The exact terms of the Faustian bargain through which I attained my meager writing ability I cannot recall. Something about giving up all my friends, hobbies, and desire to ever leave the house. Lately most of my creative energy has gone into making up stories to tell my psychiatrist. Fanciful tales in which I cast myself as a social butterfly who drinks at parties only to fit in, never to get drunk. I need to make my psychiatrist think that my life is improving or else he'll change my drug regimen again, which I really can't handle right now.
I liked the song before the Mcdonalds radio station drilled it into my head. Mcdonalds should feel like a second home by now but for some reason it still feels like mars. Sometimes the customers try to make small talk with me. Their words paralyze me like the bite of a level 3 arachnoid.
We try to keep the koopa troopers drowned in the waters of the id, but sometimes they escape to the fringes of reality. Late at night we might catch a brief glimpse of them out of the corner of our eye. Or maybe through some static anomaly our stereo speakers will pick up a second or two of their chanting. Someone once told me that to know the thing that waits for you in Room 101 is to know God.
Sometimes I think about all the unwanted pregnancies caused by hip-hop songs that encourage sexual promiscuity. Not that I have some Holden Caulfield-esque desire to save those children somehow. If anything I find their plight rather humorous. Somewhere I stopped keeping track of what all the Nine Inch Nails halos were. Somewhere I stopped caring whether I was eating The Stuff or The Stuff was eating me.
The sega genesis game Socket had the most depressing ending ever. After Socket saved the world he returned to cryosleep in a laboratory. He was simply an implement of those who created him. He loved no one and was loved by no one. I'm still waiting for the grim resolve that normally sets in midway through a crisis and tells me I can make it through to the end.
I remember when I told C that I'd rather write than be with her. That night she overdosed on her potion berries and went to the mental hospital. Rock stars can look back on all the damage they've wrought in life with moral impunity. After all, it was all just part of their madcap rock n' roll lifestyle. I wish I could do the same. There is no delicious tootsie roll center to this black hole of despair.
None of today's contestants will be taking home a new bike or piece of the agro crag. The me generation thought they had manifest destiny on their side when they dedicated their lives to blindly pursuing personal happiness at the expense of others. My generation is supposed to know better, although most of us would give anything to have our naivety back.
If there's a problem with our physical health we'll run straight to a doctor, but if there's a problem with our mental health many of us tend to go into denial about it. I want to speak but the moment finds me paralyzed by the crushing weight of lag. My ping has spiked into quadruple digits and my present already feels like it's in the past.
I'm looking at a fullbright landscape of pain beneath a sky of HOM. My head is a nightmarish city in ruins. Amidst the deafening roar of television static I can sometimes hear the voices of others trying to reach out to me. I wish friendship was just an orifice I could sew shut.
The frost on the window pane revealed a word I had written in the condensation months before. It made me think of the happy times, the boundless energy that filled my mitochondria like some divine poetry that knew to form or meter. Then something horrible happened. During that brief moment where I was flying above the Scrap Brain Zone I looked down and saw how vast it really was.
The plastic florae in the lobby couldn't have looked more artificial. I remembered seeing a yellow flyer for a concert that had just ended, covered in mud and looking so forlorn at the bottom of a trash barrel. Had that been the glorious spectacle I had vowed to bear witness to with the fancy of a thousand poets? Looking at the customers in the lobby I saw no people. Only mindless replicants following a script so forced and contrived it could've been penned by any of the hack writers on IGN's payroll.
My laptop couldn't find its hard drive. The next thing I knew I was raining a berserker barrage of blows upon the keyboard. I had followed the white rabbit down a dead end street. My ex-husband would take the kids, and with them my womanhood.
My dad's girlfriend took me to the emergency room out of a begrudged sense of duty. I knew we would never be kindred spirits, not in another life, not even in another universe. There were times when I swore I could hear the gnashing of the langoliers' teeth as they devoured unborn infinity.
I thought of all the starving children from the charity commercials who died because I changed the channel to check on the big game. Sometimes they rode through my nightmares on tricycles with giant spiked wheels that cut through the sidewalk. I didn't bother mourning the death of my happy. If there was one thing the game Oregon Trail taught me it was that when something died you just buried it, gave it a little epitaph, and moved on.
Ernest Cline, writer of Ready Player One, shares his newest poem.