“Good Christ, a Jewish man with parents alive is a fifteen-year-old boy, and will remain a fifteen-year-old boy till they die!”
– Philip Roth, Portnoy’s Complaint
I lost my mother earlier this year, shortly after the winter solstice. My mood about that varies with the alignment of the stars on any given day, for my relationship with her was complicated. To put it mildly. She was a rule-enforcer. A dogmatic one at that. More the type of parent to tell me not to do something than to do it. Always more terrified of the possible negatives that could arise from any given situation rather than excited about the possible positives. So I grew up with the feeling that I couldn’t really rely on her as a life coach; I had to look well outside the home environment from an early age to find my inspiration. My mother’s level of depressing merely intensified as she got older, and would leave this world fearful, angry and miserable after a mere sixty-nine years. A slow horrible death, by all accounts.
I’m still struggling to come to terms with living in a world without my mother in it. She’s been an omnipresence in my life for so long that her absence is almost shocking. It’ll take a bit more time for the shock to wear off, methinks. Some days I’m fully comfortable living in this new world, and other days I’m so uncomfortable with it that I willfully go looking for love in all the wrong places. But if I ever have one of those days when I just can’t deal, it helps to write something. The written word oft proves to be my salvation. Just the act of tapping away at the keyboard puts me in a better frame of mind. The words I write occasionally even shine a light on something I’ve never considered before, even if I end up deleting them soon after.
Due to its potency, and the bevy of perils that could possibly be wrought from its misuse, methinks written prose should ideally be allowed time to breathe prior to consumption. Like a bottle of wine. Or this guy’s brain. Take your pick.
Specifically, it is foolhardy to publicize a written work on the same day it was composed. You have to sleep on it at least once before entertaining any vague notion of letting somebody else read it. At the (very unfortunate) risk of sounding like your mama, a good night’s rest assists both the body and the mind to purge themselves of waste. Which is kind of important. After a good mindshitting, you’re a new (wo)man. You can approach your work with a clearer conscience. This is something my crazy boss never understood. The one with the magna cum laude degree from Harvard who went insane and stabbed a dude. Sleep was taboo to her. She could never be bothered to excrete her own mindshit because she was too busy running the world, and eventually found herself with a massive pulsating backlog of that ectoplasmic goop which ruptured all over the news.
The work itself likewise needs time to sit and rest periodically. Sometimes the best thing to do with a project is put it off to the side and not fuck with it for a while. Just let it age, like Kentucky bourbon. A quote that’s stuck with me for many years is that enlightenment is like a cat. If you chase after it, it will run from you. But if you remain still and free your mind of expectations, the cat will jump right into your lap. It’s good that I can just allow the cats to come to me now, after many years of working for somebody who was always insistent on chasing them (and extremely hostile towards any suggestion that chasing them might not be the best way to go). One of those cats just told me to leak more information about the nature of the Environment in the chapter I’m editing now. But not too much.
My former boss went insane and stabbed a dude. It made headlines throughout Canada during the annus horribilis that was 2016. I’ve elaborated on her insanity in excruciating detail elsewhere on this site, although at this point I can’t be arsed to dig up the link. [EDIT 4/23/2019 17:20 UTC-5 I guess I can be arsed now. Here it is.] In retrospect, it’s a good thing I abruptly quit my job and got the hell out of Toronto five months before the boss completely snapped. If I hadn’t, she probably would have stabbed me instead of the doorman. I had to get treatment from a shrink for a period of three years after quitting, but at least I made it out of there in one piece. More or less.
I couldn’t have done it alone, though. To all the people who lent me a helping hand along the way, I sincerely thank you. From the bottom of my heart. You know who you are. Even if said helping hand was not lent out of any particular concern for me, you still have my eternal gratitude for getting me out of a terrible jam.
Silver Brown is first and foremost an exercise in self-therapy. Like the writingcraft tends to be for a sizable portion of its practitioners. It’s just an added bonus that some people actually find this crazy yarn entertaining. There’s something exhilarating about taking a life experience that was beyond painful for me personally and turning it into something that makes people happy. Speaking of which, it’s only natural that my former boss (who has since become worm chow) would become the basis for at least one of the characters. There are actually bits and pieces of Ellis Kirkland splattered across several characters, but this blog post will focus on one in particular.
The chapter I’m editing now sees Florys being interrogated by a Sister who she considers to be her archnemesis. Ruby Lapp. Head page of the Executive Cabinet, and the obvious darling of the Lodge. Ruthless. Powerful. Ambitious. Destined to take over the Vizier-Queen’s job someday, with absolutely nothing standing in her way. Just ask her loyal and ever-honest toadies, The Lads…
Snow White was always being followed around wherever she went by a retinue of woodland critters. I’m not really sure why. Because she was all pure and innocent? Some horseshit like that. A few drafts into the writing of this tome, I gave Ruby Lapp a woodland critter retinue of her own. Partly to be sarcastic. But The Lads don’t follow her around and kiss her ass because she’s pure and innocent. Hell, no. They do it because kissing her ass is their job and they’ll be permanently deleted if they refuse, for they are but worms and peons who only exist to serve their master.
It can be said Ruby Lapp is the opposite of a Snow White – an Acid Rain Black. Any musicians reading this are welcome to steal that for the name of their band.
Ruby Lapp can also be considered Draco Malfoyish. She considers herself a true Sister, because she comes from eleven generations of cybermagickal practitioners. Florys’ pedigree is nowhere near as impressive; her father (whose current whereabouts are unknown) was an Orycteropian pitchman who pimped the Aardvark’s wares to the masses every Lisasday morning. In the world according to Ruby Lapp, this makes Florys and her kind a lower form of life than the tardigrades who inhabit pond scum. Scum that most certainly will be wiped from the face of the Lodge when Ruby Lapp is enthroned as Vizier-Queen. That glorious day shall come to pass. Maybe not tomorrow or the day after, but someday.