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What Madness Men's Minds?

classifications: Fantasy / Dark / Philosophical

This is written, for me at least, in a new and experimental style. Approaching prose more distinctly than anything else I've ever written, I also find it mildy dissatisfactory. Perhaps because to does nothing. Who knows?

This was written, however, with intensive use of the thesaurus/dictionary. Consider yourself warned. :) I learned several new words during this project, and I have a super-massive vocabulary.

This is written along the same focus lines as "My Weakness", though without the musical influences and visual approach. Going for a psychological approach, this is sort of an essay upon the workings of the imagination and the power thereof.

Maybe you could call this fantasy?

More like this / More by this author

What madness men's minds? Such images as conjured up on a stormy night, clouds writhing in torment as lightning shivers the murky night.

A graveled road, packed flat with graded drainage ditches, it's limestone white soaked a dirty grey and hued dimly by the eerie green light from the sky, curves on ahead of me. The wind blows damp and chill, dispersing a flurry of droplets from the swollen clouds that spatter erratically on the already soaked ground.

The few trees along the fenceline to the left spark my deepest imaginings in the strange light. Clawed fingers, gnarled hands and twisted torsos of inhumane and monstrous creatures fight their way into my imagination.

A primordial fear of the dark and unknown grows there; a terror of unnamed evils prowling the sinister dark of the night that gives them birth. The absolute knowledge incubates and hatches, grows, matures and festers there within those most private claustral walls.

What madness indeed? Whence come this fear of nothing, the debilitating emotion that is proof against all logic's powers to stop?

The drenched and packed gravel beneath my boots crunches softly as I walk. My coat, though designed to shed water, is become soaked around the hem flopping heavily around my ankles, and my hat also leaks.

A distant voice wonders if how long it will take my boots to dry, and how much longer I can stay out before the water wicks up my pants and above my knees. But the clouds reflect an orange-red glow from the lime plant, invisible here behind the trees and further distant hills of slag and natural rock, and it seems to me an harbinger of ill.

Harbinger of what ill I cannot say, yet the terror of it grips me in its relentless grasp, enfolding and silkily enveloping me, whispering vile nothings in my ear. The wet pervades my being, absorbing heat and greedily devouring it, leaving me subsequently cold.

I am suddenly tired and small. My light, casting a warm orange glow seems to be a mere futility against the stormy black of the night. I shrink before its ominous overshadowing, the power that owns the sky and air, that has infected the ground in the war against my frail and stifled presence.

Yet think I, what power have evanescent clouds over my tangible existence? Where is the threatened prepotency, the unfeeling cold rage to rain its tempestual vengeance upon my offending mortality?

With a cogent flash of intuition, logic once again reasserts its firm grasp. The rage is impotent, and imaginary. Overdriven imagery, a mental Frankenstein enlivened by fanciful catachresis - nothing more.

And with that, exorcism is complete. Reality returns with pleasing clarity, the trees and road no longer their transmogrified counterparts; the storm, though impressive, has passed. The air is merely cool from a passing rain, the changing barometer leaving a feeling of relief and peace.

Though night, and dark, the morning will come soon enough. And I am content.

nice! but...

Narainsbrain (June 27th, 2002, 6:30 am)

ah, the infamous smashing-grammar-with-hammer style you were telling me about =D

i could spend this whole comment pointing out typos and grammar mistakes. instead i'll say i like it, it's a great idea, but you might have gone overboard with that thesarus. using words whose meaning fits but the tone does not; example: "The wet pervades my being, absorbing heat and greedily devouring it, leaving me subsequently cold". you already have a metaphor - devouring heat - for the chill it brings, so why 'absorbing' also? avoid non-poetic/technical-sounding words like that and 'subsequently' in this kind of thing. similarly 'matures' doesn't fit in in "The absolute knowledge incubates and hatches, grows, matures and festers there..." and you lose nothing if you take it out. btw, what 'absolute knowledge' is it that 'festers'?

though, most of the words did fit well, just that the few that didn't fit kinda jar the reading.

okay, typos etc: "'s limestone...": its. "...inhumane and monstrous...": inhuman. "Whence come this fear...": comes. or, for effect, "Whence this fear...?" "Though night...": Through.

but don't get me wrong, it's a cool writeup, just needs a little pedantic cleaning up. and maybe some more elaboration before logic takes over.

nice! but...

cruise (June 27th, 2002, 11:13 am)

Inhumane is a word, NB :P But you're likely correct in assuming that it's not the one Semi wanted...

The lyrical, poetical style reminds a lot of Edgar Allen Poe...which is never a bad thing :D

Certainly it doesn't work consistently, but where it does, it's superb.

*ego mode* Oh, and I understood all the words without looking anything up *ego mode off*

:P that you reincarnated?

Angelas (June 27th, 2002, 2:22 pm)

Yeess, I can definitely see the Poe in this^_^ I also can also hear the slighty british hinted voice of Raziel from Soul Reaver reading this aloud to his gothy vampire girl groupies! He spoke in the same style as the persona in this tale, intellectual, descriptive, and long-winded at times. I do like your word usage, just at times, you use a little too many words, which makes it almost corny and melodramatic. (What am I saying, I use too many words in my stuff@_@) Here's an example:

A primordial fear of the dark and unknown grows there; a terror of unnamed evils prowling the sinister dark of the night that gives them birth. The absolute knowledge incubates and hatches, grows, matures and festers there within those most private claustral walls.

Now, take out the words 'dark','sinister', 'hatches', 'grows', and 'matures.' Maybe change the second use of the word dark with a synonhym.

A primordial fear of the dark and unknown grows there; a terror of unnamed evils prowling the blackness of the night that gives them birth. The absolute knowledge incubates and festers there within those most private claustral walls.

Does this still get your point across? You should try to cut down on using so many words that mean the same thing, or similar meanings, otherwise it sounds needlessly repititious and long-winded. Watch your adjectives and how many times you use them as well. You use red-orange and warm orange somewhat close to each other. Instead of using the most well known word for that color, try some of the lesser known words. For red, you can say sanguine, crimson (my personal fave), or carmine. for orange there is vermillion, or tangerine. HAHA..I knew knowing all the colored pencil colors and studying my crayola crayons as a child would do me good some day!!

I also very much like these lines:

Harbinger of what ill I cannot say, yet the terror of it grips me in its relentless grasp, enfolding and silkily enveloping me, whispering vile nothings in my ear.

It shows a thought process of your main persona and an interaction with the fears that threaten him. That makes him real and tangible at this moment. Very nice~

Everyone else seems to cover grammar so much better than I, so I will leave that pleasure to them. Keep practicing writing, you have a very good grasp on it so far, and you'll only get better with each work^_~ that you reincarnated?

Semirrahge (June 28th, 2002, 2:55 am)

Oh, no...

Honestly, though - this started out with me typing semi-randomly ("...clouds writhing in torment..." originally read "...clouds writhing in ominous pain...") in an impressionistic attempt to capture a real occurence in a poetic manner.

The opening thought was concieved after a real humdinger of a Texas storm (we got a tremendous amount of rain in a short time and lost power for about 6 hours). I went walking outside to view the aftermath, and noticed that as logical as I am, I was imagining the trees into fiendish shapes. "What madness men's minds" sprung into my head, and I stuck the memory into a dusty corner.

For this take, I went blatantly melodramatic and over-the top. You have to understand that 90% of my writing is all experimentation. Unlike many amature authors, I've written in first person (three times, I think), as well as used deep omniscient and shallow omniscient. "Future Past" was an attempt to break my mold of hyper-poetical stylings, and I've also written non-Sci-Fi/Fantasy works. So, continuing in my grand tradition of experimentation, I wanted to to do something like George MacDonald would write, though I came nowhere close to his beauty.

This is also (aside from "My Weakness"), the most emotionally blatant and in-your-face of any of my writings. All in the name of experimenting, and for the sake of knowledge.

I got what I wanted. :)

Now, onto commenting proper:

Narain: "Whence come..." is actually archaic english, ditto for "Though night...". I debated about changing "come" into "comes", but decided to leave it. "Though [it is] night, and [it is] dark, the morning will come soon enough..." I don't think it makes a whole lot of sense as "Through". And yes. I not only smashed the grammar, I ground it up and burned it, too. :)

As for "Inhumane", I can't decide on it. It fits either way, and yet I think it sounds better as "inhumane" rather than "inhuman"... Hmm.

Cruise: Shut up about that Ego crap. I'm the only one who can have a sizeable ego around here. :)

Angelas: I see what you mean. Though I knew I was being verbose, traditionally, I am anyhow. I invented run-on sentences. It's not uncommon for me to have paragraph-long sentences. :) However, I really think I rose to new heights of such - hitting, at times (as you and Narain pointed out), repetition.

Though I don't really think I like cutting out as many words as you suggest (I especially liked the "...matures and festers..." part as it brings to mind Alien-esque imagery. Though now I think it would read better if those words were reversed.

Also, your mentioning of pallet limitations was quite eye-opening. I am not a very colorful writer... The most colors I've ever had in a sequence was the fights at the end of Coup De Main, and even then I was fairly limited. I have focused on emotionalizing sound, smell, and imagery, while I've left colors behind. Perhaps because that's one thing I've taken for granted and never really pointed out to myself. Why, I don't know - though it may be because here in Texas the summer has about 4 colors: Blue, Grey, Yellow-Brown and sickly Green.

Lessee... Ah, yes. The "Harbinger" sentance. That is perhaps my most inspired out of all the text, developed when I was looking for another word for squeeze. I got into romatic meanings, and saw "whisper sweet nothings". The mood of the text clicked, and I thought "whisper vile nothings". Oooh. I get chills envisioning such a thing. Can you imagine? A private and unshakeable demon caressing you like an aroused lover, curling over your shoulder and inciting terror in the place of lust with its whisper. Gagh. :)

This will get updated, though it's time for bed now. Thank you all profusely, and I apologize in advance for this essay. :) colors@_@

Angelas (June 28th, 2002, 3:51 am)

hehe..before I wasn't very colorful either in my writing, but you'd be surprised at how being an artist AND a writer can help you describe things. After starting me drawing 'career', I had to learn many colors in order to describe to other artists what colors to use in their works AND to be able to analyze a picture or imagine a picture and think of the colors I'd need. I can sit and look at the wooden computer desk in front of me and think ' this is a middle tone of Sienna Brown with Dark Umber shading, black outlining, highlights of Cream, and and overlay of Light Umber. Now..besides that being useful for pics, I find it's kinda neat to use it in writing as well. People get bored with primary descriptions of colors like green, red, blue, when you can use pencil/crayon inspired words such as emerald, scarlet, and azure (another personal fave).

SOO...I suggest everyone here pick up a box of crayons, colored pencils, or other coloring instruments and check out the labels!! They're a GREAT source for learning words to make your descriptions more colorful.

wow..this would make a decent tutorial if it made any sense to anyone else but me^_^


Narainsbrain (June 28th, 2002, 5:10 am)

that's a great idea! mmm, ways to expand vocabulary are always good.

[looks back on an extremely un-verbose sentence] i think i should start on that... ;)

btw, i guess i didn't get "Though night" that way. all right then.


cruise (June 28th, 2002, 10:41 am)

Angelas: Well write a tutorial then...I'm sure with a little bit of encouragement it will end up understandable :P

Semi: The only reason no one has noticed my ego yet is because it's too high up :P

I found myself I'm overly found of multiple adjectives in sentences...especially in's nice occasionally, but I do it way too often :P


Nemish (July 18th, 2002, 1:49 am)

Thesaurus notwithstanding this is a creative method of writing a story. It goes quickly to establish interest merely in the words you are using. But be careful of the syntax and grammar because they eventually become the sole reason to read the story. The premise, plot, and dialog become lost. It would be interesting to see what you do with this.

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