Writer from Cambridgeshire.
Christopher John Eggett

Lapham's Quarterly: We Have a Cold

laphamsquarterly:

Here’s what history says we should do:

1. Chicken soup is “an excellent food as well as medicine,” says 12th c. rabbi and physician Moses Maimonides. The consumption of a chicken (not one too old or too fat, mind you) will also alleviate symptoms of asthma and sexual dysfunction.

2. Cover our…

Christopher John Eggett

The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows: Q: On the awareness that you’re happy

dictionaryofobscuresorrows:

kairosclerosis

n. the moment you realize that you’re currently happy—consciously trying to savor the feeling—which prompts your intellect to identify it, pick it apart and put…

Christopher John Eggett
Christopher John Eggett

Concerning A Haunting

The ghost of a sparrow flitted through one wall and out the other. The sky was bright white and clear of any embellishment. The lake, cool in the January morning was reflecting a white sheet up against the sky, mirroring it, but broken with the wet soggy islands poking through, their dead and spindly trees reaching out towards the more perfect and unblemished whiteness above.

Christopher John Eggett

A Romantic At The End Of The Universe

There’s a time limit on this universe, before it’s all blown away in one big puff.

We had the chance to leave, to make a mark on a new land, a new time, and a new space. We stood at the end.

Some time ago we decided to stay, you and I.

There was no guarantee the jump would place us together, and neither of us knew if we could live in a world where the other would not be guaranteed.

Now I look at this as a sign

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Christopher John Eggett
A submission for Chuck Wendig’s Blackbirds-related How You Die Tumblr.

A submission for Chuck Wendig’s Blackbirds-related How You Die Tumblr.

Christopher John Eggett

Missing Scenes

A list of scenes which I omitted while writing the first draft. They’re in no order. I hope it makes the whole things seem appealing though (imagine what I actually put in!).


1• A conversation on willows

2• The King’s speech (page 98)

3• The Bus

4• The Scottish Port

5• Descriptions from dragon feeders

6• More radio news

7• Visiting the orphanage

8• Something about the “Job”

9• Thom and Valarie’s house

10• A shopping list for camping in an abandonded house

11• A list of books owned by a young person 20 years ago

12• The quilt

13• The death of her parents

14• Can you name that band?

1• A conversation on willows

2• The King’s speech (page 98)

3• The Bus

4• The Scottish Port

5• Descriptions from dragon feeders

6• More radio news

7• Visiting the orphanage

8• Something about the “Job”

9• Thom and Valarie’s house

10• A shopping list for camping in an abandonded house

11• A list of books owned by a young person 20 years ago

12• The quilt

13• The death of her parents

14• Can you name that band?

Christopher John Eggett

How To Win #NaNoWriMo 2011 (Or 5 Ways To Take NaNoWriMo In Your Stride)

My NaNoWriMo currently stands at 13,155 words, we’re on the 4th day (and I’ve had 3 days of writing). I feel pretty good about it, I’ve not hit a block yet, I’ve not decided that what I’ve written so far is a sloshing fuck-bucket of nonsense, hey I’ve even got time to squeeze a blog post in, I am taking it all in my stride.

Here’s how:

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Christopher John Eggett

Brevity is a Virtue

"Patience is a Virtue"

"Pardon?"

"She’s a Virtue, as well as policeman - woman even."

"You mean she’s your sister?"

"Yes" said Brevity. "How long has Prose been in there?" she asked the Landlord.

"A long time, I mean, I am not exact-"

Brevity thumped the door thunderously “HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN THERE PROSE?!” she bellowed at the door.

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Christopher John Eggett

5 Places I Would Like To Write My NaNoWriMo From This Year

Everyone talks about their writing space when it comes up to NaNoWriMo time, Whether it is social (turning the phone off, promising nice things to the due-to-be-ignored, etc) or physical space (“I arrange the entire room into a pentagram of writing books, with me at the middle - if I leave, I die” etc).

But what about actual spaces? Here’s my Top 5 Place I Would like to Write My NaNoWriMo from This Year:

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Christopher John Eggett

Cheese

"We’ve got your results back" said the good doctor.

"Yes?" said Prose, unsure what he had actually been tested for.

"It’s good news and bad news." The doctor attempting another pause for effect.

Prose looked at the doctor blankly. The doctor sighed, finding he couldn’t even produce the least bit of anxiety from the young man in front of him.

"Look," he said, leaning forward, trying a new tactic, his voice dropping to a low and serious tone: "this is hard for anyone to say, let alone when we’re as close as we are."

"I’ve only been here for three sessions?"

"Yes, but -"

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Christopher John Eggett

Notes On: C A CONRAD “The Book of Frank”

Poetry has to grab me these days. I have to instantly interested, a turn of phrase is all that’s needed to draw me in, but once done I can settle with it. I need a hook is all I’m saying.

The Book of Frank’s particular hook was the inclusion of the line:

"Where’s my son’s CUNT?!"

On the first page. Thus hooked I purchased and ploughed on.

A camp tales of abuse, debasement, metamorphosis, fear, sex and psychosis these short sharp poems wander jumps from theme to theme like the poem itself is on a pivot - each side showing you a new facet with its fully developed rollercoaster of nastiness, the degradation of the human soul and the like.

This culmination of 16 years of work (we only read the wheat of course) is actually a display of the roughness of life.

Like all work produced over a number of years - and maybe all long poetry in fact - the author only offers up little slices of the whole at a time. Each poem is a solid representation of the moment but as the moment and the persons are so varied and changing, those around Frank anyway, there is a lot to take in. Only after being given each sordid polaroid we’re able to build our whole Frank-flick-book. Importantly each snap catches change in action - the animation actually only offers us the dimension of time.

"He read the metamorphosis, just for kicks" We’re told. This joke (the sneering quality of the line) makes light the Kafkaesque nature of metamorphosing characters - a fundamental support to the whole collection. We come to expect a kind of "knowing" change quite early on. Frank’s mother grows tentacles as he realises how involved in his life she is. Frank grows crows for hands. In the beginning Frank seems to be at the mercy of these changes, yet, slowly, he begins to take a grip of the rudder and enjoy the changes.

Frank searches for a metamorphosed version of his sexual-abusive father in the shape of a transsexual - Frank kneeling for a kind of knowing abuse. He takes this and, eventually passes it on.

And this might be at the centre of it. Frank is in control in many ways - he absorbs all the horrendous parts of the world around him and owns them completely. Frank seems to be the victim for much of the extended poem, yet he manages to become part of the oppressive chaos around him.

To say this is about the degradation of the human soul is, in reality, a little much. Frank is dammed from birth to be mis-labelled, over-labelled, abuse. As much as we like to pretend there is a grace to fall from in reality the soul is something with its snout firmly in the corpse of another.

Christopher John Eggett

Notes On: Magnus Mills “The Scheme for Full Employment”

Mills always manages to make the structure of his world contract around his characters in an impressive way. His characters, often impotent to take control in the squeezing world, tend to play Watson, ask the sensible questions and allowing the thick tightening band of the rubber noose squeeze on the oesophagus.

At the point when the character should expire – at the centre of the gyre, the final turn - we are always faced with one of two things:

[The rest of this post contains spoilers – Please consider yourself warned!]

1. Supplication: As the character is about to expire the character fully accepts the system and becomes part of it - forfeiting free will (not that they ever really displayed previous..) to become part of the world; an exchange of free will for immortality. In doing this, paradoxically, they suddenly gain agency.

2. Collapse: The system falls apart. As glorious as it once was, the system cannot sustain the pressures of everyone within it. The straw breaks the camel’s back. This, or there is too much slack in the system – many required cogs simply not taking all required strain - the chain comes off and the machine grinds to a halt. All involved parties must dissipate back to whence they came, or into the ether.

The first happens in “All Quiet on The Orient Express” (Mill’s masterpiece of mounting tragedy) while the second occurs in “Three to See the King” (an almost perfect comedic exercise in working with negative spaces for the most part).

“The Scheme for Full Employment” is a case of the latter and is probably the one in which Mills plays with “the squeeze,” most honestly; the chassis shows. The story centres the drivers of “UniVans” - slow moving trucks used for deliveries. There is a set of rules in the scheme, set routes, etiquette – and a warning, right from the beginning that it’s all going to come crashing down because it’s taken for granted.

The UniVans only item to deliver is Univan parts. Once this is realised you can see how the madness of the scheme works. The vans ship parts between depots without every having contact with the real world, but in doing so creates commerce of sorts. Another example is the fabrics department making a new and subtly different uniform every year, not because it is needed, but because it gives them something to do.

The scheme allows everyone to take a role, to set an example to the world outside of the clean goodness of a well oiled machine working.

Eventually a schism appears between the “Flat-Dayers” (those who wish to work 8 hours slowly and clock off at 4.30) and the “Early-Swervers” (looking to get everything done as quick as possible and then get signed off for the day).

The first strike in the history of The Scheme follows and it all crashes around the ankles of all involved. Partly because of a certain new strain in management (possibly representing Thatcherism) desiring for privatization and efficiency; the other because the public had lost patience with it - as the life of a UniVan driver is an easy one they thought the strike a liberty.

Mills really bares the bones in this, but because there’s none of that overwhelming pressure - and threat - there’s not so much to get excited about. There’s none of the sympathy required to get your blood boiling or to let the frustration bubble.

However there is majesty to it. It’s like being at the opening of an exhibition with the artist there. In the centre of the room is a  large object, lumpy, covered by a white sheet.

He reveals a contraption, slowly, each little part deceptively simple and it snips your face open into a grin. As it’s revealed it begins to have life and movement. It’s clever, if a little cold - and you can’t help but be impressed. 

Once complete the artist turns to you and says: 

"Now, watch me destroy it.” 

With this he takes a single thin silver pin from its slot in the machine and the machine crashes to earth with increasing speed, not with an explosion but with a million well timed folds and slapping of hinges.

Once he’s done you clap and think to yourself how worth it was, even if it didn’t move you in the way his work has before.

Christopher John Eggett

I Done Read.

I’ve recently spent the week in Berlin, mostly by myself. I had intended to meet a few people out there - but being the exciting people they are they had to be whisked away to work in Dusseldorf of all places. Bloody set designers.

This aside, I have had a chance to do some reading. I like reading - I spent 3 years doing little but at university, yet most of the time I find myself having to sneak it in, squeeze it in around work, life and other more social activities. Having your nose in a book feels a bit a bit of a luxury when you remember that there are real people around you who are literally creeping closer to death every second - every molecule of their body is, in a series of explosions, expiring in an effort to keep the whole moving.

This is to say I enjoyed a few days of endless reading very much. I focused on short, sharp things - partly because I wasn’t interested in gambling all my time on something chunky, and partly because the weight restrictions on a Ryanair cabin-baggage only ticket left me with only a few hundred grams.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be dropping in mini-essay/reviews titled “Notes On: …” into this very web-funnel. This includes, amongst others: Magnus Mills’ “The Scheme For Full Employment”, H.D.’s “Kora Ka”, C A Conrad’s “The Book of Frank”, and Murikami’s “After The Quake”.

In other news, I will be uploading a batch of photographs for http://myhighmeadows.co.uk to trickle out of my twitter-hole on a daily or weekly, popping a few interesting nuggets up on http://pixelgush.co.uk, and wading through a irregular selection of musical slurry on http://counterfeitculture.co.uk (SPOLIER: My first positive review will crown shortly!).

I hope this hasn’t ruined your day too much.

Christopher John Eggett
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