Saturday, April 11, 2009

Looking Back: 2004

This will be the first in a series of journal entries made regarding the last five years of (an unfortunate name for a website devoted to artistic collaborations,I know -- it is, in fact, a domain created at a time when I strutted around with an ego as a running joke). Each entry will include a few short comments and notes on all of the stories (and episodes and chapters) that appeared in its year. For the most part this is probably for my own benefit, especially considering I would rather people not bother reading a good majority of the stories I wrote in 2004, 2005 and 2006. Still, look at all the pictures! They definitely hold up. Well, let's get to it.

365 Days

This, the first story to appear on the site, was written for the express purpose of having it be the first story on the site. I intended it to be a summation of the themes and ideas and characters I had obsessed over since deciding to focus completely on writing: the themes of innocence, innocence lost and innocence snatched away; characters such as Amy Kadmon, Isaac King, Kelly Chrysanthemum and Sebastian Cyanide. And, of course, outright absurdism. Things happen for no reason other than that they happen -- if you're unable to make sense of something, then it probably makes no sense at all. The artist for this was Mike Webb, part of a Group of Four, a small collective consisting of him (the artist), myself (the writer), Cassandra Dygert (the photographer) and Joel Hentges (the designer). Oh, I should also point out, in case anyone is unfamiliar with him, that Joel Hentges was the gentleman who designed the site (in addition to illustrating several stories and designing the Hana book).

Lessons in Math

Lessons in Math was originally titled Bonaparte. It was written for Mike Webb, who had asked me to write a short story for him that could be made into an animated short -- this is the main reason why the story has no dialogue except for the last line. Mike never made the short, though he did put a good amount of effort into pre-production illustrations. The story was influenced by the style of Moby Dick, which I was reading at the time, and inspired by a wooden doll of a pregnant woman that a friend had on his bookshelf. I tried to buy the doll off him but he refused -- it was actually his mother's -- so I wrote this story as a form of consolation. Bonaparte's name was changed to Amy when I submitted the story to zines.


Marbles was improvised online in an hour or two with Bobby Myers -- he wrote one paragraph, passed it to me and then I wrote the next, and so on. I've known Bobby for many, many years, and it was when he started up writing that I took it up, both because I didn't want to be left out and because I was struggling to find the right venue for my absurdist ideas. The original of this story has actually been deleted, I believe -- the version up now is an optimistic take on things. I had written the original with Bobby when I was diagnosed with mild depression, and then updated it when I recovered.

Gentle Hearts

In this year especially I made a conscious effort to experiment with narrative -- fragmenting and dividing stories, turning one story into another. Gentle Hearts is essentially a short story and a vignette combined. This was turned into a student film in the United States, though I never got to see it; I have the screenplay, written by one of the students, on my harddrive, and I will say that it's better than the original story. It was an honour to see someone care enough about my words to adapt them into their own.


theft was written as part of a challenge between myself and Bobby Myers: we were to each write a ten-page (I think it was ten!) story in a day -- or perhaps it was two days -- and present the finished products to each other. No thought or effort was put into this -- it was stream-of-consciousness in the truest sense. But I would not have put it on the site if I did not like it at the time.


I think this story was written for Mike Webb. I don't actually have much to say about it, though I do remember that it was the most liked story I had written that year. It was definitely different from everything else, being much more grounded in reality.


This story was most likely written for the sake of writing -- the only thing new I tried with it was writing an elderly person. The photograph, which was taken by the Official Site Photographer at the time, is of the actual park that was used as the setting for the story.

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