Excerpt from “The Ghost Who Sells Memories” A novel by: Ryan Jerome Stout

Death and macabre swirl in stentorian reverberation, like cerebral echoes in a dying man’s dream. And how deep is personkind’s denial in regards to death temperament? This denial has legs. It lives among us, inside us, with us. It resides in slipstreams over mountains, precipitates into valleys, splays across planes, and bakes in deserts. It is the Pacific Ocean’s self-consuming plastic vortex. It is the dying ozone. It is the acidified dying soil. It is the extinction of insects. It is the decry of honesty. It is the decay of dignity. It is the abdication of truth. It is the sentimentality of yesterday’s kindness. It is isolation in community. It is a disagreeable compromise between agreeable grifters. It is pragmatic convolution. It is our shrunken pineal amnesiac plane. It is the expectant comfort of our daily existence: my computer, my TV, my phone, my grocery store delivery, and my self-disgust. It is selective memory of immediacy consequences. We are comfortable, apathetic, unmeasured, and restively sinister – is this obvious by now? It is denial. It is Western Carolinian mountains ablaze; it is 150,000+ homeless in California; it is rising tides; it is mountaintop removal; it is acrid aftermath; it is stagnant crops; it is grossly misguided touter’s of anecdotal absolutes;  it is 65 degrees on the Antarctic tundra. And the truth is: the only real  problem is, some of us don’t like it.

And it is hard. Life is hard. Let us consider the declaration of Howard Beele’s sagacious character in The Network, “I’m a human being; my life has value!” He effuses over the television airwaves dressed in pajamas and a raincoat, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take it anymore!” If one has not had a similar (if not identical) realization, which is somewhat irrelevant, ultimately, because one is not obliged to apathetic resignation because they haven’t experienced a self-worth pang: subverting tragedy is not a prerequisite to liking oneself (it does help sometimes though). But mostly (possibly), liking oneself is predicated on…

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