The Fractal Man (Axiom)

The third iteration (part) of my serial short story will be posted on Wednesday. For today as I sit here in my church listening to some live killer sax (from Molto Cappriccio) and waiting for 147 Windows 7 updates to install, I thought I’d give you a little background for this story, and to reassure some of you that most of it is fictional.

As with a lot of things here on the Blog, this short story is an experiment, a little bit of a departure from my regular genre to write a more introspective piece. My mom said this is a very “English major-y” story. I’m not sure what that means, but as a writer I like to think I can write any sort of genre, hopefully still with my own voice.

This much is true about the story you are reading, whenever I look at trees I see fractals.

It doesn’t quite rise to the level of affliction as with my character, but it is definitely a change in the way I perceive reality. Apparently spending a year and a half in deep study of the subject (and if we’re honest fairly continuous interest afterward) can cause the way you look at the world can change. I don’t know if this is permanent and it isn’t the same for every tree. We visited Jekyll Island for vacation a few weeks ago. There the trees are palm with Spanish moss growing all over them. Though I know they can be modeled with fractals, I haven’t yet studied the method deep enough, and it was somewhat calming to just see trees and not fractals.

I do sill love fractals, I wouldn’t be contemplating writing a second volume about them if I didn’t, but it is fascinating to observe how what you put in your head shapes you. If I had spent the last two years deep in revision in Dark Mater, or writing the next two Surrealities, no doubt my view point would be very different.

Another inspiration for this story is the book The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat, a book containing narrative case studies of various mental afflictions. I found this book deeply fascinating, particularly the ways in which the patients perceive reality, or unreality, when certain parts of the brain are damaged.

As for why I’m writing this story there are a couple of additional reasons. I was a little geared up to write a story this weekend for the NYC Midnight contest, and though I sadly didn’t make it to the second round (though friend of the blog Jo Eberhardt did and hopefully her latest story went well), I wanted to have a place to spend that energy. And as far as process goes, this story is being written on the fly, in much the same fashion as Denied the Stars last year. I know where the story is going, and most of the component parts in the middle (I didn’t avoid going to Vegas just because I’ve never been there in real life, though this be madness and yet there is a method in it). Oh and I know trees aren’t dead in the winter, they lie dormant, but to my character they appear dead. Foreshadowing, or setting a tone ;). Each iteration is written the day before it is posted, usually in about in an hour.

So be sure to check out the first and second iterations before Wednesday. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed the story thus far, and where it is going. Feedback is definitely appreciated. I post stories like this here to learn what works and what doesn’t, so feel free to say anything. And feel free to ask any questions I haven’t covered here. You never know I might answer 😉

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