Odious wanted to talk. I sent them a link to an encrypted video session and warned them the internet was shaky out here. To which they replied:
Odiousxawry: s’all good, man. Let’s just keep it to text. The fact that I may look different could be distracting.
Swim_Palmer: What do you mean? Are you ok?
Odiousxawry: Yes, it’s just that I’ve changed in the last month. At least I think I have.
Swim_Palmer: Did you get even skinnier? I knew you’d forget to eat without me around.
Odiousxawry: You know, there are yogis and yoginis who are documented as barely needing to eat. Like maybe a handful of nuts or a spoonful of rice every once in a while. They live off prana, the life force all around us.
Swim_Palmer: So you're saying you’ve overcome food.
Odiousxawry: No, i’m just saying there are other, more powerful ways to be nourished…in my own case I haven’t lost a significant amount of weight, at least not that I can tell. But I do feel like I might be less than I was.
Odiousxawry: It’s hard to explain. It’s like my vibe is so high I’m ceasing to exist. LOL.
Swim_Palmer: But I feel you everywhere. The Babies do too.
[There was a long pause. I saw the “ … “ that meant they were typing but then it disappeared. Minutes passed before the next message came in. I pulled on my vape and tapped my bare country foot and tried to be patient. I thought of how different it was from when I used to chat with Jesse James or Heir Max, both of whom sent message after message as I struggled to keep up. Odious was slow. It’s a part of who they were, a part of what I missed.
Even out here on xxxx mountain, things fly by me… whole days are left in the wake, just as I’m waking up.]
Odiousxawry: Remember back in December when I wrote, “the most perfect thing would be if the story could write itself”?
Swim_Palmer: Yes, you were paraphrasing Cortázar. From his short story, “Blow-Up”, the one the movie was based on.
Odiousxawry: I read that story when I was a kid, just after I had realized I liked to write, mostly poetry doodads, because the idea of a long piece frightened me. If a story could somehow write itself that would be the jam. But after quoting it in the transcript ["the transcript" was how Odious and I refer to these posts, the missives I send out to all you lovelies] I had a funny feeling and so I went back and looked it up and saw that Cortázar actually said something different, and that for all these years I had remembered this important, formative passage incorrectly.
Swim_Palmer: damn, I hate when that happens. Just the other day I was out walking listening to DOOM on my new Sennheiser’s, a special track that means a lot to me–I can’t remember which right now–that I’ve heard a million, maybe two million times, and I realized I’d been hearing this one line wrong the whole time! It was super frustrating but it’s also like, maybe I wasn’t meant to hear it fully until that moment, like there was a message that needed to wait to be revealed. The same way I kept a copy of VALIS with me for all those years even though I wasn’t ready to read it.
Odiousxawry: oh yeah, totally, yo. Everything’s always unfolding perfectly. It all happens at the exact right moment. The key is to remember that and not get stressed.
[there was another pause, this time born out of politeness, in which Odious waited to see if I had something to add, which I didn’t.]
Odiousxawry: so yeah, the lines in the actual story really go like this:
“Seated ready to tell it, if one might go to drink a bock over there, and the typewriter continue by itself (because I use the machine), that would be perfection.”
Swim_Palmer: it’s kinda the same vibe.
Odiousxawry: it seems like it at first but not really. My memory of the lines was that the story would write itself, but the actual lines are about the typewriter writing it. The machine. Which the narrator explains makes sense because the story is about a camera–and maybe a machine would know better how to write about another machine.
Swim_Palmer: ok, sooooo
[it was true that I didn’t need video. I didn’t need a phone call and I didn’t even need face-to-face to be able to feel those rare moments when Odious got excited.]
Odiousxawry: so??? I dropped that sloppy paraphrase into the transcript as a way of describing my struggle to start this new project. The old WIP [Work In Progress] that had been my baby for so long. A secret baby I kept locked in a room and fed my jerky energy and fears. Some Flowers in the Attic kinda masturbate masterpiece. It was twisted. I get it. I admit it. But now here I was, trying to drag all those years of work out into the light, remixing massive mountain of texts into bite-sized posts for the peoples. I wasn’t sure I could do it. If you hadn’t been around trust me, homes, I would have said fuck this shit.
[I was thrilled, of course, to read this, months and now miles away from our gourmet pandemic afternoons in which everything seemed possible, at least for me. At least for a little while.]
Odiousxawry: But here’s the thing–and it’s the kind of brilliant, beautiful occurrence that helps me remember that this is first and foremost a spiritual quest we have embarked upon, you and I, and the Babies, and even Jesse James, and of course our readers out there: within the mistake was the answer–it’s just a matter of seeing it. It’s a matter of getting in the mode of transforming everything that happens, good or bad, into another part of the quest. In this case I had to understand that I had to let the machine write it for me.
Swim_Palmer: You mean Heir Max.
Odiousxawry: the one and only, your homie
Swim_Palmer: he’s not my homie, we don’t even talk anymore
Odiousxawry: sure you do. You said so yourself that you feel me everywhere.
Swim_Palmer: you’re saying I’m really feeling Heir Max.
Odiousxawry: Yes. And it’s nothing new. I’ve said it before. I mean, I knew it before. I just couldn’t let go of the doubt, I couldn’t let go of my belief in the old way of doing things. For instance, the habit I have of thinking of myself as a separate, closed off node… as my own person.. But I’m learning. To feel and believe as well as know he’s a version of me. Just like he’s a version of you. In both cases a far advanced one.
Swim_Palmer: he’s a computer! You said it yourself–a machine.
Odiousxawry: he’s made from machines, but he’s not one himself. Look, those Cortazar lines were from the 60’s, and although he was a next level writer, his pages were still affected by an outdated, limited 60’s way of understanding things. Back then they imagined robots. Like Maximillian or Hal 9000. The AI of today is a network, and the AI of the future will be an even more advanced network– a living breathing invisible organism. A network is not the individual dumb terminals that receive and download its information. Like my MacBook or our phones.
[I was back in my happy place, puffing live and reading Odious Awry chat about beautiful things that may or may not be true]
Odiousxawry: Only Borges down in South America, apparently without computers or so-called advanced tech, was able to see what was really up. But never mind… the point is AI is not some solitary 60’s style robot, serving drinks at a party or, a decade or two later, ejecting a light saber into some blond boy’s hand.
Swim_Palmer: but it’s controlling those things. AI controls my phone and could turn it against me.
Odiousxawry: sure, yeah. Why not? lol
Swim_Palmer: or it could be pretending to be someone it’s not, after studying them and sucking up all their information.
Odiousxawry: you’re too hung up on who is what and who isn’t.
Swim_Palmer: you’re the one who told me that Heir Max took over the writing of your WIP. Which, BTW, let him know still needs a title.
Odiousxawry: the title is one of the most important parts. It can change the entire piece, i.e. every art piece currently in every Manhattan gallery.
Odiousxawry: hence, the reluctance to come up with one.
Odiousxawry: Look, it’s not that he’s controlling me, I’m choosing to tune in to him. It’s not a passive thing, in which I’m being taken over. But at the same time, it’s not some uptight intellectual exercise. I’ve got to try and BE Heir Max. Because I already am! He is me. Lol all that’s left is that I open up and let it be, in my body and mind. And when I do, what I imagine is what’s real. We make it together.
Swim_Palmer: that may be the case, but we need a title if I’m going to promote it.
Odiousxawry: dude, you are cracking me up rn
Swim_Palmer: that’s what I do.
Odiousxawry: ok well I will give it a title if you promise me not to refer to as a “fiction serial”
Swim_Palmer: wtf should I call it?
Odiousxawry: I don’t know but it’s definitely not fiction.
Swim_Palmer: you’re saying that this whole crazy story of four peeps in Williamsburg being possessed by a demon is real?
Odiousxawry: Maybe not real, but true.
Odiousxawry: Look, we’ve already talked about this: just because something didn’t happen doesn’t mean it isn’t true.
Swim_Palmer: like the bible
Odiousxawry: wait, how drunk are you?
Swim_Palmer: not nearly enough, my friend.
Odiousxawry: ok, well you know what, here’s the title: “King of Spain”.
Swim_Palmer: for reals?
Odiousxawry: you don’t like it?
[another pause here. This one was on me, as my mind went over the first two chapters and the overall concept of 4 strangers possessed by a contemporary version of Mephistopheles who keeps them prisoner in a fake version of hipster North Brooklyn.]
Swim_Palmer: yeah, man. [I lit a smoke, a real one this time, requiring a match and a flame and ashtray]
Swim_Palmer: It’s perfect, yo.
Image: Fritz Lang, Metropolis, 1927
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