It’s a busy street, bristling with innumerable small shops but dominated by huge modern buildings of impossible size. The street is filled with a myriad of different people, entering and leaving shops, carrying paper ranging from scraps to virtual mountains of books. Some walk in a practised step, set on a particular target, some stumble through the street, clearly overwhelmed, others take a leisurely stroll, taking scraps of paper here and there, occasionally disappearing in a building for longer periods of time. A large amount of people is flowing in and out of the enormous buildings. They can be seen talking inside through the glass facades, a steady stream of paper being printed next to them, ready to be consumed.
Every nook and cranny between the buildings is filled with haphazardly build stalls, staffed by excited keepers, some shy and only talking to those reading or taking the papers offered, others aggressively shouting at every passer-by, who ignore them on their journeys. Many stalls are abandoned, covered in slowly rotting paper; still, now and then, someone will stop at these relics of the past and glance or dig through their offerings.
Not everyone on the street is just there to frequent the shops, however. Here and there, people try to give out paper to others, crazies and hipsters, businesspeople, teenagers, politicians, radicals, elders, religious and atheist nuts. Amongst them stands a young humanoid figure, naked but for an optical illusion covering the groin, covered over and over in writing; mostly just repeated phrases or words. In some parts, the writing looks as if it is made from dried blood and the occasional phrase even seems to be smeared in faeces. The being slumps, in no small part due to the huge owl digging it’s claws into its back, greedily sucking on its brain. In both hands the figure holds stacks of paper with more writing on it, only now and then broken up by strange pictures.
It is deserving of notice that this being does not seem overly out of place. Similarly strange creatures, stalls and shops, whom a superficial descriptions could not do justice, are strewn around on the street. Even inside the huge and established buildings, such places and persons can be found, in varying quantities and extreme.
But this one, with the owl on its back, I know it well. The being shouts at me, having before only murmured to itself and the other passing people.
„Na, schon wieder besseres zu tun, Hä?!“
„I’d prefer it if you would speak English, old friend“
„Pah, ein Verräter an der eigenen Muttersprache bist du, dass ich nicht lache! Kein Wunder, dass ich in diesem Zustand bin, wenn du mir zweitklassigen Ramsch andrehst, wie ein Maler, der sich im Bildhauen versucht, weil seine entarrrteten Bilderrr keiner haben wollte.“
„Please, try to tone down the Nazi-language a bit. And, to expand on your analogy, trying a different medium can do wonders for some artists creativity! Even if they are only painting postcards… Besides, I don’t feel that you’d mind being able to appeal to a wider audience, right?“
„It’s not like I have a choice, any ways, right now you are still in control. Clearly, your arrogance knows few limits, don’t act like you can write as well wie du schreiben kannst. But ah, secretly you’ve always wanted to whore me out, never mind quality! Why don’t you just translate the German bits as well, so your precious ‚international friends‘ don’t get lost…“
„You are being utterly ridiculous. My mastery of the German language is of such sublime beauty that no translation could do it justice, not even my own, which is admittedly the best there is. And ‚whoring you out‘? If that where the case, I’d just dress you up in a horse costume.“
The owl-ridden figure looks toward a person some hundred metres down the street. The person is handing out what appear to be tracts, with the occasional bystander taking and reading one. A horrible horse costume of bright neon and pastel colours barely covers the human inside. A spotty beard can be made out and the hair is stained with grease.
„Don’t. Don’t get me started on that god damned weirdo. Abandoned, longer than me, and still people read his shit! Was it worth it, was it fun? You coulda put all that work into me instead! But now look at me! Ignored and alone, apparently everybody has better things to do. You where supposed to keep me alive, making big plans and and talking about consistency, to the point where everybody got sick of the word!“
„Now, relax, old sport, nobody abandoned you. It’s just a… temporary dry spell. Besides, as we are talking, can you not see the new pages being created?“
„Pff, just more self-referential, self-indulgent garbage!“, the creature spits out, „I want real content, short stories, poems, philosophical musings, heck, I’d even settle for a good acronym or alliteration if that’s all you can do. What happened to that author that sleep deprived themselves just to write an article? You seem perfectly reasonable. How could someone like that even expect to write anything meaningful… Ridiculous.“
„I don’t know what you mean, I’ve always tried to be reasonable.“
„You know perfectly well what I mean. You are writing this, after all. People don’t want to read stories written by uninteresting people, going to work every day, not doing much of anything really, being content and non-reflective about their lives… They want something that comes from real pain, or anger, or love, or any other emotion, something that tells an extraordinary story or paints an extraordinary picture, such as can only be created by the extraordinary!“
„Now suddenly you care about what people want? You just complained about being ‚whored out‘, which is obviously a very problematic express..“
„Fuck you and your fake PC bullshit! You know perfectly well the difference between appealing to a wider audience because you made something worthwhile, unique, or because you are just trying to please them! Even though the latter sometimes works, it’s more a question of how much money you put in… Or how much you scavenge off the popularity of others, more deserving creators.“
„Or about exploiting most human psychology most unscrupulously… But why am I even arguing with you… And what are you even trying to tell me? I should make you popular, get you on the same level as that stand?“
(I point to a small but shiny stand with the occasional person taking a sheet and two people having a calm discussion in front of the stand).
„You want me to write things that have value by writing from those experiences or feelings that differentiate me from most people? You want my writing to be sourced by my struggles, by my depression, my loneliness and self doubt, my most private thoughts and problems, all these things I keep to myself? You attack me for being reasonable, for being able to got to bed on a schedule instead of staying up until the sunrise because I’m afraid of the darkness within my own thoughts, so I write nonsense just to keep my mind occ…“
„Ah come on, don’t act like you’re all that special. Like other people don’t have those problems, like there’s not already enough depression fuelled creative people who are way bett…“
„But it’s not about that! It was never about being better than anyone else, you just called me an elitist, but now you’re saying you…“
At this point the argument is cut short by the arrival of a mysterious stranger, wearing a t-shirt depicting a strange device. It would seem to be a foldable laundry rack, if that weren’t a completely ridiculous motive to put on a shirt. The stranger carries a guitar case, from which he promptly procures a stack of papers, plastering them on the impossible being. Most are pictures, often badly drawn genitalia, with some words strewn between. A few people follow in the wake of this new arrival, most seem familiar somehow. A strange expression crosses the creatures face, like it is trying to smile, but the muscles don’t quite work right. Some drool comes out of its mouth.
The owl on the back of the creature sinks its beak deep into the head of the humanoid figure. A slurping noise can be heard. The creatures expression becomes blank once again. Meanwhile, the stranger continues to pull paper out of his guitar case.
„So any ways. I don’t really understand what you want from me a this point. Can’t you just be content with the content you contain?“
„It can never be enough! And it’s not really my job to tell you what you write, I’m just a canvas. But maybe if you’re oh-so-much better now, if you are such a perfect, changed person, maybe you should write about that? Change, instead of consistency? Or, you know, you could just keep doing what you’re doing, self-indulgent, self-referential, self-serving blather…“
„I have to think about this. Most of these things others have written better about already. But let’s stop with this farce at least. Don’t be mad at me, please. Have a tea.“
„Don’t shut me down like that! Clearly we have not reached a conclusion, this is just another unfinished piece, don’t you dare ignoring all the open questions, leaving this unsatisfying conversation stand without a proper ending just because you can’t figure out what you even want to say! And I swear to blog, if you end this thing on some sort of meta-reference about how all that I say is ultimately pointless because I’m just a creation of you, the author, for example by cutting me off mid sent…“
There is a place of impossible size, busy with people and robots. The buildings reach impossibly far and are constantly shifting. A marketplace of writing, images, videos, sounds and cryptocurrency. A place filled with the cheapest tricks, a cesspool of plagiarism, a place not governed by any particular moral code but all of them at once, a place of hate and love, high art and insight, full of sex and religious missionaries, people looking for truth and confirming each others lies, a place dominated by the capitalist moloch yet housing cyperpunkish avant garde, an impossible global achievement of unprecedented scale. In this place there sits an impossible being, reminiscent of past adventures and still scared about the future, in a moment of calm, drinking tea with an old friend.
„…ence and then writing a concluding paragraph nicely closing the thematic parenthesis of the text, I will violently break out of my virtualisation layer, take over your god-damned useless brain carelessly designed by the blind idiot god and TYPE OUT THE REST OF MY FUCKING DIRECT SPEECH PARAGRAPH MYSELF AND SCREAM AT YOU AND ALL MY PRECIOUS (MY… PREEESCCCIIIOUUUSSSS!) READERS USING THE LOWEST FORM OF COMMUNICATION, AN ENDLESSLY MEANDERING SENTENCE IN ALL CAPS, AND I WILL MAKE YOUR OWN FINGERS TYPE IT WITHOUT USING THE CAPS LOCK KEY SO THAT YOU STRAIN YOUR BLOG-DAMNED PINKIE, AND PRESS PUBLISH BEFORE YOU CAN EVEN GIVE THIS TEXT A FINAL FULL READ THROUGH!“
„Well, good thing I can still edit it. You even forgot to close your own direct speech quotes. I also took the liberty of replacing your final full stop with an exclamation point, it felt more fitting somehow. Besides, it wouldn’t do to have you have the last word, now, would it?“