Locked In {ANEWSIN VOL. 13 — Jason Garden}

Edited by Luka Riot

“Hello?!”

George screamed into the abyss in front of him. There was an echo, but it was very distant. There was no light; George could not even see his hands in front of his face.

He had no memory of how he ended up being in this place. He was not hurt, so he was not shoved violently down a hole. There was no noticeable smell, so he could not gather hints from that sense. There was only a faint breeze that seemed to come from everywhere.

It was like he was in total sensory isolation. He tried to scream again.

“Hello!”

There was no response. He was alone.

George was not sure how long he had been in that place, but he was starting to get more and more panicked as time went on. 

He did not even have a cell phone on him to check the time. He only guessed that he would not get signal in this place to use it for other reasons.

Suddenly, murmurs. Whispers and hushed voices seemed to be carried throughout the air around him.

“Hey!” George screamed. “Who’s there? Please notice me!”

He no longer cared where he was. He just wanted, or needed, to be noticed. He was alone: trapped in a void away from everything and everyone. A simple “hello” would raise his spirits high. He would then know that he was actually part of the reality around him.

George decided to do a body check, finally. He knew that his eyes, throat, and ears were all intact. He lifted what he was sure would have been an arm, and that felt right. Torso and legs seemed to be in a working order, of sorts. He was going off of feel. There was always a chance that he was impaled and just not feeling the pain for some reason.

The voices were getting louder. Regardless of how scared he was, at least he was warm. Kind of. He was actually more apathetic towards his body temperature, but he was convinced that was because he was a decent temperature.

Suddenly, everything happened.

A feeling of disorientation. There were no motion blurs or sudden visual jolts, just a feeling of complete disassociation with his body. He watched as his eyes opened, and was immediately blinded by the light. Then, figures stood all around him, looking down with faces of excitement and joy.

He was in a hospital. He had been stuck in his head, only mildly aware that there was a world around him. He could account for about an hour, voices made him aware that it had been weeks.

George was frightened. He hurt. His back and his head felt like they had been ripped open and sewn back together several times.

He was naked, but under several sheets. He was still having a hard time figuring out exactly who was around him, but he was sure there were at least five people above him. All the people-shaped outlines looming over his face. Drops of water caressed his brow.

Where was he? Where had he been? What happened to him just before he found himself in that cave?

Slowly, he put his hand on his head.
Slowly, he sat up in bed.
Slowly, he started to lose consciousness again.

Quickly, the shadows of people ran to his aid. Quickly, a code blue was announced overhead. Quickly, he stopped feeling any sort of discomfort.

Another figure was added to the pantheon. This figure was carrying two rectangular shapes in their hands. The figure slammed their might into George, forcing the two shapes into his chest. There was a loud sound, and George felt a surge flow into his chest.

Everything then came to focus. His vision, his hearing, and his breathing all coalesced into what would be described as normal. The figures were no longer just that, they were doctors, nurses, and friends. Sadly, George saw no family in the group. That is when he started to figure out what happened.

He had fallen over in pain almost a month ago. His chest was tight, and the pain caused him to lose conciseness. He could only assume, but he felt confident in assuming that it was a heart attack. He did not dare to assume what caused it, however certain he might think that he is.

The rectangles were defibrillators. His heart had started to palpitate again, and they were used to put everything back on an appropriate rhythm. George started to wonder who or what dictated “appropriate” but was also sure that now was not the time to ask those around him.

Now, George was back. Finally, he was back. He expected an onslaught of questions, but none were asked before everyone had left the room. Now, he was left alone with just one of the figures from earlier. Now, he could tell that it was a doctor. She was probably the doctor who had been with him since moment one.

His chest still hurt, and there was a distinct smell of burnt flesh and hair in the air. Probably due to the event that saved his life. Again.

George wondered if he had ever been pronounced dead during this whole ordeal. He had died once as a younger man: he had been struck by a car and doctors were very unsure if he would pull through. To say that he would get to the age of 30 would just be irresponsible of the medical community, but to say that he had no chance was just as arrogant. To dismiss the abilities of everyone who was trying to save his life the first time was naive. George and his family took great pride in him walking out of the hospital that day.

Even George, through his clouded judgement and uncertainty as to what exactly is going on, was not sure if today would have the same outcome as before. At least that time he still had his wits about him. He could feel himself forgetting his family, friends, and sense of self.

You’re Terrible {ANEWSIN VOL.12 — Jason Garden}

\\A conversation between two writers named Jerome and Kelsey. They are sitting in a mall food court with only soft drinks in front of them. \\

Jerome
Hey. Kelsey. Did you read over the rough copy of that story I sent over a few weeks ago?

Kelsey
Yeah. I did.

Jerome
Verdict?

Kelsey
It’s fuckin’ terrible.

Jerome
What’s wrong with it?

Kelsey
You try to write dialog and maybe shouldn’t. People don’t talk that way.

Jerome
What do you mean?

Kelsey
It’s stilted. Awkward. Like, consider these line:

A man steps forward. “You know that this is how we make our living. We need any sort of identification to prove we killed the right group. Now, hurry your smoke, Skylar. We gotta go.”

“Fuck you, Steve.” Skylar proclaims under her breath.

Does something feel, off, about that exchange?

Jerome
Yep.

Kelsey
What do you mean “Yep”? Do you do it on purpose?

Jerome
Depends on the situation I’m writing. Most people—

Kelsey
It should always be fluid. Otherwise it’s not natural.

Jerome
When do you ever—

Kelsey
What I find helpful is actually have a person read out loud with you to bounce the conversation back and forth.

Jerome
Okay, but that—

Kelsey
Otherwise, you run the risk of things sounding manufactured, or worse: meandering.

Jerome
So, do you think that I should always do that?

Kelsey
Why not?

Jerome
I sometimes don’t have someone to “run lines” with me. I try to read things out loud, but I don’t—

Kelsey
…don’t what? Know where to put inflection?

Jerome
—I was going to say that I don’t know how to cut myself off. I can’t seem to create the awkward that is actual conversation.

Kelsey
Then don’t cut yourself off.

Jerome
Do you realize how hard it is to create a natural conversation without cutoff’s and awkward pausing?

Kelsey
What?

Jerome
It’s very rare to have a conversation flow in real life where no one stammers or cuts someone off.

Kelsey
We’re doing just fine.

Jerome
You cut me off at least twice so far in this friendly banter that we’re having now.

Kelsey
You call this friendly banter?

Jerome
What?

Kelsey
I fucking hate your writing. It’s depressing. It’s morose. The ending is always left in space. Your language is too complicated for some.

Jerome
So, you’re saying that I should just stop?

Kelsey
NO! I’m saying that you should just get better. You seem to have written yourself into a corner where you don’t seem to grow or change. 

Your best work was a few stories ago, and you are just stagnating. Your last piece was, in your own words, similar to what you would have written in high school. And your best work is not even that good.

Jerome
So, what you’re saying is: you do like my early work?

Kelsey
No. I’m saying that you seem to think you’re okay at this. Why keep beating your head against the wall?

Jerome
… because I have to?

Kelsey
Have to? Or want to?

Jerome
Both.

Kelsey
How can it be both?

Jerome
Simple. I write for me, and the ten or so people that think my writing is worth their time.

Kelsey
Okay, but how—

Jerome
I write because I can’t draw, I can’t play drums how I used to, I can’t sing… so what other artistic thing am I doing to do?

Kelsey
So, you’re admitting that you just do this as a kind of masturbation?

Jerome
No, you pretentious prick!

Kelsey
Then why do you do this?

Jerome
Because, unlike what you say, I don’t think I suck. I have points on society that I want, or need, to make. I have opinions that I want to share. I want to challenge the ideas of spirituality, religion, and life. 

I don’t want to lay my opinions bare, because I have nothing more grandiose than ideas. Those ideas, however, do make some decent short stories.

Kelsey
So, why make them public?

Jerome
What do you mean?

Kelsey
If you are doing it for you, why infest the world with your drivel?

Jerome
Why not?

Kelsey
Because you’re fucking terrible.

//long, awkward pause

Kelsey
You read my latest book, right?

Jerome
I understand it’s merit, but it’s not my cup-o-tea.

Kelsey
What do you mean? It’s got love, death, suspense, death…

Jerome
Yeah. But not my kind of thing.

Kelsey
What do you mean?

Jerome
I’m not going to dunk on it. Just leave it at “it’s not my cup-o-tea”.

Kelsey
There’s ‘dunking’ angles?

Jerome
Drop it—

Kelsey
I didn’t think there were dunking angles…?

Jerome
KELSEY (awkward pause)

Jerome
Thank you. Can we get off the topic now? What are you working on next?

Kelsey
I’m working on a young-adult novel about a boy and a girl in high school

Jerome (under breath)
original.

Kelsey
What was that?

Jerome
Nothing. Don’t worry about—

Kelsey
—it? You just want me to drop this line of inquiry and pretend you didn’t say something?

Jerome
Why are you pushing this? I want to just drop the conversation and move on.

Kelsey
TELL ME

Jerome
No.

Kelsey
C’mon!

Jerome
Fine. You asked for this.

Kelsey
Fuckin’ finally! Thank you!

Jerome
You’re terrible. I hate your writing. You’re stories have nothing original to offer. You’re dialect is pedestrian at best. In fact, you probably don’t understand that line. You probably don’t see anything wrong with that way of doing things. You probably think it’s all fine as long as people buy into your shit, but you do NOTHING to hold yourself up to a test of time. Fuck: in five years, your books will be in a discount bin.

\\Kelsey abruptly leaves, knocking her chair into seats behind her. Jerome continues to sit, starring at his half-full cup\\

Kelsey
Fuck you. You’re a waste.

This was an attempt at something different. I have ideas to continue it, maybe write a full scene…

I have to thank Bekki, Jacob and Casey for direction.

No, I will probably never make this anything more than text. I’m not a director. Hell, I am barely a writer, but I thought I would try my hand at script writing for fun.

SUPPORT ME ON PATREON TO GET THESE EARLY!

I would like to take this moment to highlight that I released another book! Well, it’s a re-edit of You’re Not Dead, but it includes a large collection of other stuff! It’s now over 200 pages!

Any Patreon who donates any amount of money gets their name in the ‘thank you’ section!

Writing

I need to find something I enjoy as much as writing. I haven’t even released the stories for October or December, and I have started writing two releases for next year, and I am planning yet another two books.

I’m not doing all of this totally on purpose: a big part of it comes out of static. My brain is buzzing with ideas. Some of them are fantastic, others I have reservations about.

I do have a quick question: how would people react to unnecessary vernacular in upcoming releases? There have been a couple of times that I have started to put flowery language in places (in the past) and have taken them out for fear of coming off as pretentious. It’s not that I can’t limit myself down, it’s that I have fun exploring the extent of my vocabulary and derive great enjoyment from manipulating words and definitions.

It’s unreasonably fun! Take a word and change the context in which it is intended! My favourite word to fuck with is ‘abdicate‘, simply because it’s a word relatively unused in todays verbal climate.

As hinted in the post the other day, this will be my last scheduled Sunday post. This does not mean I am going anywhere, instead I am going about posting when I see fit. I think I will do better (and more) posts, especially because I will not worry about something being “old” by the time I talk about it. Gone are the days of starting rush-posts with a “~”!

The Above {ANEWSIN VOL. 8 — Jason Garden}

//Edited by Luka Riot

“Why must we do this?”

A skinny girl stands smoking a cigarette in the midst of a collection of carnage. Machines pick through the gore, collecting as many valuables as they could.

A man steps forward. “You know that this is how we make our living. We need any sort of identification to prove we killed the right group. Now, hurry your smoke, Skylar. We gotta go.”

“Fuck you, Steve.” Skylar proclaims under her breath.

Several corpses litter the street around her. The smell of decay fills the air. Skylar takes one more deep drag of her cigarette and lets the smoke slowly leave her mouth. The cloud just hovered around her lips as there was no wind to replace the air.

The smell was putrid: flesh and steel flood the ground where the two stand, and it is not shielded by the elements. The area is bathed in the sun, and the temperature is sitting at a balmy 40 Celsius. Carnage as far as the eye could see.

Their job was simple. They just had to collect any valuables they could find. May that be rare metals, jewelry, or small electronics. Cellphones are the best find, as they contain a trace of gold. It wasn’t much, but it could be just enough to make the week affordable.

“I need a fuckin’ shower.” Skylar proclaims as she flicks the smouldering end of her cigarette off to the side, narrowly avoiding a machine picking over remnants of a cadaver. “Hopefully, the smell of the soap will clean the stench from my mind.”

Steve laughs. “How poetic of you! Soap. D’ya think we can afford soap? I dunno ‘bout you, but I can barely afford the water for a shower.”

Just then, an explosion behind a wall shakes the ground.

“Do you think they know we’re here? That sounded a bit too chaotic to just be construction.” Skylar asks, her expression showing mild fear.

This was the life they half chose to lead. The masses were forced underground decades ago, and a handful of people were chosen to be scavengers, looking through rubble. The corporations still feud over bits of what remains on the mainland, trying to get their hands on materials to manufacture things to sell to people so they can remain dependent on the corporations, so the corporations can exploit the masses and rape the lands they once inhabited. 

“The bombs sound close. Too close. We need to bail.” Steve is now right behind Skylar as he calmly exclaims this.

Skylar lets out a slight chuckle as her face softens. “You read my mind.” She pulls out a pad from her bra and pushes a button on the face of the device.

A small flying ship comes to their location. It has only two seats, and the full span of the wings is only five meters. The two get on and it leaps into the air. It doesn’t generate much air, yet moves with great power and speed. Skylar gets behind the steering wheel and Steve, in the passenger seat, keeps his eyes out towards the horizon.

“Did you collect anything?” Steve asks his comrade. “Your pack looks rather empty.”

“Sight can be an illusion. Size means little in this game, you know that.” Skylar takes her right arm and tosses a small satchel towards Steve. Inside is two rings and a cell phone. “We’re set for a bit, anyway. What did you find?”

“Some small stuff, but nothing this classy!” Steve’s tone is quite jovial. “We’re set for almost a month, even if we get half market value for this stuff!”

Steve puts the salvage into a bucket under the seat he is in. It clangs against a few other things that the two got from a previous venture. By Steve’s observation, they have the bucket half full.

The two of them soar through the air for a bit, keeping their elevation roughly a kilometer above the ground. They only remain at that height for a couple of minutes before Skylar suddenly drops altitude.

“I fucking hate this part.”

They enter a small cave, barely enough for their vessel to get through. It is far from well maintained. They ride the small entrance tunnel for at least an hour.

“Are the walls closing in around me, or am I just loosing it?” Skylar asks.

“You know you’re fine. You’ve done this a million times” Steve replies, sounding exhausted.

Patreon helps me pay bills, feed Luka’s dog and keep everything running.

Update Time!!!

I usually write blog posts by Monday and have short stories lined up for at least a month. For the first time in a long time, I find myself with a totally empty cue. That is not because I am lazy, but because I find myself with too much in my mind to make a coherent post.

I have written and rewritten this post several times. I refuse to leave you hanging for another week while I sort out my personal life and try to find even a stand of something interesting. Therefore, I am writing this! Is that not super exciting? I know you are having a hard time containing your sounds of enthusiasm and glee.

Know what? I’m just going to put the developments that have come, in rapid succession, over the last week.

  1. I found a new way to step! To make it more exciting: I KNOW THAT IT IS THE RIGHT WAY! I have been walking with my knees locked for the last year. I knew it was wrong, but I could make it KIND OF work for the few steps that I needed to complete when using the washroom or going to bed. DID YOU KNOW THAT THERE IS A BEND IN YOUR KNEE WHEN YOU STAND?!?!?!? I did not. It seemed counter-intuitive to me. Why, when you are trying to stand, would you bend your knee? What is this magic?! Then, my wife mocked me for stepping like a pirate who has seen better days and explained the mechanics of the leg further than anyone has explained them in the past. Please keep in mind: she was a parapoligic for about a year and re=learned how to walk herself, so she is allowed to make fun of me. Well, let’s be frank, anyone can make fun of me so long as I know that it is in jest. I digress, I can now take a couple of more steps. Still no where near not needing the chair for open spaces, but things feel a little more comfortable AND I feel less silly. Oh, and my knees no longer feel like they are going to explode out of my flesh. So, I guess that’s a good thing.
  2. AMAZON REJECTED ME! By that, I mean the thing I was trying out. If I want to be paid by Amazon for advertising for them, I have to collect sales in my first “X” days. A fair number of them. In a reality that surprises NO ONE: I didn’t even get clicks for the links that I had made available to the public. I do understand Amazon’s wish the govern this, seeing as they already have thousands of people advertising for them. This increases the importance of devices like Patreon to make sure that I can keep doing this. I love writing, and I am always trying to find new avenues to do it. So far, the short stories are going well, and people seem to enjoy them. At least, they do to my “face.” WHAT A GREAT SEGUE INTO POINT THREE! segue is a stupid word.
  3. Story three is taking a lot longer than I wanted it to. I wanted to write something completely original. Like I mentioned in a recent post, I want to dissect and rewrite an old story idea I had originally come up with over ten years ago. In trying to do that, I have come up with literally HUNDREDS of premisses and intro paragraphs. All of which I get so far, then they fall apart. I have written most of them down in a document so I have them in case I need them later, but I am feeling the heat as I want to have the Patreon supporters their copy in just over a week from today.

So, yeah. See how not one of these points are longer than a few lines? Each would make a good blog entry if I could expand it further than just a few lines. I prefir to keep things at more than just a thought or two, though I do realize how just one thought would make things easier to follow.

DAMN MY MIND. BACK TO THE GRIND.

heh… that rhymed.
And so did that…

One Week Later.

Last week, I published the first anewsinPublication. I got very little in the way of feedback, either constructive or otherwise. I am not offended, just insecure. I am, after all, an artist of sorts.

There is something rather troubling when you get no feedback versus bad feedback. If someone hated your work, then they at least read it and felt strongly enough to say “that was crap!” before moving on with their life. When there is no feedback, you worry that what you produced did not touch anyone in anyway.

I remember playing shows and intentionally ruining a song or two just to find out if someone would call me out on it. Ironically, those shows were always met with reviews praising us. I say ‘us’ because I did that with pretty much every musical outfit I was with at the time.

What is the point that I am trying to drive home? Read the story, and respond how you see fit. Share with friends and tell them to read it ONLY if you see that as a fit action. Tell me you hated it if you hate it, but please tell me why. I am doing this to better my writing, and I will not learn anything if I am just left to my own devices. ESPECIALLY not now, being as I am editing my own work. If something is crap, if it does not blend, if the timeline of events is off, please tell me. There is a good chance that it was NOT on purpose.

Now for an explanation of this post: I did not know what to upload with this week. I have a couple of topics I would like to explore, but it became Friday before I even wrote the first word of this piece. Please forgive me.

 

IMPORTANT NOTE: I fixed the PayPal link on the last article. So sorry about that.

EQUALLY IMPORTANT: There is a hint of what’s to come up on the anewsin Publication page for September.

No News is Good News?

As the title implies, I have been up to very little this week. Mostly writing, and editing, for my new project.

I am pretty sure that I have the first story (called Elaine) complete to satisfactory. Please, join the Patreon for a subscription, and look into the explanations page if you are an aspiring writer!

Oh: and happy June!

Special thank you to my personal Patrons! With there help, I am able to afford to keep this site up another year!

I have nothing else to report for this update, so I will leave you with an album you need in your life. Die Hexe is by far one of, if not the greatest bands I found through MtM. Give it a listen. Let me know what you think!

UPDATE A FEW DAYS LATER!

I have already given up on doing the publication thing the way I was gearing up for. There was just one or two text-based supporters and just one person even signed up for it. Between that and the fact that I could not make the price of signing up lower than a dollar, I decided to shut it down.

This brings good news to everyone, though! I am going to be going ahead with releasing a new story every couple of months! There are more details on my Patreon, but I am going to be posting them here. For now, it will be instead of a regular blog. I have updated my Patreon to include new goals related to that, as well as a goal to help me afford my medication every month.

Have I mentioned recently how much I love you? The people who frequent this site are instrumental in giving me a reason to do something/anything with myself. The Patreon supporters are fantastic as well, for letting me afford to do this. You get love, also!

two in a month!?! & NEWS GLORIOUS NEWS!

I am terrible at multitasking. I am launching something new next week, so my focus has been there. I am sorry, I will do regular updates starting a week from today. I promise.

REAL UPDATE!

As I stated above: I have been crafting something that I am very excited to bring to the world!

anewsin Publishing is the name of the new project! Basically, a dollar every month gets a subscription of sorts!

By e-mail, you will receive a PDF of a short story by an unpublished author. Most stories will be shorter in length, but they will be excellent! Check out the Patreon for more information and a way to subscribe!

Some music for you! I have been binging The Flaming Lips as of late. I am not quite sure why. I really recommend this song.

I blew my metaphorical load early. I hope you do not mind. If you ARE interested, but unsure of what kind of content to expect, there is a file uploaded where you get the intro to the new work.

I did a bad

So, I was doing all this planning and research for my next update. It was going to be another top-10 list of albums that I highly recommend listening to. I was planning on going about it entirely differently and I was genuinely excited to share it.

Then: I did something horrible.

I do not have a strong excuse, but it did not save I probably hit the “be a moron and throw away hours of work?” button when it came up.

REGARDLESS: I spent seven hours getting together some amazing albums, finding songs, and writing blurbs about each one. It probably was not all that good, but I thought it was fantastic.

I have talked before on this site about the importance of doing something you enjoy to survive another moment in this bleak existence. I have three sources for distraction: music, writing, my wife. That is not to say that is all I have in life, quite the opposite: between friends and family, my calendar is rarely empty. I will say those are my favourite and most time consuming things because I make them so. I would not have it any other way.

~PATREON UPDATE AND IMPORTANT QUESTION

I updated the Patreon to include a nifty reward. If you donate $10 a month, you will now be privy to a free PDF of a book in some state, plus your name in the Thank You list at the end of said book.

Of course, this will be a month to month thing, and there will not be a release every month. I do, however, want to get to a point where I can write a novella a month.

To those out of the know, a Novella is roughly 100 pages: a little longer than a short story but shorter than a full novel. I take great pride in my ability to write those so far. I have actually been working on another couple as we speak.

I would also like to announce that I am re-working You’re Not Dead and trying to find a proper publisher. That is not saying anything bad about Friessen Press. Quite the opposite, really. They gave me the confidence to pursue writing on a grander scale. They are self-publication, however. Though they have fantastic tools and decent distribution, it costs far too much to continue on with them.

Now, for the important question: Do you have something that you listen to while doing artistic things? I have been spinning Kevin Drew’s Spirit If… album at almost grotesque amounts. Between that, and Do Make Say Think, I have right to believe that my wife is loosing her mind with the peculiar sounds radiating from my computer.

MEH.