Saturday, April 9, 2016

Algo, another story...

Algo, one of the more interesting authors currently writing is now in full-bloom—creatively speaking. It's always good to remember, though, that no man is an island, even the most unique ones—or, if you must use such a metaphor, note that the seas and sea beds represent other diverse humans—and Algo is no exception. 

During a recent run-in with him, we discussed his latest work, the cottage industry that had sprung up around it and how that was currently influencing or interfering with his work. He was trying hard to keep his focus on his initial plans, but perhaps this feedback from his fans was something he should play with.

We were in Costa Rican bar then: howler monkeys screeching off to the side and the ocean breeze helping to alleviate some of the humidity's rotting breath. Drinking beers, sniffing that ocean salt in the air, we only stopped talking when a young man selling his wares walked by. It was art, his wares, made out of trash. Using apple product packaging as his canvas, he had come up with some original work in the form of mathematical proofs. We bought a few pieces of this art; Algo grabbed some peyote as well.

The art got us talking about influence again, as the young man stated that his influence was nature. Algo mentioned a female author he was trying to mimic. A virtual unknown, she was just gaining a cult following. No little thanks to the efforts of Algo; even though he admitted to wanting to keep her a secret, to read all her work and reap the benefits alone. 

He first learned of her when reading a Bible with all sorts of parables and stories he was sure he hadn't heard before. Come to find out, she was the author of that Bible, changing things here and there and paying a few people to hand them out. Most of these Bibles had radical aspirations, while others had a mocking neo-liberal tone (Pharisees were job creators and what have you). 

The authorities tried to burn her versions while attempting to find out who she was to burn her at the stake of "freedom to starve"; though in the end the authorities sparked enough interest that some radicals took over and doubled down on her efforts to send out fake Bibles of all sorts. 

She did the same to the Quran (and other Holy books) and some of these activists turned on her (still a faceless author). Beware what sacred you topple, I suppose, it might come back to haunt you. 

Algo found her and was soon impressed with her other novels. She had no desire to gain readers' empathy for a character—not a human one, anyhow—and instead created learning algorithms which twisted and turned their way through worlds of uncaring humans. Some were pure fiction; others were based off ones she designed in real life and tested out. 

Empathy for humans? she once said, never. And the worlds she created were mostly done with algorithms as well: scraping data and comment sections to create this or that community or dialogue. I remember Algo fumbling about, for he had been completely outclassed when talking to her. And when one is outclassed in reality, we all know what that does to the memory.

She had another theory on humans, one which further solidified her hatred for following one or a few human being(s) through a book. The theory was that humans were conduits and sure the material of the conduit mattered some, but did it matter all that much? No. And no mediocre male would ever convince her otherwise. For even if we appear to make decisions, it is at best a quantum randomness that makes it and most likely a reaction with the world around us that does it. And being that the world has more mass than us... around this point, Algo paused to understand what he was saying.

I broke the silence by telling Algo I would have to read her work, but deep down I was immensely jealous at not only her talent but her originality. Algo, really not understanding what she had been getting at, chewed some of the peyote and walked off to the beach to watch the sun plummet into the ocean. 

I stayed at the bar and started scribbling, but felt too much of an island, felt the muse escaping my grasp and felt the weaknesses in these very sentences to say nothing of the English word I was relying upon. I would have to read her then. Read her and create something better.

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