|Posted on Monday, August 23, 2004 - 07:53 am: |
There is a Nemonymous reader who has promised (on the Nemonymous discussion forum) to examine each story in Nemonymous 4 in detail and this is his treatise on the first story:
"I was intrigued by `Apologising to the Concrete.' It makes an attractively brief introduction to this edition of Nemonymous, but is a many-layered nest of dualities. The first paragraph puts this in a nutshell: "I'm the only one without a story." The narrator may be the one to lack any story, but is of course the only one writing it. The victim is the only person with no story – very much a walk-on part, and even ignored by the title. Surely the central figure's vain attempts are an apology to the victim, rather than the place she fell, though I appreciate poetic licence is important when creating titles. I was left feeling there might have been more potential here: a stronger character in the victim's role might have given more power to any reason for the persistence of the stain, or the reason for the writers' extreme response to it. The author becomes obsessive- compulsive about cleaning the stain left by the victim's blood on the sidewalk. It becomes steadily clearer why this should have come about: the sense of guilt for having run away, or for being unable to return in a time machine in order to intervene, or for appearing as a witness at the trial. The event becomes the cause of complete dissolution for the story teller: from his sprightly trot down the steps of his house in the second paragraph, he achieves complete (US) bum (tramp, for the UK, homeless for PC readers) status by the last, reduced to unhealthy drinking under a bridge and pushing a shopping cart along the streets. I liked the stories' understated richness of imagery. There is time for place, mood and landscape, and detail without excessive linguistic pyrotechnics. The best images are those left to the fantasy of the reader: what DO you see if a strange man in hip waders and long rubber gloves suddenly appears, spreading chemicals over a public pavement! For the reader prepared to take the time and engage in the variety of spectacle in this short text, there is surprisingly much in which to revel. Stories about indelible bloodstains appear here and there in the stuff of myth and antique folklore. Bosworth Hall in Leicestershire, England, has one such; in the floorboards. `Apologising to…' introduces this concept into a contemporary setting, told in a matter-of-fact language which deceptively contradicts a breathtaking intensity in brevity. It is maybe a little too easy to be cynical about the city's employees' inability to clean the stain. The central character describes himself as being `the only one who could see it clearly, but at the same time there are references to people stepping around it – not something reflected in my own experience – people have short memories, or are (for one reason or another) more often ignorant of such things than not. Half visible it looses some of its potency for me. The accusing stain might have more power as a symbol, or, like Poe's `Telltale Heart', have become a pure invisible figment in the imagination of the protagonist."
|Posted on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 06:50 am: |
Amazing general link to Nemonymous that has just been drawn to my attention. Asbolutely amazing:
Does anyone know who is responsible for it.
Incidentally, anyone going to follow suit with close survey of Nemo 4 stories following above comments on 'Apologising To The Concrete'.
The writer of these comments has said today on the Nemo forum:
"I would have thought that those interested in Nemonymous would also be interested in putting some of the results under a microscope. ... I just feel that it's very easy to 'read and forget', especially when we don't know who the authors are. Here, we have the luxury of unrestricted column inches and a wonderfully liberating lack of deadlines."
|Posted on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 03:23 am: |
This is a very ironic tale about the way a lot of people in modern society instinctively try to avoid getting involved with violence and crime, and are afraid to stand up for their beliefs even after the direct danger is over. The (intentionally) nameless protagonist signifies this modern tendency: instead of standing up—now while hardly anybody will take offence at his running away when the gunshots sounded, he should have shown up as a witness afterward—and try to fight the cause of his guilt, he (figuratively) runs away from that, does not testify in court, and fights only the symptoms of his guilt: the stain in the concrete.
Because he does not act directly, his guilt remains.
Because he does not stand up, he remains nameless (a mystery witness).
Because he does not fight the cause, he becomes a ‘stain in the concrete’, that is, a tarnish in real life, a homeless bum.
That is why the nameless protagonist has no story: he’s afraid to make it. Apologising to the concrete, that is, excusing oneself to reality alone is not enough: one must take action. This guy never will, even if he had a time machine and went back, he’d do exactly the same. Therefore, as he keeps on apologising, real people will ignore him.
The Guessing Game
|Posted on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 03:30 am: |
As to the guessing game: who wrote “Apologising to the Concrete”?
Since it’s set in Portland my guess is:
1) Jay Lake (he's almost ubiquitous, and the style looks similar)
2) Tim Pratt
3) Heather Shaw
Any other suggestions, anybody?
|Posted on Thursday, September 02, 2004 - 08:52 am: |
Regarding the Comments from Anonymous above, the originator of the APOLOGISING ... treatment at the start of this thread has said this on the Nemo Yahoogroups discussion forum:
Nice additional info - I'm guessing from the author!
|Posted on Monday, September 06, 2004 - 09:18 am: |
I--the "Anonymous" above--am not the author of that story. I am another Nemonymous reader that wishes to remain anonymous for the time being (as you are).
I intend to add my comments to the other stories as well, time pressure allowing.
So I don't know who the author is, either (although, if my first guess is right, he might've just won the John W. Campbell award ;-)
|Posted on Tuesday, September 07, 2004 - 12:33 am: |
Reply to the above - in that case, insightful stuff! It just goes to show, there's more to this kind of story than entertaining eye-candy...
|Posted on Saturday, January 01, 2005 - 04:09 am: |
“I have eaten
that were in
you were probably
William Carlos Williams
'Apologising To The Concrete' has now been denemonised to members here:
I hope there will be a denemonisation from Nemo~4 each day until the stories are all denemonised.
All these authors were anonymous to the editor/publisher at the time of issuing the contract of publication to them.
“It’s silly talking about how many years we will have to spend in Vietnam when we could pave the whole country and put parking stripes on it and still be home for Christmas.”
Ronald Reagan (1965)