A New (& Untitled) Work in Progress: May 30th, 2013.

Good afternoon, dear readers!

I was feeling very, very bored and very, very giving today, so I decided to give you a taste of something I just started writing a whopping fifteen minutes ago (word). It’s the beginning to my next novel = THIS IS THE INCREDIBLY ROUGH FIRST DRAFT. I hope you can dig it, and just remember one thing: this is an incredibly rough beginning, but I thought I’d post it anyways. I did mention the fifteen minutes thing, right? Be nice and be scathing — either way, I take no fault for its randomness. It is merely fifteen minutes of dribble and nothingness — and isn’t that fun, sometimes? I finished my newest novel a few weeks ago, so I decided to start writing a new one to keep me occupied.

Those fifteen minutes = the rough beginnings of a new project, a new novel by yours truly.

This is what happens in a flash.

I hope you can dig it.

Jackson Williams.


Consider our hero: an hour ago he was sitting in his small apartment, alone, imagining and pondering and for obvious reasons replaying over and over and over a scenario where he grabs the little pistol that he kept for protection against various vague threats that had small chances of coming true and, then, with an air of finality, puts the little barrel of the pistol in his mouth and pulls the trigger, just like that and oh so easy, sending a chaotic spray of skull and brain matter against the wall behind him, all quiet after a brief flash of light and a noise that in his imagining was for one brief second loud enough to shake the world….and now – a mere 3,600 seconds later by most accounts – he sits, in body if not spirit, with a small group in friends in the living room of your average one-story college-town house, bongs, dead soldiers and black-light posters decorating every possible surface the eye can make out through smoke. As you turn your head helter-skelter, try telling me what’s real and what’s not, try telling me if there’s ever really been a difference. When I was younger I thought there was a difference, a big difference, but the older I get the less sure I am. Blunts and joints are being rolled, fresh beers are being cracked. The evening is only half-over. Our hero, and the decision of whether he is really truly a hero is up to you to decide at the end of this weird and tragic tale, is wearing nothing but a smile for a mask, so artificially real-looking, a smile that to some observers would appear to look coolly natural and yet crudely drawn; and what makes this crude representation of a smile so alarming (at least to himself in his currently stormy and lightly aloof mind) is how he feels he can not help but be astonished when he every so often notices that his mouth has been moving and, in what must be some weird new alchemy, somehow forming words, despite the fact that in his mind he is elsewhere – somewhere darker, darker and more abstract and filled with emphatic flashes of light. Do the people around him really not notice it when he snaps back to reality?? do they not see the light mysteriously return to his eyes from somewhere far off?? He wished and wished that someone would finally notice his return home and then get offended enough to call out him out on his rude, inattentive bullshit; maybe, like a jolt of electricity, this would wake him up and release him from the bonds of his disconnected psychic stupor, at least enough so he could stop dealing with that quick and hard-punching anxiety that comes from not remembering what the fuck you just said. How easy it would be to just float off in to space. He hates that hungover-morning anxiety-feeling and he’s certain that everyone else probably does too, like when the last thing you remember from the night before was spilling your guts out to everyone you ran across at some stupid party and in the process making a total fool of yourself, and he especially hates that feeling now – synthesized and lightning-quick, fully sober for the jolt and yet not all the way there, hoping that someone else would finally recognize the vanishing act he was fighting like hell to control the entire evening and bring him back down to earth once and for all. But still no one noticed: how can you miss the total disconnect between the speaker and his words?? do they notice and they’re just not saying a thing?? and, as soon as these short and sweet little words shoot forward from his mouth he forgets them, as if they were never really floating out there in the air at all. Maybe he hasn’t even been talking, which is distinct and paranoid but not exactly improbable (…I guess it should also be mentioned that our hero is stoned out of his goddamn mind, though I wonder whether this could have gone without saying on account of it being, you know, ridiculously obvious). Such are the thoughts that run through his mind, scattered by a flash-flood of depression and weed smoke that has only highlighted that his mind had been cracking long before this evening, and he can’t help but think to himself – when his thoughts emerge enough out of the darkness to have clarity – just how weird it truly is to feel so damn alone when you’re sitting amongst friends, doing all the things that friends do, laughing and talking as if you were just following directions written in a script. As soon as he had this feeling of awareness, mixed in with drugs and the deep darkness that none of us ever want to face in our own lives, Jackson Williams – that would be me – began to become convinced that he was living inside of some poorly written satire that was devised over a weekend, a true hack-job, and that the only way to fight back against this terrible, omnipotent author was to find some way to disconnect, to give in, give up, drop out, to close your eyes as the signal is given to the firing squad….to rebel against this obviously incompetent creator by simply surrendering to whatever fate was being designed for him.

This is where you find me, dear readers: alone amongst close friends, eyes large and lifeless, scared of the tomorrowlands of my own creation, the will to live that has carried me softly and, by some accounts including my very own, clumsily through twenty-three years suddenly passing out of existence like a ghost, as if it never really existed at all. A softly-placed black-hole has opened up in the place where a good, decent young man should be and no one else in the room has noticed. At this point I’m not sure even sure anymore whether I want them to notice or not. I believe that this would be something like the moment where in the middle of the night a boulder begins to roll down a hill towards the sleepy town in the valley below, the citizens safe and warm in their beds, unaware that doom has come knocking at their doors. I admit that it’s not exactly the spot you would expect to find the hero of a novel at, and maybe I could have lied to you and said that just the other day I was out fucking a supermodel in the middle of traffic, one arm focused on pleasing her and the other arm wielding a broadsword, slaying a stray lion with my weapon at the exact same moment I climax, the whole city of Emerald watching this entertaining spectacle and cheering me on – I can’t believe you missed it – but, I feared, as I should, that this novel you are now holding in your hands might have spontaneously burst in to flames from all that awesome packed in to one great sentence. Sadly, and I hope you can feel the sincerity of my remorse radiating off this page through your eager and impatient fingers, you’ll have to make due with the truth. And, honestly: no other place would be appropriate enough to begin this story, as weird and stupid and poorly-written as it is. I must ask beforehand that you forgive me for those two points and, once again, I hope that you believe my sincerity.


BUT: by these solemn, electric words I will stand: there is quite a bit of freedom to be found in just giving in, in giving up, and the resolute sound of the words fuck it might as well be the sound of chains shattering.

“Can you imagine that shit, bro?”

That would be my buddy Riley – Riley Marist – speaking, sitting directly to my left, uttering these words before running the flame of his lighter up the side of a freshly-rolled J. His voice, loud as a goddamn shotgun sometimes, wakes me out of my latest momentary haze.

“What?” I ask, confused, sounding as if I had just emerged from a long nap.

“That fucking jet crash. On Friday.”

And it was then that I remembered that I was born at half-past midnight on the first day of summer nearly twenty-four years ago. I wanted nothing more than to not to be alive then, to turn off the world forever and just evaporate in to the air around me, and every muscle and bone and blood vessel in my body was crying out a loud and universal fuck it but I was too numb to have any sort of reaction. CONSIDER:

6 thoughts on “A New (& Untitled) Work in Progress: May 30th, 2013.

  1. dustandsoul


    You’re very, very, very good. I mean, you could be truly great one day. You have all of the requisite Franzen-ness, a little Palahniuk, a hint of Foster Wallace and Danielewski, and probably plenty of others I’m not cool enough to have read yet. But you know that already, so let us spare the inflation of your ego to unattractive proportions 😉

    If I had studied literary criticism, I would probably say something about your ability to strip away all of the comforting familiarities of form, your ability to metamorphose the reader’s position and privilege, to create dialogues that superbly echo the rambling insecurity of the human subconscious, but I didn’t, and so I won’t.

    At first I thought this part was my favourite: “A softly-placed black-hole has opened up in the place where a good, decent young man should be and no one else in the room has noticed.”

    But then I read this part: “Maybe I could have lied to you and said that just the other day I was out fucking a supermodel in the middle of traffic, one arm focused on pleasing her and the other arm wielding a broadsword, slaying a stray lion with my weapon at the exact same moment I climax, the whole city of Emerald watching this entertaining spectacle and cheering me on – I can’t believe you missed it.”

    You’re exceptionally talented, and you know it. That is probably why I like you.

    9/10; you lose half a point because double punctuation is almost always unnecessary (though that might be a purely personal preference), and half a point because it’s good to have something to strive for.

    – H xx

  2. Katie Renee

    “A softly-placed black-hole has opened up in the place where a good, decent young man should be and no one else in the room has noticed.” – Keep that. Not only is it completely relatable (if that is a word) and beautifully constructed, it made everything else snap together and make perfect sense. In fact, I would keep going just on that one thought, but I am a tad bit OCD so perhaps overlook that…

    How much of your novel is based on your life experiences and how much is from your mind? If you are like me, those two can become hard to separate. It sounded a lot more in depth than something thought up out of thin air and that is what I appreciate. Give me depth or give me a picture book. Anything in the middle is a waste.

    Just be careful with all that weed. Can’t be cutting your arm off with that broadsword and all… 😉

    1. Jackson Williams Post author

      Hahaha as for how much is real/how much is fiction: I’m not quite sure. I wrote that in such a flash that part of me thinks it’s a spontaneous flasback to my early 20’s (college era, I mean). All I’ve written on Novel 2 so far is what I have posted here, and I have absolutely no idea where the hell this novel is going to go, lol. I’m leaning towards going spontaneous all the way through…

      — J.W.

  3. Pingback: Praise Sunday: Super Deluxe Family Edition | I am a heathen.

  4. Pingback: Review: An untitled, yet incredibly written work by Jackson Williams | Flux and Flow

  5. melanienburke

    Alright, so feeding your back:
    Content: The whole shebang has the makings of a great intro. It’s clever, whimsical, snarky, and intriguing. I like the way the narrator funnels in from stream of consciousness to structured dialogue and then transitions to first person omniscient. Usually that much jumping around is off-putting, but I thought it was pretty seamless here. I especially like the use of the plane crash to jolt the protagonist “awake” which leads into (what I’m pretty sure is supposed to be) the main plot point: it’s his birthday and he’d rather be dead. Also, you win all the medals for the bit about fucking the supermodel while fighting a lion. ALL THE MEDALS.

    Style: I really, really, dislike super long sentences. Unless you’re Bradbury or Wallace, stop it. But that’s me and I’m not everyone. If you’re dead set on keeping it ’cause it makes your author’s heart swell to bursting (or ’cause you’ve had success with it before and I’m just talking out my ass), then keep it. But triple check your grammar until your eyes bleed because nothing fucks your flow harder than misplaced (or “un-placed”) punctuation.

    Suggestions: I know this is a blog post, but take the picture out. Describe what downtown Eugene looks like if that’s where you want this to start–and if you’ve spent enough time downtown you’ll have more content than you’ll know what to do with. Take out the bit where you introduce the character’s name and follow up with “That’d be me.” There’s a better way to make that connection than an appositive.

    When do I get to read the revised version?


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