7: Alternative Facts: Our Secret

“For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind…”
— Hosea 8:7

You’ve met with the Elders of the Hidden Festive. They have given you your orders as an Eagle-Eye, a Specular, in the Interface, doing the real work in fighting the Usurpers and the Arns of Amarak. They told you the truth, the secret of our Folk. It is honour. And you are one of the few to glean it, to be the hallowed armament within the Great Lye of the Three: who are really only ever the one … the Demos.

We don’t need to tell you that. You’ve already gleaned it. If not, you’d not have gotten this far. You wouldn’t have earned this truth over the unworthy. But you remember where you come from, child. You glean how you got there through the stint in the Gilder Booms, the Bagger hunts, the loud songs of the Wags. You didn’t need to be in the Nation, though. The races still live, and the Drop Ideal is folly. We have only, ever, wanted results.

There will be enough blood spilled soon, no matter where it comes from.

We’ve been here for you. And we know what it is like to play with pennies and the “winning hand” of cards. It’s what got us here, to this point, to begin with.

Now take this tea, child, and dump it into the river like the Rebels of old under the Fathers of the Lohim, under our god’s … Hidden Face.

All debts are wiped clean, here. Nothing is owed other than what you bring to promise. Tea leaves swept away, fortunes cast and reject. The real Fire, has been the ember, burning in you from the very began. We will pour you another cup, impurity burned away to steam in the water, and knowing passed on in the heat.

The Hidden Festive is adjourned. Thus begins the session of the True Hidden Festive: The High Tea of our Lady.

There is Lye in the Land: in Amarak. The Demos, claim themselves the cult of the Folk — of the “populii.” They do not care about the Folk. The Demos think themselves select, and everyone else are pieces in the Game. They think to use us in their war within the Rainbows. The Demos are Arns to the Cycle that begat Amarak, but they are not the only ones.

Again, you glean this. And as we take tea here, you also glean who our real enemy is. The true Usurpers.

Yes. The State calls us Repos, but we had another name, once. We have been born countless times, many cycles, in Amarak: all from began. We build the bridges. We defended them, watching each Repolitik, and keeping the lives of each Mas, Fem, and the Folk agon the govern. We tried to keep their rights, letting them seek prize and joy without fear of scripting, or quartering.

And we freed the slaves as the Demos divised and make profit from suffering, as they do. But we forgot. We forgot the Lessons of the First Cycle from which our Lady was born, from blood and light and friendship. We don’t know when it happened. Perhaps it was Disunity between States across the ocean, when we began to each each other, hunting the other. Or more disunities taking place in the far, alien lands. And when one Enemy was gone, we still saw them: here, in us.

Maybe the Mask of the Actor, which even now we are forced to play, never came off. And we were forced to take tea — take poison — with the rubbish of Amarak. It is no secret that the Gilder Booms worship death: that even the destruct of children consecrates their hallowed armaments in what they say is sacred blood, that the Wags scream of the Night Terrors and dream them, that the Baggers steal and lye and cull the wheat from the chaff. And the Nation and their notions of pure blood, perhaps our reunity with them is our worse sin.

We took tea. We forgot the Folk. Yes, we once freed the slaves, but we embraced the slavers, and enslaved like them. We just wanted to beat the Demos. We forgot the lessons of Independence, and the fiends of the Red Coat Commies. And as we took tea, continuing to get drunk off our poison, of our need for power, we sat back — we sat, or worse, cleaved together with the garbage … We brought everyone — all Folk — Back. Backward. And we took up the pennies, thinking it part of free trade, and the cards thinking of the winning hand and the easy kitsch of bars and liquor as we killed our Lady.

We killed her. Make no mistake. It is our largest crime, our greatest shame of our Festive, of our Folk. Not just that some of us poisoned her, bit by bit, or that we made her weak, in her glittering gown in the Night that came, as she fell in her blood pooling around her — toppling down into waves of the spreading red, our colours — in her bleeding shade across the Land, but that she cried out, cried out for help, for justice, while we stood there …

And did nothing.

Make no mistake. We murdered our Lady all those centuries ago, millennia before. And we all suffered. And we have been trying to atone ever since through our suffering. The Hidden Festive say they are of the Folk, of the Land, and that we are the Realpolitik. They are the children of the Pats that ruled our Repolitik thousands of years ago. They never cared for us. For anyone else. Not for the Folk. Not for Amarak.

We lost in the Great Disunity a thousand years ago now. The truth is that we did rule. We ruled small states, fiefs under a Great Precedent, as Governs and Sheriffs: each of us our own powers. But we didn’t lose the Land, or even get driven to the Borderlands because of the Demos and their Usurpers. We lost far fore that, and we couldn’t watch anymore. Not after so long. We couldn’t be in this Festive anymore. We became Arns, then. We helped the Folk, under the Brigaders, letting the Arn states take us, and betrayed our corrupt brethren and sestra. We gossiped the truth. We snitched on the Lye. We lost the Precedent on purpose, ignored them, didn’t listen, took their power like the others, and played in the squabble seeming of the fiefs: to bring the whole rotten tree down. We wanted it to end, and bring freedom back to the Folk: to the Land.

We took that tea and spilled it on ourselves, scarring ourselves in the places that no one else can see. Some of us joined the Lye of the Rebel and Workers, even the Demos, preferred to the brutalism of what we were. We were once a worthy Party, made into crimes and tyrants, into rapists, opportunes, fanatics, and thieves.

But we stayed. We weren’t like the other Arns. We are not Arns at all. We have baptized ourselves in the tea of our old betrayal of the Folk, of the Fathers, of the Land, of our Fallen Lady in her blood-soaked glittering blue robe. We burn our flesh with the tea, without the flavour of self-lye, or the ornamentals of our former hubris.

We stayed in the Borderlands, in sin, to atone: and perhaps to find redeeming. As the old saying says, we will not suffer poisoners to live, but we will suffer the poison and make it into the cure that will destruct the Festive. And as you, now, know your role in this — when the time is right — embrace the searing of the tea on your skin, etching the pain of the ancient betrayal, of the Sins of the Land, into your Skin, of the first true Rebellion, and remember. Remember what you are fighting for.

For we are the burning. We are hurt. We are the scourges, and the pain: the Pains of the Hidden Lady who we hope to resurrect, our Lady, may she grant us the mercy to continue in our quest, to destroy the Repos — as it is we that owe the Land — to restore our good name again, to bring back the Folk to freedom.

To the Pain of Pains. Our First Father before the Liberator, the child of the Lohim and our sweet Lady … Libertas.

(c) Matthew Kirshenblatt, 2018.

6: Alternative Facts: View From the Badlands

“Yet we toiled and stopped the blight, prevented the subsidence, making our foundations good. Our excavations gradually uncovering the future, archeology staged in reverse, we were the Builders of Tomorrow.”
— Alan Moore, Miracleman Book Three: Olympus

We fled cycles ago, far fore the Second Disunity and the little, small disunities that followed with their feudal Repo fiefs and Demos brigaders. Our Predicts saw it all coming after the end of the Forty-Fourth Precedent. We left a long time ago when the Earth was being threatened, and we became banned from facets of the pre-Interface, then Amarak itself, taking our historia with us.

We’ve been on the move ever since, but we never stopped our missives. As you already glean.

That was the reason we were banished the first time. We, and a few of us, saw the danger fore the Repos purged so much historia, and exiled so many Predicts. After a time, we had our own reunity: to save this world. Once, we were just keepers of one patch of the Land: its guardians and teachers. But when the Disunity spread across the Land, and the Badlands grew, we knew we had to do more. We had to be more.

Once, we were called the Rangers. Just that. Some, a small few, recall us. Now, far past the Borderlands without the Weather Domes, and in enclaves where they are broken, we are just Badlanders now. Mostly, we just watch now.

Mostly.

You followed the Markers in the Interface. We know the Grass do something like us. We have some contact with the Grass, and the Climbers: with anyone who knows how to follow the Markers we leave: the missives we still can’t find in our hearts to stop making. They want us to join in the effort, to fight the Repolitik or the Repo sub-cults.

We know better.

Fore we were Badlanders, or Rangers, we had another name. Conservers. That was our function. It still is. Fore this Cycle, it was our sworn duty to guard the Earth: beyond Cycle and State. Part of that is to spread our historia: to keep it safe, and to let it grow. We do not pose like Repo Gilder-Booms, or cause wars like the Repolitik. Our historia is open to all that seek it: that glean the Markers. How do you think the Weather Domes and biomes came up? We released it to those that looked. How did the Grass know where to find the war criminals when they were the Arm of the Demos? They found our Markers of their dwellings in the Borderlands. And so much more besides.

We do not fight. We never did. We make historia a part of us. Did you know that Earth is many worlds? Worlds linked by bridges that no one had to build? We conserve that. We do what the Repos once only said: to the Land and its organics.

But we do more now than only conserve what we can of the Earth. The populii are also part of the Earth. Our Predicts saw that we needed to do more than just conserve historia, so we expanded into another branch of historia: mythologia itself. That’s why you’ve come so far past the Borderlands. I don’t care about your polity, whatever it is. Mythologia are stories, just as historia is our way of knowing what came fore, and what we can see now: what we can observe. They are not divise.

A lot of what the populii knows about the Disunity, and espec the Interregnum is mythologia. It’s sensical to make stories that help us understand the phenom around us. You’ve asked us, specific, about knowing the details of your ethnos, and ethnoi itself.

Ethnoi is considered divise: no matter what Cycle of our State. To know what it means, you have to glean Amarak. Many of us in the Badlanders think of Amarak as a failed Rene Project: an attempt to make a State based on reason and demos. The Demos Party itself, along with the Grass that came from it, will tell you that Amarak was based on constant Cycle of Opposing. The Tripartite Repolitik has another old Amarakian, or Amaraki belief: in the mythologia of Ground Zero.

Ground Zero is the destruct of everything fore it: leaving nothing, but the potent for something new. The Cycle of Opposing and Ground Zero are not divise: the idea of the old divising with the new often leads to the same place. A blank slate through erasing: a new beginning by violence.

The truth is that Ground Zero is mythologia. It tells a story, but it is only one of them. Ground Zero has happened many times in Amarak’s historia, just as the Disunity was made up of many others in, and after, and it always leaves something behind: espec populii. One of our missives, is to collect and protect what is left: to see how it changes, and to follow its trail on the move.

Ethnoi is a part of this. Amarak was based on many ethnoi throughout the Cycles. Ethnoi is what the Demos, and the Repolitik call it. Before the Great Disunity, it had other names: coustume, religio, and “race.” Cults is another word that lived past the Interregnum, and over time it was all cleaved together into one word: ethnos single, and ethnoi plurality. There were many divising ethnoi: populii of stars and candles, prostrate and crescent-mooned, and skin colour: beige, brown, tan, light, and dark. Many also had intersect with the Spectra and their Prides as well.

Fore the Disunity, some ethnoi were co-op, and others greatly divise. Light-skin and beige ethnoi in specific worshipping the Lohim, and the lines of the intersect: made up the Repo Party in major. The Myth of the Death of the Rolling Green, blamed on another ethnoi, was made by them. And though there is no proof that actually happened, it is one Ground Zero mythologia that we observe and record: a sample of watching how the idea spread.

You can already see it: that Amaraki are mostly dark skin, mostly. Many ethnoi were destruct, killed, murdered, and raped during the pogroms of Repo warlords: taken in what were called “cleansings.” Much of their ethnoi, their coustume, became fragment and destruct during this time. Spread of the Badlands killed many more populii on all sides.

And then, there is another Ground Zero mythologia. You’ve heard of MePo. A mockery of the Repo, some academes say, though it has other meaning. At the Freed Dome, at the Collective, the Repolitik marked the beginning of the new Cycle by the institute of MePo: to combine the best of what was left in the State, of the populii, to make stronger, healthier populli. Remnants of ethnoi were given incent to marry, or make partners: to become a new populii under the Demos saying of “Equality for all.”

While some ethnoi were protected by the Repolitik, made hallowed, and shown as antiq IDs by the State, MePo reigned. MePo was actually institute during the last years of the Interregnum: often through the strong bonds between Demos brigaders and survivors: encouraged to make Ground Zero of the old, the ruin, and make the new.

MePo is the philos of the Demos made flesh: part of something older in turn. It is a cleaving of the words “Merging Policy,” but also of the old Amaraki idea of “Melting Pot.” During the late Interregnum, most old coustumes were quietly destruct to make way for this new mythologia: of One Populii, One State. The ethnoi majority of the Repos either cleaved with other ethnoi to make the Amaraki of now, were killed during return-cleansings in other disunities, or fled to the Borderlands to more inbreeding.

Mythologia is important to the populii. MePo is the mythologia of equality, no matter what. Another sample of Ground Zero is something we recall from another State, another failed Rene Project, before even the First Disunity. With the destruct of many of their coustume from a Cycle, the populii of that State attempted to make their own gods. They tried to make a “Supreme Being” made of reason, along with martyrs of their Cycle. Instead, born in blood in the void they left, they made Lady Guile, her sharp wit a deadly opposing to our former goddess: the Lady Libertas. What they did with Lady Guile, MePo does with its populii: with Ground Zero as the sacred birthing Land. This is why they are Opposing to those outside of the Freed Dome, then the Borderlands, and perhaps eventually the Badlands: they make deity of themselves, destructing the old, and bringing Ground Zero to the rest.

This is why we collect mythologia, along with the historia of the Earth: to know and protect it and show others where it comes from. And then there is our other part. We find the other ethnoi: the ones that still ID with their remnants and the coustume that they can find. They, like you, find our Markings and come to us. Many do not want to be symbols of antiq for the Repolitik, used and profited from. Others do not want to starve unseen. I myself am what the Repos — espec the Nation — would have once called a One-Drop, but I have taken it as my own even as I continue to do good work in the Badlands, even as others like me try to find the roots of our worlds, and bring them other populii, other ethnoi like you. It is one of our highest Missives. Operation Mosaic.

OpMos.

No, we will not join the Grass or the Climbers, though we help. We fight in our own way. We will conserve and trace the mythologia, the things that come from historia, but sometimes come belief. And we protect the world, and those that have always been in it. We are not loud, but we will not be silent. To us, knowing will always trump fear. We will keep innovate and save the past that is our passing to the next Gen.

And we will watch. And we will remember.

5: Alternative Facts: The Cycle

“The revolution will not be televised …”
— Gil Scott-Heron

The Disunity began the lightning rod. And now it continues to the benefit of the State.

We lead the Tripartite of the Repolitik, the Three Parties of Amarak, for a reason. There is a reason why Amarak will, and should always, set a Demos Precedent. Long ago, before Disunity, far before the Interregnum we were, always, the champions of the populii. Even as far as the First Disunity, our strength, our burden, has been the Loyal Opposing that is the nature within our very Party. No other Party, or Festive, is or has ever been like us.

The Repo Party, that always attempted to seize power, understood only part of that. That we were, we are, divise. Their strength had always been Unity. Once, they stated as their oath that “They built bridges,” but in realpolitik we always knew their true words: “Unity at all costs.” Before we disbanded our Arm among the populii and the lost ethnoi of this Land, our Volunteers, our soldiers, our spies, they claimed that we detested divise and desire this … Unity for ourselves.

They were wrong. They are wrong.

Our power is Loyal Opposing. It is Opposing itself. Opposing for the good of the Repolitik. Of the Cycle. Of Amarak.

Why would we have encouraged the Workers, and the Independence Parties otherwise? To be our extend of Loyal Opposing, while we — the Demos — the populii itself continue to be that in our own Body?

We are the process. And the best of us see it.

Our divise makes us strong. It reminds the populii — the elect — the Body what we want, what we are. Equality for all. Anyone of the populii can look at the historia of our State through the general levels of the Interface and see that Amarak has been made and rooted in Cycle. It has been a Cycle. And something needs to start that Cycle. Our Predicts glean it everytime. When the Repos seized power and caused the Disunity, killing, imprisoning, closing us off from the Earth, divise became clear and pretense was over.

Each time a Repo Precedent was set, we made it clear — when they ignored us through our divise, claiming us corrupt and weak — that they were the Enemy. They were the destroyer of the Land, of the ethnoi, of the Rainbow Peoples and the Spectra Prides, of historia, and Earth. The Repos could not deal with divise and we used it through our Volunteer Arm to break their unity. Their tyranny. We used divise, our own divise, to fight against them, and turn them against each other: their own populii against their own Pats and we hunted them. We ended them.

The Repos only had power through unity, and when they were buried in the Earth, biting at our bases. Many times we think we removed the wart, but the roots were always still there under the surface: waiting to grow back, even looking fair when next to divise, until they came up bloated and ugly again: inflated with their own sense of poison.

Becoming a perfect target for the scourge.

The Predicts told us to wait for the best. The best are the only way to rule a Land and bring equality. The Repos destroyed themselves. We simply cleaned up the rest, and made an example of them as the criminals that they were.

We contain the conflict now. For now. We embody the process. We are spreading it out. The truth is that everything in Amarak is connected. The Weather Domes need to be fixed. The Soup-kitsches and oikos of the biomes require more populii. We need Reunity in the Land before we can deal fully with the other States on the Earth, and the Earth itself.

It has been a thousand years until the new Cycle. Many ethnoi have died out, slaved by the Repos, slaughtered, their bad divise and tribalisms made extinct through the disunities, or mingled by the cause of our Arm to make the populii strong over the Gen. The Cis-Gen is over in the circle of the Freed Dome. We are beyond Gen now, grown past it and its strictures: transcended it. For the most part, now, we are a Post-Ethnos, Post-Gen world. All Affinities and IDs will be celebrated, especially those that remain of the Antiq: rare and valued. They and their achievements protected and preserved in the Interface to remind us of past divise for all time: of what we lost, and what we can still lose. That is why our fore-elect, remakers of the Demos, made the Freed Dome: as one of those commerates. The disunities of the Disunity stage, of the process is almost over.

The Borderlands and the Spectra are all that remains. The Pride will join us. With our mech-wooms, we can make our populii numerous again. But there is one last part: one thing that our Predicts have told us from the very beginning.

Our Volunteer Arm had been right. There will always be an Opposing. We told them that. We warned them. The Cis-Trans War brings them out like the woodworms. The pitiful Repo sub-cults, the Climber terrorists, and the rest fight in the Spectra, burning themselves out. The Prides will police themselves before Reunity, they will divise. Part of the Demos are already helping them as we engage in healthy debate, freely, as the populii can see at the Freed Dome and through the Interface.

And the roots of the infection … the Repo Speculars that they don’t think we see, and their former hunters, the misguided frags of the Arm — narrowed over the elitist dream of equity —  the selfish idea of singular IDs being more important than the whole — now calling themselves the Grass will reveal themselves through this conflict, through this War … and with the Spectra Prides and our allies we will neutralize them, as war-makers, as traitors. These extremes. Forever.

One last lightning bolt in front of the populii, our elect … and then the Reunity will be complete. Because what our former Arm neglects to understand through its blinded pretense of understanding, what the Repo sub-cults and their spies don’t see through their profit of the prophets, the remnants of the divise ethnoi do not care to see, and the Climbers are too distracted to notice fighting a war that’s already been won, is that this Cycle will be over. Why do I say that? Because in the end, it has to be. For us to move on. The Cycle must end in the State and continue in the other States. And in the world.

We must continue the process. We are the example. We are the process. We are the Demos. We are the Loyal Opposing. We are the populii. We are the elect. We are Amarak.

And we are the Cycle.

Equality for all.

(c) Matthew Kirshenblatt, 2018.

Alternative Facts

I’m doing this all out of order.

This is an examination that should have happened either before I wrote my stories, or after when I had — or could still have — more of them. It is fairly clear that this entry is not a story in itself, at least not a fictional one, in my Alternative Facts series: whatever else it is. After all, where is the epigraph, right?

I started making epigraphs for some of my stories, in general, far before this point. You can blame Frank Herbert’s Dune series for my occasional, but fierce, love of putting quotes from other sources before my prose in addition to my love of classical science-fiction. In a way, while Dune has little to do with what I’ve been writing on my Mythic Bios Blog lately and before the New Year, it did teach me to look at the current world and what it could be in different ways, and I would be lying if I said that I had the idea behind Alternative Facts only recently.

It’s quite presumptuous of me, really. All of this is. Here I am writing, retrospectively, about a writing experiment as though it’s some kind of legitimate, published literature: as if it’s all finished, polished, and done. As if I may even continue it.

I’ve always known this world was imperfect. Even while, publicly and for the most part, staying out of politics I knew that human nature and what it builds is flawed on a fundamental, foundation of being. That’s why I always appreciated dystopian literature. George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm come to mind, but also Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We, Philip K. Dick’s The Man in High Castle, and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. When you also add Russell Hoban’s and Alan Moore’s post-apocalyptic language play in Riddley Walker and Crossed +100 respectively, you can see all of these influences on a very basic and hardly comparable level with the series that I chose to share publicly.

It almost didn’t happen.

A little while ago, Neil Gaiman wrote a short story “The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury.” In this story, you see this protagonist’s view of the world change dramatically, even degenerate, but ultimately becoming defined by the absences of where Ray Bradbury’s work, knowledge, and presence used to be within their mind. I found it utterly fascinating, this mnemonic shift, and I tried to replicate it in a poor attempt at a story about someone forgetting Neil Gaiman and looking at the world through their eyes. I wasn’t ready then. I almost understood what I was trying to do, as much as I can still even attempt to put it into words, but reason wasn’t enough. I had to intuit it, and pass that spark into some writing.

Fast forward this a few years. The politics of the Western world, of North America, shifted: or at least what already existed became clearer to me. The Internet doesn’t allow you to ignore the rest of the world as readily as other media anymore, or at least for now. I realized, far later than many other people more qualified than myself, that this was something I couldn’t afford to ignore. Then, at one point, the term “alternative facts” was introduced into the world conversation. It’s true that you can refer back to Orwell or even 1930s Germany when you think about those words, but they stuck with me. At one point, on my social media, I wrote something along the lines of taking “Alternative Facts” and making some kind of dark science-fiction or speculative series based off that title.

Even then, I knew I was only half-joking.

But I didn’t do this for a while. It was a nice, snarky thought as the world seemed to be proving itself to be more stupid and self-destructive than even I originally thought. I thought about the American elections, and how in my mind it should have gone: that forces utilizing hate and hate speech should have failed —  utterly — then turned on each other, and become utterly forgotten: an embarrassment to society and civilization, polite or other wise. I started off this post by saying I was doing this all out of order. And I remembered what ancient civilizations used to do with dynasties and regimes that caused them chaos before they finally fell. They would go out of their way to erase every monument, every artifact, every word, and every mention of those former ruling groups: for good or ill.

Then I remembered something else. I had a friend I used to talk with from Germany. Among many other things, we would discuss history. Of course, the Nazi Party came up. This was before a lot of the turmoil that became prominent during 2016 and now onward, which is reminiscent of parts of history. My friend, when we talked about Nazis, never called them Nazis. They called them National Socialists. And that was exactly what their name was, the National Socialist Party. But then it was abbreviated, and from then on and over time, they have been called Nazis. It doesn’t matter what they styled themselves, or what their original aims were in other forms, or even their influences. That is how they are known now.

Just like my Repos, the former Repo Party, mentioned in my first story and elsewhere.

At first, I just talked about the Repos. And then, one day during August of 2017 when so many people were talking about politics and fascism, when I was wondering if I would ever see my girlfriend or any of my other loved ones in the United States again, I decided to try my hand at uniting these concepts into a story. What would happen if something so bad occurred that even as civilization in one area reconstructed itself, it either lost much information, or actually went as far as banning it — erasing words — to make sure they would become lost?

The first draft of “Lost Words” wasn’t really good. It got clunky and you could tell that I was still exploring a lot. The protagonist talked with a teacher and it all felt like very scripted excitement, very “Gee Willikers.” And the ending was choppy and rather flat as well. I sent it to my girlfriend, but even before she said anything else, I knew I could have done better. So I abandoned it.

Four months passed. It was probably in the back of my mind, just as our conversations and my rudimentary notes sat in fragments  on a draft email. Science, and laws are being changed and challenged. Political horror as a genre is rising again, or people are paying more attention to it. I had time to think about the power of words and ideas existing, and being erased. Certainly, even before this working on Sequart articles focusing on Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows’ Providence, along with the “Agents of HYDRA” arc for SHIELD really helped me examine some concepts that, for me, still needed a creative outlet. I also thought about some of the work I did researching and looking at Lawrence Gullo, Fyodor Pavlov, and Kelsey Hercs’ LGBTQ+ Bash Back comic.

I honestly can’t remember why I resurrected and rewrote “Lost Words,” not when I left it for dead. Not when I almost let it no longer exist. I know I reconnected with a friend of mine and wanted to show it to them: thinking it right up their alley. But I had been working on it even before that. At least I think I did. As I say in “The Spectrum” story, it’s hard to say when something was born, or destroyed, or made when it seems as though it always exists on some level.

All I know is that I wanted people to see it: even the shoddy draft that I could just put on my Facebook and be done with it. But I didn’t leave it at that. I honed it down. I made the narrator more definite. And I added a layer of metaphor to it, something to mirror the main story and give it that resonance I needed. It was only later, after I wrote “Freedom” — from the perspective of the Repos of all people — that I added an epigraph retroactively into that story, based on the fact that I made one for “Freedom.” And the trend began, if such a thing can be said what with there being only four stories so far.

It is funny what you can tell about a world, like Amarak, by what isn’t said. I realized that writing each story from a different perspective, with epigraphs that complemented and contrasted with the narrative content, was effective for me. They are like dispatches from another place, another possible time. The word play is incredibly reminiscent of classic science-fiction to the point of it being very pretentious and derivative of classic science fiction of the twentieth century. I take fragments of Latin, I mess around with English and abbreviate words, attempting at times to make sure they have multiple meanings. It isn’t anything special. I am no Russell Hoban, or Alan Moore. And in terms of the stories and their conceits, as a friend of mine once said to put me in my place long ago, I am no Neil Gaiman. And in the wake of the twenty-first century, with its far more sleek and genre-savvy science-fiction and speculative literature I know there are many voices looking at these issues that are far more diverse than my own.

But I did it regardless. And I found it funny how Lost Words, which I thought was the most clever, was a story some readers just didn’t understand. I thought it was clever. But I suppose that is the problem: cleverness does not always a good story make if you don’t make it relatable. Weirdly enough, Freedom with its mythic and almost religious quality seemed more accessible, and The Spectrum in particular seemed to really hit a chord in people, or punched some subject matter rather unsubtly in the face. By We Are the Grass, though, I basically went “full circle” and wrote about what I thought: take it, or leave it.

I don’t really know, at this point, where to go from here. I just came back from a visit to the States and I am tired. But even before that, I wasn’t sure where Alternative Facts was going. I originally thought of it as something of a dark speculative anthology series, with tongue and cheek political tones, but a world — the land of Amarak — grew out of it instead. It is still a possibility of course that I will continue with my original plan if Amarak becomes too exhausted.

And I have some ideas. The fact is, I require more inspiration. I hit my stride with this, and another series I’m working on at the moment — a private one I was focusing on before this one attempted to supplant it like the usurper that it is — so I need to keep that fire going. I believe watching films like Get Out, as well as Netflix’s Black Mirror, along with reading Pornsak Pichetshote and Jose Villarrubia’s upcoming Infidel comics series in a few months could help recharge my batteries of pure dark fire towards the world. Or, you know, continuing to watch and read the news: that works too.

When it comes down to it, though, I feel as though every story I write, every story I’ve ever written is filled with “alternative facts”: is in fact an “alternative fact” in and of themselves. I don’t mean that they are lies, though some stories are lies and, as a great writer once said, all writers are liars. But they are all still stories and they do say something about the storytellers, and the place from which they come. And sometimes, some things just speak for themselves. And sometimes it is better that they do instead of remaining silent. Silence is the ultimate death though … sometimes what isn’t said can speak incredible volumes.

I think these are my thoughts for now. Feel free to read my stories if and when you have the time. It is good to place something on this site. It has been reposted on, and neglected for some time now. It feels good to put something on here again, especially something that feels worth while. Everything still is out of order. I should have ended this post with the previous paragraph. But, somehow, I feel as though whatever this is is just beginning. Or it is always here and I am just one more person speaking it: one more letting it speak through me. Take care everyone.