October 17, 2007


People put me here. Not for my sake, for theirs’. They thought that they needed something like me. I am a mediator of dialogue. The middle-man, when face-to-face conversation is either impossible or maybe just too destructive to what must be said. My cuboid frame holds up transparent panels allowing people to glance into me, but they also keep the elements from molesting whoever is within. Ordinary machines are ambivalent. They don’t offer protection, most are unnecessary. I however, am like an inanimate mother. Speechless, still, but able to provide a womb in which conversation is incubated. Upon entry, people impregnate me with their presence, and I in turn nurture their thoughts until emotion is birthed into speech.

        Did they make me maternal? I embrace even the ugliest of my children. Not blinded by sentimental subjective love, but liberated through our intimate bond to a place of perfect objective tolerance. In me, joys are begun and ceased, lives are continued and ended. I amplify the calls of their voices. Dozens, hundreds, possibly thousands of miles away I ensure my children are heard. I will not allow them to be silenced for they are my voice. I have no mouth. I am at once lifeless, but vicariously alive as life and lives pass through me.

        He was laughing. Laughing is good I have heard. He hurt me whilst he did it, smashing my sides with lumbering frame. Cursing and laughing in a slurred hysterical tone he ripped me open, leaving me incomplete, my womb torn asunder. His nasal-toned confusion meanders into the night. I can still be looked into, but I can no longer embrace. His laugh is twisted.

She was laughing. Laughing is good they tell each other. Dialling numbers to relay convictions is healthy, makes them human to be able to make themselves known to each other. She tuts at my injury says she’ll call again, but mutters something under her breath about the bitch on the other end of the line. Her laugh is hollow.

Is her laugh is put on; because now I’m open I can no longer encapsulate her talk? Outside influences force her to feign happiness. I would never make her fake, but I have let her down. I have been violated and cannot offer her what she needs.

Laughter is in the voice of the laughing. Hers and his were bastardised forms of joy. One too busy pleasing others, the other too busy pleasing himself. I cannot see, but I can hear. I cannot speak, but I can listen. You talk through me as if I am not there, but I care deeply for you. I am not one of you, but I see that people are alone together. I hope I help relieve that burden.

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  1. George Ttoouli

    There are some strong voice-driven moments in this, that really stand out:
    “I am a mediator of dialogue.”
    “Ordinary machines are ambivalent.”
    “I am like an inanimate mother.”
    “I embrace even the ugliest of my children.” (This my favourite, it instantly evokes the thought, ‘some of them must be pretty ugly.’)
    “I have no mouth.”

    The rest of it is trying very hard to define this particular ‘self’ in a telling way, rather than by showing. It’s hard to get away with this level of introspection and self-consciousness in a story, because it becomes quickly draining when the camera is constantly looking inwards at the narrator instead of looking outwards and allowing character to reveal itself through the subjective telling of the story.

    The harder task is to step inside your character’s ‘head’ and look out through their eyes, their perspective, their particular vocabulary, their set of interests, motives. Here you’ve chosen something so alien as to demand that you learn the voice. But you’re only getting to know the narrator here, you’re not then seeing the world through their eyes.

    I would recommend you take those sentences though, as they are laden with a strong voice, and try to relocate them to a new story, one that has less of the ‘workshop exercise’ in it, more of the story you want to write.

    28 Oct 2007, 22:24

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