New fiction by Jonathan Carroll: Water Can’t Be Nervous

A while back Jonathan Carroll posted an excerpt on his blog from some short fiction he was working on at the time, and I remember saving this quote:

…he realized memory is not a stable friend. Too often it lies, distorts, or frequently forgets many things both important and trivial. Memory steals parts of your life that should have belonged to you forever. It’s like entrusting the only complete copy of your history to an erratic, frequently scatterbrained, sometimes irascible person who doesn’t always do their job well and can’t be bothered keeping the records straight. Unlike you, they don’t care…

The rest of the story is now up at Subterranean Press.

Rereading that quote, I feel exactly how I felt upon first reading it: it’s true. The storage system we use for our data is faulty, and like everything else, it degrades over time. It’s the driving reason I’m bothering with this whole write-every-day experiment. I want recording things that happen to become as automatic as cooking does when you’re familiar with the recipe. There are always small variations. Sometimes things come together well, or sometimes the result is inexplicably flat. You change it as you go, but you make a routine – and I want it to be a routine in the sense of dance, I want it to be mindful, not mindless, practice.

Even as I type that, I can feel myself mentally pedaling in the other direction, away from practice, away from routine, into drift. But my constant self-contradiction is not the subject of this particular piece of practice. It’ll have to wait.