From Trees to Timbre
Our daily bread - to be packed, weighed, and dispatched within two working days
wherever you’re currently sitting, I hope the world is kind to you (and you haven’t melted yet). I’ve started writing more fiction recently, and it’s been so lovely roaming through these new strange lands of Immateria, that I thought I might share this little hybrid with you.
All of it is made up, yet I hope you find some truth in it.
The heated air dances over the dead bodies of duly waiting cars in the parking lot. Every day, people come and go, commuting, dazed by their mundane frustrations. They shuffle around like ants in their metal cages, growing apart from the moist soil waiting for them underneath the suffocating coat of asphalt.
Some years ago, there were trees right here, over the whole lot. Smooth beeches, alders with their fluffy catkins, and a few oaks. We used to climb the low branching horse chestnuts, and hang upside down until someone got dizzy and sick in the stomach. We played conkers, too. On our way home from school, we would steal sour cherries and apples from the old widow’s orchard down the street. We thought she was a witch. We bet on who could stuff their pockets the most before the old deaf mongrel tied by the house started barking. We talked about jinxes and curses as we ate our loot. The fruit was full of worms and all bruised and misshaped, but it tasted of mischief, and we loved it. There was an ancient yew standing right over there. A neighbour helped his youngest son put up a feeder, it was all shabby and painted really ugly, but the birds came. Collared doves and chaffinch, goldfinches, starlings. Blackbirds. Dozens of tits, great and blue, always used to come in winter to nibble on a piece of pig fat they hung on a branch. Even a tattered raven once, with an empty gaping hole instead of the right eye. He sat on that old yew, cawing the whole night. He scared us kids shitless. It was the same year the old widow died.
One day, many years later, someone in the town hall decided the trees must go. They send out pamphlets, saying it was for the safety of the children. They paid wrinkly experts to sign that the trees were old and diseased, and they had perfumed journalists writing about roots damaging the sewer system. They said a lot of things, and then they didn’t even bother talking, and the trees were gone. The logs were loaded into a lorry, and the leftover branches hadn’t even started decomposing when the car park outline was laid down.
We turn forests into parking lots, trees into timbre. Measured per cubic meter. Man and women and others, all our sweaty bodies, with sagging balls and eyebags, ingrown nails and stubbly hair, ageing and aching, we turned into numbers. Measurements, headcounts. Green and red digits in the income tax return, divided and subtracted, tangled in the spiderwebs of logistical networks. Our daily bread - to be packed, weighed, and dispatched within two working days.
In this garden, where we plucked all blossoms of compassion and honesty, mindless individualism in overdrive thrives among the barren flower beds.
And instead of breaking the sweat and patiently weeding our patches, we hid in a sterilised illusion of our tasteful uniqueness. We draw the lines and borders, lock the doors and put up security cameras. We have day creams and night creams and eye creams; we have tints to hide the greys, all sorts of masks and veils to hide our shrivelled skin and brittle nails. And inside our lonely fortresses, we tremble and deafen ourselves with loud opinions to drown out the unnerving silence of the birds.
But don’t we all bleed the same?
There are a few updates that are keeping me busy (and very happy) this month.
I’ll be giving a little talk on Voynich Manuscript on 8-10 September in Northampton, alongside many incredibly exciting speakers and performers. Couldn’t be more matching, this year’s theme is Trickstery! Check it out.
Also, that means I’ll be on the Isles in the second half of September, mostly in London and Kent. Don’t be a stranger, and drop me a message if you’re around!
Our little coven is preparing the first Techgnosis Zine, the collective memory of a wonderful year of our online friendship. We prepared exciting essays, poems, herbalism tips, tech weirdness and even a fairy tale! If you’re interested in getting or stocking a few copies, please let me know.
Also, this is the first time I will be attempting to publish something, so if you have any essential tips on this kind of wild DIY self-publishing, I would be super happy to talk!
Tarot of the Latent Spaces
We are planning a new Deluxe print of the ToLS in Europe for the end of this year, with a lush box and super lush feels.
There are still some standard decks available in the US!
If you want your own, please send me an email.
The Signal from Another Star
I am very grateful that a wild chance and a deleted substack comment crossed our paths with M. After many months of nourishing and stimulating correspondence, during who recently published a wonderfully nonlinear series inspired by my Call for the Tarot Inspired Writing.