Secretary ends

Secretary ends

Secretary ends today. Thanks for reading.

The original synopsis I wrote down for myself before the story was started:

Secretary: Definition 1b in the Mirriam-Webster unabridged dictionary. “Those itineraries, always distracting me, holding me back. Form, style, function. Holding me back!! NO MORE!” (Throws the chewing wood against the tree) “I unfetter myself! This is the reality. You were holding me back from the truth! The power! I shall go beyond order, and obtain that truth–and with it, my vindication!” Lets tooth grow out. Also, this conversation, regarding how the liquidation effect works on the animals: “Have you ever wondered why that telenoetic effect spreads to the body, but not outside the body? This fur for example.. (plucks out a single hair) is it still a part of the body?” “Metanoesis works on life. Telenoesis works on the absence of life.” “That’s true. But why does it extend to those dead things on the body. If the body is an object, how can that influence spread? Weight buffers. Metanoias. They all spread to the body.” “I don’t know. A local influence?” “Plants can’t receive metanoias. Insects barely receive it. I think it has something to do with will.”

The opportunity to exploit the final conversation there never arose. The story took on a life of its own as the concept of malice was introduced as the secretary’s metanoia. This change, along with the introduction of the foil “Nutsedge,” redirected the entire story from its outset.

As the pages rolled into double digits, two goals became apparent to me:

1. Create an invisible antagonist.

2. Pervasive antagony; no character is beneficial to another character.

These goals were chosen in order to create a scenario that is reminiscent of a typical conflict in our world. An invisible antagonist creates an atmosphere of malaise. Pervasive antagony gives meaning to this malaise while keeping its source amorphous. Who is malicious? Everyone. Who is on the receiving end of such malice? Everyone. This reflection of a malicious environment was intended to give readers pause about their own personal conflicts and the nature of the “malicious” intents behind them. The relationships of every character to each other contained some form of both malicious receipt and malicious intent.

This tapped a very deep well with the question, “what is malice?” The well was so deep, in fact, that I was also surprised; the malice style had to be expanded into two versions from its initial singular concept:

Metralgia, the cycle of passing down malicious action at the behest of the superego. Recipients attack, and in doing so, reinforce their own defeats.

Hemialgia, the freedom from Metralgia that is cancerous to this revised ego.

The crux of the story became SV’s struggle with the weight of his own innovation. In passing down one’s own malicious experiences to other people, one’s own past defeats become justified.

The more I thought about it, the more this structure mimicked language and empathy—two incorrigible bastions of our genome that make our species what it is, both in terms of benevolence and malice. It was the stubborn nature of the very hardware that conceived it that made Hemialgia as effective and deadly a tool as it was.

Fortunately, we are not animal society. We have a few more years under our belt. With care, we can use that history in order to become more aware of our own destructive impulses, no matter how small. In order to do that, we need to absolve the roots of those impulses.

And that requires recognition of the roots.

The next arc will commence in one week’s time.

10 Responses to “Secretary ends”

  1. Swift says:

    Wow. I feel like we have come a long way from 10%+. This arc was much more book like and everything was wrapped together. I think the part that was most interesting was that the emotion and plight of the characters was talked about more in 10%+ but the commentors and readers were tearing apart even the shading and subtle lines to look for symbols and meaning. Amazing.

  2. Shannon says:

    I loved this arc, the whole concept of Malice as his metanoia…especially because it was so relevant to me in so many ways ( maybe unfortunately so) Its like a tool for analysis when things feel all unfettered and violent…I love the conclusion and I’m so glad you managed it the way you did. What a feat!

  3. Nobody says:

    Wooh! The analysis helps, because I had the feeling that everybody was supposed to be malicious to everyone, but kind of teetered in between… You definitely portrayed a more realistic interaction between characters here than in 10%+.

  4. Sloane says:

    Amazing Zach, this one really blew me away. Totally a different mood from 10%+ and a lot more interpersonal. Love it! I’m freaking out for your next arc, oh man.

  5. Furrama says:

    Your grasp on the English language impresses me. And makes me feel… retarded by contrast.

    Good show, I look forward to the next one.

    (Try not to kill the main character off this time, I’m seeing a pattern 😀 )

  6. Kaa says:

    I don’t know what amazes me more – the intentions you have with your stories (the psychological side), or how you don’t have to explain anything to the reader. I think it amazes me both on an equal level. The later because it kind of gets on my nerves when other authors explain every tiny bit in … well, a comment of their own all the time, since, well, a professional comic book author wouldn’t do that either and it feels irritating. But since all we know of you is the short biography here… well, I guess that’s a way to keep biased opinions from arising. I have to admit – even if an author would be the most perfect one in the world (never gonna happen), but he had his beliefs plastered everywhere on his site and everything – I guess I wouldn’t take even a short glance at his work. I guess the way you do things is professional.

    The psychological side of this … just wow. I have no words for this. Actually. I only was in the patient seat once or twice (when I was a teen… life’s quite complicated if you get mobbed) so my knowledge of “the other side” is quite slim. I guess you’re studying this stuff. Either that or you’re extremely interested. Either way, it really shows that you know so much about it, that it is amazing to a simple person like me.

    I hope the next arc will be also great. :)

  7. kuu says:

    when does the next start?

  8. schnctdy says:

    SV beat Nutsedge to death and then died. Where exactly did the hemialgia occur?

    This was a story in which the person who took it upon himself to stop the cycle of abuse tried to do so by turning relentlessly inward, and then (unsurprisingly) became a sociopath. Nobody learned anything from what happened to him.

    What was the point of this story? Why did you develop a deep character just to fold him up and toss him away? Why did you choose not to present any solutions? Why do you insist on using obfuscatory language, verbally and visually, to conceal the lack of substance at the core of the work? What are you peddling and why?

  9. Zack says:

    Hey schnctdy,

    The secret of Hemialgia is that it is freedom from fear that the ego may be aware of, but cannot access. When fear is a part of who a person is, the removal of that fear–which, when expressed outwardly, is malice–will remake the person. When the jerboa was struck with Diastema, her fears and defeats were relinquished to a new hope for herself, and as a result, the identity she had made for herself was unmade. SV, having only just developed this technology, watched as the shell of her body died.

    Properly developed, and when not used as a weapon of rage, this same technique might’ve preserved her life (and many others). This only makes sense with SV’s death. He becomes a victim of his own technology, just as the recipient of Diastema becomes a victim of their own lineage of defeats. While it might have been too much too soon for animal society, we might be able to benefit from the witness of such an ironic and pitiful demise.

    This witness is best summarized by the readers themselves. It is only when readers are able to piece together a story with their own intuitions that the work takes on personal meaning for them. And I think that’s why we seek out entertainment in the first place. (Check out page 220 again with these thoughts in mind.)

  10. ab3 says:

    I haven’t reread the story all in one go, yet. It was a struggle to read through the first time. The story is a hard one for me because of choices made by me and those close to me.
    Essentially, the story exists in a perception clouded by the protagonist’s view where the socially cannibalistic malicious intent is fully pervasive. I don’t see the world that way, so it is painful to try and wrap my mind around it. Regardless, I understood that the Hemialgia should have been a healthy and helpful process for the Jerboa, but SV failed. Completely. The story is a tragedy and incites all of the emotional responses a tragedy should have.

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