and putting on my writerly one.
Finally jumping into that novel I mentioned ten hours ago. It’s going to be very vignettey with lots of different narrators, all unnamed. And I switched the civilisation from only female to only male, because this novel is going to be about gender, in a way that none of my writer really ever has been. For now I’m calling it Be Careful, My Children.
First chapter written here:
It wasn’t how it was supposed to go, you know what I mean? Jiyun never hurt a body her whole life and I think she really loved those dirty little pale fuckers. I mean, I knew they weren’t human. They can’t be, right? Those creepy masks and the way they stand all wrong, short and wrongly pale. And they’re all male, if you can believe that. Just a civilisation of males.
Those horrible little creatures. She was an artist, you know? She brought them to the world. Do you remember how it was the first time you saw their images? A new civilisation, unknown and unlooked for, buried deep in the heart of a desert, and somehow just never seen. Jiyun told me about it before she published anything, her eyes so wide I could walk inside them, and I got drunk on her story, drunker on the photographs.
I thought they were all children at first, and that’s what she called them: Eolini, but the world called them niños. I mean, after so many years, after the entire world’s been mapped, destroyed, and rebuilt, we discover this ancient civilisation just living like none of this has ever happened. Well, I mean, you talked to everyone else, so I don’t know what you want me to say. I never went there. I mean, I was in love with the idea, like everyone else, probably, but I had no interest in, like, seeing them in real life. Add to that the fact that all those idiots died lost in the desert trying to get there.
But I can tell you about Jiyun, if that’s what I’m here for. And, by the way, I don’t think it’s said often enough, but she fought to protect them, you know? She didn’t want to exploit them. That’s not why she took those photographs. She found them on accident and photographed them out of pure curiosity and awe. There was no malice in her. Never has been. Kindest girl I ever knew, and I knew her for a long time. She wasn’t my best friend, but she was top five kind of material. We were even briefly lovers, but, um, well, just keep that private, you know? I don’t want people coming to my door and searching for answers. You saw what happened to her mothers. It’s just a shit situation and I sort of would rather not be associated with the whole thing, you know?
But Jiyun, she was kind. I know that’s what you say about strangers when you don’t have anything else to say, but she really was. She was just a kind and loving girl, and a devoted lover. Even after we ended that form of physical contact, she remained a real and true supporter of my life, defending me from all the women I fell in and out of love with. But that’s just the kind of person she was.
And to end like this, dripping down the jaws of those fucking things.
She told me about the masks, but, I mean, what’s there to say about this shit? I don’t get it. I don’t get them. It’s not even their primitive nature or whatever you want to call it. It’s this deification of dust. I mean, I get the water thing. That’s built right into our genetics, but dust? It’s like they got some halfassed translation of the bible a thousand years ago and latched onto the one word they knew.
You know they have, like, one hundred ways to say dust? Dust. Just fucking dust.
I mean, I know Whorfian theory and whatever, but what kind of mystery or truth does dust hold, for them or anyone, you know?
But Jiyun, she was so kind. Her long black hair always up in a bun, her glasses always breaking, always getting lost. I bought her one of those neck things, you know? It goes around the neck and attaches to your glasses, you know? Yeah, well, right, so she even lost that. It was funny but that kind of says some of it, right? She was clumsy and careless, but there was no meanness in her.
Even as a girl–you’ll laugh, probably, but it’s not that funny. It’s sort of sad, I think. But she loved animals, always has. Probably why she got so caught up in that shit with the niños. But all these wolves were always wandering the city back then. Mothers kept a close eye on us, what with buildings always collapsing and everything sort of just crumbling, you know? But the wolves were everywhere and I remember watching her from my window as she walked up to a wolf. Starving and terrified, it bit at her. She pulled back her bleeding hand and held it, then licked the blood away and offered it to the wolf. It snapped at her again, because, you know, it’s a wolf, but instead of running away, she just let it bite, and that bite became a lick, and that lick became a hug. She just held that mangy fierce thing back in the gravepit behind the highrises we grew up in. For weeks she fed it and just held it. I don’t know why, but she never tried to play with it and the real thing is that she always did it in secret. If I was with her, she avoided the pit and just acted like she always did. But then I’d catch her from my window, holding that wolf.