Day 6 :: Sean :: The Terror of Impermanence

Wait. Seriously, wait.

Valentine’s Day was THURSDAY?

We’re still IN her?

Stage 6 of the Sleep Deprivation Cycle is officially: WTF?!?

We are well and truly over the rainbow now. We’re deep in the twilight zone. For all our theories and maths and reasoning and best guesses, we’re still here and still here and still here.

This is what I signed up for.

Our reality is SO fluid, SO malleable. Let someone fuck with you, and they can do anything. This is a classical demonstration of the principle that media, governments, and religions use to mess with everyone on the planet. That it’s only taken days to flatline our brains like this amazes me. It reinforces and undermines everything I’ve relied on my whole adult life. I feel like someone took the powdered remains of Robert Anton Wilson and injected them directly into my brain.

AWESOME. No wonder I’ve been seeing Paisley hallucinations while doing the PVT.

I love that we’ve been wrong at every turn and likely will be wrong again. We make measurements and create theories that are overturned by later measurements. This is SCIENCE. I hope people are reading this and laughing at my ridiculousness. We should all flail helplessly more often. We should laugh at our efforts to make sense of anything. We should never stop trying to make sense of everything, using italics and all-caps when we brush up against the terror of impermanence.

Anyway. Some coping strategies are required. I almost wept when I sat down for yet another round of PVT. We have each pushed that damned button over 3600 times. (I think the centre is powered entirely by our efforts.) Only today did it occur to me to try using my index finger. (It hurt.) I started going for speed over accuracy on the Stroop tests. Who knows what will happen next round? No rebellion, just adaptation.

I’m still wearing my Nusrat t-shirt and mismatched socks. Maybe I’ll stay in them until the day finally comes. Later today. Tomorrow. Next week. Another life.

In the meantime, we have two new family members to get to know: Sarah and Jessica have joined the wranglers responsible for our (in)sanity. And it is a kind of family, replete with the usual Adelaide connections. Melissa knows Dani Gee, daughter of my former boss at the CD Shop. Xuan studied under my father-in-law at Adelaide Uni. Mikaela (whose name I have been spelling all wrong—sorry) loves the books of my excellent friend, Kylie Chan. I’m sure there are others we haven’t fathomed yet.

Stage 7 comes with a new kind of hysteria. We’re over the cliff of our expectations and coming down to a hard landing. We need something new to work on. While malingering in the corridor, it occurred to us to wonder if there’s ever been a XXX spin-off of Doctor Who called Doctor Ho. With her sexy lab coat and vibrating screwdriver, her robot dog KY and enemies that cry “Sexterminate”, her spunky assistant, and her Time and Relative Dimensions in SEX.

If not, why the hell not?

I think I have found my true calling.

It has almost certainly been done before. Shame we can’t Google to find out.

All my life I’ve wanted to write a Doctor Who episode. This could be the closest I’ll ever get.

I’m feeling all the feelings. Did some exercises (in defiance of policy) to give my body a different kind of stimulus, one that doesn’t involve counting and guessing and trying to put things into words. It helped. Going to work on the story now. How many times have I said that? How many times am I going to say it again? I’d write something else if I had the capacity to come up with a new idea. Maybe another bad haiku.

People are people
And people know people and

I wish Jack Dann was in here with us. He would know what to do. He’d commandeer our sheets and the microwave and jerry-rig a sweat lodge so we could fly off with the eagles. He’d sweep us up in his boundless energy and we’d drill through the ceiling and escape to the stars. He’d hug us and give us that look and we’d know we were in safe hands.

Of course we are in perfectly safe hands. And of course I’m just being overdramatic. My brain is percolating in a stew of its own making, twitching through a series of semantic reflexes in the hope of making the profoundly abnormal seem absolutely normal. Our brains are good at this. I wonder if I’ll have to go through something similar out the other side?

I had an idea yesterday concerning the data we’ll receive next week. My thoughts have always turned towards music, but what kind? And how can I learn how to manipulate the data when I have so much other stuff on, like deadlines? Fee suggested crowd-sourcing, which is a brilliant idea. But to what end?

One of the things I’m keen to do when (if) I have my creative writing PhD wrapped up by the end of the year is to go back and finish my arts degree, majoring in music. The possibility of further study beckons! An area I’d really like to research is the field of post-human or trans-human music—works that contemporary humanity is not able to appreciate because they last too long or operate in frequencies outside our hearing or whatever.

It occurred to me that I would like to do something along those lines with this data. You won’t be able to dance to it (not until you have a robot body with one million legs, anyway) but it will be a way of responding to the all-too-human feelings I’m having in here.


Testing, testing, testing.

I’ll be wrapping this up soon. Have read the story one last time and I reckon it’s in pretty good shape. Not the normal kind of thing, for me, but that’s a good outcome. I’ll post it later, perhaps even before I leave. Looks like I’ll have time now.
All I have to do is stay awake. Can’t be that hard, can it?

*head explodes*

Sean Williams

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