Human Dust

Date: 6 May 1996

A writer and a reader. These two people inhabit my thoughts, drive me 
down into darkness and beyond. Alone in an empty field... no, wait, on a 
mountaintop... or anywhere... they stand together, stand as on opposite 
sides of a mirror, staring at reflections of themselves. It is a strange 
dance they do around each other, they must each remain across from each 
other at the edge of an imaginary circle, any deviation destroys it, the 
world they have created splinters into a thousand shards and sprinkles 
onto the floor. But they can get up, meet each other, resume the dance 

But I wonder; what does it take to experience the dance? For I have done 
so, and often, but memory is a fleeting thing, and to open your eyes is 
taboo. And so I have never seen my partners, and I can't know when they 
leave the floor to dance with some other author, I must merely trust that 
SOMEONE will be there, but how can I know when I keep my eyes closed?


I receive a vision in my mind of another pair of dancers, as I dance in 
circles, alone. ODB vs. the reader-critic. And somewhere, I know, this 
dance is actually happening, more real than my own.

On 5 May 1996, Original Dancing Bear wrote:

> You pathetic ass. 
> I *prefer* not to resemble that remark! 
> Oh...*clever*.  Nice little limp little try at *humor*.   
> Oh, yeah, coming from a guy who wears black lipstick. 
> So?  Are you offended?  Disturbed? 
> Of course not.  I just thought...a *critic* would be a little more dignified. 

(as if it took dignity to flicker in and out of a thousand eyelids, the 
power to destroy worlds at a touch, but barely felt, a latent power that 
lies as yet untapped)

> Do you want me to wear *red*?  Or would that be too seductive for you? 
> Please.  Can't we look at the text? 
> Oh...the *text*...OF COURSE.  The precious text...and I mean "precious" in
> every way you can imagine. 
> If only you could read as well as you ridicule... 
> want a cheering section? 
> No...I just want you to read the text and *respond* to it. 
> Yes. 
> I didn't know we were in a play.  If so, I'd better be paid scale for 
> acting since you don't want to hear what *I* think. 
> Oh God.  If you insist.  No.  No.  I rebell, I resist.  You have no right
> to compell me to make a response. 
> Then just go away... 
> Aw...poor little smuckims takes his word processor and goes home.  And he
> makes all the other widdle boys and girls *all* sad 'cause they can't 
> play anymore. 
> Look, I just hoped for a little *dignity* --

(the reader-critic stops in his tracks, unaware of the imminent downfall. 
All about him, the world splinters, twists, tries to rend itself apart- 
but, in a rare moment of mercy, something stays the destruction, for the 
gods of literature have taken interest in the confrontation, and it will 
be played out to the end.)

> pathos, humor, ridicule.  This is too much!  Look, I will concede one
> clever bit, the separation of "human dust" and "mote" to separate lines
> which can either stand by themselves or be joined.  A clever bit which
> *almost* rescues a *crashing* cliche'.  But the rest of it...Oh God... 
> How lovely, a response. 
> You strutting ass.  You vainly cook up your "food of the gods" and I eat
> it.  That's all there is.  You want me to belch my satisfaction.  Or better
> yet, wait a moment...while I squat...over this plate...there.  An
> *undeniably* authentic response, pungent, dark, fertile, an utter 
> deconstruction. 
> know what to do with you... 
> Wait...WAIT...this isn't ALLOWED -- YOU CAN'T -- 
> [And so the ritual is completed.  The Author has flensed the Critic and
> presumably will cut him into handy strips for dinner.  For this is the
> food of his work.  But unfortunately, who will be left to listen to him?
> But that's the real world, kids, quite replete with paradox.]

(The gods turn away, allow the world to shatter into a million pieces 
that disperse in the evening wind. Not a spark remains of what was.)

And so it's over. But as I dance...alone? with partner?... doubts play at 
my mind. Was this what really happened? Is the Critic truly gone, never 
to dance again?

But no, it can't be. As they danced together, their images flickering in 
and out across the hundreds of miles that separated us, their dance 
seemed somehow more than just keeping to opposition on a circle- it 
seemed as if they joined together at the center, then kept on in time 
with the dance, separating and rejoining. And at the end, when they had 
become mere remnant shards (no, dust motes, I correct myself, smiling 
slightly) of a forgotten world, the thousand pieces of themselves mingled 
together, dancing on the wind together.

And what of myself? I remain here, dancing, not even knowing where the 
dance takes me, or if the world will come crashing down around me like 
what happened to ODB. I don't even know if the steps are right, but I am 
compelled to take them anyway. As everything comes together, slips away 
from me, all I am left is to wonder when I shall open my eyes.

Joel T.

Corsac's note: Human Dust was the title of the post by the Original 
Dancing Bear, which I was replying to.