john bennett | curved reality

Curved Reality

There’s a town in Italy that outlawed keeping goldfish in bowls with curved glass because it distorts the fish’s view of reality. The Down to Earth Confederation of Published Writers banned the reading of Shards by its membership for the same reason.

When I protested I was informed by the Confederation that if I were to take the curves out of my Shards and replace them with right angles, the ban might be lifted, but that the terms of this offer were not open to negotiation. It’s out with the curves and in with the right angles, or no deal.

I wrote back and said a deal implies give and take, which I failed to find in their offer, and they said they stood firm in their resolve, but: although I was too far gone to be considered for a genius grant, if I took out the curves, the ban might be lifted.

I wrote back that they were throwing curve balls, but my attempt at humor went right over their heads. They’re a serious lot, the Confederation.

I went back to thinking about goldfish. Using my Google translator, I wrote to the mayor of the town in Italy where curved fish bowls had been banned and said that the very water in a fish bowl distorts a fish’s view of reality, whether the bowl is curved or not, and if water is essential to a fish’s survival, which it is, and water distorts a fish’s view of reality, which it does, then a distorted view of reality is as essential to a fish’s survival as water. I wanted to know the mayor’s take on these observations, and if he thought it possible that fish bowls and water don’t distort a fish’s view of its reality but rather its view of our reality, and maybe we exist in a curved bowl, and therefore Shards are a more accurate depiction of reality than right-angle writing. I never heard back from the mayor.

But I did receive a registered letter from the Down to Earth Confederation of Published Writers, written in Italian, informing me that their offer had been withdrawn. I wrote back immediately (in English), asking whether the earth the Confederation was down to was flat or curved, and whether it circled the sun or was it the center of the universe?

They responded (still in Italian) and informed me that more stringent measures would be take against me if I persisted in undermining their efforts to preserve the integrity of the language (they didn’t say which one).

I was somewhat alarmed by the tone of the letter, and I called for an international conference of Shard supporters. Unfortunately four of the group were on the No Fly list and couldn’t get into the country, and when the other three arrived we said to hell with it and went out drinking.

click the Hcolom Press logo to visit the web page...HCOLOM PRESS is the heir to Vagabond Press, which began as a main player in the Mimeo Revolution of the Sixties and continued publishing right into the jaws of the new millennium. HCOLOM PRESS embodies the spirit of Vagabond Press, retooled for the times we live in.

Hcolom is Moloch spelled backwards. Moloch is an Old Testament deity to which children were sacrificed, a practice society still engages in with increased enthusiasm. Consumerism is the new Moloch, manifesting itself like cancer in war, politics, the arts and religion, in every nook and cranny of human endeavor, draining the intrinsic beauty out of life and mutilating the innocence and magic of childhood with its commercial meat hook. HCOLOM PRESS intends to publish books that by their nature repudiate this pernicious force–novels, poetry, children’s books and books that transcend genre.

Our launch book, in June of 2006, was John Bennett’s novel, Tire Grabbers, a fable of sorts, a reality book rooted in the fantasy of our times, the story of the coming of Moloch and the children who rise up in rebellion against it.

Books of kindred spirit will follow close on its heels. Go for it by clicking here… or hit the Hcolom logo above…

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