Back in the day... the 1990s, I was also writing in Scots. Unfettered by the Scots Language (Leid) Police. Just how it sounded in ma heid. Here's a couple of pieces that (as far as I remember) never lived beyond this 'flash fiction' stage (I don't think 'flash fiction' existed in the 1990s did it?)
05052020 I reflect that my life is all stories now. The only thing that feels real is the moment I’m in, and anything ‘looking back’ is all stories. Some are true and some aren’t. And sometimes I don’t know any more. And I'm not sure it actually matters.
PARTS STILL WAITING FOR A STORY...
"Blethers". The auld wans aye said "blethers" as if it wis the maist terrible curse on the face o the planet. Ken, when ye wis a kid an chatterin an batterin on aboot some sich rubbish like "How comes I cannae stay up an watch the Miss World?" or "How can we no gang doon the terraces on oor own" yer voice raising tae a pitiful whining tone an "My dad sa-ays we could" - but "yer dad's no here" says yer ma as she clatters ye roon the lug. An ye didna feel ye deserved it but ye kindae kent that ye did. Cus yer dad niver said no sich thing tae ye. But yer ma couldn't ken that. They didna really ken iverthing, ma's; they just liked tae make oot that they did. You could catch them oot sometimes, when they weren'e paying attention.
But that wis ma's. Ayeway's ower reactin tae the slightest thing. An in the backgroon, calmer, but mair irritatin fer a that, wi a pesky singsong voice that went richt intae yer lugs, wis the auld yin wi her "blethers. It wis no like this in ma day."
An I thocht tae masel, an ayeways wanted tae say oot loud - shoutin at the top o' ma unbroken voice "An I bloody hope it'll no be like this in ma day either, nan. If iver I get ma day, fer this piggin shite heap o a life is sure no it." But I niver said it. But I wish I had. Fer things huv no got better than that, an I widnae huv minded ma ma skelpin me intae next week fer sayin that. I wid huv had a moment uv triumph over "blethers" anyways.
Noo Kelly-Marie wis nae much o' a looker but she could mak a stottin guid fish curry, an I cun fergive a lassie a lot fer that. I mean, they guid lookers may suit some guys, but I reckon they're mair fash as they're worth. Yer ayeways gettin intae fechts wi bonny girls. Other guys wantin tae rearrange yer pan, just cus some wee tart said she fancied ye.
Besides which, whit guid looking sortae girl wid wantae give me a second glance. Ony ane that did, I'd be fair suspicious of masel. She'd huv tae be wantin somethin mair than guid looks - an I've no got anythin tae offer a girl, no even guid looks. Accordin' tae Kelly-Marie I'm no even that guid in the sack, though I think she wis just sayin that when she had a mood on her wan day, cus she aye comes back fer mair. But I cannae help but wunner if she meant it. Cus Kelly-Marie's no gonnae find a pile o' fellas that'll gie her wan. Well, no sober fellas anyways.
From January 2000. Proof that I've been railing against the storm for a long, long time. Am I a sage/seer or do I just keep playing the same old record?
RULES FOR TWENTY FIRST CENTURY LIVING.
I am lucky because I am an outsider. In a world which places all its value on homogeneity and majority rule and consequently on mediocrity and sameness – I am different. I am an individual in a world of clones. McDonald’s is no longer just a place to stop and devour fast food – it is a state of mind, a state of being. One which I reject. And thus am rejected by that society. I am free. For most of the time it is as if I do not even exist in this world – and that is the only kind of freedom one can hope for these days.
It used to be said that money buys freedom, if not happiness, but money – the creation of the capitalist horror – is the arch enslaver. It destroyed community forever so that no matter how hard socialists or communists try, it is impossible for them to flourish. In order purely to survive they must succumb to one of the basic tenets of capitalism, the insignificance of the individual. A society based on money cannot allow the individual true rights and thus socialism and communism have inherent flaws until they reject economics. The Cuban revolution tried to restructure economics upon a new system, but you cannot tinker with economics to get a good version. Economics in its very existence is an evil. It is wrong thinking. Thus anarchism is the only possibility – the province of the individual.
Yet in the twenty first century, even anarchism is misunderstood as a result of the concept of individual having become corrupted. It has been corrupted into a vision of thoughtless violence against people when its very basis is of the primacy of people. It stands against property not people. It seeks to destroy systems not lives. It is an activity of morality not of mindless physical destruction. There is no inherent paradox, no selfishness in individualism. It does not deny community or even society. But to understand the kind of community or society it represents one has to travel outwith, either temporally or spatially, capitalism and its constructs. Firstly the individual must accept altruism – that while he is unique, every other being is also unique. And that it is the very uniqueness of the individual which is important. We are different and our difference gives us our value.
However, in the world in which we now live, every effort is made to encourage samenesss, to discourage individualism and uniqueness. It has gone so far that the mass of people now have no idea what true individuality even is any more. And certainly would not value it were it explained to them. For we are dealing with realms of morality in a world whose fulcrum is materialism.
And I have no illusion as to my power to change things, the status quo, the system, whatever. Greater men than I have died in the attempt. And for what? To save people who do not want to be saved. Worse than that, who cannot be saved. To wake up a world which has overdosed on capitalism and finds the concept of withdrawal worse than that of addiction. Which is why the only freedom is to stand outside. To learn how to live completely outside and to rid oneself of the vestiges of corruption which gnaw at the soul, the desire for external validation, for “success” in terms of that which one no longer respects. This is the paradox. Why seek this? Why expect that one will ever “succeed” to change a world that opposes everything you stand for. How expect them to welcome you into the fold, or even to set you up as a leader? You can see how they treat their leaders – sacrificing them Coriolanus style to the media or at best rewarding them with material excesses which are designed to corrupt the very morality supposedly applauded. There is no victory within the system. The only victory is without – and one cannot change things, one can only live and leave a record that one has thus lived. That one has not given in and “loved Big Brother” that one is stronger than that. That one is free.
One has to question everything. To upturn the value of everything. Take one’s “right” to procreate. In one’s own image. The biggest lie of all. Creating more cannon fodder. Another statistic. Mankind has got it wrong. It has gone past the stage when we can get it right communally. And so precisely because one cannot bring a new life into a better world, it is better not to contemplate the bringing of new life. Do you want to give birth to a slave? You enslave yourself by giving birth these days. With a child it is impossible to evade society and either you try to raise your child in freedom in which case it comes to maturity in a world even more corrupt, even more horrific than ours, with the ever present risk that it will reject individuality and become yet another slave, or you submit to the system and give up your freedom in the creation of a slave. Slavery is endemic in our world. You cannot create a free being. Capitalism dictates that. And do not be mistaken. Capitalism lies at the heart of all political and social structures of the modern world. All society is fundamentally capitalist in that all modern societies are based on a created reality known as economics. Perhaps personally, from a stage of maturity, it may be possible to largely steer clear of capitalist enslavement, but we are the last generation who will be able to do this. We have been mutated to such an extent, degraded to such an extent that it is impossible to rectify the situation. And no one even wants to try. Money was the demon which was let out of Pandora’s box and once freed, cannot now be caught. Money is the atomic bomb of the collective social consciousness.
Perhaps a new Pilgrimage to a new world is required? But the capitalists control the means of production, and the fruits of production and you cannot break into their world without coating your hands in their materialism. The only purity is purity of mind. So far they have not been able to totally destroy the capacity for free thought, but it is only a matter of time. It will come.
I used to think it was possible to influence others by example. Now I realise that the only result of ones example is that one is viewed as an eccentricity and even if people find that quaint, or charming rather than shocking or risible, they do not want to adhere to the same values. The best you could hope for is that they think they want to copy some of it, but then therein lies failure – for they are precisely copying rather than understanding the requirement for originality, for individuality. Mediocre people trying to be different are about the saddest kind. Sadder than those who have simply given up and are “the same.” If you do not feel your difference as a fundamental truth of your inner being, if your uniqueness and individuality are not the prerequisite of your existence rather than your goal, you cannot hope to succeed.
The tone of this has to appear nihilistic or downspirited in terms of all which is held socially acceptable. That it is viewed so is yet another example of how far we are from freedom. This realisation is in itself an expression of happiness, of freedom, of truth and understanding. One breaks from the shackles of trying to “fit in” of trying to “add value” to society. When one is in a corrupt society one has no responsibility to live up to the rules. To be pure in a corrupt society is simply to be corrupt by the standards of that society. To be alienated. Thus only in alienation is freedom. One does not court disapproval, or rejection, or oppression – one simply ignores their power. It doesn’t matter. Just live your life. Make your rules and question everything. Learn all the time and change and grow. As a free individual, an outsider. You may stand with your face to the window, but you do not seek to enter. You do not desire the sweets inside the shop, the warmth of the hearth on the other side of the pane of glass. The best you can hope for is to be left alone.
The utopia is to find others who understand this freedom. Like all utopias it is really a dream. They are few and far between and the commonality may be too slight. But it is possible from time to time to find others engaged on the same path. Few will stay the course, but you cannot be responsible for that. Take comfort where you can but do not outstay your welcome and do not give in to false methods. Many people think they are free. Make your own guidelines, your own test. Apply it rigorously to yourself and to others. Adapt it and reapply it regularly to make sure that you have not succumbed to the slavery of mediocrity and materialism. It is harder as you get older. There are so many more things to “have” to “be” and so much more “expected”. Both ridicule and praise will drag you down if they are from the wrong quarter. You will think you have succeeded and then you realise you have been cheated into slavery by external validation on the capitalist model. Only have respect for those who have no respect for the systems. Respect for the individual is paramount. Beyond that question everything. Hold nothing else dear. This is the reality of twenty first century living.
I am that one white daffodil.
Perfectly different, uniquely
Free from the yellowness
Of life's normality.
It's happened. I've moved. Not on, but moved. In a range of directions. My thoughts are now in other places than the immediacy of the text of All Moments and for this 'interesting' date 05052020 I decided to 'curate' 5 petals of a WHITE DAFFODIL. White Daffodil is now the working title of the thought project I'm embarking on, a selves/identity curation project. So, here are five linked pieces over time and space...
White Daffodil is 'named' 1997 ( a couple of poems from when I indulged)
Mind Dancing like it's 1997 (I'd forgotten how long ago I coined this phase)
Flash Fiction 1997 (or bits still waiting to find a home)
1999 Nothing Special (yes, foreshadows of Brand Loyalty)
2000 Rules for the 21st Century. The more things change, the more they stay the same!
Right now there's no explanations beyond the texts of these pieces, leaving the reader free to curate their own meaning. However, there are many explanations to be given. Happy to engage in comments/feedback.
Two poems from when I first encountered White Daffodils in 1997. Here in 2020 I note that in writing two poems on a white daffodil I was already embarked upon the quantumness of my communicative practice.
A WHITE DAFFODIL.
In every other respect yellow,
The very whiteness hints at
Yellow - because yellow is
What we expect to find.
"Between good and yellow"
Is now obvious.
The white daffodil
A pure perfection.
Longing for nothing
But to be left alone
A perfection of its own
Not a colourless freak.
Flower racism attacks.
But the open eye remains
Bemused, calmed and awed
By the very anarchy of nature.
A WHITE DAFFODIL II
Let me pick you
One white daffodil.
Words are unnecessary
In the giving of a flower.
Growing up a child of
The symbolism of flowers
Was lost on me ere now.
The single rose which
Speaks of love. Blake's sick rose.
The orchid of death.
The first snowdrop of spring.
Vegetables always moved me more.
A large onion, perfect leek.
A neat row of lettuces, or letti?
A row of treasure trove - potatoes.
And daffodils are yellow.
"A host of golden daffodils"
Everyone knows that.
Life's truest poetic cliche.
I am that one white daffodil.
Perfectly different, uniquely
Free from the yellowness
Of life's normality.
Here's a poem I wrote (and had forgotten about) in 1997.
And you set my mind dancing.
Brain fuck and
And mind dancing.
All of which begs the question of when something starts… I don’t think (my) creativity can be defined like that. Beginning, middle, end. It's not my notion of structure. For me, ideas sit around, rise to the surface and disappear and when the perspective of ‘the moment’ is right, out they come. But each time the iteration is different because I am in a different place and different connections are being made. But it does show that these ‘small’ ideas can grow with time.
On 05052020 I wonder on what reflection actually means. Can you reflect forwards? Forwards and backwards are not directions that are meaningful to me any more - I think that means I have fully embraced All Moments in my life as well as in my art. For me at this perspective of the moment the directions of reflection are inward and outward rather than forward and backward.
If you've read Brand Loyalty, this may give you some sense of deja vu!
Nothing special. (A trip into the exciting universe we call "home")
CHAPTER ONE: EXISTENCE IS USELESS.
"Existence is useless" yelled Ed, as he hit the accelerator. Now, you think you know that space nomads are nothing to write home about, but this story may just change your mind big time. After all, it's a large place, space; plenty of room for travelling and most of it the kind that doesn't come with a return ticket. Okay you wise ass; it's Time to think of the impossible. To expand your mind. To experience something out of the ordinary now that "Once Upon a Time" isn't a sensible way to start a story any more.
If you asked Ed and his ill-assorted band, gang, compatriots, partners in crime and buddies - hey, you can't specify these things so early on in the journey can you? Anyway, if you asked Ed and the guys, they wouldn't even think to call themselves space nomads. They were way cooler than that (hey, we're all way cooler than that in our own minds, right?) For Ed and his cohorts, the label of choice was SPACE NIHILISTS - yeah, right, like that, in Caps of course! SPACE NIHILISTS - though there was a running joke through the galaxies that they were covering. Ed and the boyz were just a splinter group of a much wider yet much less dramatic grouping : Rusty Travellers. According to them that know. Who are they? Well that's what you're gonna find out if you keep on asking questions. You gotta realise that they ask the questions and you provide the answers. It's always been that way and it's always gonna be that way. Nobody expects the…
Now there was a time when that would have been called a digression. A figure of speech; a literary device to reel you in. Now it's just bad writing. Or cheap suspense? So let's get back to the plot - if we can find one in all this mountain of nothing specialness through which we, like Ed, are careering wildly out of control.
It was true that Ed was piloting - not very skilfully - a rust bucket of a ship which couldn't truly be said to belong to him. And that was a sign of being a rusty traveller. Gotta admit that much. But being a Rusty Traveller was more of a lifestyle choice than that. Like the Romantics in the good old nineteenth century, no one really wanted to be known as a Rusty, even the one's who were good at it. And Ed was too busy being a bad nihilist to be a bad rusty as well. Not enough spacetime in the day, so to speak.
Rusty travellers had a bit of a bad reputation. That don't surprise you I'm sure. They shook things up too much. Daubed slogans on otherwise pristine ships and shops; jumped from one empty vessel to another as the whim took them, using the fuel, food, clothing and spacetime of more honest, law-abiding, tax-paying citizens of the universe. But man, that's nothing compared to a SPACE NIHILIST. You gotta believe it. They weren't even in the same galaxy.
Ed and the boyz. And that included the Gem, who was pretty sure she was a girl, and Tootle who made a big show of being gender non-specific (which ain't against the rules and don't you let no personality tax inspector tell you different!) Well, Ed and the boyz, saw themselves more as a small, but crack troop of dedicated.. well, dedicated believers that there wasn't any point in believing and if so then you might as well just give it up and have a damned good party till your number came up. The rest was nothing special. Floating round alternative realities with multiple personalities might sound exciting to you twentieth century throwbacks, but ain't nothing this side of the millennium let me tell you.
Right at this co-ordinate though, things seemed pretty lean - and the band was really on the run. To top it all they had computer problems. Or, to put it more logically, the computer had problems. Converting a computer to nihilism had seemed like a good idea at the time, but the consequences both past and future were becoming momentous. Not to put too fine a point on it - no one had a clue where they were.
Ed scratched his head. Looked at his wrist, where his spacetime piece would have been - was - had been - or might be one day - before it broke. See, Ed could never really get to grips with spacetime. Probably one of his main reasons for becoming a SPACE NIHILIST. Even alternative realities lose their charm when you've got no handle on your spacetime continuum.
Hungry. Time to eat. That was about the level of Ed's multi-level reasoning. Hey - what's so strange with that? He'd beat the pants off you at your sad computer games bud, but in the brain department, Ed was definitely a 486 in a Pentium world.
"Where we going Ed?"
That was Tootle. Hungry too. Hungry for leadership - something to fill his/ her / its belly and spiritual yearnings in a non-threatening, non-judgemental, gender non-specific way. Tootle took some getting used to. Don’t we all, first time round?
Ed shrugged his shoulders.
"Buggered if I know Tootle. Hungry?"
This was a pretty comprehensive conversation for Ed and Tootle. It wasn't that they didn't need to communicate to each other in words, it was just that they weren't very good at it. Gem did all that. Talking and stuff. Well, that's girls. Non-rational but talk you into the middle of a crisis any time you like.
Ed and Tootle were coming back for round two.
A pause. Tootle thinking, or just lost the plot again?
Luckily for us all, at this moment Gem - who had the psychic powers that the Big Banger blessed her gender with in days of yore, if you believe in all that crap - and remember WE BELIEVE IN NOTHING - Gem, walked onto the bridge, bearing a tray of food.
It doesn't matter what kind of food to you and me - we don't gotta eat it. And if Ed and Tootle had any choice they probably wouldn't either. But there you are, in a universe of choice, necessity has a mean old way of cutting through on the inside lane and pushing all other options out of the running.
"What's it?" (Tootle)
"Nothing special." (Gem)
"Thanks. It took me hours to make it." (Gem)
Now we won't let Gem in on the secret that Ed didn't mean good as in "It's good." Why does she need to know that? But you and me, we gotta know that he really meant "good that it's nothing special." Because Ed understood that if the whole caboodle of existence was useless, it was pretty out of it to enjoy your food. He had trouble even thinking that "eat to live" was a nihilistic possibility, never mind "live to eat."
See that's where historically people have got nihilists all wrong. They think that cause you think nothing means anything, you're just gonna have a wild time, living it up in hedonism heaven or somewhere equally pointless. But that's not it pal. Can't be. If nothing means anything then nothing means anything. Period. And existence is useless. The question isn't so much "So why not have a good time?" as "How can you have a good time?" How can you even have a time? Or a spacetime? Or anything?
And a full belly doesn't make such questions any easier to answer, or even to think about. Especially when you're hurtling through space completely out of control. Fractally speaking of course, it's the universal conundrum - and usefullness may well just be a philosophical position anyway - a luxury for those whose lives are unburdened for them by their acquiescence to ever-increasing taxes, and the generations yet to come, and never having to worry about who "they" are because you've got a sneaking suspicion that you're one of them anyway.
Now these aren't really Ed's thoughts - I don't think. But then you never can tell what another person's thinking, so he and Tootle might have as good a handle on this as you and me. Or not.
The bottom line is, it's lonely being a nomad. And being a NIHILIST is an almost untenable position - relatively speaking. Space is large and the maps are confusing, even with sophisticated equipment. The most careful calculation is unlikely to bring you back to the spacetime where you last saw your hat, or dog, or family - and a momentary lapse of attention could send you off on a path to a completely different reality from the one you planned. And you gotta realise that to Ed, the words planning and attention were anathama. Like spacetime and washing his hair - he just couldn’t do them.
Find out more about the theory, process and meanings - an exercise in creating a brain in a virtual vat.