I’m sitting here in a soon to be populated community center in downtown Copenhagen with no great inspiration striking me for something to write today, feeling the

And thinking this might be as good a time as any to start on the swansong. It’s felt like an important process of discovering what sort of writer I am, from the high energy of the first iteration over the frustrations and blockages of iteration two, regret and self-recriminations of being too stressed out to participate in iteration three, until this purgatory shift where I’m able to repent my sins, make good on my promises, and explore something vital for me: writing with almost no feedback, collaborating with people who are gone, and making some conclusions. The code book is finally becoming useful here, as I can usually find some link to another writer having had similar thoughts as I’m writing them out.

Especially the little feedback part is teaching me something about my ego: I’ve somehow entrained myself to write in service of receiving love, because I’ve only ever gotten positive feedback for it, whether it’s likes, you’re-so-brave style compliments or other stuff. It’s a particular style of mild Narcissism, and I’m very keen to understand it better, break the pattern, start writing for the passion of it. Being on Babel has made it possible for me to make some headway in that exploration, and I’m very grateful for that. Although I still don’t feel like I fully understand Narcissus. More work ahead on that point.

I’ve learned that I’m pretty good at exposition, especially when it comes to wild flights of fancy.

I’ve learned that I don’t have the first clue on how to write dialogue.

And I’ve learned that my highly specialized diet of SF makes me weirdly deficient in a lot of ways. I see everyone else’s writings and am often in awe of your ability to do things I haven’t the faintest idea how to pull off.


I want as I’m leaving to name a couple of threads to say where they came from and the resulting impact it had on me to see them written out and taking on a life of their own on Babel.

Just the Usual Human Stuff, Death and Impermanence was a dream I had. Hyperreal. It felt prophetic. I wailed and wailed while dreaming, then upon waking, it took a minute for the impact to hit me, and then I cried and cried for a deep universal sorrow that wasn’t mine to bear but that felt so real it might as well have been. Then I went and called my mom to ask how she was and to tell her how much I love her. I had no clue how to progress the story though. But I still cry when I read it.

But That Was Just A Dream, Just a Dream, Just a Dream? was also an actual dream of Armageddon. Probably one of the most intense experiences I’ve ever had. Like the Impermanence thread, I had no idea where to take it once others started to take it in any direction at all.

Scaling the Great Tower was like scaling a great tower: long, arduous, and while doggedly insisting to myself that no, this is important work, I was questioning why it was so important. And all I can answer to that is that for a three months of my life, I would dream about this tower almost every fucking night, crawling around in there trying to find its secrets. Ultimately though the Egg, the Orchid and the Hammer serve as a good McGuffin. Also I thought Babel needed a tower. But I don’t think this was it.

The castaway from A Mind Adrift on the Ocean was my internal experience during a particularly hard week of zen meditation. Our teacher had talked about how the boat of compassion goes across a very stormy sea, and all I could see was endless boring nothingness. Eileen became a good listener to what was happening on the inside. It was such a pleasure to play with you all on this thread.

During a very bad trip in what was once a bog, then a quarry, and then a location for a large gathering, I met the swamp demon from He Crawls. I believe he successfully took a bite out of my soul. A stoat scared him off before he could do more damage. Fortunately souls are like livers, they regenerate pretty prodigiously. I had some hope that he would have found a someone to help him escape his ways, but I suppose being blown away by potential prey who then immediately continues on moping around about her life is karma for a demon from the past.

The Forest and Narcissus is the one story that I’m going to attempt to make into a novella. If only I can improve my lacking dialogue skills. And if only I can understand Narcissus better. If anyone wants to talk about that with me, I’d love to hear from you…

My name is Daniel Brooks, I live in the Borderland between dreams and realities. Look me up if you ever come there, I’d love to meet you.

Punch me out @babelbob, I’m going to the next stage.

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