Freewrite, 5.18.20

When he woke up he knew how to sing and dance and place his guitar, but he couldn’t drive a car.
The doctors told him he’d suffered a rare condition, known as snufolofogus or something that sounded like an animal with a trunk for a nose.
What he could do were all the things he remembered enjoying. What he couldn’t do were the things he’d despised. He came home with his wife and daughter and they were nice and kind and made him food and when he was done they put him to bed, and even let him drink some juice beforehand. It was hard to fall asleep–maybe because he couldn’t stop thinking about how nice the sun felt on his skin as they left the hospital, or maybe because they’d said he’d been asleep for almost two weeks in a comma or something that sounded like punctuation. In any case, he lay in bad that first night back home and watched the shadows creep around on the wall–but luckily none reached for him.
Later, when things had calmed down and he’d moved in with family–his brother–his wife and daughter too, he became aware that people didn’t tell him how nice his smile was, the way he told them. Their smiles were all always so nice. Bright with white lights.
He had a planner that he wrote down memories in. That is, he wrote down what he was doing and where he should be, because if he didn’t he forgot and then people–well, they weren’t mad at him, but it made people frustrated–he thought.
But with the planner, it was like an external memory. He could keep all the things he couldn’t remember in there. He could remember which street he lived on and he could also remember where he had been and when.
But then they took his external memory away. He didn’t know why. He’d liked the planner. He’d liked his pen. They gave him a small screen with a calling mechanism and games. He liked the games. But the screen was so small he didn’t like typing on it to keep track of the places he was supposed to be and when.
He played solitaire because that was how he felt. He knew the rules of solitare. They were simple. The computer even corrected him if he forgot the rules. It wasn’t like real cards where you didn’t know if you had placed the 5 of spades here or the queen of hearts there. It was all laid out for you. The planner couldn’t have done this game–but it could have let him write what he wanted.
Then there was the big virus. Not like thing Snufolofgus. It was more like a flu and this was years later too. years and year–he thought. But still very serious. Not for him, but for others. But he couldn’t quite understand what happened to be people when they got it, other than the fact that they wore masks everywhere they went.

Small Thoughts Review: Eternal Recurrence Revisited by Brandon Robshaw

Eternal Recurrence Revisited by Brandon Robshaw is another look at Nietzsche’s interpretation of the recurrence of life and death Infinitum. It is published in issue 137 of Philosophy Now: A magazine of ideas.

Nietzsche’s take on eternal recurrence is, to nobodies surprise, rather depressing. Or at least it is for his sake. The idea is that every person will live life, again and again, exactly the way they have already lived it, making all the same mistakes and feeling all the same pain and joys as they are doing so right now in their current life. For Nietzsche, himself, this may have been perhaps debilitating. He was not a happy, optimistic person. Brandon Issue 137Robshaw, on the other hand, interprets this particular concept in far different ways than Nietzsche might have for himself. As Nietzsche was blighted by health issues, few friends, and constant personal egotistical demons, not everyone is. That’s what Robshaw brings to this. For some–Nietzsche’s concept of eternal recurrence might be wonderful, for they have lived happy, fulfilling lives (by and large). However, Robshaw can’t stray too far from the near nihilistic nature of Nietzsche. Robshaw posits: if we are doomed to live and relive all our past experiences, are we then at what point is everything meaningless and the same, since it has already happened–even if we don’t remember our past lives, or the lives to come that will be exactly as our lives are now. Suddenly, life is not so linear in the sense from point A to Point B, for death entails another birth–are you an antinatalist? Do you prescribe a positive or negative value to birth? If you do then the continued birth-death-birth-death-etc, the cycle is no doubt depressing. But then there’s the chicken-or-egg conundrum: Can we tell which came first, birth or death? One may signify the other if we take Nietzsche’s idea of eternal recurrence for a fact. Suddenly, time seems not something fix, but rather nearly a room we could walk through sampling what experiences we might enjoy and those we do not–if only we could recall our past lives.

Small Thoughts Review: Falling Angel by Albert E. Cowdrey

Albert E. Cowdrey is known for his ghost stories. The Novelet, Falling Angel (published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Jan/Feb 2020) adds to Cowdrey’s portfolio.

The premise is somewhat Noir, in the sense that the murder in question took place back in the 1940s. Think The Black Dahlia type of case, but an echo or the ghost of the murdered woman’s scream haunts the hotel in which she perished. That’s what Butch and Roma are here to investigate. What happened to a struggling actress back in the 40s, how she died, and how to finally put her rest.The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, January/February 2020 ...

This piece is filled with the occult and the dark underworld of things that go bump in the night. It’s urban fantasy, well told, and well written. However, I didn’t see the ending coming–and not in a good way. It left me feeling a bit bemused since it hinged on some political/social commentary that was completely absent in the piece up until that moment. If there had been an inkling of politics in this piece beforehand, I think I would have found this ending more fulfilling. Still, up until that last page or so I found this an enjoyable read.