I asked some Words what the world was made of, and the words said, “Stories,” and they started to form into one, but that’s when a picture intruded into my head. Or, at least, I began to imagine, with some vivid detail, a picture, like a Polaroid photograph, inserting itself into my head, and on the picture was a story, which I wanted to describe with words, which probably would given the words a win, only
the image was one of myself, with friends long gone, and worse than gone. And though I have, as ardent readers might know, no real heart, the empty place in my chest began to pulsate as if some spectral organ lay within; and I was sad all over, and that’s when I realized that the world is really made out of how we feel,
and of course, being me, I set out to describe it, to write about the sensation, and the very act of putting into words what that picture meant threw the story squarely into the role as world-builder, and I realized I found the prospect exciting, since I’ve worked all my life to figure out how words work,
and it would be lovely if the world were made out of the products of words,
and, probably out of my purely contrarian nature, I began to imagine a world without words, and I had a sudden recollection of something I’d forgotten for a good twenty years (this is true! It just happened! Thank you for helping me remember!)—
much younger, and I thought that everyone knew how to read (and read English! I was very small; perhaps three, or four?) …and I’d resolved that I wouldn’t learn to read, that I’d have an advantage over everyone who was trapped within the structures of words, that I’d think differently,
and as I was doing that, life happened (John Lennon was right; life does tend to happen, and especially while you’re making other plans) and a friend called (I still have a few of those; friends, that is, and calls, too, sometimes), and disrupted the entire thought process, and we talked about our friend who had died, and my friend said,
“The world is made out of death. It’s our inevitable mortality which defines us.” He then went on to spout any number of ideas, ranging from the ones I mention a lot (“immortality would be unhelpful because we would find it difficult to want to do things today if we knew we had endless tomorrows”) to some I rather dislike (look up “thanatophobia”, as used by Ernest Becker; or don’t, if you want; really, I’m not name-dropping to show off some kind of hypothetical erudition, I just mean that someone else has already covered the subject in what I feel is substantial detail, and I got most of my ideas from there)—
and then I stopped trying to think about what made the world, and set out to go make the world.
My name is Jeff Mach (“Dark Lord” is optional) and I build communities and create things. Every year, I put on Evil Expo, the Greatest Place in the World to be a Villain. I also write a lot of fantasy and science fiction.. You can get most of my books right here. Go ahead, pre-order “I HATE Your Prophecy“. It may make you into a bad person, but I can live with that.