The good folks of Planet Earth are presently being granted a sneak peak at Chapters Seven and Eight of SILVER BROWN through something they tell me is called Twitter, at a rate of one page a day. These two chapters are roughly equal in length, and constitute the first part of a distinct four-chapter story arc. The second part will come later in the year.
This particular story arc is one of few in the entire book that actually has its own title. Since it’s a depiction of the first genuine test of Florys MacNab’s mettle as a cyberwitch, it is (somewhat aptly) entitled The Final Exam.
A famous Zen master (can’t remember if it was Thich Nhat Hahn or not, but it most likely wasn’t) once described the Twitterverse (or something similar to it; the abnormal behaviour found on social media actually predates it by millennia) as an ocean full of gasoline. A collective monkey mind which the smallest spark will cause to violently explode. My former boss possessed such a monkey mind. I once casually described it in such terms to the executive assistant du jour. When the boss found out what I said, she went right ahead and proved my point in plain view of me, completely failing to notice I had proven it. How could she notice? She never had the beginner’s mind to notice such things. From her perspective, she was the stable genius who was always right, and I was always wrong. Because she went to Harvard, and I didn’t. The executive assistant (who also didn’t go to Harvard) quit in disgust a few weeks later upon realizing I was right.
Years later, she who attained Eternal and Everlasting Rightness during her time at Harvard went wrong. Very wrong. As in, attempted murder wrong. Going insane and stabbing a dude doesn’t fit any definition of Rightness that either I or the Crown are aware of. A couple of weeks before The Incident, she spoke to me on the phone. One final time. With a tone of voice that sounded very loving and motherly, she told me I had a “brilliant mind” and that she was proud of me. Make of that whatever you will. For me, it felt like a Luke-unmasking-Vader moment with a faint tinge of Lovecraft to it…
Since I obviously have plenty of practical experience dealing with monkey minds, I like to think I’ve learned a thing or two over the years about channeling their energy towards more beneficial ends. In many ways, the outrage culture makes the Sea of Tweet ideal waters for the maiden voyages of new chapters. If a creative work of any sort can survive a perilous trek across the great ocean of gasoline, then she’s seaworthy and can be brought to port.
Chapters Five and Six of SILVER BROWN have had their maiden voyages already. Not only were there no devastating explosions to speak of, but I actually got some positive feedback to boot. Having passed the first test, these chapters shall now be archived at a rate of one page a day. On a platform with a significantly less restrictive character limit, allowing for the massive herds of happy-clappy types native to the area to pen their famously impassioned rants detailing why this author is assured of eternal damnation. In either title case or all caps. With the mandatory quota of at least three Biblical citations and a non sequitur reference to some “socialist” politician that apparently ruined their life. That platform being the Zuckerberg Tabernacle, of course. A late show is presently afoot there, for the benefit of those who missed the early show. Click or tap on Zuck’s head below to watch. The price of admission is your soul. Because it’s Facebook.
This website was launched on October 28 of last year. I chose that date for two reasons. The first reason being it’s my usual shtick to unleash things upon the earth either on the seventh day of a calendar month, or on a date that corresponds with a number divisible by seven. That’s just how I roll. The second reason is that I wanted to launch the site in time for November, which among other things is National Novel Writing Month. Or NaNoWriMo (nan-oh-RHYME-oh), as it’s known for short.
The gist of NaNoWriMo is to challenge people to produce a novel of at least fifty thousand words during the month of November. For the benefit of all participants, the rules don’t state that the novel has to be riveting or particularly well-written. Authoring a complete novel of that high a calibre in thirty days or less would be a Herculean undertaking for most people, unless Green Eggs and Ham counts as a novel now and I didn’t get the memo.
The notable lack of Nobel Prize-worthy material composed during NaNoWriMo is virtually of no concern to all involved, however. It’s not so much about producing the next Hamlet as it is about getting people engaged in the craft of creative writing, so they gain a newfound appreciation for the art. Ultimately, a newfound love of literature itself – a love always stronger and more ubiquitous than we’re ordinarily accustomed to believing it is.
Like many people, I’ve read a lot of books over the years. Not all of them I loved right away. Some were confusing as all shit on the first read, only starting to make sense upon subsequent reads. Some caused a certain churning feeling in my gut with either an absurdly improbable premise or something outright inexcusable, like purple said-bookism abuse. Some books left behind a strong Whiskey Tango Foxtrot aftertaste in my conscience that persisted years after I read the last sentence. Then there are other books that are just plain horrifying. But all in all, I don’t regret reading a single book I’ve ever read. A library is a different plane of existence. A place devoid of regret.