Excerpt from Whited Sepulchre…

Let me bring you in; it’s been a hard day.

Through battle lines, barriers, walls, a hall, corridors and doors. To the insular protection. To the quiet of a thick-bricked room. To shut-in anonymity. To the comfort and warmth of mattress, and—soon to be bloodied—linen. To be overwhelmed into unconsciousness, and to the absence of thought.

To the process:

Sluice gates shut, your adrenal glands go dormant, your pulse decelerates and your veins pull parity to your blood pressure. Near all autonomic systems de-stress, dial themselves down, and strive for routine so as to free up the fixers.

Breathing: steadies enough to hold a sigh.

Muscles: from an eternity of being taut, loosen their grip on your tendons—which ease their own tension on your bones.

Your lacerations: edges tending towards pink and freshly scab-capped, clot more so, and be mucosal neath their new roofs. Protein-rich fluids and histamines flood and gloop and marinate the damaged fibres. Macrophages—all-consuming beasts, first on scene, plentiful and active in the mire, pre-cursors to their brethren: the ‘cytes’ for the sites. They scurry, they scavenge, eating red, dead, cells and any dirt borne invaders they chance on. Purging for the places’ salvation, oozing chemicals—elixirs to your tissues that infuse these potions and compel themselves to react.

Fibroblasts spawn—granular and rice-like—they themselves motivated to string out collagen factories, that further string out a webbing for your wounds.

Yes, the wounds—your wounds—they’re darned while you sleep…

Published by

Museworthy Man

Typically atypical man from Manchester with aspirations that’ll never/maybe/could one day be realisations :-D

33 thoughts on “Excerpt from Whited Sepulchre…”

  1. ‘Excerpt’ eh? Intriguing. As ever MM *smiles*

    ‘Woe unto you, scribes…’
    This is a gross piece, and what I mean by that is that it can be ‘lived’ a little too well, and what I mean by that is that if one lives any writing ‘too well’ it must be exceedingly well executed. ‘Executed’… wounds borne of an weighty axe head which the body must deal with as best it can when thrown into emergency repair mode. Depending on the type of body, and the all-consuming beasts within that is, methinks *nods*. Mucosal clotting, gloop and flow. You really know how to get inside a body MM, and what I mean by that is…*laughs*…it’s very good. And gross. I hope you’re happy. *passes out*

    – esme the delicate flower upon the Cloud

    1. Appreciating the V.good, thanks very much 🙂 It’s from a while back this, which is not to say I’m not proud of it. Your time of experimentation with second-person narrative; I mean my time of exp…. Reading something by one’s self afresh was refreshing—like reading something by someone else (which is a great way, I’ve discovered, to be unbiased (be it favourably or otherwise) about one’s doings). An out of body experience in this case about an inner body experience. Hope the grossing and the gloop didn’t blur the focus I was trying pull.
      Apologies too for barren blog—been writing, yeah, been knocking out, just not ‘out out’. Be a glut one day I guess.

      1. It reminded me of brain snakes and ‘Trespass’ straight off actually , another tie in perhaps? (Neither bow nor kipper skipper). Was/am I in the right ball park? *waves several bats about all of which fly off at the first opportunity*

        Busy writing is always a good sign. Looking forward’s to the words. *smiles*

        – esme of Cloud fame upon the Cloud.

        1. I was unaware this may have had a one night stand somewhere in my own skull; you are right indeed. ‘Tis the unwitting progenitor of such a piece. You know me better than me! You can rein the bats back in.

  2. I’m autopsy-turvy about this one, MM; for it felt that’s where I was headed looking at that second paragraph. Do I get an afterlife to find out if I was right, or does the sepulchre remain empty, for the while? In other words, was that ‘sigh’ a last gasp?

    1. A good pick up there! You get a life after for sure if you remain in character. Albeit with some ‘diggable by chicks’ scars. The sepulchre alludes (alluded) to the wider setting of the story; it’s in and about a labyrinthine tomb and deliberately coincidently about the occupant. Beauty with a rotten core’s the overarching theme.

      To my dismay, I struggled with the 2nd person perspective. Had the ambition but not the skill to carry through for the 20 or so chapters I intended and it got the better of me. I keep dipping in occasionally—a painful but enlightening time recalled each time I do. The bit I posted I guess I was (sorta) proud of…

      The biggest drag on it (own inability aside) was the sense that it’s instructive more than it’s a narrative. This I’m convinced would put off all but the most ardent of reader (or a self-hypnotist-masochist).

      1. Maybe ‘instructive’ can provide a nice contrast to narrative, in moderation? I recently read Ian McEwan’s Saturday and there was a lot of the two working exceedingly well together. Coincidentally, the instructive passages were those of the lead character’s profession – neurophysicist. McEwan spent two years with a practising London neurosurgeon to learn how the conditions he wrote of came to be within the brain’s physiology, and how they are treated in surgery. It’s pretty soulless stuff, literally.

        One of my favourite books, Graham Swift’s Waterland, has a lot of instructive passages intermingled with the dazzlingly beautiful prose. Anyway, I think you were justifiably proud of the passage you display here; I appreciate the cold distancing of the relentless biological imperatives at work. Apoptosis is a wonderful thing viewed dispassionately, I recently discovered.

        1. Saturday in your left hand, Waterland in your right. Which one would you (hand me) have me read first Hariod? I’m leaning towards Waterland by the way you described it…

          Yet I’m one for one being soulless and all for one being but the construct of their own structures. So I gots me two fings to read. I’ll read Saturday on Sundays and Waterland from a lillypad. It’ll help add some rebellious backdrop to any revelations that I’m sure’ll visit me. < Serious about the first plan.
          To the piece, more over its parent.
          I mooted the prospect of being instructive (again in second person) in a moderated, well more a regulated, manner to a few in a writers’ group. The plan to carry on with the aforementioned ‘Whited Sepulchre’ rewritten in first person but with a divine overseer who piped in with ‘prose a purple’ at the end of each chapter. In that section the content to be a recap of recent events and a thruster to the upcoming ones.
          1. As a release for me the author. I struggle to walk a straight path you see in the role of storyteller—quite oft a little too presumptuous of my (imagined) audience’s ability with some very subjective and waywardly abstract writing.
          2. As a reinforcer: As is done nowadays in weekly TV serialisations…’Last Week on The Bridge’ < All laid out with a recognisable beat; chorally but not a chorus—a handy summary for the many (or not so many) who likely want to take it a piece at a time on account of its density.

          It was ‘poo pooed’ — I don’t think I was passionate enough with the sell. Quite a straight laced bunch that chant ‘kill your darlings’ at the merest hint of an opportune opportunity. And my darlings, my scribblings, were shot in the heart with a stasis gun. Now held (with the inverse sentiment of this eponymous thread) in a ‘glass’ tomb of their own.

          1. I think my right hand is the more giving of the two, and some might say I am more left hemispherical, which could prosaically explain it, only brain lateralisation is more complex than pop psychology would have us believe, so maybe I’m simply more emotionally attached to Waterland.

            Regarding your purple thrusting – I do so hope Esme is not listening in – then if I read you correctly as regards televisual thrustings of like kind, then I personally find them irritating. That said, I have no TV and the sole basis upon which I come to my rash conclusion is that of witnessing the same at a friend’s place, she being a huge fan of The Shield and insistent upon my consumption of same. I can see the argument for intermittent thrusts, though, and in their absence I myself resorted to purchasing a 400 page book on The Wire so as to keep me up to speed on Baltimorean goings on.

            You may just have to pay the price for being waywardly abstract, I suppose, but your art is as is, and ought remain so if it is to be true. Why would you want fame and wealth beyond your wildest dreams?

          2. No TV, I’d be that way if I had the will. I’m rationed by default mind so I try to make such rations count. I’m a sucker for well executed cinematography so the TV’s densely packed pixels get to be the conduit for such indulgences.
            The above said; things are all becoming a bit blurred in another manner, what with programs (soma) being available on every kind of device.

            For wayward abstracticity—yes, suffering for art. I heard somewhere recently that Shakespeare’s comedies ARE funny ([cough] might have been on TV). Once you’ve read a key and a guide on how to ‘get’ them they’re incredibly funny. I think that’s what I’m going for really: not the funnies*, the fame nor the wealth—more an understanding by any readership I glean; and a pride taken in that I’ve been successful in laying down what I’ve imagined< and for that to outlast me.

            Have ordered ‘Waterland’ it’ll tie in with ‘Wind in the Willows’ which I’ve only this last few weeks discovered and am reading V. slowly. It deserves it.

  3. I agree with Hariod – ” You may just have to pay the price for being waywardly abstract” – your audience on the forum, though I’m sure quite mixed, are not a large enough catchment area for your weirdness. Talent I mean *coughs* – Seriously, your differences make you a little more for those with specific leanings and tastes yes, but that isn’t a bad thing. You will always need tweaking, – *tweaks* – everyone needs it, but really…you can’t change your style, so embrace it, dance with it, hold up a mirror and see how well it shines for those who love your words. There are many of them out there MM, you just haven’t met them all yet. (*Wonders when she’s going to get paid for all this*)
    A wise woman once said of writing – “Don’t over-examine, if you look too closely, you’ll trip over your nose in the prose, fall in and be swallowed up, unable to stir. Do what you do best. Write.” – She was said to be mythical, and a goddess of many universes, and her words are real and true. *nods* (esme is probably the woman).

    “Regarding your purple thrusting” – *esme shall not be drawn on this and so goes and lies on a chaisee-long to be drawn on that instead.*

    I wish the two of you – *points at MM and H* – had written all my school text books, I don’t think I’d necessarily be any wiser, but by gum I’d have enjoyed the sodding place a bit more. Hahahahaha.

    – esme washing away the poo-poo-ers with a springy thousand foot hosepipe upon the Cloud

          1. OUT! Before you get us thrown out!

            – esme kicking Hariod out on his ear and apologising to MM once again whilst leaving a note that pleads insanity and insists he delete all comments that sully his lovely white page too much (upon the etc…)

    1. Two things about the wise woman.
      1. She is wise.
      2. She is a…. 🙂

      I do still examine my stuff closely Esme. But with the wisdom bestowed by thy good self, I wait. I wait a week or two sometimes before caving and engaging in such examining. A benefit of being middle-aged is that the memory’s not so sharp (this benefit is gracefully given in bigger doses as the word middle morphs to old)—so one’s own doings can appear fresh given a long enough time to fester. I do though, trip less over my nose in the prose (as I go along) and resist the urge to tinker on the spot.

      How much are the springy 1000ft hosepipes? Or maybe I could borrow yours?… well at least the end of it. With that kind of reach I could borrow your water as well. 😛

          1. I genuinely have one of those hose pipes *laughs*, I’ll send it by flying monkey tomorrow morning ten sharp *nods*. I’m afraid my waterworks aren’t terribly reliable though, so rack it up on your own meter mister.

            Now…get me two pencils and a pair of underpants.

            – esme knowing too much and not enough by far upon the Cloud

  4. So I have to say I really liked this because on the surface it read like a horror story. But paying attention to what’s underneath it is about rest and recuperation. The second person narrative, as a reader, makes me feel like I am being treated impersonally. Almost as if I was on an assembly line of patients, being treated by some automated reparation station. But there is also a lot of imagery towards healing and safety. So here the tense and anxious meets a state of relaxation and regeneration. There is a great duality here that I like. 🙂

  5. Aye, it was indeed R and R for the character who’s addressed in second person—the factory was but nature doing its thing. In the wider story the MC’s written about more straightforwardly in first person with his travails through each chapter summarised in the manner this excerpt shows. This is probably R and R for the reader which, if I ever complete it, may be a blessing. The original story was written entirely in the form of ‘you’ and I can report it was really heavy going—it read like a self-hypnosis book!

    Your liking it though encourages me to one day, when I’m more able, blow the dust off it and see if I can balance the viewpoints and make it more ‘sticky’ for the reader.

    Thanks Swarn.

    1. You’re welcome. 🙂

      I think an entire novel written in 2nd person would get a little weighty. I am not sure exactly why it is something I focus on when I read books, but I do pay attention a lot to narration styles. And in general I have a great appreciation for people who try something other than a 3rd person omniscient narrator, because I do feel like it’s the easiest, but perhaps such absolute freedom has it’s own burdens. I probably shouldn’t make such assumptions as I have never written a novel myself. But I do like also thinking about why an author has chose a particular narration style. What it’s advantages and disadvantages are. My interest in such things began with reading Frankenstein in School. Where the story is told through the ship captain who rescues Frankenstein, and then from the perspective of the monster. Then I became a big Dostoevsky fan and his books are often from the perspective of an unknown townsman. Separate from the story, but knowledgeable about the events and thoughts of the character. In his book (Demons or The Possessed depending on the translations) that narrator actually makes a brief appearance in the story of little consequence. I guessed that it some way it does help you feel more part of the story and that you are seeing it all from the eyes of a Russian soul. I don’t know. I still wonder about it a bit.

      I am currently reading the Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons. Not sure how much you are into science fiction. It’s quite good, but the narration switches around a lot from 1st person to 3rd person, then told through the eyes of a character in the books. I am not sure I like it. Even though it’s well written, it just feels like somehow the author wasn’t clever enough to tell the story in any sort of consistent way. Not that consistency is required, but usually I can find the reason for a switch and here I can’t. For instance in the first part of the Cantos (which is really two novels put together) 6 pilgrims each tell their story. 3 of them or told in first person, the other 3 are in 3rd person omniscient. That just seems strange to me. lol

      1. “I think an entire novel written in 2nd person would get a little weighty.” Yes, or require a writing skill beyond most Kens’.

        This has come out a bit …3-2-1, didn’t mean it to but; a little confession—I find writing in third omniscient the most difficult. Chiefly because I’m the least comfortable with it—it’d come in at no. 4 given the choice, close third would be my 3rd, second would be my 2nd (but not skilled enough to un-weight the weighty and it’s not everybody’s bag). And first is well 1st, I like to be inside a protagonist’s skin when I write and do my damnedest to feel what I wish the reader to (2).

        I’ve not read Frankenstein, the film has headed me off at the pass, but your recommend has given me pause and a cause to give it a go. Dostoevsky—I’m merely genned up on his quotes, maybe to be put on the ‘to read’ list as well.

        For Sci-Fi, Bob Heinlein, Asimov, Greg Bear and Crichton have graced my reading eyes. I’m very wary of it otherwise as I’d need the writer to be absolutely convincing with any of the science. I avidly digest science journals and hang about BBC4 for documentaries on the latest advances.Oddly I’m less willing to suspend disbelief with this genre than any other. I’m a mega fan of Iain Banks’s fiction and he’s so good that once I’m done with it I’ll have a go at his sci-fi under his slightly modified pen-name.

        For your Dan Simmons mention. I may just read the wiki page of that one@! I’ve actually used the transient POV’s you mention there; but only in a short story. It was well planned ahead of writing yet even in execution (and reading thereafter) it had a forehead or two scratched.

        1. Just jumping inbetween you here *elbows herself a small space at the front of the crowd*.

          Having read a lot of Iain Bank’s sci fi, in fact that’s where I started with him, (somewhere between late teens and mid twenties, (*peers into the pea souper that is the past*), I recommend ‘Consider Phlebas’, ‘Transitions, and ‘Inversions’ as potential starting points.

          I also have the same list as you MM in regards to which person is most personable when writing. First is first, and for the same reason as you too; I can ‘be’ them and that always seems to pack more of a punch that being a narrator. I have read books that jump from first to third and back again, but making the reader feel comfortable that the story is still flowing ain’t easy at all. Having said that, when it works it is pretty impressive.

          I say that, yet Esme is all over the show and one minute I am sat in my vast library upon the Cloud, whilst the next it is Esme sat there instead and so on. No planning, I don’t make the rules here on the Cloud… she does *laughs*)

          *waves hello to Swarn and the army of toddlers hanging from his shoulders * (laughing)

          – esme the fictional body snatcher upon the Cloud

          1. I agree Esme, when a person switches back and forth between different styles of narration, it is very impressive. The fantasy trilogy I recommended to you by Patrick Rothfuss is one such book switching between 1st and 3rd person, although most is in 1st person, which I do enjoy the most. 🙂

          2. Then you lady are a pantser. Or more appropriately a vessel for the imagination.

            Reading your simulcasts, yes, you deffo do best with first person. Sure you’re not Doris Stokes channelling Esme who’s channelling your characters? It’ll be in the eyes I figure they’ll be all white while you’re writing.

            So many books and so little time. You know I’m a slow reader—I will consider ‘Consider Phlebas’ and see how I get on.

        2. That is interesting, and a little bit why I walked back my statement about 3rd person omniscient being easier because maybe it just seems that way to me. It just seems that if you can know absolutely everything it gives you the most amount of freedom to tell a story in a way that reveals exactly what you want. Regardless I do enjoy reading first person narration the best, so I am in agreement with you there. There is an honesty to it and a feeling that you are discovering things at the same pace as the narrator or that you are at least subject to how the narrator wants to tell the story and so you react accordingly to the personality of the storyteller, much like you would in real life.

          I agree, that in science fiction that science has to be good, which is why I often don’t mind if they don’t delve that deeply into trying to explain everything, because usually that’s where an author will be get caught. I am a big Asimov fan. In addition to a few short stories I have read the robot series all the way through to the foundation series. It was so fabulous to me the way he connect the robot series to the foundation series. He was a very clever man, and quite prolific in my opinion. For me good science fiction is less about the science exactly but more about contrasting our human nature against extrapolations of current technology. Those authors who can tell stories well and have those deep insights into humanity and it’s relationship to technology are the kind that I enjoy. The Hyperion Cantos is still really well done and there is definitely a lot of philosophical and ethical issues that are tackled. The first book in the cantos won a hugo award and those hugo award winners so far some pretty decent. If you are interested in a sci fi book with unique narration I recommend Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny. In won the hugo award in 1968. It is written in the style of Hindu epic, or a Buddhist tale. It takes a little bit of getting used to, but I think it’s really beautifully done.

          1. Chances are it’s subjective, as I know a few people who say they only feel comfortable with 3rd person too. It may well depend on your make-up. *applys lippy*.

            I’m replying generally here, rather than to one of you *nods*.

            “I’m very wary of it otherwise as I’d need the writer to be absolutely convincing with any of the science”

            I know some people get very irritated by ‘bad science’ in sci-fi, it’s bound to be off-putting if you suddenly realise the plots full of bollocks. (Pushes that thought away). I found myself writing quite a bit of sci-fi and just assumed that as I was writing in the future, I could be as fantastical as I fancied, keeping it fairly loose, nothing pinned down, like you say Sawrn, not delving too deeply, so. . . I’m now wondering about that and might reasses those stories. I don’t want a plot full of bollocks see? ( Also, unfortunately, my proof reader hates science fiction – really – *laughs*). Then again I’m not sure I know enough to get things terribly wrong. Ignorance is bliss (possibly taking the piss?) Or, is knowledge in this case a hinderence, spoiling any chance of you losing yourself -*bollocks aside* – in a good story MM?

            Asimov is awesome of course, I have Patrick on my list, and I like the sound of ‘Lord of Light’. Thank you Swarn.

            – esme thinking about the details upon the Cloud

          2. Re. good science. I’ve a preference for the non-delver and those more appreciative of the prose, but feel the inordinate burden of providing proof (at least of concept) with the technical details should any scrutiny all eye of Sauron-like be cast o’er my art’s/work’s way. I think it’s, or it would be I guess, an attempt at acceptance from from peers in that realm.

            Such a commitment I could only take on alas when I could put more focus into research. That time will come—but for now: abstract fantasy and super-suspended disbelief with no pretension to any backdrop of intellect.

            Good call and good point on the ‘what ifs’ that are embedded in sci-fi — I watched ‘Interstellar’ last year and that’s where I was hit by the profundity and scope that could be gotten from extrapolating, as you say, current tech. Being as you espouse The Hyperion Cantos with such enthusiasm, I’m minded then to read it; it can only enrich me I’m sure.

            Thanks Swarn.

            I’m going to make a list of ‘to reads’ and post it on my blog. For record keeping and as a nudge to put my nose in a book instead of thumbing some iPhone app.

          3. Pantster is it?! . . . Probably true actually, so long as it isn’t any of the Urban Dictionary’s shady deifinitions in which case you can have a wedgie for your trouble sir. *laughs and eyes his jeans from behind flexing her fingers*

            – esme flashing her pants at him and winking before pegging it at speed upon the Cloud

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