Monday, December 13, 2010

Deconstructing December's Dismemberment PT1

There's a theme racing through Sync circles right now that seems to have started with TheSyncWhole's examination of severed hands and arms and now includes all sorts of dismemberment.
In my writing I have used the image of a severed hand so often (without realizing how often I did it) that I honestly wonder if I had my hands cut off in a previous life or something. It kind of gets silly when I think about how often that comes up in my work. Even though I should now be aware of it, this keeps popping through my subconscious and onto the pages I craft. My two newest pieces are no exception. Look At All The Happy Creatures has a main character lose both hands. Squares That Touch features a one-armed woman. So this is a sync pattern near and dear to me (apparently).

A comic I did a few years ago with Rammer Martinez and Peter Palmiotti also fits in nicely here. It was for a horror anthology put out by Guild Works Productions, a publishing group that was an offshoot of The Comics Artists Guild, which refers to itself as CAG. I realized yesterday that CAG breaks down into 317, the very number of Osiris, Egypt's dismembered god. Fascinating.

As the SyncWhole team has already expertly laid out, the dismemberment theme seems to be a portent of overcoming duality. But I guess I knew that a few years ago. In a 2007 interview, I explained the concept of this "horror" comic:
Where did the idea come from for your story in GWP’s Psychosis! publication?

To be honest, I had never written a horror story before and anything that I could think of that was “scary” or “horrific” probably wasn’t what GWP was looking for. To me, the scariest thing I could think of would be to turn 40 or 50 and still be stuck in a dead-end job asking myself what I was doing with my life. So, I asked Rammer to draw something “scary.” He drew a sketch of an arm coming out of a hole in a wall grabbing at someone. We then sat down and had a long session of just tossing ideas back and forth, developing the universe where these people were trapped. The concept was heavy and much more than could be explained in 8 pages so we decided to let the design say a lot.
Together we came up with the story progression and the layouts for most of the pages then I sat down to write the script. During the writing, the concept changed a little for me, or the meaning behind it anyway, and I hope even a fraction of what we wanted to say in that piece came across. To me, it’s the classic warring of opposing ideals. Most of us see things in stark blacks and whites but the only way “out” is by meeting in the middle. It’s in those shades of gray that we can thrive instead of going on hurting those that we imagine to be different or that we disagree with.
Here's the comic. You should be able to click the images to zoom-in.
I found this sketch of an unused idea for this comic. It was meant to show the scenery viewed through the Port Hole (portal) as a face.
Weird thing is, I've been caught for the last two weeks in a pattern where smiley faces keep coming up as connected to stargates or wormholes or whatever you want to call them. Only now do I realize that the smiley face=stargate pattern goes (excuse the pun) hand-in-hand with the dismemberment theme. I'm working on getting a post out to all of you that will break this down.
Enjoy your Decemberment. I think it's going to prove to be a very interesting month.


  1. It is sort of strange to find your own "patented" meme suddenly taken and run with by others. Gad, I know the feeling. However, I'm encouraged by it too, since we are told to "hold everything in common" according to St. Peter after the holy fire descends upon us.

    Amazing 317 sync! I'll just throw this out: your last image of a "port hole" or stargate, sun, face, looks like it's in shadow, or eclipsed. We have an eclipse happening on the odd mirror date of 12:21.

  2. "Crack in the sky and a hand reaching down to me..."

    Absolutely amazing. I immediately saw that there's an alchemical explanation lurking behind everything that you've posted here, but I get the feeling that it's somethng that people will have to discover for themselves. Your characters see the hand as their captor--and in a way, it is--but it's also their way out of prison. The Collective Unconscious often dredges up things that we don't want to address directly. Perhaps the smiley face is a reminder that the Fool is in charge--"Don't take life so serious, son, it ain't nohow permanent."

    When I was a kid I once drew a pentagram on my hand and experienced a bizarre dream where a withered hand crawled out and tried to grab me--it's stayed with me for all these years.

    I'm still reading through your book, by the way--what I was astounded by is that your characters are literally "beasts," which certainly ties into what I've been writing about lately.

  3. Great comic. The characters' very first statements tie in with the concept of dismemberment as a way to let go of our material existences and "Remember who we are" as multi-dimensional beings.

  4. Spoke to Rammer on the phone today. He said "DisArmament" - Brilliant!

    I'm not trying to claim this as my meme - hell, I really don't want it to be. It just sorta has followed me around for years and years and years. But, like you said, we're all swimming in the same waters here. I'm happy for the companionship and make no claim on any particular pattern. It is quite encouraging indeed.
    As to the eclipse, I agree. There's something there. I just finished that NY duck post when Jake said "I think New York is the Moon and Winipeg is Jupiter" to which I replied something like "New York, The Moon, A Duck, A Loon"

    Love the Bowie quote. Beautiful.
    And yes, this is certainly about the subconscious, though I didn't think of it that way when I wrote it. Look at the line where he says, "You want me to be reasonable?" The rational ego is not present here. Rammer and I imagined people trapped on a sort of giant YinYang - a large white space that was just as much a prison as the small black dot.
    I'm glad you're reading the book. I hope you'll give me your honest feedback on it. I appreciate and respect your POV. Shoot me an email if you like.

    So glad to see you here. I've been enjoying your blog since I found it on the Sync List.
    It's funny you say "remember who we are." I first thought of "Dismember" as the opposite of Remember - a sort of forgetting. As Yoda says in Empire, "we must unlearn what [we] have learned" meaning the ideas that we are a weak slave race. Then we must relearn/remember just how wonderful we really are.


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