Tag Archives: brand

Three Types of Hell

7 May

Three Types of Hell

– A Short Story –

My life is a confusing brand of hell.  They’re not all so hard, you know. Some people at least get to know why they’re doomed to an eternity of being burnt about the toes. You’ve got the straight-forward malice types, the murderers, the robbers (sans raisons), the loose liars and the psychopaths. You know, the people who didn’t give a damn about others and so heaped up a whole lot of damnation for themselves. Their souls started burning even before their dead eyes shut.

Then you’ve got the regretters. Or at least, that’s how they think of themselves. They’ve got no grand feat to speak of, just lots of small grievances piled up without remorse. An annoyance here, a slight there. Never any thought as to how treating their fellow humans like a convenience mart might go in the long run, for those fellows or themselves. No, the regretters, it’s almost ironic, their chosen name in their little red-taped clique of the hot place. They spent their lives making being alive just a little bit harder for others. Now they’re spending forever making it harder for themselves. Each and every one of them tucked into the regretter section, a club of mopers and moaners whose only task all the live long day is to trip up the no-longer-a-body next to them. They keep doing what they were doing. It’s just limited to their own kind, now. And these people – bureaucrats, most of ’em – they just sit about regretting. If only they’d known. If only they could’ve done differently. But no, it’s as they told every customer, every broken-down landlady or tired old veteran – they had no choice, the stamp was there, the law in place. Regrettably, they could do nothing.

And so now they do nothing but regret their regretting.

But then… then there’s me. And a few others, here and there. We don’t see each other very often. We’re not the skulking type and we’re too faded to scuttle, but occasionally one of us will scuff along the floor loudly enough for another of us to hear if we’re nearby. We are… we don’t have a name, actually. Because that’s the point of this kind of hell, isn’t it? There is no point. There is no name. There is no reason. We’re all just here. We don’t know what we did. We carry some amorphous, pervasive sense of guilt, but it’ll never coalesce together enough to show us its true shape. We question. And we wonder. Why are we here? What did we do? Was it some wrong choice? We cannot remember taking any wrong path… Did we do another wrong? Look long as we might, our memories show nothing but love.

Or so we think.

So we think we think.

And onward, downward, inward.

There is no escape.

Not that we know where the entrance was, anyway.

It’s a confusing brand of hell, this life of ours. We’re all still trying to do right, even down here. But eventually, our numbers thin, until the next crop comes along. I’m about three generations of influx along. About my time to be passing away, actually. I don’t know which direction I’ll take. The ones who say fuck it all and throw themselves to where the flames burn blue, or the ones who shrug and accept that perhaps their damnation was in fact a small pile of nothing, nothing so significant as to have warranted all that… Malice or minutiae, we all go one way or the other.

It’s hard, scuffling along, your toes slowly turning crisp about the edges. Eventually, you need a reason for why your toes are turning black.



10 Mar

I am scatterbrained. Not always in the “forgetful” kind of sense. Though sure, mental lapses of my to-do list are definitely a regular appearance in my day. But… I’m scatterbrained more in the sense that my brain is, well, scattered. It’s somewhat of a necessity, given that I’m finishing up two major with very different requirements, seeing how one is in biology (basically microbiology, since Caltech researchers seems to be wary of anything bigger than a cell…) and the other is in English (which here means “literary analysis”; here, read this book – now write a five-page essay analyzing some part of this. What? What’s this about creative writing? Journalism? Op-eds? No no, here, just mimic our motions of academia. There you go. That’s a good girl…)

Ahem. Uh. What was I saying? Oh. Right. Scatterbrained. I am that thing. But it’s because I have so many disparate sections of my life to keep track of. Bio major. English major. Wildlife volunteering. My personal creative writing.

Aaah, my personal creative writing. Even that is scatterbrained. Like, this blog. What the fuck am I doing here, guys? Sure, most of my posts are about writing, or about The Feels, but then I’ve also got a fair amount about feminism and rape culture and mental health, and then sometimes I also talk about writing, and then I randomly post about animals… and then there are poems and short stories and pieces of flash fiction… and if you are somehow able to lump all those things into one nice, cohesive genre, then God and Cthulu bless you, child, because I sure as hell can’t. “Uh, this one is fairy tale-ish fantasy… and this one is urban dystopia… and this is, uh, yeah I don’t even know what this one is…”

And then there’s the writing that I’ve still got under wraps. I have like seven lists of planned writing projects. Cultural/existential perspective pieces. Grunge fantasy series. Pop-sci-ish writing. Guys, WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING???

I want to write what’s interesting to me. But, as you can tell from my two majors, “what’s interesting to me” can fall across a highly broad range of departments. Sure, I could try to tie them all together in some grand way, putting more emphasis on areas and pulling less from others… but I don’t want to do that. Sure, I want to genre-bend and genre-cross in some ways, but I don’t want to make a giant messy lump of it. Some things I just want to look at, to write about in their own right. They are their own subject, and what I have to say about them is solely and uniquely for the stand alone entity. I don’t want to smush it all together for the sake of homogeneity, of some nicely-parceled, shrink-wrapped unified front.

This makes it very difficult to develop what I hear people refer to as “brand.” It’s the jack of all trades, master of none dilemma. I mean, sure, even if I am a master of one field (or many fields), apparently unless I restrict my writing to just that area, I won’t be perceived as an expert. It’s hard to become “known” for something when your image is spread across a smattering of work.

Which I find odd. I mean, sure, don’t spread yourself too thin. Don’t try to write about things you have business trying to speak on. But… while humans have strengths, sure, we’re not single-use automatons. Weren’t we all told to become like those lauded “well-rounded” people at some point in our lives? Heard someone referred to as “a regular DaVinci?” Plus… I mean… I DON’T WANNA SPECIALIZE I DON’T WANNA PICK JUST ONE I WANT ALL OF THEM AND I WANNA DO WHAT I WANNA DO WAAAANNNNHHHH! *stomps foot in proper two-year-old-fashion*

*Straightens tie.* Well then. As, uh, hyperbolic as that may be meant to be, it’s still fairly true. Picking just one path to explore, whether physically or mentally, is boooring. I’ve always admired the “Seniors” in Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series. At one point, she describes them as something like “people who have refused to specialize too far in their wizardry.” They’re Seniors because they know a LOT. About LOTS of things. They are the higher thinkers, the ones who can approach any problem because they know how to get at it from a bazillion different angles. They have not narrowed their thinking to one particular hallway. They know the layout of the entire building. Hell, the really good ones, the Seniors that cover worlds and galaxies and whatnot, they’ve probably internalized the blueprints for the entire city. At the very least.

I’ve always wanted to be like them. To know how to slay beasts of any shapes with weapons of any calibre. To know how to climb any sort of face. To be able to comfort any person who comes my way. To speak the language of many types of knowledge.

Alright. I’ll stop with the metaphors here.(Oh god, coffee, why haven’t you kicked in yet???) You all get the idea. I think the world – the universe, actually – is a pretty interesting place. So I don’t want to restrict my writing to just one angle of it.

Hrm. If only that didn’t make so many literary agents raise their oh-so-skeptical eyebrows at me. Maybe I should just shave them all off. The eyebrows, that is. How do you like it now, disdaining agent? Where is your shock and surprise? I can’t see it! AHAHAHAHAHA!!!

*Ahem.* Well then. Perhaps I should go get another cup of coffee now. And hide all the shaving razors…