I can’t, for the life of me, decide what this story should even be called.
My current idea is to title it Rapture: The Cockroach Metamorphosis and have A Book of Names be the title of the “new” first part (which lasts until the “Ukhu Pacha” chapter) then PUT THE SUN DOWN is the title of the part we are in now. But I can’t just keep renaming it! ..or I mean I can, but it’d help to decide on something.
Does anybody have an objection with The Cockroach Metamorphosis (other than the fact it unintentionally alludes to two Kafka stories I’ve never read)?
did you miss me
My eyes are groggy. My thoughts, scattered and torn. My memories, not to be trusted. From the looks of things, I’m in a hotel room alone. The sun shines brightly (too bright) through the curtain.
My dreams over the past week have been pretty shit. Blood rain, unforgivable carnage, all played to a symphony of silence. Broken bones, pillaged planet, sleepless nights in my own dream worlds. Fragmented angels roam the Earth in search of lost wings, and the fool’s play gods do nowt but arrange their things.
But all of them pale in comparison to the one I had last night (if it can be called a night when my days last only long enough to eat whatever food I am given): A British man I recognize but cannot name kicks a bee hive, unleashing a plague of insects upon the planet. I tell him to look at what he’s done, and he tells me what’s done is done, now it’s time for me to behold what I have brought. So I punch him in the face and he becomes a rabbit?
Upon further reflection, I do know the name of the man from my dream. He’s the Doctor. I don’t remember which, as it’s kinda been years since I last watched Doctor Who, but I remember that much for certain. He was my biggest role model as a kid. He could even be argued to be the reason I decided to start wearing a fancy outfit of my own.
Speaking of fancy outfits, hanging on a chair next to this bed appears to me to be mine.
..scattered across the floor are women’s garments, under and over and everywhere. Guess the Tour Guide’s been keeping me well lately. Wonder where she is now.
Wait a minute, that on the chair is no fedora nor yellow scarf. That’s a trilby and a purple one. I guess she found some for me. .w.;
Showered! Up! Dressed!
I’m ready to TAKE ON THE WORRRRRRLD
I opened the front door, the door to the hotel hallway, and I nearly tripped over this big-ass gift basket (big ass-gift basket? owo) filled with chocolates, empty notepads, boxes of pens, Pot Noodles, soda, and
A fucking X-Plorer guitar controller.
Who left this stuff here?
Hotel reception, the desk clerk lady person is a Camper.
"Ah, he’s awake!"
In comes The Devil, hands raised to the skies. Or. Ceiling. His form now resembles some grocer or butcher or something, he’s got a big apron on or maybe that’s just the body he’s using.
Yes, hi! I’m awake! What’d I miss?
Salmacis tilts her head. “What did you miss? Dear, what didn’t you miss? Do you even remember what you did?”
I saved.. the… world?
Devil hand on my back “You’re damn right you saved the world! You stood up to Azathoth!”
Salmacis “The Tour Guide told us all about it. How are you feeling?”
Well, gee, ma’am. o: I’m pretty well-rested. Not sure how I am besides that, though.
Devil “How’s about I get you a drink?”
Oh, no thank you! Got plenty of soda in this gift basket.
"I insist." snapped his fing
ers and now we’re in.. a.. colourful bar, from the looks of it!
"Welcome, Rael, to the Utnapishtim." OH HI MUSICIAN! :D
Oh whoa there’s a lot of Camper here, boy am I glad to see so much of EAT in one place
meow D’aw, heya there Omen. I hope these guys have been feeding you!
Did it get warm in here or oh it’s The Colour of Blood! Right, blood rushing to my head, nearly forgot about that effect. “Sorry!” It’s not your fault!
WELL HEY MATKAOPAS
NOTHING QUITE LIKE A MORNING TACKLE-HUG, I GUESS
"It’s about time you got up; it’s not morning anymore!"
Wait, where did you say we were, again? Utnafishdim?
"C’mon, Rael. It’s not that hard to remember: Utnapishtim."
Bah, it all sounds eldritch to me.
..the Fears are looking at each other with grins. What is it?
Wait, what happened with Azathoth, again?
I was given a drink. I drank the drink. Matkaopas refused hers. Now they’re laying the news on us.
Salmacis goes first. “Your actions atop the mountain, breaching the astral rim, have been talked about the world over. We’ve been paying attention to specific formulae in what’s been said.” looking to the others, they look at her, “People.. don’t just talk. They’re singing for you.”
Matkaopas seems to know where this is going before I do
Devil “Don’t get us wrong. We don’t mean they’re gathering to sing in choirs in, I dunno, festivals or something. They’re not writing hit pop singles, neither.”
Sally “Mm, the singing is not specifically lyrical. It’s more..” looking around again, wondering if she should say it or if someone else should, but what is it
Ericapeus "Understand that the things they sing still have words. That is not what is meant by ‘lyrical’ here. What Salmacis is trying to say is" sip of his drink "They’re singing, uh.."
Devil “You two are Fears.”
Red “Tuoni, they were building to that!”
Devil “What?” Elongated, annoyed
Red “Do you know nothing of dramatic pacing?”
Devil “Do I look like the kind of guy who needs to?”
Red “No, you just look like a spoilsport.”
Sally “AS I WAS TRYING TO SAY, Rael and..” stares at Matkaopas “and Taikatalvi, Earth is now singing epic poems about you.”
Ericapeus "Specifically, about what you did, though some are already starting to speculate on and embellish your origins."
Matkaopas “Why am I ‘Taikatalvi?’”
Sally “It’s hard to come up with prog-related names on the spot.”
Red “Isn’t that a Moomin book, though?”
Sally, stern “It is also a Nightwish song, thank you very much!”
Whsomethingat doinsidees thmeis mhasean, exajustly?
..whabegunt walords iknowsn thwhatat drIink
all fade down to eleven place
I spent the rest of the day.
People met me and I met Fears.
My name is The White Jester now or so it seems. I have power power has me I have power words to say when necessitated dreams dream place double dream place.
I met citizens of Californicatied Americasa (et tu, Americasa?), lifting clouds from my skeye: The gift basket came from adorabling fans. I have fans? fans. I want this, I wanted this. Noyeplural noyeplural plurunity.
I need a Doctor or a terrorpist.
Please wake me up, I don’t know what I want.
We rereturn to hotel room in a hill, the Camp in which provided visions bring me to rest.
My thought’s hidden from soaring colour of magicofwinter wunterland. I can’t see flat. Why should anyone else?
…I don’t know who I am manymore.
Had another ferret dream. This one had some big adventure for the first half, which concluded with a celebration in which my dear friend Alistair took a ride on a jetpack I’d provided, and it wound up killing him. The rest of the dream focused entirely on grief, on how his death affected Mevagissey. The village felt so much emptier. There were some people suggesting he might still be alive, but it would have been impossible to know for sure. Somewhere in there, I turned into a ferret.
Don’t know why my subconscious keeps painting me as a ferret.
(Continued from previous) I want to hang out with a different person that’s a girl. I am seeing a movie this week with another close friend of mine that’s a girl and I know that sounds like a date but honestly I just wanted to see a movie with someone else who wanted to see it. Anyway my girlfriend is of course coming along too (also she’s informed me that if she absolutely didn’t want to see the movie in question she wouldn’t allow me to go) I just wanted to get your opinion because (continued)
(Continued from previous) you seem like a wise person. Do you think she’s being unreasonable and I should be able to hang out with whoever or am I being the bad boyfriend and just get over it?
I think she’s being a little unreasonable, maybe for good reason (maybe she’s had bad experiences in the past to make her feel particularly afraid of being left out, of being forgotten and left behind? Sounds like something to address, to comfort her and assure her you won’t stop loving her just because you go see a movie with someone else).
I think you should be able to hang out with whoever you please, as should she, but communication is the key here. There’s some core anxieties you two should talk about with each other, as long as you both keep an open mind.
..if that helps, I mean. Just. Communication. And some compromise. Remember that, if there is some deep anxiety on her part, some big sense of jealousy (if she’s afraid to lose you), that means she probably feels she’s compromising whenever she lets you hang out without her. So offer some compromise back.
Shit, I dunno. I’m not too good with relationship advice. It’s all well and good to talk about, but in practice it’s open to so many variables it’s ridiculous. Just always keep in mind that you both have a lot of anxieties the other person should be aware of, and while those anxieties shouldn’t dictate your experiences they should at least be understood.
…it was a free haircut but only if I chopped the whole mop. And my hair was getting rather long.
HEY I ACTUALLY LOOK PRETTY DASHING WHEN COUPLED WITH MY USUAL COAT AND HAT
I’m not the first person to write epistolary fiction, but I am the first to use it exactly the way it was used (with the time stamps, with it continuing for five months— the closest thing I’ve read is A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and that’s still pretty different). Which isn’t some big achievement, mind you, that’s not what my point is. My point is that I spent years getting used to the weird cross-“stream-of-conscious” cross-“prose poem-y” cross-“Twitter” journal thing and by now I’m used to it enough to use it to say a lot of things I couldn’t have said earlier. A lot of the journal style focuses on what isn’t said, or on specifically how things are said, or on the rhythm of sentences, or on the context, or.. basically a lot of things.
I guess what I mean is when you’ve seen some of the fanfics I have (and there were many more than I’ve put on this Tumblr), you realize people don’t read Rapture looking for the reasons I wrote it, they just read it for escapism, which is not something I like in fiction and feel extremely uncomfortable seeing associated with the Rapture world, which was specifically about internal hell and constant abuse. I can’t think of anyone who would actually want to escape to a world like that. It’s not supposed to be cool or a bunch of dreams come true, it’s supposed to tear the narrator apart and expose all the reasons why their dreams can never come true and make fun of all the things the narrator thinks are cool to the point where they are forced to become a different person.
There’s already hundreds of posts explaining how to properly use the journal style. The best examples are under that “A Book of Names or PUT THE SUN DOWN” button on my Tumblr. I mean, if you’re writing a story that has nothing to do with Rapture, go right ahead and do whatever you want with the writing style, I don’t mind whatsoever if there’s any influence from my own. But if your story is specifically some kind of homage to Rapture or set in its universe (whatever that really even means), it helps to show understanding of what that universe actually is.
I would love to be surprised and see someone use the journal style in a way I’ve never seen before, or see it used similarly to how I used it. Frankly, I’d rather see it in the former. But maybe the last reason I don’t like seeing people use it is because I just know people are going to use it for a little bit, give up, then dismiss the merits of the whole thing.
To try and drown out the mind-numbing noise of what is probably PTSD, here’s nineteen-year-old me doing what is officially his job. That is, here is me from a few days ago.
I’ve never even seen a Planet of the Apes film.
Between August and December 2011, Jordan Dooling hid, from his parents, in the divided state that is America, trying for an answer, hoping for help, a stranger in his home(town). When not sleeping in class or enduring the decapitated laughter of hatred taking refuge from him, he wrote. On the internet, he would write away at Rapture, initially pure fantasy, but hatred and abuse soon crept into that too. One cannot escape from cold silence or heated attacks.
Perhaps in attempt to make Rapture’s fantasies more of a reality, Jordan started keeping an actual journal. I recently discovered the complete object hiding in a drawer.
The first dozen pages are drawings of Rapture creatures and characters— many drawings of Fentzy and Anna in particular, and many more drawings of Jordan (though most of these are crossed out heavily). An eyeball with two irises. A mutated Camper. Lots of scribblings of plot outlines for single logs, sometimes for serials, usually stuff like “where are the protagonists going and what places do they pass in getting there?” A map of apocalyptic Earth’s political boundaries. A surprisingly good full-page drawing of The Choir distorting sight and sound.
The second dozen pages mostly shift between the occasional school-related page (math problems, notes for theater class, reminders of what to do for English homework) and Dream Theater/Between the Buried and Me fanart. Since a lot of these pages are blank, much of this section has been used recently to sketch A Book of Names Fears. Then there’s some finalized drafts for Cipher battles. A few pages of Marble Hornets fanart and fake movie posters. Memories of hanging out with friends, written out like propaganda posters for exciting events (“A Trip to GEORGIA STATE: Smokin’ Meetin’ and greetin’ Eatin’”), plenty of slender man sketches.
Then we come to the poetry.
Written whenever Jordan wasn’t sleeping in class, in the distant semblances of a consciousness wishing to perish.
"Running from Humans"
Nothing means a thing to me now.
Dad has taken my family long ago.
They pretend to be free, but he holds them hard.
(S)He clutches to theirmy throats.
I am a Camper.
I have almost been broken.
I escaped. I saved my life. I thought I was free. (“thought” written several times in one place, as if to simulate boldness?)
The world has already been changed.
It was in the streets, painting sweet anxiety.
He was in the faces around me.
Nowhere feels safe to me now.
It might have my friends.
It already has the protectives.
It almost has me. I can feel its branches clinging to my clothes.
Where will its seeds reach for me next?
Who else does it grasp? Who else has faced its greed?
Who else cannot resist its fruits of flesh (stones of pain)?
How do I run
when I can barely breathe?
How do I run
when it sabotages my legs?
Where do I run from my panic room?
How do I run when I don’t want to stand u anymore?
I only want to sleep.
"(Opening) Locked Doors"
(A Rapture log)
Down the rabbit hole, where the sweet turns to sour
Your friends all abandon you every hour on the hour
Abandon your hope and break out the dope, I’m going in.
I’ve been down the rabbit hole for many months now
Time passes strangely, and Fear always takes its bow
Life is dead to me now.
Death by sabotage.
Please (don’t) keep me here.
Please (don’t) get me out.
(Hell)p (is) me.
It’s my own fault.
Then we have pages of Bonnjo Vjonsped planning, mostly consisting of song names Jordan and Eric thought would be really cool. Then there’s a complete map of the God Machine’s Cipher realm. He was threatened with a gun that night, so the next two pages are blank, as he just.. didn’t want to associate anything with.. memories.
The next page to have writing on it has, in small text, “I miss my life.”
Then there’s a drawing of the slender man patting a Masked Massacrer on the back. Then we have more math, never actually done, just written so Jordan looked like he was doing work. We have plenty of drawings that are thoroughly redacted, subtitled “BAH, I CAN’T ART”
Blank page. Anna drawing. Jordan tried, with most of his drawings, to give off an important “CINEMATIC PREVIEW” feeling to his works. Three pages of theater class notes, or rather a quarter of a page and then the rest of it is just vague and incomplete. Blank page. “Put things in fridge to slow down reactions,” written in marker. Blank page. Torn-out page. Three short math problems. Map of the Grand Gtheru’s Cipher realm. Blank page. Vague notes on The Beast, as well as a small drawing of a Door opening to a highway. Blank page. Math problems, a short message of disbelief at one girl’s kindness. A page declaring love. A page where the only content is one small diatribe about some ancient dynasty that sprawls off into sleep scribbles. More Rapture notes, an incomplete sketch of the Realm King’s Cipher realm. Blank page. Drawings I did recently. One page says, simply, “ACT I ACT II ACT III ACT IV Apple Banana Pear Clock Can”
Many pages later, we have more private notes of love, Jordan’s only consistent escape. Then we come to a lot of pages I used recently for later notes. There’s a surprisingly not-bad prose poem Jordan wrote in an interesting time in his life, but I won’t recount that here in its entirety; instead, I’ll transcribe the second page:
As my memory gains new satisfaction, my journals beckon for the solemnity of mind, the topography of thought. As I see red, I wear blue.
I am a Camper. I am The Camper.
How do I let it go?
How do I let the red fade to blue?
Neither of these are giving up.
I have no idea how I would.
Underneath those clouds, those freezing clouds,
I can put the cold behind me and
bathe in isolation again.
Or can I? Do I want to?
More later Rapture notes. More private notes of love. On one page, Jordan drew a vivid hallucination he had in the bathroom mirror— eyes looking different ways, blood dripping from every feature. More blank pages, later notes, a page of notes on Julius Caesar for class. One page simply reads “Cipher: The Virion Complex” followed by in large letters “VAGINA”
The last few pages are all recent and have no structure to them, though the last page does have a lovely little sketch Rappu did of herself creeping into the journal, wanting to bring some joy to it. You can probably see why.
So there, that’s one of Jordan’s real-life honest-to-EAT journals. Hopefully somebody found it neat. Rediscovering this thing may have triggered some very bad feelings in me.
I’m not against them, but then again Rapture was a very personal thing for me so if people write things set in its universe, or with some of its Fears, I often get confused. And then there’s the fact that I get very critical of people using the Rapture journal style and not taking it to its fullest potential. But as a whole, I’m always flattered by people taking some sort of inspiration from me.