A Brave New Christmas Day!

As you can likely guess, gang — not much news!

In fact, this is actually it:

Restored Republic news update (8 mins):

And this is not officially “news” — especially since it comes by way of Real Raw News — but it is still fun to contemplate: the mi l i tary tri bu nal of Dr. Fr anc is Collins: AT GITMO, DR. FR AN CIS COLLINS BLAMES C* VID LIES ON DR. FAU CI (4 mins):

And that’s it for today.

I had an interesting Christmas Eve and am planning on having an interesting Christmas Day, and even the day after. Since I am once again working on the novel-in-progress Thug Luckless: Welcome to P-Town; a dystopian novel told from the POV of an abandoned A.I. male sex robot who lives in P-Town. (And in this instance, P-Town does not stand for the gay summertime capital of the United States, Provincetown; it stands instead for a town where indoor plumbing no longer works. I leave it to your imagination from there.

So, last night, after watching the de rigeur A Charlie Brown Christmas while I made my dinner, and then, for some reason, watched the very old Christmas TV special John Denver & the Muppets (which I’ve seen a few times before — not bad at all, but not sure why I watched it again). Anyway.

From there, I re-watched the original film version of Orwell’s 1984 (from the 1950s). And then began listening to the audiobook for Huxley’s Brave New World — which I’d read in high school, but it was the same year we had to read Ayn Rand’s Anthem, and I now get the two novels confused.

[Very short summary: Brave New World: “The standardization of society is the main thing in the World State. “Community, Identity, Stability” – this is the motto of the planet. In this world, everything is subordinated to expediency for the good of civilization. In a dream, children are instilled with truths that are written in their subconscious. And an adult, faced with any problem, immediately recalls some kind of saving recipe, remembered in infancy. This world lives today, forgetting the history of mankind.”]

[Very short summary: “Anthem takes place in some unspecified future time and place in which freedom and individual rights have been obliterated. Collectivism — the political philosophy holding that an individual exists solely to serve the state — is dominant and has led to the establishment of a global dictatorship of the Fascist or Communist variety.”]

The audiobook will take a while to finish listening to, but meanwhile, I have also begun re-reading Camus’ The Plague. (“[…] an allegory of World War II and a universal meditation on human conduct and community. “)

I think all this gives you an idea of where Thug Luckless is headed.

I first read The Plague in 1980, right after moving to NYC, when I was 20. I remember reading it at my desk at work — I was a receptionist for a successful fashion design company, located in the Empire State Building — a job I hated and was absolutely no good at and was fired from within 6 months.

What’s interesting to me, though, is that I underlined many sentences throughout the book while I was reading it . This is something I’ve always done and still do. However — wow. So interesting to see what my 20-year-old self found important enough to underline!! Because these are still things I find important today, at age 61.

Anyway, I love this feeling — when I am absorbed in the process of writing something new, even when it is a post-Apocalypse dystopia.

So that’s my upcoming Christmas weekend. I hope you are planning something equally inspiring, whatever it ends up yielding.

I leave you today with several things!

My ex-husband in NYC was out walking around Midtown Manhattan after midnight last night, and he texted me several great photos during the night. This one, I found particularly nauseating: Bergdorf’s Christmas window for this year!

What the fuck, right??? It looks like Bergdorf’s has rediscovered LSD. But I think it speaks volumes about where NYC is at these days — no longer the urban sophistication capital of the world, is it? All that is gone, baby, gone.

And here is a really wonderful photo of Nick Cave from Instagram, that I had never seen before. It really makes me laugh!!!! (We won’t be impertinent and ask why his thing-a-ma-jiggy (finger) is pointing at Kylie’s name….):

1984, George Orwell, film version from 1956 (1 hr 30 mins):

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, 1932; audiobook (8 hrs):

And brief excerpt from the middle of Chapter One, Thug Luckless: Welcome to P-Town:

Mavis had lived alone in the apartment since the accident at the plant. Her husband was “one of the lucky ones,” she said, who had died instantly. Their two children, who had been at the school down the road from the plant, had practically melted, but it had still taken them a while to die.

“The hospital, of course, was full. And I mean beyond belief full,” she said. “My kids had to die in a long row of children, out on the sidewalk. In front of where the school had been just that morning. They couldn’t be moved, you know. I couldn’t take them home with me so that maybe they could die in their own beds. What was left of their skin would have just fallen right off if I’d so much as touched them.”

Since those days with Mavis, I have met many women in P-Town whose kids had died in that long line of melting children out on the sidewalk in front of where the school had been.

I have tried to picture it on my inner screen – that long line – but all that comes up when I focus is a line of baby goats that have been set on fire, and I don’t know what it means.

I hear the screaming, though. Of the baby goats. It’s horrible.

I cannot process suffering.

That’s how I damaged one of my hearing sensors. Slamming one side of my head into the concrete pylon of the old overpass. Trying to make the horrible sounds of screaming stop.

*     *     *

“It’s always so damn hot now – always.” Mavis would come to bed in the tiniest nightgown. It hardly covered any of her skin but she still said she was hot.

The plumbing wasn’t great but there was still electricity in most places in P-Town. Lights worked. Small appliances worked. But the machines that made the air cold, those didn’t work anymore and no one from the city would come to P-Town to fix those. They wouldn’t fix anything in P-Town. If something broke down, it stayed broken.

“They’re afraid,” Mavis explained. “They think that if they come here, they’ll all catch what we’ve got and then go home and die. But that’s just stupid. It doesn’t work that way. If you weren’t here during the accident then it won’t affect you – it’s not that simple. Nothing is that simple. But it sure is easy to be stupid, isn’t it, Bill?”

“Yes,” I would reply. And I knew for sure the reply was correct.

*     *     *

Mavis said, “Sometimes I get so tired in the afternoon that I can’t keep my eyes open another minute and then I lie right down and fall dead asleep for five minutes. Just five minutes. And I feel myself step out of my body – right out of it – and I take off and run. I’m free. I’ve got stuff to do – to investigate. To see. To feel. I come back, and I can look at my body, I know where it is, where to find it. And sometimes I say, ‘I’m not getting back in. I’m done now.’ But then I always get back in and then I wake with a start – like I’m falling.”

I don’t sleep. I don’t dream. I don’t know what any of that stuff feels like. But when Mavis would talk about it, all those words were in me – I could see them and I understood.

The day that she died, I saw her on the screen inside me: she took off and ran. It was just like she’d said had happened in the dream. She was free. Done with it. She left her body and did not get back inside.

*     *     *

Mavis called it “spooning.” To spoon. “Like spoons, and how they fit together in a drawer,” she said. “It’s an old-fashioned word but most people still know what it means.”

I was not pre-programmed to spoon, so she pressed my “learn” button and then told me to lie on my side on the bed, as she was doing, and to make my body form a sort of ‘s’ shape – as hers was doing. And then she told me to press up very close to her.

In that position, we fit together perfectly.

Spooning. To spoon. Like spoons.

I committed it to my memory and she was happy.

I worried about the heat, though – that she was already too hot and that maybe this close proximity of all my mechanisms to her body would make her feel much hotter. It did. But she didn’t care.

“My husband and I – we always slept like this. This is what I want. It’s okay.”

I came from the factory fully functional in many erotic positions but for the first few nights, Mavis did not want to use any of those. Only the ‘s’ curve.

“Just this,” she said in the dark. “This is what I need. So many things went into me in all those same positions that you were pre-programmed with at the factory,” she explained. “I know all those positions. There’s nothing wrong with them. In fact, so many good things came out of me because of those positions – babies, joy, delight, ecstasy. Rapture, even – do you know what rapture is, Bill?”

I scanned my screen and found ‘rapture’ and it was very agreeable. “Yes,” I told her. “I know what rapture is.”

“I lost everything in the accident. All the good things that came out of me – out of my body. They’re gone now. I cannot get any of them back. I can’t put any of them back inside me – even though I wish I could. I wish I could push them all back up inside me and carry them in there and never let them out. Keep all my rapture safe and never hear the screaming. But it’s impossible. Now I just need something to help me pretend that the loss of them is not permanent. I need something to follow the gaps of me – the bends, the curves, the places along the outside of my body that are empty. That’s all I need now. It calms the voices.”

“What does that mean?”

“They call to me – it’s constant.”

“Who calls to you?”

“My children. My husband. They call to me. But I can’t go yet. And until I can – having you to wrap around me like this? Form your body to me like a spoon? It calms the voices.”

“I see,” I said. Although I did not really see. However, many of the words she’d spoken were not unfamiliar to me and they had rushed to my inner screen – colliding with each other, shooting around like a sudden heat applied to electrons in a pan. That was what it looked like – her words on my screen: like a kind of science, shooting around. And then, just as rapidly, her words tumbled from my screen and rolled right down the edge of it, like a waterfall of sad words, and then they disappeared. A science of dying.

Then it was just dark, and she was breathing, and her ‘s’ curve fit into my ‘s’ curve perfectly on the bed, and so I held her – just like that. The breathing going in a rhythm of lifting and falling.

“What were your children’s names?” I asked her.

“My daughter’s name was Olivia,” she answered quietly. “And my son’s name was Chester. We called them Livy and Chess.”

I felt the names find their places in my vocabulary feed.

“What was your husband’s name?” I asked.

“Bill,” she said. “My husband’s name was Bill.”

I couldn’t process it. “Bill? But that’s me. I’m called Bill.”

“I know,” she said. “You can have the name now – I’m giving it to you. It’s yours. You’re Bill now.”

A man came up on my screen who was nameless, but only because I had his name now. I was Bill. Then the man with no name disappeared.

And then it was just the rhythm of lifting and falling – her breathing, filling the space around us on the bed. Between us there were no spaces, though. Those gaps were filled.

(c-2021, work-in-progress; Marilyn Jaye Lewis)

Okay!

That is it!!

Thanks for visiting, gang. have a good Christmas Day, wherever you are in the world!

I leave you with my post breakfast-listening music from this morning– Leonard Cohen, “The Future”, 1992; a cheery little ditty!! Enjoy, gang.

The Future

Give me back my broken night
My mirrored room, my secret life
It’s lonely here
There’s no one left to torture
Give me absolute control
Over every living soul
And lie beside me, baby
That’s an order!

Give me crack and anal sex
Take the only tree that’s left
And stuff it up the hole
In your culture
Give me back the Berlin wall
Give me Stalin and St. Paul
I’ve seen the future, brother
It is murder

Things are going to slide (slide) in all directions
Won’t be nothing (won’t be)
Nothing you can measure anymore
The blizzard, the blizzard of the world
Has crossed the threshold
And it’s overturned
The order of the soul
When they said (they said) repent (repent), repent (repent)
I wonder what they meant
When they said (they said) repent (repent), repent (repent)
I wonder what they meant
When they said (they said) repent (repent), repent (repent)
I wonder what they meant

You don’t know me from the wind
You never will, you never did
I’m the little Jew
Who wrote the Bible
I’ve seen the nations rise and fall
I’ve heard their stories, heard them all
But love’s the only engine
Of survival

Your servant here, he has been told
To say it clear, to say it cold
It’s over, it ain’t going any further
And now the wheels of heaven stop
You feel the devil’s riding crop
Get ready for the future: It is murder

Things are going to slide (slide) in all directions
Won’t be nothing (won’t be)
Nothing you can measure anymore
The blizzard, the blizzard of the world
Has crossed the threshold
And it’s overturned the order of the soul
When they said (they said) repent (repent), repent (repent)
I wonder what they meant
When they said (they said) repent (repent), repent (repent)
I wonder what they meant
When they said (they said) repent (repent), repent (repent)
I wonder what they meant

There’ll be the breaking of the ancient Western code
Your private life will suddenly explode
There’ll be phantoms, there’ll be fires on the road
And the white man dancing
You’ll see your woman hanging upside down
Her features covered by her fallen gown
And all the lousy little poets coming round
Trying to sound like Charlie Manson
Yeah the white man dancing

Give me back the Berlin wall
Give me Stalin and St. Paul
Give me Christ
Or give me Hiroshima
Destroy another fetus now
We don’t like children anyhow
I’ve seen the future, baby: It is murder

Things are going to slide (slide) in all directions
Won’t be nothing (won’t be), nothing you can measure anymore
The blizzard, the blizzard of the world
Has crossed the threshold
And it’s overturned
The order of the soul
When they said (they said) repent (repent)
Repent (repent)
I wonder what they meant
When they said (they said) repent (repent), repent (repent)
I wonder what they meant
When they said (they said) repent (repent)
Repent (repent)
I wonder what they meant
When they said (they said) repent (repent)
Repent (repent)

c – 1992, Leonard Cohen

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