Tag Archives: William Lim 10B

Hypertext Fiction: “Wata” / “October 2014”

At home, I live in a cold, little, cream-white room, the walls thin enough to hear my father’s age wearing down upon him as he sleeps for five or six hours in the adjacent room and awakens to a job that he hates. Some nights, I sit in that room and my father snores and my computer whirrs and the wind howls like plague come to kill all those without walls or warmth to comfort them, and I cannot help but wonder what I would do if I was one of them. My things are spread out all over the floor because I have no other place to put them. My father tells me I need things like a shelf for my records, and I tell him we’ll get it sometime from IKEA, but really, I just don’t want to waste his money. I should get a job. I should get a life. I should finish all my homework and accomplish all my goals in life and make people happy and maybe then, I can die happy.

Some nights, I sit in my room and I feel my perpetual weight and perpetual loneliness and I see myself drowning at sea. In my dress shirt, business trousers and old black business shoes; the boat is going just too fast, chasing a white whale or something. It’s running through a storm that surrounds me in black and rain, flashing lightning to reveal grey shapes before it all goes dark again. I’m holding onto a rail but it’s too wet and the wind is furious. Like all hell has me by the ankles, I’m holding on only to realise that I’m holding on to nothing at all. It’s over, I know it is. I let go.

For the seconds that my body is swept through the air I feel a certain freedom, finally yielding to the force of the wind; the force of nature; the force of a power bigger than I. I’m smiling. Then the impact. Then I’m too far down to see anything but water; kilometres down and I just keep sinking. Dark blue; there’s nothing here—no fishes, no reefs—just me. My heart beats slower. The sound and the fury flee my head. It’s quiet. Peaceful, unchangingly so, as if hidden in this purgatory is the singular encapsulation of eternal peace. In my dress shirt, business trousers and old black business shoes, I lay back and close my eyes. Suspended, I lay there for what feels like seconds but could very well be years.

There’s millions of tonnes of water pressing down. I pay no mind to it. In the darkness, over time, it is the loneliness that swells around me; within me. It grows inside me and when it finally, inevitably screams like a newborn child I am suddenly unable to breathe. In my panic, I would scramble for air in this airless void and my body would contort and wrestle but pinned under millions of tonnes of water, I am motionless. It is now that I feel life leave me. It is now that—after the impossible weight and time and failure has crushed my bones— it is only now that my spirit finally concedes. I could tell you that it is at this moment that the great sun shines through the water and illuminates the loneliness; I could tell you that my leaving this world after all this strife is beautiful and perhaps meaningful. But, in truth, there is only blackness amidst the blue.


NOTE: Though initially unintended for this purpose, this piece has become part of the blog’s Hypertext Fiction series, in which our writers respond to pieces written by other writers in an effort to create a large, connective body of work spanning the entirety of the blog’s contributors. The piece continuing onward from this one is Zachary Sunter‘s “The Rope, the Stars and the Night Sky“.


I’ve had a few moments of breakdown while listening to the album Flood by Boris. At the start of part two, the only thing that’s happening is there’s these really quiet drums and lightly stroked guitar chords; its minimalism is really confronting. I reckon it evokes the cover art, which maybe looks like the perspective of a person drowning underwater. So, that’s where the idea came fron.

Oh yeah, the title “Wata” is a dual reference to water and the guitarist from Boris. Damn, she’s cool.

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Poem: “For Whom Does the Alarm Bell Toll?”

Good night 6 a.m.
From staying up way too late
From getting out of my bed as the sun
Comes down with my feet as they meet
The ground, the morning, reality

The first solid truth since I went to sleep
All those years ago comes to light in a
Lightless room in the morning of the
Afternoon as my feet come to meet
The ground, the afternoon, reality

Alive or just breathing?
Awake or still dreaming?
Is it morning or afternoon?
Am I late or is it soon?
The waking truth is that
At the centre of the clock is I
And at its rims is death
Circling without cessation
Ignorant of irrelevant time
He is waiting

For whom does the alarm bell toll?
I couldn’t care less;
I’m getting out of bed

Written for going to sleep at six in the morning and getting up at four in the afternoon.

Poem: “Of Trudging Through Rain in Wintry Summer”

These are the truest blues
That I have ever felt

It happened in summer
Not quite summer
The rain still fell, albeit half-heartedly
From a decaying grey sky
That never quite died

Only receding, as an adolescent whim
Hastily, hesitantly, unsure
Pitter patter pitter patter

To reveal grand blue
And illuminating yellow
And free white

I learned it that summer:
Grand and illuminating and free were not
As permanent residents. They come and go
Vagrants that ought to have stayed

When I needed them more than anything
Pitter patter pitter patter

And I am alone again
And suddenly the walls crumble and fade
And suddenly I am without home nor heart

I am the vagrant
I have always been the vagrant
The light rain batters my bare skin
And no sky’s blue
Could ever be as true
As that which my eyes and soul and body now wear

Pitter patter pitter patter
It erodes me


Written for the first days of Melbourne’s summer of 2013, in which it rained like July. We had not seen spring that year.

Prose Compilation: “Fragmented Existential Self-Portrait”

“A Fragmented Portrait of My Existence”
A compilation of personal writings and observations.

I.

Sometimes, you think about the end of the world. How do we go out? Is there a bang? Whimper? Perhaps it’s like that old shtick about the deer and headlights and no one will quite expect it. But I doubt that there will be violins, whispering mournful melodies for our end. God will not be available to deliver our epitaph. Nick Woods says he’ll go out to a bar, “get plastered one more time” and yell at the top of his lungs “congrats, we made it to the end.” I think we give ourselves a little too much credit. Perhaps we’re not important, just an evolutionary tree branch that grew to a size that the tree itself could not support. In the end, the branch will be too heavy, and snap under its own weight. Perhaps when we’re finally too much for the world, something will happen, and we won’t be anymore.

II.

At some point in the 20th century, it became apparent to Albert Camus that the happenings of the world were no less than consecutive occurrences culminating from the factors of everything involved, intentional or otherwise. Suddenly, life became an equation of variables, incorporating more pronumeral representations than any number of linguistic symbols could facilitate. In spite of the Xs and Ys, however, Camus decided that he would be in control of his own life, as much as possible. He decided that whatever factors the most random of intervening forces should throw at anyone, perseverance was still worth the effort.

And then he died. For more terms than a million men could contemplate in a million years, the outcome was always the same: death. But, given the constant of death, the outcome is probably not that which existence concerns itself with. Now, rearrange the equation and solve for X.

III.

A clock: the very same clock since the beginning of the year, greeting me every Tuesday morning with its mocking expression of an hour at which I only desire to sleep. It is a fairly mundane clock, with a blandly coloured, modern design like that you could almost assuredly expect to see in the generic setting of a dentist waiting room: cylindrical, decidedly utilizing only white and metallic grey and numbered in a most uninspired font. From my current position I would appraise its value at a maximum of twenty dollars, due to the obvious suggestions made by its faux-metallic outer shell and display covering of plastic imitation glass, curved as if casted from one side of a ball. Two metal sticks make periodic but subtle changes, and a furious, thin rod spins unrestrainedly. Numbers and countless little dashes encircle the three hands in a repeating dance. They turn, and turn, and turn, and meet each other at the twelve before turning again.

That damn clock: forever a testament to the cyclical nature of this life. You’ll get up at the same time every day, and that damn clock with be staring back at you with that same, mocking face. Darby Crash used to say that everything works in circles. Sometimes you’ll do something and you’ll find yourself at that same place again. “So circle one is what we’re doing right now. Someday we’ll probably do circle two.” Someday just keeps getting further away.

Review: Waxahatchee – “American Weekend” (2012)

American Weekend by Katie Crutchfield is the saddest record I’ve ever heard. This is a record to approach with caution. This is the ultimate soundtrack to every moment you spent alone; the ultimate soundtrack to a heart breaking or a soul tearing itself apart. This is the kind of record that can find your heart in the pitch black when you’re at your furthest away from anyone and extract your poisons. Conversely, it can take you to the lowest depths of your existential foundations. It’s a dark room at 1AM in a haze of alcohol and words of catharsis that you could say a million times over in your head but will flee the moment you face your demons. It comes from an acoustic guitar in crackling lo-fi and a beautiful 22-year-old woman who’s telling you that “I don’t care if I’m too young to be unhappy”. But in the end, Crutchfield could be saying anything she wants or nothing at all, and the sound would cut you all the same. To tell you the truth, after two years of on-and-off listening, I know little more than a few lines of lyrics off American Weekend. I’ve only ever heard sound in this record and it is already so overwhelming. In fact, I’ve never been able to handle this record in more than occasional doses, because I haven’t gotten that low in years. But sometimes, in the words of a man named Gareth Campesinos who has nothing to do with anything, “the low is what I came for”.

I’ve come to a crossroads in my life in which I have to decide whether I want to allow a future to accumulate in my lap on its own or work for the things that I want, and it’s only fitting that American Weekend–a record I know nothing about but feels like a knife carving away at my insides–is there for me. It’s because I believe in getting to the very bottom and having nowhere to go but up. I believe in redemption. I believe that sometimes, to face your demons, you’ve got to be brought to your knees, weeping and pathetic and ready to die so that you can’t fight or take the easy way out. Lately, American Weekend has revealed its ability to channel that in me. There’s something about those sounds: even the least gut-wrenching, soul-destroying songs like “Be Good” play like happy memories on a black-and-white projector screen from a time that deteriorates more and more in your mind as the days keep slipping away. I suppose what this record is to me is an appeal for change. I took a look at the very last four lyrics to this album and they read as follows: “You’re in the Carolinas and I’m going to New York / and I’ll be much better there / or that’s what I’m hoping for / and we will never speak again”.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5ZMsO-iJXo&list=PL4ba-X-3ezbvH0L6_i0QayZ3flDzwbEda