A fount of literary inspiration is nestled somewhere deep in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. A little place they call Banff. The name is Scottish in origin, according to what I just read on the official website. An appellation borne by both Canada’s oldest national park and the main town within said park. In the vernacular of this great land of beavers and poutine, most talk of Banff centers around the park. Yet contrary to what some people (mostly east of Winnipeg) believe, a town called Banff exists. I present this morning to the fine folks of Planet Earth an exhibit of original photographic evidence of its existence.
Everybody knows there is no Walt Disney World in Canada. But there’s Banff, and that’s close enough. It’s a town where the streets are all named after woodland critters. Where you can buy a shot of vodka from a street vendor like you’d buy a hot dog in a different city where provincial liquor laws aren’t nearly as lax. If that sort of thing turns your crank. During the height of ski season, half the population suddenly becomes Australian…
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.