Where You Are We Cannot Go

Franz Kafka

Franz Kafka


 

With you
there we are
at the places we cannot go
with you
we go
you take us there with you
to the places we cannot go

You guide us
drive us
deep into the heart
into the dark
into the places we cannot go

Through the heat
through the snow
the snow
the bitter snow
the insufferable snow
with you through the snow
we lose ourselves
in the places we cannot go
crumbling castles in the sky
looming shadows
rampart mysteries
the eyes
spying eyes
lying eyes
the eyes coaxing us down
the endless trails
the trails without end
that lead us
to the places we cannot go
the hunger
the bitter hunger
we hunger
we are there
with you
and we hunger
insatiable
we live for the hunger
we hunger to be there with you
enduring trials indiscriminate
to be with you
to suffer
with you
the trial
the trials
the accusations of truths
for which we have no defense

 
 

 
 

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In Contemplation of the Art and Act of Suicide – A Review

SHORT STORY | FICTION | LITERATURE
A NOTE by John Northcutt Young
RATING: ★ ★ ★

 

Some people should die
That’s just unconscious knowledge

- Jane’s Addiction

 

A Note by John Northcutt Young

It is hard for me to imagine anyone past the age of puberty who has not contemplated suicide. I don’t mean actually contemplating committing suicide — although less hard, it is still kind of hard for me to imagine anyone who has lived a life of even the most minimal engagement to have not had at least one life crisis serious enough to trigger contemplation of even this most extreme act — but just suicide in general. If, hypothetically speaking, one were going to commit suicide, what would be the best way to perform the act? That is what I mean by contemplating suicide. Contemplating the art of suicide, so to speak.

And, with his short story A NOTE, that is exactly what author John Northcutt Young does. He forces us to contemplate suicide, and in a most uncomfortable and burdensome manner, by taking us deep into the mind of someone preparing himself for the final act of committing suicide.

And he does this, not just by forcing us into the mind of the narrator as a casual observer, he shoves us directly into the story itself, as a participating character, by having us assume the most unpleasant role of “Whomever,” the unknown recipient to whom the narrator of the story is addressing his suicide note, a note that he is just beginning to pen when the story itself begins.

But we quickly learn that it is not going to be an easy note to write. And this is not just because of the obvious reasons. Penning one’s final farewell message must surely be difficult for even the most accomplished in life. Right now you may be thinking that that last sentence is ridiculous. If one is so accomplished in life then there would be no reason for one to even contemplate suicide, let alone actually commit it. My response to that is, the statement may be highly ironic perhaps, but ridiculous, certainly not. All we have to do is take even the most cursory of glances at recent headlines to see that yes, indeed, even the most accomplished — and I almost want say here, especially the most accomplished — find cause to put a suicidal end their living existence.

However, with this story, we find that the one penning the note is far from having led an accomplished life; in fact, as he sees it, he has led, perhaps, a life the least accomplished of all. And if it holds true that penning a suicide note would prove difficult for the most accomplished, we are about to find out just how exceedingly difficult it is for the least.

By his own account the narrator is a loser. He is unaccomplished at everything, especially his life goal, a life-long ambition to be a successful writer. Or is it an author. He is not sure which he should call himself. This indecision is typical, endemic even, of his character. We learn in the most repetitive, and somewhat distracting, way that the narrator has difficulty making even the most mundane of decisions, and those decisions that he does make, ultimately end in failure.

But his biggest failure, and even bigger regret, is that of failing as a writer. And here is where I have the biggest breakdown with the story.

The story is narrated in a near stream of consciousness voice. The narrator, finally having made the decision to end his life, is now free from having to worry about all the grammar and linguistic challenges writing entails. This freedom also seems to have impacted negatively the way his internal voice, his stream of consciousness voice, is spoken. The voice of the narrator sounds overly immature and whiny, which may be excused considering what he has put himself on the path to do, but this voice doesn’t speak true to me. I cannot imagine that anyone as close to committing suicide as our narrator is, would sound so petty and immature.

Near the end we learn that his suicide note is soggy from his tears. However, up to that point, I never felt once that the narrator had shed even the slightest tear. It was, unfortunately, one rather long, annoying whine, poor grammar and all.

But what does a critique like that mean really? My answer is, nothing.

How could I possibly know how others would speak to themselves internally, and not just for something as terrifying and dramatic as the internal processing of the final movement toward ending one’s life, but for anything, really? I can’t. The only voice I can ever know, the only voice I can ever truly critique, is the sound of my own voice. And I hope I never have to hear what it would sound like during such a heartbreaking situation as the narrator is experiencing.

My problem with the narrator’s voice and the negative impact I find that it has on the overall tone and success of the story, has to be more my problem, a problem of taste, and not the story’s.

Overall, and most importantly, the story works in achieving what is perhaps its truest and biggest mission, and that, to me is, the act of awareness. Whether we like the story or not, by its end we definitely become more aware, through Young’s insistence on forcing us into a deep, uncomfortable contemplative mind journey, of what it just may be like for one poor, desperate soul of a loser as he prepares himself for what perhaps is his final act alive.

And that, to me, is something worthy of serious and deep contemplation.

~~~~

Rating System:
★ = Unreadable
★ ★ = Poor Read
★ ★ ★ = Average Read
★ ★ ★ ★ = Outstanding Read
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ = Exceptional Read

My Town

All my life I’ve lived in a town
Where stop means go
And up means down,

Where happy means sad
And black means white,
Where good means bad
And wrong means right,

Where night means day
And yes means no,
Where work means play
And fast means slow,

Where yesterday means tomorrow
And midnight means noon,
Where give means borrow
And later means soon,

Where lost means found
And water means ice,
Where square means round
And mean means nice.

So, if you ever visit
You’d better learn our ways,
Cuz if you ever try to leave
It means you’ll have to stay.

My Town

From Poem Man

 
 

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The way forward for our little “Indie Author Book Selection & Review” flash of a grassroots response thing we got going here…

I guess there is something to be said for operating on leftover pizza highs…

First off, I believe both a sincere thank you and a hearty congratulations are in order.

We’ve had quite the response to the “Hey Author, what’s your book about?” post from a few days back.

And for that, I say, from the bottom of my heart to the tips of my inked and computer key calloused fingers, Thank you all very much.

To date, fourteen awesome Authors have submitted their books for consideration. (And there is still two days left until submissions will be closed so if you’re considering it even a little bit, times running out so let’s chop chop to it, okay Authors), sixteen votes have been cast for favorite Authors, and 108 Readers have given a thumbs up of “Like” for the overall concept of this grassroots Indie movement that we started and is taking off right before our eyes.

And for that, I congratulate you. You all are just the greatest, and, with your greatness, you are exemplifying all that is possible, in the most positive terms, in what this little experiment called the Internet has to offer.

So, what’s next?

I don’t know if you’ve been following the updates or have seen the timeline on my sidebar, but here is the way forward:

In less than an hour, at 8:00PM tonight, I will post my review of John Northcutt Young’s story A NOTE.

Which means, I will soon be in the market for a new story to read.

Tomorrow night, Friday at 11:59PM to be exact, I will close the comments section down on the original solicitation announcement.

And then on Monday at 8:00PM, I will announce my selection of the next book I will read and review.

See the right sidebar for the complete timeline.

Okay?

Great.

And then, after that, we, and by we I mean you all will have to decide if we have enough momentum to do this all again.

I sure hope so…

WRITE ON!

Hey all you Free-Thinking Poets and Artists who moderate your comments because you’re scared of a little spam…

Yeah, you know who you are…

Sissies.

And yeah, I know we already discussed this topic in my “PRO” TIP: DO NOT MODERATE ME!

Still pisses me off though every time I post a comment on your site and get the ol’ “Comment waiting to be moderated/approved” announcement of fear.

Deep breath…

But, I’m learning to cope with it…

My Personal Pope, the Greatest of Gurus, Dr. Wayne “The Wonderful” Dyer tells me that when having to choose between being right or being kind, I should always choose to be kind.

It’s a beautiful piece of wisdom.

Seriously.

I love Dr. Dyer.

He has changed my life dramatically in the most positive ways. You should check him out if you haven’t already.

And that’s why it hurts me so much to sin against this most poetic of his precepts…

But it’s so hard not get mad at you moderating sissies because so many, practically all of you, are doing it!

Deep breath…

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaooooooooooooooommmmmmmmmmm…

Deep breath…

Anyway…

I’m not going to revisit all that…well, maybe I am but it’s only because I just read a very interesting WIRED article about REAL Moderators.

According to the article, our major social media tech companies outsource hordes of moderating work – estimated over 100,000 laborers; mostly in the Philippines – to scan the internet and scrub it of all the darkest and most disgusting images that the those with the most darkest and disgusting minds out there like to post just for the shock factor of grossing us out and/or to satisfy their sick perversions — of the porn, the beheadings, the most gruesome of the auto and other kinds of deaths…

Yeah…now that is some Serious Moderating.

Some mind-twisting, psychologically-impairing Moderating.

I cannot imagine having a job where I would have to look at that kind of stuff all day.

Look, I’m no angel, but I can’t even watch an instant replay of a pro athlete twisting his ankle. Seriously. I have to avert my eyes or click off to another channel. Because if I don’t click away, I’m sure to catch a glimpse of it sooner or later because they show the ankle twisting, or knee hyperextending, in super-slow mo, over and over and over…

Gross…

But those REAL Moderators…

Pour souls. A tough gig to earn only around $500 bucks a month.

Hopefully in their noble endeavors they run across some of Dr Dyer’s videos and receive some of his wise guidance and counseling to help them cope.

But, come to think of it, that might just get them in trouble.

Strange to consider, isn’t it?

A job where you could get busted for not watching porn.

Strange, indeed…but I’m glad they’re out there protecting us from all that vileness.

And it should show all you Sissy Moderators moderating your nervous world against the Evil Legions of Spam Armies that are out there just waiting to attack you at the first sign of the slightest weakness in your moderation defenses just what REAL Moderating entails.

Yes, I know, some of you who moderate your comments have valid concerns of serious and potentially dangerous troll threats.

And I completely understand and moderating your comments is exactly the action you should take…at a minimum.

It’s not you to whom I speak against, though.

It’s to all the sissy spam moderators who would rather throttle the flow of freedom and liberty just so they don’t have to delete a spam comment that just so happens to slip through their defenses…L.O.L.

They must sure be getting a lot of comments to be getting so much spam.

Yeah right…

Besides…have you all checked out the spam lately?

Some are actually quite awesome, at least the ones sneaky enough to get through that Akismet spam catcher thingy.

Just the other day one of my evil spambot comments was so awesome, I left it on the post…

In fact, is was so awesome, I replied to it.

Yeah…

Awesome.

So to all the heroes out there, the REAL Moderators, mostly in Manila, doing God’s work by keeping the internet safe for all the innocent like yours truly, I tip my hat to you.

Thank you.

But to all you sissies out there moderating your spam out of fear…

Yeah, that’s right, you.

You’re a sissy.

A big one…

Anyway…

Deep breath…

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaooooooooooooooommmmmmmmmmm…

Moderated Kurt

Moderated Me

 
 

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