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William Cook

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Dissipation of an Agon
By William Cook
Friday, March 16, 2012

Rated "PG13" by the Author.

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Excerpt from a wip novella. Enjoy.

Dissipation of an Agon

 

 

meta·fic·tion (met′ə fik′s̸hən)

noun

 

fiction in which the mediating function of the author and the technical methods used in writing are self-consciously emphasized and in which the traditional concern with verisimilitude is minimized

a work of such fiction

 

“Oh God comma I abhor self-consciousness. I despise what we have come to; I loathe our loathsome loathing, our place our time our situation, our loathsome art, this ditto necessary story. The blank of our lives. It's about over. Let the denouement be soon and unexpected, painless if possible, quick at least, above all soon. Now now! How in the world it will ever."[1] John Barth

 

 

 

I was born in a town of no consequence on a continent of lost causes. I am reluctant to nail my colours to the wall. Maybe, you can identify my nationality through my use of language and clichéd phrases? But really, who cares where I come from or where I am for that matter? What is important is where I’ve been to this point. This eternal moment that stretches in time like some kind of endless elastic band.

 

 

As an adolescent, I was a regionally ranked junior lawn bowls player. I attended my father's alma mater, Metagnathous College, and double-majored in English and philosophy, with a focus on the literature of dreams and cognitive science. My Honours philosophy thesis entitled ‘The Cataclysm of Artificial Existence’ was awarded the Schopenhauer de Beauvoir Memorial Prize, which led to my graduation summa cum laude in 1985. After two years of travelling through Europe and Asia I settled in Australia on the Gold Coast and pursued an MA in creative writing at Paterson University. Graduating in 1990, a chapbook full of poems, a draft copy of my first novel and a research thesis on the ‘Aesthetics of Ugliness in the writings of Charles Bukowski,’ gained me a 1st Class division result and also provided me with my first academically published piece of work.[2]

 

My first novel, Monkeys Wear Hats, received significant international attention and critical acclaim. In between various stints in lecture halls as visiting guest speaker I furthered my education and continued my graduate studies in philosophy and literature.

 

In 1992, I applied for a position in the English Department at the Academy University. I started work on my second novel, I Am God, in the Easter OF 1991, and submitted a draft to Martin John my editor at Double Night Publications exactly a year to the date. After undergoing numerous edits the book was finally published in 1996.

 

I went on to receive the Eisenhower "Genius Award" in 1997. In 2003 I received a ten-year tenure as Professor of Creative Writing and Professor of English at the Elemental Academy.

 

Dear reader, by the time you read this I will be dead. Not because I am intending to kill myself, although this account is like a long suicide note, but because when you get to the end of this story you will also reach the culmination of my life in letters. It is not a figurative or literary death, merely an exhaustion of the life that is my character herein. It is not a morbid death that you will read of within these pages; in fact it is not death you will witness but life in all its unbounded joy and stupidity.

 

Excuse the footnotes, references, quotes and annotations. These are as much for my own use as they could possibly be for yours. You see my memory is not as it once was. Within this book I live a whole life – the steps I take are irreversible and inevitable as I square the circle so to speak. So age is obviously a concern, ultimately I will suffer from the ravages of Alzheimer’s, which will be detrimental to my hippocampi and subsequently to my memory. The copious amounts of Marijuana and alcohol I have ingested also contribute to the necessity of notes. I.e., these substances having contributed to a failing memory. The early learning years are better dealt with in retrospect rather than in medias res which will also alleviate the need for references that could be deemed patronising to those of you who don’t need to be reminded of your own childhoods or who are sensitive to obvious didacticism.

 

As you will find out, this is a mystery story about a person who is incidentally not without logic and weighed gambling, a man, who wants to know himself as a human being in order to place himself in the universe of which he knows he can possibly never fathom. A person not unlike yourself possibly? Maybe not if you’re a woman but maybe you have brother or a friend trying to succeed as a human being that yo can identify with or draw comparisons too? [3]A person completely unlike you maybe? At the end of the day what you hold in your hands is not a living organism, although if I impress upon you deeply enough there is the possibility that it could take on some form of organic structure neurologically. Essentially what you are about to read is a story of discovery and loss, emotion and countless other adjectives too numerous to mention

 

Let us begin.

 

 

Desperation. Desperation: is the word for today. It wells up inside me like a balloon filled with blood or helium or both. This entry is filed in a café once a surf life-saving clubhouse, 2nd floor, bay window seat, south facing, a view of the heads crouched like black lions, flat ocean with a curling lip of surf glosses the curved grey beach, planes cruise to a sodden stop as they fall from the sky to the drizzled tarmac of the airport. Southwards past the cragged hunched heads, the mouth of the harbour opens out towards the strait and blankets of fog covering the horizon. Breakfast arrives: 2 poached eggs on 2 small slices of rye, 2 miniature Kranskys, 1 sweet beefsteak tomato, a fistful of perfectly grilled streaky bacon, 2 slightly firm Portobello mushrooms, a homemade oval hash brown slightly undercooked and a generous dollop of sautéed pesto. And a Mocha-chino with 3 marshmallows on the side. I’m thinking about the time when I shaved off my eyebrows and hid under the bed so my old man wouldn’t see. I shouldn’t have hid under my parent’s bed cos he sure knew how to reach under there! I thought it was a great big old joke until he called me a freak. I felt like I had done something wrong at that point as a ten-year old will do – that moment of realisation that a non-retractable fuck-up has occurred that is impossible to undo. I sat on my knees feeling sick to my stomach and then he reappeared belt in hand and motioned for me to stand up, a very disappointed look on his face, I started to panic and tried to sidle past his hip as he turned me and secured my position with a heavy hand between my shoulder blades, bending me over the end of the bed as the other hand rose and fell like a piston, the leather belt wailing up and down on my virginal buttocks as I bit my lip and wept a river of hurt into my sleeve. Careful of course not to let him see – that would be too much disappointment for him to bear.[sic]

     “Is everything ok with your meal sir?” asked a chesty eighteen year old with pigtails and amazing blue eyes contrasted against a deep Malibu tan.

     I wiped my beard with a napkin, cleared my throat and assured her that it was good, as always.

 

 

 



[1] Lost in the Funhouse. New York: Bantam, 1969.

[2] Journal of Contemporary Academic Literature: Academy University Press, 1990

[3] If you could engage this suspension of disbelief just until the end of the story I will make it worth your while! Maybe!

 

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