“Quietly Screaming” / Memorable Fancies #1710

[“The Quiet City where screams are felt as waves” – Michael Palmer] I can’t hear them screaming anymore. But I feel them, pounding on the shore of my mind, restless as the tide. … [Read more...]

“The Hollow Mind” / Memorable Fancies #1701

[The mind is a hollow space constantly invaded by gods and voices.” – Roberto Calasso] For years I’ve heard the gods whispering to each other, but couldn’t make out what they were saying. But then one day I overheard them clearly – talking about me. When they discovered I was listening, they immediately shut up, glanced at each other, nodded. The memory of their voices, those fatal words, fills my hollow mind. [Click ‘Random Post’ above – be astonished] … [Read more...]

“The Mind’s Truth” / Memorable Fancies #1641

[“...the fury of the mind to possess a body that participates in its mode of existence.” – Jean Daniélou] The mind gathers sense-impressions, but these are all second hand, what the ears and eyes and nose pass on after much scrubbing of detail. The mind is not content with this estrangement from the real. After many years of frustration, the mind develops its own ideas of the outer world. But now it hears the outer world muttering about treatment, and therapy, and how dare the mind have … [Read more...]

“That Killer Smile” / Memorable Fancies #11

“I’m not a serial killer,” he said. “I never meant to be one, at least; that’s not my self-image. A serial killer never stops till he’s caught, isn’t that what they say? Not me. I’ll stop. I’m just looking for Mr. Right.” He looked me up and down, smiling. [Click ‘Random Post’ above – be astonished] … [Read more...]

“The Puppet” / Memorable Fancies #1561

[“Should this individual say “I am nothing but a human puppet,” he would forthwith be marched to the nearest psychiatric hospital.” – Thomas Ligotti] – where he would be treated like – a puppet! [Book ad: The year’s hottest new TV series is a reenactment of a famous murder trial ... but was there more involved than murder? A plot to take over the U.S. government? Read Try Try Again.] … [Read more...]

“Order, order!” / Memorable Fancies #0962

[“Delusions can be regarded as ‘theories’ that the subject constructs to impose order and meaning on anomalous experiences.” – Tim Bayne] Let’s just give up trying to impose order and meaning on our world, shall we? It’s just a delusion, anyway. … [Read more...]

“Embodied Minds” / Memorable Fancies #1461

Here are two people in the same body; always fighting, stumbling over which way to go, or one awake while the other sleeps, creeping quietly across the room not to awaken its bodymate. And in another country there is one person with two bodies, bored with the two lunches it has to eat every day.   <END> Buy it at amazon.com/author/terencekuch: See/Saw. In this novel from Ink Smith Publishing, you can sell your memories for cash. And regret it. … [Read more...]

“The Confession” / Memorable Fancies #1450

[“He would say, for example: At times I feel that another person and I are the same and at times I don’t.” – Wittgenstein] Jorgensen imagined me one day, pretended that there was a vicious man, a second self, who compelled him to do all those – violent things. So when Jorgensen went on trial he called me as a witness, implored me to confess that I had forced him to violence. And to his surprise I did appear and I did confess, but my revenge on Jorgensen for inventing me was this: I confessed … [Read more...]

“The Darkness” / Memorable Fancies #1392

[“Show me you are not the light I called to / but the blackness behind it.” – Louise Glück] Was that first rush of madness hers, or mine? Yours, she says; now I’m just like you. But how could I love you if I had not answered your call, that first time, your invitation to share the calling darkness of your mind? <END> Buy it at amazon.com/author/terencekuch: For Anacreon, 30 poems of love and life from the ancient Greek poet (originally published as a chapbook by Silkworms Ink). … [Read more...]

“Windows of the Skull” / Memorable Fancies #1332

[“windows of the skull” – Allen Ginsburg] The eyes, the ears, the nose, the mouth, – and that other portal no one knows about but me but I know it’s there. I have sensed the hidden world and its beings through it, they have visited me... <END> Buy it at amazon.com/author/terencekuch: The Trees of Malice, 16 stories of horror and the weird too creepy to share. From Abuzz Press. … [Read more...]

“My Me’s” / Memorable Fancies #1200

[“He who hides his madman dies voiceless.” – Henri Michaux] There are two people hiding inside me: the madman and the computer. My analyst told me that the other day. “We’re looking for a third being inside you,” he said, “someone more human.” “No!” I shouted, in a craze of calculation. <END> Buy it at amazon.com/author/terencekuch: Try Try Again – A novel of deadly political intrigue. … [Read more...]

“The Silence” / Memorable Fancies #1191

[“It will be as it is in this life, the same room, ...” – Ezra Pound] I am forced to remember this image forever: white walls, hard instruments, dials and buttons, cold therapies, collusions of silence. <END> Buy it at amazon.com/author/terencekuch: Everything Wants to Happen, the first thousand Memorable Fancies from this blog, revised and updated. … [Read more...]

“Heat” / Memorable Fancies #844

[Continuing the journal of Diane McMurphy, a patient in Bad Shepherd mental hospital, “The Asylum”]        The asylum administration has turned up the heat. No, not another example of their solicitous bullying, but real heat: the thermostat here in Ward H says so. Already I feel less withdrawn, less hostile, more sweaty, more apt to agree wholeheartedly with my therapist and put up with his “agreeing with me is just your defense mechanism, Diane” schtick, and make an effort not to bite him … [Read more...]

“The Insanity Program” / Memorable Fancies #724

     From the ceiling, from the walls, came the soft voices. Occasionally, Matthew recognized a word or two, important words that reeked of meaning: “...almost too late for...”. “...do you know what he...”.]      He strained to hear the voices, but the more intently he listened, the quieter they became. It was driving him crazy, he thought, hearing something he couldn’t hear.      “SPEAK UP, FOR GOD’S SAKE,” Matthew shouted, but the voices continued softly, calmly, unperturbed. He stuffed … [Read more...]

“The View from Nowhere” / Memorable Fancies #555

[“Strange error about our lives because we try to experience them from the outside.” – Albert Camus]      There is no objective point of view, no place from outside ourselves to see ourselves, or to see others. A private point of view is the maniac’s truth that he is the God of his own small space, and that his eyes see only the contents of his own mind.   <END>        If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, … [Read more...]

“My Fellow-Patients: Andy” / Memorable Fancies #530

[Continuing the journal of Diane McMurphy, a patient in Bad Shepherd mental hospital, “The Asylum”]      Andy The New Guy wanders up to our lunch table, looks around for someone to talk to. I turn away but not in time. Andy has a problem – less annoying than what most of us do most of the time, I’ll admit, but still a nuisance.      Every day, he thinks this is his first day in the asylum, asks where things are, introduces himself, etc. Just now he’s introducing himself to me for the maybe … [Read more...]

“Asylum – XXIV: Freedom” / Memorable Fancies #521

     In the madhouse, we pretend that cooperation is voluntary – our unmotivated free gift. You will do that, they say. Yes, I have decided to do that, we say. Obedience is our therapy. Like some Gulag prisoner, we learn to choose our inevitable fate.      We are finally discharged from the asylum. It is the same everywhere. Obedience is our life. <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other … [Read more...]

“Asylum – XXIII: Hallowe’en at the Asylum” / Memorable Fancies #506

[Continuing the journal of Diane McMurphy, a patient in Bad Shepherd mental hospital, “The Asylum”]      Every Hallowe’en, various people – staff, or patients from a crazy-ward on another floor, who knows? – put on fuzzy costumes and “entertain” us. They dress up as bears, at least I think they’re supposed to be bears; but to me they look like very large gophers, or extinct ground-sloths. Anyway, in these furry suits that any kid would laugh at, they present such a countenance of perhaps … [Read more...]

“Folder-Therapy” / Memorable Fancies #460

[Continuing the journal of Diane McMurphy, a patient in Bad Shepherd mental hospital, “The Asylum”]      One of the patients sneaked a look inside a manila folder at the nurses’ station: the classic urban legend of the madhouse. I think it’s a plot; Doctor leaves papers around for us to “accidentally” find, read, be terrified or reassured. It’s some secret therapy, papers saying things he made up, lies about us, things he wants us to know and deny, fantasies for us to try on for size. It’s a … [Read more...]

“Asylum – XIX: “’Who’s Real?’” / A Memorable Fancy #396

[Continuing the journal of Diane McMurphy, a patient in Bad Shepherd mental hospital, “The Asylum”]      I pride myself on being Doctor’s special project. “A tough case,” I once overheard him saying. On Mondays I have him for individual counseling. Today is Monday.      “How is Sugar Odette these days?” he asks.      “Fine, Doctor. She can’t wait to hear what I’ll have to say about today’s session.”      “And what will you tell her?”      “I don’t know, Doctor; we haven’t had the … [Read more...]

“Asylum – XIV: Family Visits” / A Memorable Fancy #378

[Continuing the journal of Diane McMurphy, a patient in Bad Shepherd mental hospital, “The Asylum”]      Some of us patients have families. When they come to visit on visiting day, the dayroom is where they see us: a pleasant, sunny place where the keepers can keep an eye on the crazies, keep us controlled by playing the television machine loud enough to cover up any embarrassing conversations among the patients or with their families.      So we mouth clichés at each other, at least they … [Read more...]

“Asylum – XIII: Visitor Days at the Asylum” / A Memorable Fancy #375

[Continuing the journal of Diane McMurphy, a patient in Bad Shepherd mental hospital, “The Asylum”]      The desperate sameness and seemness and seamless texture of our lives is occasionally broken by visitors from the city: do-gooders, do-badders, and those who don’t know the difference. For example, the health inspector comes by every three months and closets himself with Doctor Wolfe and selected flunkies. I never see him actually inspect anything, but after a time he smiles and nods as he … [Read more...]

“Asylum – IX: New Names for Old” / A Memorable Fancy #361

[Continuing the journal of Diane McMurphy, a patient in Bad Shepherd mental hospital, “The Asylum”]     Thanks to the Pledge Week thon, the chairs in the Ward H dayroom have been rebadged in honor of various donors, who can now tell their friends that they’ve endowed a Chair of Punitive Psychiatry. At the moment, I’m sitting in a chair commemorating a modest gift given in honor of one of our crazies from olden days, insanitus emeritus, via the hospital’s Gatehouse Society.      I have … [Read more...]

“Asylum – VIII: Naming Rights at the Asylum” / A Memorable Fancy #357

[Continuing the journal of Diane McMurphy, a patient in Bad Shepherd mental hospital, “The Asylum”]      Doctor Wolfe has found yet another way to profit from our predicament: naming rights. I hear he was turned down by the Board on a proposal to rename the entire hospital in exchange for a fifty-million-dollar gift from the Crazy Glue Company, but he got the Board’s approval to rename individual wards, “and so on.” The scope of “and so on” was, perhaps unfortunately, left to him. … [Read more...]

“Asylum – VII: Dinner at Bad Shepherd” / A Memorable Fancy #354

[Continuing the journal of Diane McMurphy, a patient in Bad Shepherd mental hospital, “The Asylum”]      The pleasant little bell rings over the PA system and we all salivate. Those of us trusted to move our own legs trudge to the dining hall, which adjoins the day room and provides dining so elegant that those here who’ve been in the Army weep with reminiscence and tell the others long stories about liver-day, SOS, and Tuesday’s coffee (that’s the day cook tops up the grounds).      We … [Read more...]

“Asylum – VI: Welcome to Greenwall Gardens” / A Memorable Fancy #350

[Continuing the journal of Diane McMurphy, a patient in Bad Shepherd mental hospital, “The Asylum”]      The psych interns read our charts every day. They don’t even laugh when they read them, although sometimes I catch them moving their lips. It’s Dr. Wolfe who rules here, who decides our fate every day. He has four major options for us: pill lineup, confined to dayroom, confined to bedroom, or Greenwall Gardens. That last is what we call the isolation room, the one with a little window in … [Read more...]

“Asylum – III: Time for Meds” / A Memorable Fancy #330

[Continuing the journal of Diane McMurphy, a patient in Bad Shepherd mental hospital, “The Asylum”] Tiny bustling, faint noise loud as gongs: time for meds here in the asylum’s infamous (to us) Ward H. The keepers want us to come of our own accord, but they will herd the stragglers sure enough with words we know but only they own. When the keepers are gone we whisper these magic words to each other; we tinkle them like amulets. We line up silently now, hands in front, eyes downcast. The … [Read more...]

“There is Always a Word” / A Memorable Fancy #253

“They think they’re so damn smart with all their labels, those shrinks and their words, you know how they like to label people. They always have a word for it, don’t they?, whatever you do. Then they think they know you. There’s always a two-dollar word like ‘schizoaffective disorder’ for instance. Or ‘sociopathy,’ as if one of those cold words they got out of some textbook could capture the hot complexity of what I do. Like killing, for instance.”     … [Read more...]

“Friends” / A Memorable Fancy #052

     Herbert had seven friends, but they all moved away. No one reads his blog. A Google search turns up nine hits on “Herbert W. Norton, Jr.,” but this is someone else with the same name. He is accidentally omitted from the company phone book. “Just an oversight,” SueAnn Carleton says, “I’m sorry.”      Herbert buys a gun, takes it to work, points it. Now SueAnn is really sorry.     … [Read more...]

“The Tell” / A Memorable Fancy #210

Instead of the hundreds of signs and symptoms listed in DSM-V and other handbooks of psychiatry, there could be just a single “tell” that, by itself, would convince the careful observer that you were completely and incurably nuts. Perhaps the psychiatrists have identified that tell, and are keeping it their dark secret. I’ve been looking over my shoulder, watching out to see if any of them are spying, trying to catch them in the act of observing me, careful that I do not show them my tell, … [Read more...]

“Thursday” / A Memorable Fancy #158

There is an alien inside me. It’s been there many years but has not, as yet, harmed me. I feel it moving after I’ve eaten. In bed, I look down and see my belly rising and falling regularly – my alien is asleep. There is some involuntary out-gassing – my alien must not have enjoyed my dinner. I found a few foods it can tolerate without upset, and I eat only those. Even though I detest these foods, my alien seems to like them. I have begun seeing a psychiatrist. She tells me that my alien is in … [Read more...]

“Two Psychologists” / A Memorable Fancy #030

Two clinical psychologist friends discuss the most problematic patient of each, without giving any names; but slowly they come to understand that it is the same person. Is this patient really troubled, or is he up to something? Or... <END> … [Read more...]

“The Sames – II” / A Memorable Fancy #025

Everyone else is the same person; only you are different. The others look alike, seem to know the same things, love and hate the same foods. They speak in a tongue you find impossible to understand. They treat you well. They treat you very well. … [Read more...]