or reflexive filming. Many films, for example, The Matrix or American Beauty, are about the art of film making and audience interaction, deliberately creating surreal scenes where reality, fiction, and dream become confused. Shakespeare created similar themes, for the purpose of commenting on the relationship of the audience with the works of fiction that they were projecting themselves into.

The problem with my hypersigil experience is that they have all been accidental, products of coincedences that I had never planned and in many ways I dismissed as strange until the paranoia of the situations became undeniable or perhaps the paranoia became unavoidable.

Since reading "Pop Magick!" I've become obsessed with the study and practice of hypersigil, or as it is otherwise known, narrative magic. Currently I am writing my own hypersigil but also doing an academic study updating "magic" techniques into modern writing practices. One day, hopefully by next year, I would like to gather together my notes and apply to a PhD program, most likely in Rhetoric and Composition, to more formally conduct my research on the topic.
I've found that through all the press and glamor of hypersigil conversations, no one has really set down a how to plan that is comprehensible to everyone. Like with most magic, the power is not in the details, how it works has always been the problem, the fact that it works without us knowing why, the solution.

This blog is mainly my attempts to get my thoughts together and out about my research. I am a horder of information, endless collecting facts, sifting through them, and doing nothing with them. I need to get this information out.

What is my ultimate goal in writing a hypersigil, what story would I like to write that would hopefully come true? That I am still discovering, but in the meanwhile, my hopes have been to rewrite the past so that the future is more bearable, and perhaps fall in love for the first time,

Update: I met L____ again a couple days ago. His name is A_____. The resemblance was uncanny and I actually took a Facebook photo of L_____ and almost showed it to A_____ (but I didn't). I am obviously attracted to A_____ but so far my impression of him hasn't been positive. He seems lazy and a slacker. I'm more intrigued that I've met him again.

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