Waiting For John / An Ode To The Century Past / Imagine by Boris Glikman

The Dakota NYCWell, I finally made it to the city that never sleeps.  Of course the very first place I go to is The Dakota. I spent so many years reading about it, picturing it in my mind, dreaming about visiting it and now I am actually standing right outside its famous wrought-iron gates!

It is October the 9th, 2009. I have specifically timed my very first visit to New York City to coincide with his birthday. Surely he must come out and acknowledge his fans on a day like this, accept their greetings, perhaps even blow out the candles on the cakes some of his admirers will undoubtedly bring along.

Within five minutes of arriving at The Dakota—and what a thrill it is to see it for the very first time—Yoko walks right past me. Strangely, she carries no presents in her hands and looks rather melancholy on this joyous occasion. No, not just melancholy, more than that, she looks completely disconsolate and deflated, shrunken almost, as if some vital part of her has been amputated. But surely, once she walks into their apartment on the 9th floor, his famous wit will cheer her up and his cheeky smile will make her smile, too.

Meantime, I will stand here and wait for him to come out. I have flown across oceans to see him and see him I definitely will, despite those ugly rumours I overheard some time ago about something horrifying that apparently befell him a while back. What nonsense! Crazy things like that just don’t take place in our world. Surely fate would take extra-special care of such a man to ensure nothing bad happened to the creator of such sublime and immortal beauty. Why, I am certain he is half-lying, half-sitting on his bed right now, as I’ve seen him do in photos, picking notes on his guitar and creating more sonic jewels of ineffable wonder.

And so I will stand here and wait for him to come out, till nightfall if necessary, for I have to prove to myself that he is in fact a real person and not just an idealised construct created by mankind to satisfy its insatiable need for heroes. For it is almost impossible to believe so many timeless masterpieces could inexhaustibly flow out of one man. What if he is just an archetypal symbol of our hopes, our dreams, our aspirations for a utopian existence and so all my waiting is in vain? But no, that can’t be!

And so I will stand here and wait for him to come out, till nightfall if necessary, to wish him a happy birthday and to press into his hands some of my own poems and stories, so that he can see for himself that we both share the same ideals and beliefs.

And I will grab the opportunity to tell him how much his music has meant to me over the years, how his music gave me the inspiration and the courage to reach for peaks in my own creative endeavours, how music for me is the loftiest form of art and the most sublime means of expression. Alas, not being gifted with having celestial sounds divine arising and frolicking in my mind, I instead am constrained to convey my inner being through lame, unwieldy, coarse lumps of words.

I will let him know how I have tried to continue his mission of spreading hope and light around the world through my own writings, my own actions, my own conduct and interactions with people, for even one small candle can destroy the infinite darkness of the entire night.

Until then, I will wait, for I know if I wait long enough, he will come. He just has to come, for New York City is the place where everything is achievable, the place where impossible, ineffable dreams come true. And so if I just close my eyes and wish hard enough, surely he must appear!

“Waiting for John” comes from a series of pieces written by Boris Glikman titled “Impressions of America” after he visited the USA. This series takes a surreal and unusual look at America. Read more about Boris’ adventures here.

AN ODE TO THE CENTURY PAST

That was the age of despair, disrepair
of the damned and the condemned
but this is now, the New Utopia.

That was the time when we killed off our muses,
throwing their remains to the ravenous dogs;
our innocence disembowelled,
our hopes quartered
with five hollow-point bullets
on that cold December night. 

When six million replaced six-six-six
as the accursed number of all eternity and
six million nameless faces,
six million faceless names
were extinguished for that greatest crime of all –
Existence.

But this is now, the Neo-Utopia.

That was the age of despair, disrepair
when raven-black sun
threw rays of shadow upon the Earth
and giant bullfrogs ate pygmy antelope
bones, hooves and all.

But still we fought on, hoping for meaning to appear.
Yet when it arrived, it was only in our dreams,
dissipating the moment we awoke
and grabbed at its gossamer threads
with our crude, clumsy hands.

And this is now, the Last Utopia.

Imagine by Michael Cheval

“Imagine” by Michael Cheval


Imagine

When the city that never sleeps finally retires to bed, exhausted by its own exuberance and hyperactivity, then and only then does John appear at the memorial dedicated to him in Central Park.

Betrayed and forsaken by God, Fate and Mankind on that cold December night, John now performs for no one but himself, singing softly the sonic jewels of wonder he has composed posthumously, and still believing, despite everything that had happened, love is all you need.

He wears a hat made out of a mincer which is filled not with dead meat but with living strawberries, his favourite fruit, and his piano is a zebra-girl hybrid who died young, at the very same instant John passed into eternity.

If all this seems to be quite bizarre and beyond belief, one must remember this is New York City after all, a place where impossible and ineffable dreams do come true, if only one imagines them hard enough.

@Boris Glikman

The Pen of Plenty (or A Portrait of an Artist as the Entire Universe) by Boris Glikman


The Pen of PlentyPart I

“Take this Boris, may it serve you well!”, a booming voice commanded, as a hand, holding a shining writing implement, extended towards me.

I was all of thirteen years old when the Hand from Above bestowed the Pen of Plenty upon me.

” You shall be my voice! I shall speak through you with this pen. You shall be a conduit to that Other Reality, the one inhabited by Eternal Truths, Infinite Beauty and Ineffable Questions. From this pen will spring forth an inexhaustible flow of Magic, you will not be able to help begetting works of perfection, each one more perfect than the one before it.

There is a price to pay. You will not be able to feel, smile, laugh, love, pursue ordinary human activities. You will only be able to write, writing alone shall be your existence.

You shall move solely in the Infinite, Eternal, Universal sphere. You will capture and portray through your writings every permutation, manifestation and aspect of life, yet you shall remain cut off from mankind.

This pen shall be the bathyscaphe with which you will descend to the lowest abysses, and it shall be the alpenstock with which you will ascend to the highest heights not yet scaled by mankind. The world will ostracize, scorn, misunderstand, persecute, laugh at you and it will cherish, adore, worship, celebrate you. But you will stay numb, unmoved by both love and loathing.

You will not know how to be young, yet you will not grow old and will stay a man-child, for, by not partaking in the outer world, you shall be free of its deleterious effects.

You will give life to an infinity of uniquely bizarre, wondrous realities, yet you yourself will be a mere metaphor, an empty shell of a shadow, never being able to feel real, concrete. The worlds you engender will be suffused with sensation and meaning, while your own outer reality will be bare, senseless and pedestrian by comparison.

This pen shall be the flame that will illuminate truths as yet invisible, you will help others find their identity, will bring clarity and enlightenment to humanity, will reveal the underlying, inner structure of existence, yet you will be forever lost, confused, at odds with yourself and the world, drifting aimlessly through existence, a jellyfish in the ocean of life.

This pen shall speak with a thousand voices, educing hysterical laughter, uncontrollable tears, twisting minds into Moebius strips, creating transcendental beauty that will stop others dead in their tracks, dumbfounded with awe, even if they have had just a fleeting contact with it, but you will be blind and deaf to its powers and will stay frozen inside. You will feel no pride or pleasure in your creations, for you will know that you are merely a conduit.

But even though this is a Pen of Creative Cornucopia, one day it shall run out and will write no more. Consequently, writing will be the hardest and most terrifying task of your existence, for you will be forever insecure, not knowing when you no longer will be able to create any more. Yet, before that time comes, you shall be flooded with a ceaseless deluge that will demand every instant of your life and your very sanity.

Once you take this pen, it can never be un-taken, you can never disown it or rid yourself of it.”

The voice stopped. I waited a while for it to resume, but it remained silent. Then, with childish, reckless eagerness, I extended my hand upwards, to meet the hand reaching down from above, caring not at all about the consequences.

                                                     Part II

The Writer sits in his room, writing at his desk. He has access to the deepest secrets and mysteries of the Universe, but the question that the whole world, from the tiniest and simplest organism upwards, seems to know the answer to, he can not solve: ” Why live?”

The Writer is torn apart by two contradictory thoughts that occupy his mind simultaneously and seem equally valid. He is certain that he is blind to a fundamental truth that the rest of the world is in possession of, for how else can one explain the whole world choosing life over death and existing with a purpose, something that he is not capable of. Yet he also knows that he is in possession of a fundamental truth that the rest of the world is blind to, for if it was privy to this truth, it would not be able to live in certainty.

The Writer is triply trapped by his room, his mind and his pen. Occasionally, overcome by curiosity and longing, he steals a brief, wistful glimpse, through the window, of the world outside that is teeming and pulsating with life in all of its infinite variations, life that he can never be a part of and whose simple pleasures he could never enjoy or grasp the meaning of. Other times he catches sight of a sliver of the sky that is visible to him from his sitting position. But he immediately feels guilty for neglecting his sacred task and hurriedly resumes scribbling, letter after letter, word after word, sentence after sentence, in his notebooks of madness.

Life passes him by, and then death passes him by too. He has no time for life and he has no time for death either. Neither life nor death can arouse his interest or get their hands on him, and just as he has forgotten all about time, so time has forgotten all about him. In any case, the Writer can not die, for the pen is still working and so he must keep on writing, for his commitment to his pen is greater than his commitment to life and death.

Years, centuries, millennia, billions of years elapse. The Sun expands into a red giant and then collapses into a white dwarf. The stars are torn apart by the forces of the Universe’s expansion, and the protons themselves rot into pieces. Cosmos begins to wind down, all of its energy having dissipated and turned into useless forms. Then the fabric of space-time dissolves.

Still, the Writer remains writing at his desk, which is now floating in vacuum, separate from time and space. Now and then he sneaks looks at the outside world, even though nothing remains there but pure nothingness.

And then, for the very first time, something leads the Writer to take a close look at the pen he was gifted with. He examines it carefully and notices the faded blue letters forming the words MADE IN CHINA etched on its side. Distant memories come flooding back to him, memories of his mother buying pens at the local supermarket, for the start of the new school year; memories of the bare walls of the bathroom that distorted the acoustics, and how he liked to speak to himself there and listen to his boy voice transforming into the stentorian voice of a man. He remembers standing in the bathroom and hearing a million voices calling out his name, then turning around and seeing all of humanity in the mirror looking back at him, as his left hand passed the pen to his right hand.

The Writer now realises that he is the Creator. Having had encompassed the Universe with his mind, the Writer expands to encompass the Universe with his body, so that the Universe and the Writer become one and the same, identical entities, coinciding precisely with one another.

With quiet satisfaction the Writer slowly puts the pen down and that is how the Universe

( and this story) ends, not with a bang or a whimper, but with a .

Note

 1) In Australian English, “.” is known as “full stop” rather than as “period”. 

 

Boris Glikman – Underground Australian Celebrity With A Mind Like A Planet

Boris Glikman image(NOTE: This article was updated on May 24, 2016)

I’ve posted several quirky short stories by Australian writer Boris Glikman this year on my blog including The mePhone, The Day Death Died, America In The Sky (In Memoriam)and The Substitute SunNow I want to share with you an article about Boris that was published by Fantastic Books Publishing who recently welcomed Boris to their family.

Boris Glikman is an incredible guy. He’s smart, talented and is a prolific producer of poetry and short stories. He’d need about ten blogs to cram in all his achievements so here’s the edited version, we’ve done our best…

Boris is a writer, poet and philosopher from Melbourne, Australia.  The biggest influences on his writing are dreams, Kafka, Borges and Dali. His stories, poems and non-fiction articles have been published in various e-zines and print publications. Boris has appeared a number of times on the radio, including Australian national radio, performing his poems and stories and discussing the meaning of his work. In 2008 his short story – The Clearness and the Impenetrability – was nominated for the prestigious Pushcart Prize.

Among his many talents, Boris is a mathematician and physicist of great prowess and has several mathematical proofs to his name. His network is one of pure creative talent and it’s a real pleasure to welcome him and his friends to the Fantastic Books Publishing family.

Boris has, for many years now, shared his work with the world. His beautifully envisaged story ‘the mePhone’ is a great idea but unfortunately was a little too adult for our short story competition. When we told Boris this, ever the Jedi, he promptly sent us a children’s version!

Here’s a link to the adult version of the mePhone. You’ll have to wait for the anthology before you see the children’s version.

Here’s a link to the Caterpillion, a wonderful Eric Carle-esque look at a different kind of hunger, also by Boris.

Boris continues to create today and his work has been performed live, set to music, painted about, spoken about, broadcast on radio and has even been displayed for 2 months on a giant screen in Melbourne’s equivalent of Times Square called Federation Square, as well as on other screens in Melbourne’s city centre.

He has two degrees: Bachelor of Arts (majoring in Philosophy and Linguistics) and Bachelor of Science (majoring in Mathematics and Physics). Since completing his degrees, he has pursued a writing career.

Dreams are also an important source of creative inspiration to him and many of his stories originate from the scenarios and ideas in his dreams.

Boris says: “Writing for me is a spiritual activity of the highest degree. Writing gives me the conduit to a world that is unreachable by any other means, a world that is populated by Eternal Truths, Ineffable Questions and Infinite Beauty. It is my hope that these stories of mine will allow the reader to also catch a glimpse of this universe.”

Boris used to be the philosopher of a spiritual community and many of his articles were given their premiere by being read out in public programs in front of 200 or so people.

Boris says that he has two life-long ambitions: to become a child prodigy when he grows up and to change the very fabric of space-time itself.

Boris uses the image above as his profile picture. Much like some of his deeper, philosophical work, it made our collective heads hurt so we thought we’d share it with you too.

Boris has also had one of his parables translated into the unique whistling language Silbo Gomero, traditionally spoken by inhabitants in the Canary Islands to communicate across the deep ravines and narrow valleys. Here’s a link to the video, where you can listen to the recording of the parable being whistled as well read the parable both in English and in Spanish.
In his bid to become, amongst many other things, the next Weird Al Yankovic, Boris also writes song parodies which are regularly performed live by professional musicians. You can find videos of their performances  herehere and here.
 
Boris is also working on adapting his stories to the cinematic medium with the Australian film director Peter T. Nathan. Boris contributed to the script of the film “Six Steps to Eternal Death“, written and directed by Peter T. Nathan, which won the Best Film award at the Deakin University Best Film & Television Honours 2015 awards ceremony.

Welcome to the family Boris!

Just imagine,

Daniel and Gabi

More from Boris Glikman:

“Science has always been my first love and I have been creative in the mathematics/physics fields since my teenage years. Until relatively recently, mathematics/physics/science fields were my first interest and it is to them that I devoted most of my time and creative energy, and writing was a distant second interest. Consequently, because I have always been interested in all those fields, I did two degrees Arts/Science at university, to pursue further my interests and learn more about those fields.

However, even before going to the University, I was already creating my own proofs and theories in the mathematics/physics fields, because I did a lot of self-study right from my teenage years. By the age of 15, I was already sending out my ideas in physics to university professors who were quite impressed by their depth and breadth. School teachers and university lecturers saw me as a very promising mathematician/physicist, right up there in the top 1%.

But, for a number of reasons, I became thoroughly disenchanted with science (which I always saw as THE path to the truth) and so instead started to devote all of my attention and energy to writing (which until then I pretty much neglected as a creative outlet), and for me now writing is the path to the truth.”

If you missed reading Boris Glikman’s short stories on this blog and are curious about them, you can go back to the first paragraph of this post and click on the story titles to be taken to them. I think you’ll be glad you did!

Music: A Conduit to Creativity by Elaine Calloway

music_brainWe writers are unique creatures. We have our rituals, our beverage addiction of choice (based on the empty vending machines at writing conferences, I’m betting Diet Coke is right up there with coffee!), plus our way of courting the muse. And when we find a method that works, we stick to it.

No matter what method you use, the important thing to know is that you should use what works for you. Some writers need music while writing; others prefer the silence. Neither is right or wrong. Do what works for you, what will produce the story you long to tell.

One technique that some writers (me included) embrace is to play music while writing. Not for sheer background noise (although that’s a valid option too) but to get us into our character’s heads, to zoom us immediately into a scene so our fingers are able to fly across the keyboard and produce those pages!

I typically create a “soundtrack” of miscellaneous songs for each book, a collection of tunes that relates to the storyline in some way. Sometimes, I go deeper than that and have a separate soundtrack for each character, rather than each book. For example, for a ghost story with an Irish female protagonist, there are plenty of Irish songs on the soundtrack. For some of my Women’s Fiction books which have dramatic scenes, there are plenty of sad ballads that will inspire a somber attitude.

I wish I could give a secret formula for how to find each song, but the simple fact is that I grab several songs together and see if they work. It’s one of those intuitive things where I know immediately if it succeeds or fails, then I tweak the song list to make it work.

Typically, there is that *one* song that instantly works, the “cover song” if you will. This is the one that, even if you’re not near your keyboard, if you hear it, your characters instantly start talking to you. It’s a portal that puts you immediately into the writing mode.

For Water’s Blood, this one song was “Furnace Room Lullaby” by Neko Case. The song has an eerie feel to it and always put me instantly in the mood to write. (Listen to it on YouTube here.)

The other songs for the Water’s Blood soundtrack can be found here.Water's Blood by Elaine Calloway

I love the evil, haunting melodies that drive me on to create darker characters. I love the fact that music halts all the stresses of my brain and sets me in the place to write. Music can be a fantastic conduit – give it a try!

Thanks so much for having me here today!

Elaine Calloway grew up in New Orleans with a love of Gothic architecture and all things paranormal. She is currently writing the paranormal/fantasy Elemental Clan Series. Water’s Blood, Book One, is available now on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. To learn more about Elaine and her books, visit her Website