Kelf’s Arcanum – The Void Cliché
For more information on what the “Arcanum” is all about, visit the main category page.
Style: Impulsive writing
Time to write: 20 minutes (5 minute editing)
Subject: Feeling Trapped
Inspirations: “Void & Meddler” video game, personal experiences, “Atom of Light” from the V&M OST (suggest you listen to this while reading)
The Void Cliché
1.00 am. The neon lights of the soda-selling machine across the street are not letting the room be dyed in the dark colors of the night. “How cliché” she thinks, staring at the edge of the window which had every running rain drop highlighted with neon light as if it was the slow-rolling video clip of a post-rock song. She knew that renting a place downtown would force this feeling upon her and yet she did, because she felt trapped anywhere else. <Anywhere else> being any other place where she would have to spend more than fifteen minutes to get anywhere, either by foot or public transport. She hated public transport, the greasiness, the horrid smells of other people’s lives and the intensity of every other first-world-problem someone is carrying with them into the tight space of a tiny tin housing on wheels.
1.30 am. Her mind was drifting. She connected the rain drops to those she watches while listening to music on the bus. Those dropped diagonally though, not vertically like the ones on her window. This, <verticality> was, a new substance in her life. Everything was set to go a certain way and she couldn’t help but notice how that was suffocating her. A corporate drone by day, an artist and an explorer of tastes by night. That’s what she told herself and that is what she consoled herself with, every night before she went to bed. She thought to herself that, if, just if, she had a routine, things would make sense. The routine had now become her way of dealing with abnormalities in her life. “Fuck my life” she said, trying to appreciate all the good things she has, while longing for the ones she doesn’t.
2.00 am. She checked her phone to know the time. It’s not like she did not know already. The picture of her favorite art piece on that lock screen kept reminding her though what she longed for. What she reached for and yet could not find. Her feeling of time glazed over her troubled mind like a constant parasite, one that did not let her rest the least bit. She knew exactly when thirty minutes were past. Anything below that amount was easy to count for her. Like a disease, she ached for a way to stop it. That non-stop internal ticking.
2.10 am. She picked up the guitar. Turned on the effects. The effects were her brick and mortar in life for without them, she was nothing. Or so she felt. The clean, pure, guitar signal, passing through a bunch of gritty machines that shaped it in ways that made sense only to her during the time of creation. Echos, reverbs, distortions, all things that helped her express what she held inside. It is as if everything made sense in an effortless way. But she knew that was just an escape from reality. Old boring reality.
2.44 am. Time passed in weird ways when she played music. Thank the gods that the neighbors never complained, otherwise she would have way more issues to deal with. She is great with people though, so it is not like she would not be able to handle it. She is a great liar, that’s why. Great at making people believe she cares and great at concealing what is so apparent yet so hurtful. “So cliché..” she thought every time she realized how she had lied to someone again. She knew she was a good person though, so she never felt bad about it. It was harmless.
3.04 am. Her mind was drifting off again. She kept circling around the same thoughts. What troubled her the most is the fact that every real relationship she has had, left her with the same void. The same feeling of knowing that she is much happier with a true companion she can trust by her side. This loneliness, although exhilarating, made her suffocate. This loneliness helped her make sense out of everything but everything made sense when she was not alone too. Weird, yet enlightening with every ounce of thought she put into it.
3.19 am. She started getting tired. She was now lying on her bed, staring at the neon-illuminated ceiling of her small studio apartment with her guitar on her lap. She was playing the same four chords over and over again, as if the more she played them, the more her thoughts would line up and make sense. Some people build puzzles and then frame them, she builds loops that stay in her musically digestive mind for at least a week.
3.22 am. But that was it. The light was fading. Not because the vending machine was going out of power, but because her eyes were feeling like bricks on her already tear-soaked face. “Here’s to another tomorrow…” she said, raising her phone in the air and clicking the “power” button, allowing her eyes to be soaked in as much darkness as they could possibly get.
Notes on writing this piece:
I am starting to realize more and more how much I love impulsive writing. I am so used to writing for freelance gigs that I just organize all of my thoughts and prepare all the narrative lines before I even start typing. I used to never be the kind of person that took notes for writing (e.g. when I was back in school writing essays) and yet now I have become this organized person that just puts everything into motion in a way that they all make organized sense. Yet, writing so freely again, has somewhat set me free.
I do still incorporate all of my writing techniques and styles that I use in video game narrative writing for example, such as giving meaning to a character through little quirks and not-so-noticeable details. Writing freely though has allowed me to see what I really enjoy to write about and how I enjoy writing about it.
The time stamps on this piece were one of my favorite things. Subtle, yet effective in telling the story of a person that is drenched in psychotic feelings about time. I needn’t literally write about it when the reader can make out for themselves what is really going on here. It’s beautiful, raw and engaging in so many ways. I love it and I hate it. I will definitely practice more on that in future pieces.
Also, I am starting to realize that I really love to write about troubled characters and how they get through their days in solitude. Writing about human relations is not easy and definitely much harder than writing about human interaction. I feel like the bottomless pit that is our soul has so much to say and it is up to us, the writers, to describe to the rest of the world, to our best ability and in our own way, exactly what we are feeling. Creating characters and narrating the pain they go through might just be one of my newfound passions.
I feel like I need to at least mention my main inspiration here, Void & Meddler. It is a game that I connected with greatly, even though it wasn’t the most amazing adventure game I’ve ever played. It was just spot on when it came to this feeling of loneliness and solitude in a very crowded world full of unique characters. Art like that just resonates with me and makes me want to write.
I skipped a day or two actually, thinking very intensely about what I should write and going through various writing challenges, but in the end, I decided to just go with some more impulsive writing. I will definitely go back to the classic exercises again, but I will also revisit this a lot more in the future.
For anyone reading these, thank you for being with me in this journey and I hope you take something, for yourself too, out of all of this.
~Konstantinos “Kelfecil” Christakis