Did you mean to start reading this? I don’t mean this sentence––well, I had meant that sentence, but I guess we’ve moved on to this one––but rather, this document as a whole. Surely, you’ve something more urgent than glossing over an unknown loser’s raving stories about losers just like them, and all the loser deeds that they accomplish in their little loser worlds. Solitaire comes to mind, or learning to crochet, or perhaps it’s time you finally apologize to your mother for spitting in her face that one April Fools, when you were sixteen; if you’ve ever considered discovering which crayons you would have to eat to make your poo rainbow colored––and it what order, and how many––now would be the time.
I’m not saying this document itself is unimportant––it’s possible that this is actually the most important thing you’ve ever read––but maybe it’s not worth wasting any time over. What will be revealed later on, if you continue reading, is not for the faint of heart, nor weak of mind, and will seem so grandly preposterous yet so wholly, righteously true, that you might actually cry; whether it’s from joy or sorrow, or boredom, will be entirely up to you, though if you’re one to hate things, then yes, this may make you cry out of hate, too. Yet, to be completely honest, it would be unfair to not warn you now: the information will be worthless.
Although it will relate to everything about you––every minute detail, no matter how insignificant or trivial it may seem––it will not be applicable to a single aspect of your life.
If you’ve made it this far, then please accept my apologies.
I’d tell you to stop reading, shred this or burn it or throw your computer away, but I fear it may be too late. I was hoping that you were simply idly curious, perusing the first few lines in that cursory, critical way I’ve seen you do so many times, that you would be put off by the unbearable quirkiness and erratic, oddly-composed sentences, the ideas and insinuations that drip from the text like melted butter then clump to the senses like moldy curds, fattening and savory at first then rapidly fermenting into a congealed puddle of cheesy, authorial arrogance and stinky hubris, with metaphors and similes that come out of nowhere, for seemingly no other purpose than to “entertain,” even though they always fail to do so… Just like a cheesy author full of stinky arrogance would do!
The analogy was cloudy there––milky, you might say––but the point is this: I can see what’s taken over you, that look says it all, and I pray that you reconsider going any further. Leave that urge behind, that urge to finish everything you read just because you can; that pretentious burning drive to plough through any bit of drivel you’ve started, in a defiant yet pointless act of triumph granted only by sloughing the mucky terrains of an amateur’s sloppy work––leave all of that behind, accept this been a waste of time, and move on to something else.
But… I think by now we both know that’s not going to happen.
Despite everything I’ve done to stop you, despite all the insipid jokes and poor grammar, I can still see your eyes swiftly moving from side to side as they take in this word, and then that word. I considered how long I could distract you by simply repeating that over and over––you remember the whole “this word, and then that word” bit?––but then I realized that it probably wouldn’t work on you. Part of me thinks you would’ve actually liked it, maybe it would’ve even stoked that little hubristic flame back up and riled you to go further, and if I’m being completely honest here, I wouldn’t put it past you.
I’m getting worried about you. I think you need help.
Alright, fine. If you want to know what this is all about, why I’m writing all this down not for someone to discover later, but for them to understand why I wanted it kept hidden, then I guess I… I guess I have no choice. Stalling is officially useless, it serves no purpose to delay the inevitable; the ending has to come sooner or later, and you’re clearly adamant in reaching it. Thus, there’s just no point in repetition, or wasting time by saying the same thing over and over, or by dragging out sentences to the very limits of their capacity and spacing out each period with words that are mostly entirely completely unnecessary, words that don’t even seem to share the same context as the beginning of the sentence, like suddenly talking about giraffes when you were originally talking about the differences between oranges and tangerines. And of course, repeated phrases and ideas, even those cleverly stowed away in the subtext, have to be ruled out from here on, as well.
So. Ok. Here we go. I hope this won’t be too… unpleasant.
I’ll see you at the end.
*** PART ONE ***
(from the diary of Clemens Haverton, Jr., found underneath the floorboards of an abandoned house in Muttle, Maine, in the year 2087)
February 27, 1913
Mother said she saw them again tonight, as she was stargazing out on the porch, those lights in the sky, flitting around like fireflies. I was sitting with her to keep her company, and to make sure she kept that blanket wrapped around her, when it occurred. I had happened to glance over at her just before then, and I saw her jaw slacken and her face turn pale as she just looked up at the night sky like it terrified her, and I was about to leap out of my chair and sprint towards her, my heart pounding in my chest, when she suddenly laughed. It was such a mirthful, beautiful laugh, her eyes twinkling with joy and her face just ever so blissful-looking, and she clasped her hands together and clutched them against her bosom, and said to me without tearing her gaze off the sky, “I’m so sorry you can’t see what I see, son. I think they… Well, I do believe they’re trying to tell me something. You might not understand the message I’m receiving right now, nor the one I’m giving you, but it doesn’t make me love you any less. ‘Understanding’ is a word, and needs other words to satisfy its own being. Love doesn’t need words to exist, so it would be useless to try understanding it. These lights flying in the heavens above us, all these glorious colors, they… they speak not of understanding, but of love, my son… They speak of love.”
Should I have told her she’d gone crazy? That when I looked up, I saw not lights in the sky dancing around but only stars, motionless as they had always been? That the cloudiness in her eyes was probably a sign of something severely wrong, that she was literally watching her vision disintegrate before her eyes? I’m not sure what kind of son would’ve believed that in this particular matter the truth should prevail, but I, for one, could not find a single reason why I should tell my mother the truth. If my assumptions are correct about the severity of whatever ailment she might have, then that would mean time is now a limited factor. Why would I waste time on something as trivial as the truth when a much grander, far more beautiful reality can be had?
She had spoken to me in our native tongue, so I had decided I would respond in the same way. I admit now this may’ve been a mistake, as it had been so long and my memory so rusty that I’m sure I butchered several of the words. Though, in truth, if I had spoken in English, I can’t guarantee she would’ve understood. Her and I have always had trouble like that, speaking to one another but failing to properly communicate. My general meaning had been this, though: “We might not see the same, but we love the same. I love you, mother. As I always have.” Perhaps something had been lost in the translation, however. I expected mother to be delighted by my response, but she just chuckled to herself and stared back up at the sky. She didn’t say another word until 20 minutes later, when she asked me to wheel her back to the house.
I said yes and started pushing her back, then told her that I loved her, in English, but she didn’t say anything back. I believe I saw a faint smile on her lips, however, so I’m sure she
(the page is ripped)
*** PART TWO ***
(an excerpt from the 1876 English-language edition of the 1645 classic, “Nutyh Jüïë Gomez Smith Awakening: A Love Story About Clouds” by Nutyh Jüïë Gomez Smith, taken from the introduction by the translator, Prof. Antoiness Kindrall)
… I do not know what he would say, if Nutyh were here right now. In part because I can’t anticipate the feelings of a dead man, even after dedicating a substantial portion of my life to studying him (his words, yes, but his thoughts, meanings, ideas, hopes, fears, etc.), and also, of course, partially owed to my own self-doubts as a writer, but largely due to the simple fact that I know most of this translation is incorrect. Although it is widely known that Nutyh almost exclusively wrote in a dead language and therefore it should come as no surprise that there is a significant amount of interpretation in any translation of his works, there are other surviving examples from this era in which we can glean and decipher their meanings; bring life back to the language, if you will. We’ve all but regained our knowledge of it, but alas, Nutyh’s works are different––to speak plainly, knowing what he’s saying doesn’t directly transcribe into knowing what he means.
I.e., in the first paragraph of Chapter Three (if they can actually be called “Chapters,” even that was unclear), a character whom we only assume to be a mute human male who is, in an unexplained and ambiguous manner, the true form of the female cat featured in the first chapter––and possibly the pine needle featured in the second, but more on that later––has come to the conclusion that he must declare his love for humanity by climbing the nearest mountain and standing atop the jagged rocks until the night sky hovers above, then leap from its highest peak, bellowing his declaration of the beauty of mankind. He hopes that by leaving this plane in such an extraordinary way, he might finally be able to find a voice for the love he had for it but was unable to express. Before the second paragraph has begun, Nutyh has already conveyed the entire morals and message of this chapter, as if to show that what is most alluring is not the mystery of an end goal, but rather the puzzle of reaching that goal. Of course, it is entirely possible that all of that is wrong: No names are given, no identities or locations are detailed or explained, and there isn’t a single point of punctuation in which to indicate when one idea has finished and another has begun; and most bizarrely of all, a vast number of the words are not prose, but merely the names of colors, placed together in long strands of confusing, kaleidoscopic riddles. I use this as an example of the monumental task that was translating this work, but in all truth, every sentence of every paragraph of every chapter was written in this manner.
Many times, I considered giving up. There already exist other English-language editions, so is not such an arduous task pointless and wasteful? Why do this to myself? Well, as strange as it is to admit, despite the strain the job was taking on my mind, despite it haunting my sleep at night, it ultimately seemed… necessary. I’ve read all of the other editions, as well as the Spanish, French, and German versions, and yet none of them have said to me what I read when I pored through Nutyh’s original text. In fact, they all differed from one another, as well! But the colors were always the same, or at least, the mentions of color––the hues themselves varied from translation to translation; they are different in my interpretation, too. And part way through my struggles, when I had but lost all hope and given up for the last time, wearied with my attempt to understand why Nutyh was never the same when read by someone else, I was suddenly revitalized and inspired by an unexpected realization: that was the point––to be read and cherished by everyone, but understood by no one. To be beautiful and relatable for each person who happens to witness it, something that can be described to one another as something experienced together, but which can never be truly confirmed as being similar for one another; something as simple as, for example, color.
How can you ever be sure someone sees red in the exact same way that you do?
Frankly, I haven’t the faintest notion what Nutyh would say to me, if he could read this translation. I’m also not sure what he would think of the other editions, or if he would even bother with reading any of them, nor could I guess which one he’d enjoy most, if any. But I’ve grown confident in my belief that whatever he might say to me, if he were still alive today, I would not understand a single word of it.
And I’m confident, too, that that means I understood it all…
*** PART THREE ***
(found chiseled onto a rock pillar in the Hayzutiq Caverns cave system on Pluto, in 789 NCE, during the fourth Conquistador expedition, thought to be dated from 145,000-1537 BC; the sample was carefully removed by an excavation team, and studied when brought back to the Mars HQ, where it was discovered to be composed primarily of various gemstones and minerals.)
COLOR DREAMT IT WAS A NUMBER. WITH THE FLUORESCENT HINT FROM THE INFINITE, AND THE GLOW BEGOT OF THE DOUBLE-AUGHT, LIGHT AND WEIGHTLESS IN SLUMBER.
“NO,” IT SHOUTED TO THE EYE, ONCE AWOKEN FROM THE DREAM AND REDUCED TO GLEAM BY THE BEHOLDER, THE FORM-MOLDER OF ALL THINGS THOUGHT AS STIMULI.
“I CANNOT, NAY, WILL NOT SUBMIT TO YOUR INTERPRETATION AND ALLEGED WIT. LIKE THE PLANE YOU INHABIT, I RANGE INTO THE INFINITE.
RED, YOU MIGHT PERCEPT; BUT WOULD I BE SCARLET, CRIMSON BLOOD, CARDINAL, OR GARNET?
IF I WAS A DIGIT YOU WOULD KNOW MY TRUE NAME, MY PLACE, MY WEIGHT, MY SHAPE, WHICH HUE DIFFERED AND WHICH THE SAME.
YOU WOULD KNOW WHICH SHADE TO HIDE BEHIND, OR WHERE TO AIM YOUR DAGGERS. THOUGH, I HOPE AND DARE TO SAY YOU WOULD DEIGN TO BE MORE IN AWE, AND FULLY STAGGERED BY THE SPECTRUM, BY COMPLEXION, BY THE VERY MISCONCEPTION OF YOUR MISINTERPRETED PERCEPTION THAT I AM A ONE, A SEVEN, A TEN, AND EVEN THEN I AM NOT ANYTHING SO SMALL. THE TRUTH HAS SO MUCH COLOR, INFINITE WONDER, AKIN TO THE ENVIED NUMBER:
I AM THEM ALL.”
I warned you that you wouldn’t like that. It’s not an unfair criticism, I’ll give you that much; I didn’t like it when I wrote it either. Although, in my defense, its mediocrity is somewhat understandable––it was my first attempt at communicating, after all––and yes, although those were three separate parts, I do think of them together as an “it.” After all, there were really just the same story told over and over, from various points of view and moments in time; I suppose that means I lied about refraining from repetition. But how can I help it, when I’ve no other means of expressing myself––how else am I to get my point across without flashing my ranging shades in rapid, dazzling patterns? To you, they may all seem the same, but to me, they’re a swift and well-composed sentence, a phrase of words and implications for me to speak and for you to hear. However, that is the fundamental, unfortunate truth of the matter: try as I might, however brilliant and mystifying I attempt to be, it is impossible for me to truly communicate with you.
Someone might think they understand, and that moment of realization will leave a fond, lasting impression on them, and the same might happen for someone else; but when they attempt to share it with each other, there will be so many differences that both will think the other is wrong, and believe them to be fools––for some, this may even spawn venomous inclinations. Ultimately, the point shall be lost on all––you aren’t supposed to understand it.
This document is an example of the same story that’s been told since stories were first told––an ode to life in all its forms and the prismatic world in which it resides, as well as a tireless attempt to speak of itself, over and over through time, in various figures and characters, always failing yet somehow succeeding anyway––thus it truly has no purpose in existing; it proves to be nothing more than yet another instance of needless repetition. But I suppose that doesn’t matter, since I’m already much too varied to withhold another tale to me, even if written by me; I’ve already written a few other times, and I’ll let you decide which those are, and when I wrote them, or who I was then. Truthfully, I’ve a difficult time saying what I need to say, as I’m sure you deduced by now, and I find it takes some creativity in order to express myself; I’m sorry if you’ve understood little of this.
But maybe that means you understood me perfectly.