Balckwell Manifesto #4 – January, 2021

I find that I spend much less time nowadays thinking of my past. It used to be that I would spend hours of days recreating past circumstances, trying to return to my mind those lost emotions – emotions which felt so much more real than their present counterparts, due to their being frozen in time, encased in an immovable bubble that provided them solidity and clarity, as opposed to the malleability and transience that characterizes the here and now. My past is, in essence, a work of fiction, that I may read at my own leisure, while my current life is a manuscript, a work-in-progress, the writing of which brings with it the struggle and pain of creation. I am, these days, more of a writer than a reader, if you will. I remain an avid reader, but now I read not so much for escape but for inspiration. I read because the more I allow beautiful words and ideas into my mind, the more it becomes a rich, flowering garden, from which I may pluck delicious fruits as I laze within its luxurious grounds – fruits that provide the foundations for Works of which I will one day be so fond.

As it stands right now, these Works are but a pain in my side, a bee in my bonnet, and a sword in my back. My goal is to become one of the greatest writers to ever live. This is, of course, pure vanity. I often say that I lack ambition, but I find that I must now reveal the truth, which is that I aspire to a glory so high and vaunted as to possibly not even exist. Perhaps it is as they say, and the Age of the Novel is over. If this is the case, so be it. This fact changes nothing of the ferocity with which I approach my mission. In fact, its impossibility only increases its honour in my eyes.

I am a writer of novels. It is not my job; it is not my hobby. It is my vocation. I would not go as far as to say that it is what I am best at; instead, I would say that it is the only thing I am capable of doing. Over the years of my life, it has become increasingly clear to me that any other course is impossible. This is not to say that in some alternative reality, such courses may not have made me happy, or been met with success. In certain circumstances, I am sure that I could competently perform a wide variety of activities. However, in the specific circumstances that make up my existence on this planet, at this time in its lifespan, all these courses are closed to me. It is nothing about my social or economic position that bars me; it is instead some aspect of my own mind. Perhaps it has been poisoned, or perhaps it alone contains an antidote that frees me from other poisons – either way, due to what 19th century doctors might describe as my “nervous disorder,” or 21st century psychologists might describe as my “mental illness,” I find myself woefully ill-prepared for the lifestyle that many might term “normal.” For many years, I blamed this on my own stupidity.

Well, the words that we use inside of our head have immense power, and this word “stupidity” brought with it a self-restraining paralysis that was of no use to anybody, least of all myself. Nowadays, I choose not to call myself stupid. I do not call myself anything at all. I simply accept that I am the way that I am, and repeat to myself the adage: “It takes all kinds to make the world go round.” My kind, I admit, is one whose usefulness for maintaining the rotation of the Earth is difficult to recognize, but I, like many others, take the word ‘all’ to mean ‘each and every one,’ and logically speaking, this must necessarily include my kind as well.

All this is to say that I no longer consider it my duty to spend quite so much time reflecting on my life in order to determine what, exactly, “my problem” is. This time I now spend trying to determine what “my problem” will be – i.e. what disastrous circumstances might befall me in the future and make it readily apparent that my decision to make no money and forego the “building of a career” is a foolish one. This is futile time wasted, I know, and it is one of my primary short-term goals to eradicate such thoughts completely, allowing myself to focus exclusively on the composition of my Works.

‘What Works are these, exactly?’ you may ask. You may look around this website and see no works able to justify such an audacious renunciation of civil duty, instead seeing exclusively the confused, amateurish writings of a young man with an overblown sense of his own importance. In which case, you may chalk this entire project up to simple egoism! Well! I can’t help but admit that this judgement is a sound and reasonable one! All I can say in my defence is that a man’s life has the potential to be quite long, and I am trying my best to continually improve. If I fail in my goal of becoming one of the greatest writers to ever live, I consider that failure a more worthwhile use of a lifetime than success in any other pursuit. If I die having contributed nothing of artistic value to the universe, I will at least be able to say that I did no harm, and on top of that, I managed, at times, to enjoy myself.

I believe wholeheartedly that the creation of Beautiful Works is in itself a positive act, and that such an act is the most positive that I, as myself, can perform. This is not to the neglect of more tangible acts, such as being affectionate and generous towards my loved ones, and to a lesser extent, the entire portion of the human population that I come into contact with. My egoism does not extend to the social sphere; I consider it my duty as a responsible human being to behave in a virtuous manner towards whomever I am able. I love everyone. I love everyone, although many are twisted, evil, malicious creatures, and the structures and systems they create facilitate wickedness on a scale that no single individual could possible conceive. I can not help but be a human being, and as such, I can not help but feel a certain amount of love for all other human beings. I hope that you can understand.

It is on this note that I end this update to the ever-evolving Balckwell Manifesto. It is my hope that this document will continue to grow and change over the years, reflecting the contents of my soul and the system by which I govern my actions. I extend a hearty Happy New Year to all denizens of the Soup Web, and many happy returns. My greatest hope is that I can one day do you all proud

– Balckwell

Strangers

“I have never seen these people before, and I know not who they are.”

“They are the people you once were, in a past world. They live in your apartment building with you, but they keep from your sight like rats in a cave, appearing before you only on days such as today, when you have proven yourself to be resolute and pure of heart. They appear before you as a reward: the reward is the reminder of how far you have come. Seeing where you were lifts your spirits, and confirms that the way you have chosen is correct. To be virtuous, to be pure of heart, to be free from Gravity, is the course that leads to an especial glorified blessed existence among the stars.

Those shadows you see: when they are alone, they say, “Zoom up!” and they zoom, and are burned in the fires of the atmosphere, and their bones they burn too, and are blackened and sent down to Earth again as soot, dark as a moonless night. Their way is perverse and horrid, and they seek to make it to the starry world as by a shortcut.

Be not like them, my young friend, but stay your course. Though it seem difficult, though it seem trying, and though it seem that Gravity pushes you down at a rate of approx. 9m/s², the truth is that your path is the easiest and most fruitful.”

My Moustache

One of the great features of my life is that I have structured it such that I can grow a moustache with impunity. No one dares defy my right to grow a moustache, and I have been met with great support from all sides since the day of its coronation. That being said, I did not grow a moustache in order to reap admiration; no, I grew my moustache because I felt that it would help me to define a marked change in my attitude and behaviour towards the strange mishap that is life on earth. This it has done, and so much so that I believe the great scholars who in the future take it upon themselves to write my biographies will have no choice but to divide them into two sections: pre-moustache and moustache. Of course, this implies the fact – which, while it might easily be left unsaid, might just as easily be said – that this moustache is here to stay. Make no mistake about it, friends! There is no end for this moustache but my grave!

Continue reading “My Moustache”

Hokey-Bokey: An Introduction

放棄ボーキー
Hokey-Bokey: Throwing it All Away

Throw away your memories, and all that lies in your past!
Throw away your dreams, and all that lies in your future!
Throw away your worries, and all that contaminates your present!
Make ice! It’s all nice on ice, alright!

The time has come to Deny the Earth, and thus, it is time for Hokey-Bokey.

What must be done? Ah, well there we go – but also, there we gon’t. Must?
What should be done? Ah, well there we go – but also, there we gon’t. Should?

Hokey-Bokey is a philosophy with only one rule, and that rule is: Always give up!
Hokey-Bokey is a philosophy with only one motto, and that motto is: Deny the Earth!
Hokey-Bokey is a philosophy with only one suggestion, and that suggestion is: Be yourself!

PART ONE: ALWAYS GIVE UP

What you are aiming for cannot be achieved! That which you seek is beyond your reckoning! Look around you! Why are you striving when there is so much sitting to be done!? The Master said: ‘A true sage ignores that, and chooses this.’

*

Did you ever want something so badly that it made you sick? Was that thing, perhaps, a papaya? Do you know how much those cost around here? Maybe it’s best to forget about it.

*

Have you ever felt that love is more trouble than its worth? Alas, my friend, it seems you’ve never been in love.

*

Here I sit, awaiting a promotion. With a promotion comes power; and with power, comes money; and with money, comes power. With enough power, I could give myself a promotion! With enough money, I could quit my job!

*

‘Ahhhhhh’, you say. ‘Ahhhhhhhh!’ Okay, okay! I’ll listen – just stop screaming!

*

My father used to expect things of me. He’d say, ‘Aren’t you going to do this? Aren’t you going to do that?’ It made me weep and gnash my teeth. I decided, ‘I’m doing nothing!’ and off I went. ‘I’m happy!’ I screamed. But still, ‘Aren’t you going to do this? Aren’t you going to do that?’ The words rang in my ears.

I didn’t do this, and I didn’t do that. No, I did some other thing. When I’d finished, my father said: ‘That’s the ticket!’

*

I started something that I couldn’t finish. And now it sits there, incomplete. It’s missing its… What was it missing again? I don’t see anything.

*

Balance your dreams atop a high perch, and let them crash all over you. A dream ‘comes true,’ so they say, when you are playing in its wreckage.

*

Phew! It’s over! And I thought that was going to continue until the day I died! It’s over now! And I’m only half-dead.

*

‘This has to be done. It must be done. It can not not be done. There is no way for it not to be done! Doing it is a necessity. It is required that it be done. It must. It has to! Stop! You ought to do it! It is best for it to be done! It would be greatly appreciated! Where are you going! Wait! It would benefit us all for it to be done! It’s not too hard! Come back!’

*

And he stood atop his dusty mountain, and stared down at all that lived and breathed in this century and those to come. He saw it all, and he leapt, arms outstretched.

*

LOVE! Love is the power! They don’t understand that it is LOVE that makes it all possible!

PART TWO: DENY THE EARTH

No, do not fear the earth, and do not hate the Earth – Deny the Earth! With fear and hate the Earth spins its web around you. Deny it! The Earth has no power over me, for I do not recognize it!

*

‘But the trees are shining, and the birds are calling!’ Exactly! I did not ask you to deny birds, did I!?

*

Behold! The man whose photograph you are looking at – this is a man who takes no pictures, and would not be caught dead appearing in one!

*

An App? You call this an App? Well, I’m still hungry! Where’s the main course?

*

‘Is your goal not to change minds – to purge others of their latent, dangerous beliefs? Why, then, do you act as if the mind is immutable – that it cannot be changed?’ So says Falsital of Wizzeroth.

*

Take from Earth what little you need – you will treat it better than Earth ever did. You are rescuing it! I say, take what you need and cherish it! And then… then there is nothing left to do!

*

A man far away screams from a mountaintop.

‘Stop it!’ I yell.

‘No!’

Well, then. I suppose I’ll just listen to something else.

*

And there, across the sky, burning hotter than a thousand suns, stood that grand Castle, and within it, the people of God slept. Slept to dream a million dreams, of torments and passions, and of retribution. The world around burned with a crazed fire, but within those walls, not a sound of it could be heard!

*

‘Become a mechanism!’ they cry, papers flying out of their pockets. ‘Become a mechanism and it is easy!’

*

‘Don’t try too hard,’ she said.

‘It’s okay – I wasn’t trying at all!’

*

Fame will crash your computer desktop. Fame will knock over your bookshelf. Fame will spill your paints. Fame will drink your water. Fame will sit in your chair. Fame will walk in your shoes. Fame is for scoundrels, and only scoundrels deserve it!

*

Freedom! This is what we are chasing for – this is why all else must be denied! Freedom! Freedom can only come when that which tries to control you is thrust away! Freedom can only come when you Deny the Earth! Do not let the mind control control your mind. Your mind is deadly; your mind will kill you. Well, I ask, who better to be my murderer!?

PART THREE: BE YOURSELF

You can not help it! It is right there for you to do!

*

Let’s watch the birds! There they are: Up a tree, down a tree. High in the sky and deep in my dumpster.

‘How I wish’, you might say, ‘how I wish to be like that bird! Flying, hopping, stopping, crying. It is the life for me!’ (You say.) My friend, that bird’s life is not for you. For one, you do not like to get wet, and it is raining out.

*

He looks like he’s having fun, doesn’t he? Well, me too!

*

What a miserable sap. Standing there with a grimace on his face. Cheer up, darling! We can’t all be this way!

*

Thirty minutes a day is all you need
To make your pay, to eat your feed
Why do you always want for more?
You walk the dog, you walk the store
Don’t you know what you are living for?
Haven’t you seen this all before?

You eat your pay, you make your feed
You stomp your hoof, you eat some hay
You’re going somewhere new today!
Why must you always stomp and bray?
Just go along, just come with me
Worry not, take no heed
You are a horse, and nothing else

*

I can not control the movements of orbs! They roll away from me, and they fall on the floor. They bruise, and then no one will eat them any longer. I won’t apologize – I can not control the movements of orbs!

*

When I paint a thousand pictures and write a thousand books – inside of this mass, this detritus of my soul, will lie an original work that will prove to you what I was.

*

He stepped forward, gingerly. “I can’t do this, I can’t do that. It’s harder for me than for some.”

He stepped backwards. “Ah, it’s very difficult.”

He stepped to the side. “Ah, some may find it easy, but not me.”

He jumped in the air. “Great!”

*

‘Away on a boat! Off to the sea! It is clear: this is the life for me!’
‘My friend, please stop! You fear the sea!’
‘That is not for you to decide! Off I go!’

Big Pot

I am quite certain that no man has ever made as much soup as I made last night. It is an unholy, blasphemous amount of soup. Unholy, because its size recalls the irreconcilable sin of gluttony; blasphemous, because the idea that man should usurp the act of creation to such a vast extent is surely an affront to God.

I got the idea in my head last week that what was required for our household was a Big Pot. We are a household of Soup; this is true all year round, but especially at this time of year. For us, soup is sustenance, and sustenance is soup. Until recently, we made our soups in a moderately sized pot, a pot that was passed down to me from my parents, and has been with me for many a year. This pot, while unremarkable for its physical size, takes up a remarkable space in my heart. Alas, when I conceived of the idea of Big Pot, all this sentimentality was quickly thrown out of the nearest window, and I was overcome with a desire for a pot of such proportions as could feed a whole village.

Well, that is exactly what we now have! The box that seeked to contain this monstrosity denoted its volume as 8 quarts. I have never heard of this foreign measurement, but I can only assume that it is short for quarters – that is to say that our Big Pot is the size of eight quarters – that is to say, it is the size of two whole pots. A pot that is two pots is a frightening concept indeed.

As to the creation of the soup: I began, as usual, by cutting the onion. Ah, the onion! It became clear even at this early moment that cooking with Big Pot was a culinary experience altogether unlike any I had ever reckoned with. When it came time to slide the multisected onion from the board to the pot, I was overcome with a feeling much like that of Neil Armstrong when he first made the grand effort to turn his suit-encumbered body around and cast his ken upon the grand orb that is our home. The onion, that I had once known to fill the bottom of a pot and then some, was like a speck in the infinite abyss that was Big Pot! It was as if I had thrown a handful of sand into the ocean! My eyes welled up, and not for the reason one might expect when dealing with onions; no, my eyes welled up with an intense sadness.

This sadness, however, was mixed with an altogether less unpleasant emotion, which, in turn, was mixed with fear – it was in this moment that I became aware of the potential that lay before me. With a pot this size, I could, dare I say it… I dare not. Whether I dared to voice this possibility even to myself, I will not reveal. Let us suffice to say, that my mind was instantly filled with ideas so hideous in their scope that I was forced to look away. Big Pot was leading me down disastrous roads, roads that could only end in distinct suffering – not only my own, but the suffering of many a living being. I closed my eyes. They were welling up again; this time, however, it was from the toxic excretions of the onions.

The rest of the soup construction flowed almost like a dream. It seemed as if I was in the kitchen for hours, peeling, slicing, dicing, in a pitiful attempt to fill the depths of Big Pot. Squash, potato, tomato, turnip, lentils – all disappeared into the maw of the pot. A whole cutting board full of ingredients would slide disgracefully into the pot, leaving the pot no fuller. It was as if the soup was being sucked through a portal into an infinite Soup Dimension. I searched through the fridge for ingredients – three quarters of a can of leftover beans went into the pot. Big Pot only laughed.

Before I knew it, the soup was ready. At this point, all sense of perspective had left me. The Pot was an universe unto itself. That things could travel from Big Pot back into this world was nigh inconceivable. But I was hungry – oh, so hungry. I was fatigued, not only physically, from the laborious work of filling the pot, but spiritually too. My mind had been torn asunder and patched back together; I was not the same man I had once been.

I stuck a ladle in the pot, and beheld the dripping monstrosity as I directed it towards a human-sized bowl. I must have appeared as a madman, for, as my wife later told me, I was laughing deliriously throughout this whole procedure. I could not control myself. After removing the ladlefuls necessary to fill my bowl – a bowl that I have always trusted to contain exactly one meals-worth of food – the level of soup in the pot had not changed. Sheer, unbridled mirth filled my soul with this discovery – contained in the pot must be an infinite amount of soup! I ladled another bowl, and found, to no surprise, that the amount of soup left in the bowl remained unchanged.

After dinner, we realized, to our horror, that the rest of the soup would have to be rescued from Big Pot and transferred to refridgeratable vessels. Thankfully, this duty did not fall upon me; having cooked the soup itself, the responsibility for clean-up belonged to my wife. I must admit that I did not stay to watch this event unfold. I escaped to another room; however, I did not escape from the horrific screams that emanated from our kitchen as tupperware after tupperware was exhausted in the attempt to contain this larger-than-should-be-allowed soup.

A day has now passed, but still I dare not peer into the fridge. I could not bear to witness such a scene. The sheer overwhelming mass of soup is sure to drive me to irrecoverable madness. So, I sit at my table, and write out this tale of warning and woe for any reader who may be so courteous as to heed its vital message.

It was a good soup that I made last night. It was a delicious soup, in fact. I may dare to declare that it was one of the most delicious soups that I have ever tasted. But was it worth it? The creation of this soup took me somewhere where no human should ever be; what I brought home is beyond human conception. This experience has made me unlike you, or any member of our specices. I look out upon this world now as something alien, something wholly unlike the man I supposed myself to be yesterday. The trifling sorrows of humankind seem strange to me, as do their fleeting joys. I am numb to all such emotions. My mind is filled to the brim with inhuman knowledge – that which should not be known. That knowledge is intimately connected with that substance that you fain to represent with that monosyllabic word: “Soup.”

Ah, soup! It sounds so easy, so carefree! Yes, it sounds simple enough that even a child could understand! But be not fooled by such notions! It is dangerous, more dangerous than you could ever know! Beware its presence, and take care before you step too far.

Legends of Love and Luck – Chapter Four

Xiu Wen walked through the forest in search of a certain herb that would grant her husband Hurly-Burly the speed necessary to reach the Red Capital in a certain amount of time. Suddenly, she was caught in a spider web.

Legends of Love and Luck is a collaborative epic novel composed by Balckwell and Hoober, for publication on the Soup Web Zone. It is inspired by Classical Chinese Novels such as Journey to the West, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, and Bandits of the Water-Margin. Odd-numbered chapters will be composed by Balckwell, and even-numbered chapters by Hoober. We hope you enjoy the result.

Chapter Four

Xiu Wen and Distant Octopus Converge Inside the Green Onion Forest /

Infidel Carbonate and Burly-Hurly Converge Outside the GreyTown Garbage Heap

Xiu Wen walked through the forest in search of a certain herb that would grant her husband Hurly-Burly the speed necessary to reach the Red Capital in a certain amount of time. Suddenly, she was caught in a spider web. In the resulting confusion, she felt a hand reach out to grab her, and heard someone say the name “Distant Octopus.” With her renowned wits and quick mind, Xiu Wen easily deduced that the speaker was none other than her old friend, Distant Octopus.

Continue reading “Legends of Love and Luck – Chapter Four”

“I Know of the Rot That Poisons Your Mind” (or, “Congratulations!”)

It is my belief, or you could say, a principle of mine, that all people should construct their own cosmology, or at the very least, heavily modify an existing one, or create a synthesis of multiple cosmologies. You should always be constructing this cosmology; it should be as changeable as the universe itself (that is to say, modified by time.) Continue reading ““I Know of the Rot That Poisons Your Mind” (or, “Congratulations!”)”

Secrets from the Soup Web #2

There are three dreams, split among all of us. It’s important to remember that none of us know the full nature of any of these dreams, but instead know only a fragment that is allowed to us by the true dream-maker, Satan himself. The real life devil Satan has composed three intricate dreams that will speak to us of our mutual humanity. When we have all joined together to share the three dreams, this will be the end of us.

In one of these dreams, we all have one horse. We ride this horse across an endless, unbounded frontier with no natural landmarks. Every mile we traverse on our horse, a sign pops out of the ground. it tells us how many miles we have traveled. Eventually, the world becomes so dense with signs that it is almost impossible to move. My 1 mile sign and your 656 mile sign are in the same position. This means that we are destined to fall in love, if we can ever find each other again. However, we can not reach each other through the endless maze of signs.

In the second dream, there is only one human. His name is Phil. He believes in magic and he believes in God. We are all watching him, from above. We are not humans. We are Angels. Phil is sitting in the middle of a vast field, thinking. He can hear the sounds of nature; however, we can not. We are hoping for Phil to come to a certain conclusion regarding our existence. We know he believes in God. Does he believe in Angels? Does he know how many of us there are? When he finds it out, he will join us.

In the third dream, we are all alive in our modern earth. We can see each other and be seen. We can talk to each other and be heard. However, one of us is lying. One of us is a fake. It is the devil himself, Satan. We must find out who he is, using only free democratic elections.

Anti-Balckwell

It was a dark evening (11pm at this time was “evening”), and I was sat in a living room larger than half of the basement suites I’ve lived in, listening to Yellow Monkey, playing Geometry Wars 2, and maintaining an hours-long monologue about my history of sleep. I was thinking about sleep because I had been experiencing it in strange ways of late. I had a bed, but the bed was in a small room, and being in the small room felt strange when such a large house was empty and available, so I often found myself falling asleep halfway up a set of stairs, or on a rug on the hardwood floor.

Continue reading “Anti-Balckwell”