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Nov. 12th, 2006

art, amadeus

Character Development: Sketchbook.

What's Hoff working on when you talk to him? Any one of the following:Collapse )

Nov. 10th, 2006

sly, smex


Eupheme today makes me feel like a Steve Irwin of the human condition, one more likely to be bitten, and with poisons more deadly than snake-venom. I'm not sure I really can explain it here, except that I could classify a wild kingdom with all the classmates I've been meeting - and my classifications would probably not be flattering enough.

It's not cynicism on my part that makes me want to poke the rich and entitled, the frivolous, the faking-wise, the sophisticate, or to examine the things they take for granted or think about all the time. It genuinely isn't. I understand facades and protective coloration, and how deep those things have to go to survive -- just to survive high school. It's the same thing in me that killed the wild Australian naturalist, a deep curiosity in the face of the risks, a need to get up close and not just see, but demonstrate. Poke it with a stick and see how it ticks, then make notes (or videos for edification and entertainment).

The ferocious Classmate (homo sophomorus) probably doesn't like being poked, however, and if I'm lucky they'll just slither away, annoyed. Roight.

The PS3 is out in Japan and some lucky souls have gotten theirs already. I'm unbearably jealous. Its openness of programming possibilities excites me, although I'll admit that there's otherwise precious little flash that we haven't seen before in this new release. Doesn't mean I don't want one. It is suh-weet.

I've started sketching my room. It'll look like the opening credits to a Marvel film, except with less animation, save on those nights when I have decided to go all-out and have a drink or five and the room starts spinning. We make our own fun here.

Classes are classes, and continue inevitably, until the end of time. More importantly, I've begun a story (lightly illustrated; I always make pictures even if it's only a story) about kleptomania and crows and persecution. I like it, though I'm getting sick of drawing gory eyeballs in my notebooks.

Nov. 8th, 2006

lick, grunge

Filling the forms.

Plane ticket from your frozen home to a new frozen land: $295 plus tax.
Bus ticket to the middle of nowhere and its pet school: $42.
Getting lost on the way to your dorm: Priceless.

But who's complaining about finding the girls' dorm first? Not me. Never me.

Eupheme reminds me of somewhere I've never seen before. Everything here is invested with strange deja vu, like it's some place I inked in a picture years ago and forgot about. I've just been walking everywhere and staring. I feel like there should be some specific soundtrack to this place, some piece of music that would fit and make it make sense to me, and I cannot yet hear how the melody goes. Maybe I need more classes, or more discipline.

I like to remind people that schools use the same techniques, at times, on young people that society uses on criminals. Being young is a crime; don't ever forget it. You might as well commit the sin, given the punishments, I say. But people look at you strangely when you remind them. It doesn't look like prison, but it's an institution all the same -- just a pleasant one that rehabilitates you all too quickly to responsible adulthood. You come in, you give them your name and number, and it's the numbers that I think they find most important. They'll reduce you to one if you're not careful.

My room is a bigger cell than I'm used to, and I think I'm going to paint every wall, bit by bit, panel by panel. Assistance welcome. There's a lot of blank space here.

Nov. 6th, 2006


Alone onto a new stage


I can't just leave it at that, can I? Hi. My name is -- OK, let's not get into the subject of names, because mine is awful. I'm from a military family, and my parents were stationed in Germany when I was born. Dad loved everything about Germany, and it shows, because my name sounds like I should have stayed there. So call me Ted, or Hoff, please. Ernst, while technically my first name, sounds like I sprung straight from a performance of The Sound Of Music and I'm about to sing about edelweiss while skipping off a mountain to escape the Nazis.

Probably not the right image to make you want to get acquainted with me, and I'm sorry, but the truth hurts.

This is the worst thing I've written in years, probably, and that truth hurts as well. Most days I'm your average comics geek, though it's really just a hobby of mine; I self-publish. I have a skateboard, but since I come here from the frozen nearly-great-white-North that is Duluth, Minnesota, I'm not as in practice as I could be. Glazed ice surfaces discourage me from becoming the next Tony Hawk.

I love video games, movies and visual arts, music (I play the piano, sax, and guitar), and...I sound like I'm writing a personal ad. For someone who lives in a seminary or who is destined to live with his mother for ten more years. Great. I consider myself a polymath, that's all. Heinlein said specialization is for insects, and while I don't always buy what he's selling, even though he promises a whole lot of sex and that's never unappealing, I'm with him on this one.

I'm not usually this self-conscious, I promise, and not half this weird on a regular basis. However, I do have this trick elbow that bends the wrong way. It's a good conversation starter.

I don't know what to make of Eupheme yet. I'm just really glad to be here. It beats Arizona military bases any day of the week, trust me.
dead, breakdown

Prologue: Character Development. (Duluth, Minnesota)

(don't think don't wake don't think don't)

They say happy families are all alike. At least, Tolstoy said it, and we'd hope he knew what he was talking about.

This family isn't like anyone else's. Not like anyone else's in the entire world. Hoff has been living with this ever since he could remember, and didn't need to read Anna Karenina to know that differences meant unhappiness, as night follows the day.

It's four a.m. when his grandmother wakes the house for prayer. This is nothing new; everyone is up anyway, keeping hours fit for either the army or for God. When Grandmum passes the upstairs room next to his, Cousin Janet sets up a howl to her own, darker Gods. There's no sleeping when Janet starts gibbering, even if Grandmum didn't rap on his door until she heard the sounds of him stirring inside. Jan used to be all right, that's the most disturbing thing. Hoff sometimes thinks (don't think about her, don't think about how she was) he could deal with Janet talking to another dimension if he couldn't remember the times when she only lived on this plane.

His father is already in Grandmum's chapel when Hoff makes it downstairs; his head is bowed and he's kneeling on the bare wood floor. Once, Hoff muttered a joke (don't think don't even joke about it) under his breath after the morning prayers that his father should go straight from the kneeling to his push-ups, or perhaps combine the two, as they were so similar. He still had that scar that resulted from the jibe, (don't remember don't) among others; it's scratched into his right shoulderblade, and it looks like a cross gouged into his flesh.

Today is different. Today Hoff is silent, and for the first time in years, since the age of ten when his father (don't think about it) destroyed his piano (don't think about it don't think about it don't think)


Hoff is on his knees without hesitation, and he is praying, and for once, every bit of him means it, even the locked-down parts. If his grandmother would sing in praise, and not just read about songs of praise from her great black bible, he would join in with every voice he possesses, because they are sending him away. It doesn't matter if it's military academy at this point (but it isn't, sing hallelujah) and it doesn't matter if it's a religious school (but Gran was thwarted, ha-ha and PRAISE God), it doesn't matter if it's a fucking girl's school and he has to go all the way to the other side to qualify; it is the first blessing he can remember, possibly ever.

Eupheme, Eupheme, Eupheme: that's the prayer.

It's not that school has been bad to him before this. Hoff knows about pretending, and while he's never been the kind of guy who ever fits in -- moved around too much for that, and a little too quiet -- he's always had a place. He remembers the times he didn't pretend (don't think about tears and don't think about hospitals). They were learning experiences. "To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven," his grandmother reads.

Hoff gets it, he does; doesn't need the Bible to tell him that you have to put everything in its place. There's a time for his music and his art, and a time when he's going to march in line and shout and learn to shoot not just deer but human beings, and Hoff's OK with that. Ernst's time, the time of that quiet guy who got suspended for fighting, for not just beating the kid who tried to steal his art supplies but fucking gleefully HITTING HIM until he STOPPED until THEY STARTED SHOUTING OH GOD HE'S NOT MOVING -- (don't think stop thinking just stop)

Well, Ernst's time is different from Ted's time, Ted the charmer who used his underground comic book to part the lips and legs of more than one pretty girl at his too-large high school. God, Duluth was easy. Nothing to do in this cold but get laid and pray. And they're both different from Hoff, which is what everyone calls him except his family, the general face. And none of these are Amadeus. That's his name on the inside, what he tries so hard to be. Sometimes it seems like a laugh, beloved-of-God (and another thing not to think about, don't think too hard about it). But it was good enough for Mozart, so it's good enough for him.

It's really very simple when you get used to it. You just put on a different mask when you need it. (and don't think, don't think, whatever you do -- )

At eight a.m., he's on the Greyhound that will put him in the Twin Cities (of sin, says his grandmother, and looks as if she's preparing to exorcise him right then and there). That will carry him to a plane to Massachusetts, which is so damn far away (give me AMEN, brothers and sisters).

He looks out the window at flat fields and power lines, and thinks of nothing much.