patteren : screens : prologue

timsh was exiled from his homeland and sent to the land of braelig.  When he arrived in braelig, which was a bleak and barren landscape, he was assigned a master. His master, a bookbinder, gave him work to do, and in return he was supposed to prepare timsh for whatever success timsh might achieve for himself in the future in braelig. timsh could hardly remember his previous life, but he did recall that where he was from he could do magic; and he wondered if he could do magic here in the land of braelig.  He didn't quite recall the nature of the magic he had done prior to his exile, or its technique. And he sensed that, even if he could remember, it wasn't prudent to try his magic here in braelig because it was likely that, if it was possible, it was also forbidden, and if he did magic he or his master would get in some sort of trouble. So he simply asked his master if magic were possible, hoping that it was and that he could make an attempt. His master explained that if magic were real, the difficulty in practicing it would not be in learning to do it, but rather in learning to see it and anticipate it and thereby act as though one were producing it. This was hardly an answer but it lead timsh to the conclusion that in braelig magic was practiced only by higher beings.

timsh's master advised timsh to become successful at something and then, after having succeeded, he could do whatever he wanted, not lacking for sustenance. timsh immediately concluded that he would first do whatever he wanted and success could wait. After all, he was exiled and success in exile didn't really seem important. braelig was a bleak and barren landscape but it was full of people. timsh quickly noticed that there were also few resources and so staying alive in braelig was painful in comparison to timsh's former life in which he remembered that things were just the opposite: there was plenty to go around and not too many people to share the plenty. Here in braelig the culture was more built upon the principal of the many serving the few.

timsh decided to try to write a book, because that's what he really wanted to do. Also he noticed that the culture in braelig was completely built around books and so he thought it would be useful. But he continued to work for his master because he needed sustenance. His master produced books, which might sound at first like it would be convenient for timsh but in fact it made his chosen task of writing a book harder because all day long he was witnessing books in the making that had already been written, and that was kind of intimidating. And it wasn't like learning the craft of making books helped him at all to learn the craft of writing books. Although timsh had always wanted to write books, he hadn't ever begun to learn how it was accomplished because in his former life he was always satisfied, and dreaming of writing books was as good as actually writing them. But now that he was exiled and had to work hard all day, dreaming of writing books wasn't good enough. Now he wanted to learn how it was done and do it for real.

The first thing to do in order to write his book, timsh decided, was to read a couple of books. He hadn't gotten around to much reading in his former life because he was too satisfied to want to read. He chose some books at random from his master's collection and began to read each of them but could never get very far. He began to realize that books were different here in braelig, and although he felt they were more necessary than before, he also felt that they were more challenging. He really didn't want to shy away so soon from the challenge presented to him by his first chosen endeavor in braelig, and so he stuck with it until he finally found a book he could finish and relate to. The book was about writers, that is, it was a book about people who write books, and so timsh felt that the book was specially suited for him because he could possibly advance his knowledge of writing books even further than he anticipated by reading just one book.

timsh handily devoured the book about writers and the characters in the book all fascinated him and were all very different from one another, each approached the task of writing differently. timsh was adept at identifying which facets of certain characters represented characteristics that he himself could adopt as a writer, and so he quickly achieved, from this one book, a fairly competent grasp of the art of writing, at least as it was done here in the land of braelig.

So timsh immediately set himself to writing. At first it was fairly easy and his words were smooth. He wasn't thinking too much about it, he was relaxed and his characters, plot and descriptive passages were pleasing. But after a while, especially upon reading and judging his previous work, he began to falter. He ran out of ideas and everything he had written before seemed terrible. Finally, however, he hit upon an idea. He decided that it would be most expedient for him to write a book about writers.  The one book he had read here in braelig was about writers and he was trying to learn as much as possible quickly about writing so why not set all his efforts, which were limited by lack of time and resources, to learning as much as possible about writing by writing about writers. He decided to add another layer to the idea, though, and this was that the writers that he was writing about would also be writing about writers.

timsh lived in this world of writers writing about writers for a while and began to imagine his lengthy book being finished and being produced in his master's printing shop where he worked all day long.  His writing was going well but he began having fears about what would happen if his book was printed and distributed.  What if the idea for the book caught on, and more books were printed and more people read it and so on. The fear of his words becoming widespread began to overwhelm timsh, and because of the nature of his looping mind loopiness began to set in on him. Eventually his loopiness was so bad that he had to stop writing and stop thinking about writing.

During timsh's loopiness, his job producing books was soothing because he didn't have to think too much all day long. His loopiness was further soothed by continuous exposure to the fact of the vast number of books that were produced in braelig and how insignificant his particular book was likely to be. Then one day while he was not thinking a great idea hit him. He would build himself into the book as the character that one of his characters was writing about and lay out in the very book he was writing all the possibilities of what might happen after the book was published. This seemed marvelous to him because he felt that he could somehow negate or prevent the possible negative outcomes of having his book distributed by predicting them explicitly in the book itself. He imagined that the act of describing these negative consequences would neutralize the reality of those consequences, as though fate wouldn't bother to bring something about that had already been conceived and articulated by timsh.

timsh's idea for disarming the fear of the success of his own book by detailing explicitly the possible negative outcomes of the book's success in the book itself, was keeping him tirelessly devoted to the completion of the book, and relatively sane about it.  But gradually the loopiness began to set in again as he realized that in order to encompass all the negative possibilities, which was necessary in order to prevent every possible bad result, he would have to write about himself in each layer down through the loop of writers writing about writers. This meant that he was essentially writing a book about the possible results of the book itself being read. This became an infinite book.

For a while timsh was depressed about the fact that his creative undertaking had lead him to conceptualize an infinite project, but eventually he realized that he had unwittingly come up with the best idea of all: the idea for a book that didn't have to be actually written. He concluded that he only needed to write a description of the concept of the book to achieve the same result as actually writing the book, namely to convey the idea of the book. This idea brought timsh to a new level of thinking about mechanizing his creations. He could create many things if he was able to bypass the act of actually creating them.

timsh's master was considered a very wise man in braelig, and he once told timsh that if timsh ever found himself unsure of what to do that he should look around and see what everybody else was doing and simply do the opposite. timsh thought it sounded a bit simplistic but his master explained that most often you will find that everybody is doing practically the same thing. And that, by and large in braelig these many years that his master could remember, things had been, generally speaking, getting worse.  So logically if most people are mostly doing the same things in a practical sense, and things are generally speaking getting worse, then you will likely improve the situation by simply doing the opposite. timsh did find his master's argument compelling and he resolved to find a way to put it to use.

timsh began to understand that all of the many inhabitants of braelig, like himself, were outcasts and exiles from foreign lands. He was certain, however, that none of the people of braelig that he had yet encountered were from the same place that he once called home. This certainty was due in part to his not remembering having seen any of them before, but it was also just a sense he had that he was from a different place, that he was an outcast among outcasts, an exile among exiles. He also had the sense that, among the inhabitants of braelig, he alone had a memory of his former self in the former place.  Furthermore, the others seemed not to have even the vaguest remembrance of their former circumstance.

timsh knew that his fellow exiles were exiles because none of them could remember whence they came, none of them had a complete history in braelig themselves, and so they must hail from elsewhere. Given what timsh came to think of as his special status, that of being the one who remembered, if only vaguely, his past life, he began to consider himself in some way ordained. Ordained for what he wasn't sure, but he was sure that, because he remembered, because he had a recollection of his being able to perform magic, because he had a notion of the relative paradise in which he used to live, that he was especially suited for some purpose here in braelig.

timsh resolved never, so long as he was exiled in braelig, to forget that he had come from elsewhere, and that where he came from was a wonderful place in which he could do magic. He further resolved to work as hard as he could to forsake the ways of braelig, of which he by and large disapproved, and live secretly in reverence to his former environment. His experiences with loopiness had taught him that success in braelig, although he had never achieved it, would come at too high a price. But nonetheless, timsh knew that he would have to make a way for himself in braelig, if only to survive.  Over time, timsh increasingly recognized that the ways of braelig were mostly anathema to those ways which would serve his desire to keep in remembrance that former life of which he had only a vague and fleeting understanding.  And so timsh began to see the wisdom of his master, who had advised that if ever timsh were at a loss as to what to do, he would be best served by undertaking the opposite of what he observed those around him doing.

In the spirit of undertaking the opposite of what those around him were doing, timsh observed that most people of braelig stayed put. timsh's assessment was that people were stuck. The stickiness bothered him tremendously.  From the outset timsh had been uninspired by the prospect of gradually putting together a life for himself through the practice of some profession for which he cared little with the goal of gathering wealth enough to sustain himself in order to then do something meaningful.  This was standard practice in braelig, and being that it was standard practice timsh knew it was something from which he had to depart. So timsh packed up and bade his master the bookmaker goodbye and set out upon the barren plains of braelig to seek adventure or whatsoever fortune would provide.

The plains of braelig were bleak and desert-like.  The endless infertility of braelig was in stark contrast to the obscured memories of timsh's former environment which were lush with the processes of life.  timsh had set out, seeking adventure or whatsoever fortune would provide, with little regard for the possibilities of his own survival and by and by he began to worry about just that.  Fear set in hard upon timsh just about the time when he was far enough from his master's bookmaking shop to be beyond the possibility of return. The possibility of returning to the comforts and familiarity of his master's shop indeed had been in the back of his mind as a security measure since the moment he set out.  When timsh suddenly understood that returning was no longer possible, he began to panic in earnest and regret his cavalier decision to undertake the opposite of what those around him seemed to be stuck doing. Perhaps there was wisdom in staying put after all?  Perhaps, timsh reasoned, there was something primal or necessary in braelig about sticking together and staying put, even if it meant having the feeling of being stuck.

Lost in the endless plains of braelig, the outcast timsh began to grow delirious. He had fearful visions of his former life and imagined terrible consequences for the foolishness of his reckless and impulsive decisions. These visions had set in much too quickly in timsh's reckoning, for he had not been absent from the comforts of his master's shop for very long and he had fancied himself much hardier than his present delirium indicated. But timsh continued to walk his way through the desert and the landscape slowly changed. Floating boxes began to appear sporadically and eventually he was surrounded by them. He soon discerned the boxes to be cubes of silky screens on which frozen images were imprinted.

Gradually, in a hypermnesic fashion, timsh began to recognize his former world depicted on the desert screens of braelig.  He now knew his former world to be called lapsuus, and he remembered a grassy hill in lapsuus on which he used to play as a child. He mostly recalled napping on the lovely, sunny hill and lapsing into dreams. He recognized the images on the silky screens to be characters and places from his childhood dreams in lapsuus. Many of his dreams were innocent, and then some were less so. The hill was magic and his dreams on the hill were sharp, he had always had the feeling that his dreams in lapsuus were real somewhere.

timsh returned every day to the grassy hill in lapsuus to fall asleep and dream. The storylines of his dreams were continuous from day to day with various characters and places returning, though often in slight variation. Between trips to the hill to fall asleep under the sun and continue a particular story, timsh would day dream, musing about the stories in unsatisfactory awakeness.  He anxiously returned to the hill whenever he could and his awakeness was consumed with the desire to return and slumber. Now in braelig, an outcast lost in the desert of screens, timsh kept pushing through the infinitude. Eventually he tired and slowed his pace. Now there were cubic silky screens in every direction as far as he could see.  The screens, each with an image, floating equidistant from one another in the desert, receded in every direction to a rosy hue that merged with the horizon.

timsh floated through the desert of screens of images and as he approached a screen he entered it and the image extended. The perspective had changed and he was now in the world of the screen.  This new world within the screen had screens within it, and so this desert was an infinitude of screens within screens tracing the possible narrative outcomes of timsh's dreams. timsh was no longer panicked, no longer sorry to be lost in the desert but rather pleasantly overwhelmed by the plentitude of characters, landscapes and storylines depicted on the screens of his childhood dreams. Forgetting the trauma of his exile, timsh made his way curiously from screen to screen and casually observed the places and characters in the infinite library of screens.

timsh was now lost in the desert of screens.  Having wandered far, into screen within screen, from his original position, he was sure he could never find his way back to the original desert of braelig. He was unconcerned about it, because braelig was the place of his exile and that was where he least wanted to be. The telescopic library of screens was infinitely rich and timsh couldn't imagine ever wanting to find his way out, if indeed there was any way out, if all the worlds and possibilities were not contained within the labyrinth of nested screens.

sappho out of thyme

the banker of the odd and the last puritan

requiem promise fulfilled: gemini perdu and the silent atonal clown (marcel pierrot)

the magdalene box (m cubed)

sophos of the odd

hercules attendeth salomé's last supper (and hath not the patience to endure)

angel of the cantoincontinento

of retracing the unbearable sketch of the tree of unrequitedness and finding hope

beatrice rex

dopplegänger pond and the alder queen

a panegyric box (et in irreverence ego): diving, poetic politics & the finite jest

maps: of bridges burnt and bridges built

herr traurig, his attendants and their fallacies

skizzenbuch isomorphia OR 'dream of a snake with two heads, one on each end'

rosy fingered harbinger

in reverence of legnum

the argument of anton gustav

los los|t| and the book of thyme

isabella rabbit: quenching of fire with foresight

the construction of the temple of cathedron (and the pillars of light repetition)

col legno: the lost concerto of lapsuus

lady boethius: evensong ('flowers, flowers, flowers')