A few weeks ago, I received an email from Chance Averill, a longtime reader.
Chance told me that she enjoyed my posts, but wondered if I could go beyond the general info provided on the site. She wanted me to coach her in both writing technique and in navigating a successful literary career.
Obviously, I accepted. I mean, helping writers flourish is the reason that I started this blog in the first place.
Over the course of a few weeks of intensive sessions, Chance has developed this first piece that I’ll present to you – Eventide. Enjoy!
Countless times I have sat or lied beside you. Sometimes just in the same room with you in a trance, eyes affixed to a screen. The thought of you stroking yourself off into the night to thousands of little boxes formed into a fantasy, be it organized into cosmic or flesh scene, I always find myself revolted by it. I came from the senses. Scent, sound, touch, taste, the beauty of nature impressed upon me without that incessant buzzing in my ears. I was cultivated to acquire the flavor of salted skin on my tongue. My eyes burned, melting into more than a few others as we’d drift from dusk to dark turned loose in a field, under the trees, locked into a van with the windows condensed so thick with shared breath, they would drip. You are a digital slave and I am an analog damsel held captive in your world where the empty fantasies never end and reality is obsolete. Meanwhile, I itch and boil and ache for my sickly savagery. I almost left to go be with two different self absorbed assholes just because I knew if I touched them, they would feel real: filthy, weathered, connected to cellular entropy, in tune with the cycles of corporeal rise and fall. This is the best time to be with you, listening to you heaving through membranes, forcing air through your nasal passages. You sleep like a beast but you wake and function like a milk cart, the wheels turning incessantly knowing only the draw of compulsion. I knew this when I met you. It didn’t matter then. I just wanted the company of another accepting body in the room. My former partner made my world a living nightmare and I would descend to your basement to get stoned so my awareness of his cruelty could dilute, if only for a while. I had to deal with your e-hive, its whirring and spinning. I knew I’d be leaving that town and would have to acclimate to the electronic grid of a city. So we did it and the hardest thing of all after five years of transition is having shored up a strong desire for community, the touch of other humans amidst the constant interference of electromagnetic bombardment.
The purgatory of commitment gets really bad at night, I imagine walking out into the dark and intercepting some beautifully physically sculpted brother under the moonlight, somewhere the vegetation gets thick and the waves of radiation subside. Where the human organism reclaims its domain of the tangible, receptive and offensive vessel we call a body. I dream of the bicep covered by cotton, the kind I can pull back and feel the skin of humanity spark against my own. Just standing there in the dark holding fast to his arms overcome by the lust of this vehicle. Like an utter stalker in the night, over his shoulder and inhaling his organic pheromones. Somewhere the wires and threads and frequencies can’t find me. Your snoring flaps next to me like a lone car window of four open on a fast highway or like a taut sheet on the line, yanked by a strong breeze. The most agitating and yet one of the few truly human things that you do.
I guess all addiction is human. Like water caught in a dam or cornered in a recess of mud. It’s a blockage. The fluid swirling around in a spiral pressing against the resistance of its mineral boundaries. That’s where I’ve been for too long. Compressed into a bubble of existence with you. Self imposed abduction though you would protest, you wouldn’t find a way to sweep me off into the trees to ravage me; I know this because its been years and you’ve yet to try. You’re not uncivilized like me. You don’t see what’s amiss and if I were to explain it you would find a way to take that upon yourself as criticism but it isn’t. It’s just a fact of my reality, I haven’t been swept away in so long. I don’t even mean the sexual component. Just the pure and concentrated animal intimacy. The grooming and preening, the encompassing tears and sweat and temperature of living beings. Raw epidermal exchange under the canopy of lush green arboreal protection. I long to hear the vocal undulations so close to my ears that I’m actually overwhelmed by tuning in. Intonations traveling the auditory range, so close to a real person you can hear their heart pumping blood through their veins.
This body has become shabby from neglect but I’m determined to rekindle the fires of my will’s hearth to blaze frenzied trails for future deviants to tread. I expect my new style of conditioning will revive this body to its former fusion with the human network in all its disgusting and meaty glory soon enough. I don’t know how you’ll take it when I redeem my soul from the systematic tedium you’ve become accustomed to but I won’t let that deter me from this quest. This is what alive means: knowing instinctively when something is wrong, be it physically imbalanced or psychologically insubstantial. I’ve always been so observant, so detailed, apprehensive and cognizant of my environment and it looks as if I shall remain this way indefinitely. The universe perverted me for its own purposes and this is the crux of my character. By it I have been instilled with a sort of curse to defy the convention of societal inundation and drudgery. The affect of industrialization is lost on me. I am repelled by factory bought or thought and am drawn to invention, defiance and distinction.
The drowsy montage of time flips me forward like a slideshow into a quaint backyard enclosure. The sun shines but the brutal unabating winters from the North clutch desperately onto the breeze here even in the subtropics. Years now and I have yet to run the beach in the notorious birthday suit I donned frequently in the woods I hailed from. It’s not a matter of fear but of liberation. Gotta be able to pay the fines for indecent exposure and gotta have a co-pilot ne’er do well to get caught with. You’re a lovely soul to watch a clock tick beside in content TV dinner, suburban ambiance but you are not what I expected. In your flights of fancy and bold displays of courtship days, the peacock colors you presented to the world I later discovered were a gold dust mirage fashioned by your esteemed PR party planner. She had you impacted in the bowels of her closet and tagged you on the clearance rack or not unlike a fixer-upper staged in presentation for quick sale.
She made you believe you were a bargain basement find and when she set you out on the floor with a ribbon round you, she knew there was sentimental value but grossly underestimated how much. After the transaction was complete and you were no longer a utensil in her drawer, she lamented her lost showpiece. A curio; a trifle and none know better than I the value you have depreciated yourself to match her assessment of you. I challenge your self-analysis and it’s no cake walk to prove your potentiality to you after a lifetime of her training. It’s so strange to watch you shrink small as the curtains of life open wider. With such qualifications as yours, one would think you’d light up naturally luminous under such conditions but the seats are empty, save the one for yourself. I understand your perception, you see no need for masquerade knowing full well what lies beneath. But do you really? You only know the subjective half of it and undercut your own value, by default of course, to the point of discounting your own position as an observer, an objector. That is the gaping seat you refuse to take, declined to applauding yourself on in the moment and instead tolerating the experience with banal filler: activating the digital treadmill and running the program. The one you coded straight from watching your father fall asleep in those aisles despite your exhibitions. I glimpse smiles of accomplishment after the fact when another captures your skill in motion but not so when you are dared to espouse the present moments where your inner critic could be your greatest ally. You deny him and by that mistake diminish the adjective, “potential” as it’s curse word counterpart in noun form. It doesn’t have to be an ends but for that you must make peace with the means to embrace ambition and promote your inherent promise. That dirty word, “abeyant”, “unrealized” “within the realm of possibility”…potential.
Through the viewmaster, my mind frames back as the shadows fall to what I need. The waking hours belong to function and the eventides are bound to form. I always do this… begin with me but somehow end with you. My cold toes cramp my style, waiting for my high noons to return and my deep currents to swell once again. I hope one day your epiphany of this skewed vantage point will strike you and that ambition will engulf you so that you’ll set sail with purpose. You’ll open your eyes to the world waiting for you, one without scarcity and excuses, one lavish with passion, joy and bounty. I long for those days where you leave the false security of her mainland and make the voyage to the claim that we have staked. Long as I might, you may never make that journey. No matter, you don’t have to be a force of nature but it is inevitable that I must. I only hope you’ll batten down the hatches and find your hands on the wheel ready to navigate the squalls when they arrive. If the lighthouse goes dark, I hope for your sake you’ll have your position ready and your eyes on the stars for when the clouds part. I don’t want you lost out there drifting, a drenched straggler on the liquid frontier as I come ashore and lose these sea legs, primed and ready to be a pioneer.
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Fighting the good fight with you,