Back again with something autobiographical. Hope you all can find time to read and perhaps enjoy it. Comments always welcome. Future Memory: A True Story
Fantastic story, Devon! I liked it better than almost all of the others.
It's great to see you writing again! I'd encourage you to write more about your experiences in Africa. It must have been fascinating.
I'll post a complete review when I've had a chance to digest it a bit more.7/17/2011 #2
Wow! I knew you would get around to this someday. Killer story. The tales that those old soldiers tell are over the top. Your writing here was some of the best ever!! You just have to let this story speak for itself. Top shelf all the way. Great!7/17/2011 . Edited 7/17/2011 #3
Thanks Martin and Dani! Dani, you have heard this story orally before from me, and, you're right, it was time to get it in print. The strangeness of one's youth, etc.
Martin, I will really look forward to your review. You always handle these things the best and have great insights. My time limitations are reducing the literary output lately, so I may well turn to autobiographical sketches for a while. Good idea.
I'm really thrilled that you both liked this.
Devon, Thanks! I spent an enjoyable half hour in a boring roadside motel Sunday reading your last story. It inspired me, among other things, to write a few autobiographical things about myself before I kick the bucket. I have more than a few paranormal stories that I could tell firsthand, just like your Jolicôté---a fascinating guy for a Méridional, lol. Actually they are just as imaginative as the Bretons. France is surely filled with colorful people. There is a lot that really rings true in your story, and I believe everything about it just on the strength of things that I have heard in my own life. I know nothing of Africa, but this future memory stuff is not limited to there. I knew Spiritualists in my life in N. Michigan who claimed to be able to perform the same thing, and did in a couple of cases.
This, for Martin's sake too, is a lot of what the Big Rock Church was about. More on that later.
You and Amber and Jolicôté were certainly all right about having or not having a context. How in the hell could we view anything in the future and make sense of it other than by using familiar touchstones of what we already know from the present?
I think that this is some of your best writing, and I echo Martin when I say that I would like to see more of these memoirs.7/18/2011 #5
I would encourage both Devon and Gary to write more about their own experiences. It seems like you both have had such interesting lives!
Gary, please do tell us more about the Big Rock Church when you have the chance. What are their core beliefs and practices? Were their visions of the future similar to what Devon described here? I recall some mention of a "House of Justin" associated with this, which seemed to be a place outside of time. Do you know what that was all about?
Devon, the Africa where this story takes place is so different from what those of us in the US are accustomed to in our daily experiences that the context thing would apply there as well. It almost seemed like you were describing another world.
I'll have more to say about the story in my review, which I will get to shortly. I want to read it again first.7/18/2011 #6
Thanks, Gary. Glad I kept you entertained. I would love to read more of what I know had to have been your fascinating life!! Please get started. I know writing for a living is a bitch, but you can decontract from copywriting with your autobio episodes. Appreciate, as always, your readership. The comment on context was a good one. You drove deep to the core of what I was getting at.
Martin, can't wait for your review! I like the way you wait, however, and think things over first. I'm sure I'll learn something from it as always.
As for Africa, I have always noted that most English-speaking people gravitate to English-speaking parts of Africa, whereas most French speakers go to our "former" colonies, which are really still colonies in most every sense of the word. Example: Lots of Anglophones know Ghana and Nigeria very well, but are totally unaware of Togo and Bénin which lie between them because these countries are Francophonic, as are all the places I go to, work in and mention in my stories. With the exception, of course, of Equatorial Guinea (from the Crackland invasion novel) which is Spanish-speaking but still uses the céfa.
Devon7/18/2011 . Edited 7/18/2011 #7
Oh Devon! Stumbled back on you at Scribd today. Read story. Your life? What a strange one you have had. I did not like the dog eating parts. I read this my way. In the future people will use the bodies of animals for travelling and other stuff. Sex? You never explained that. There will be a big earthquake that will make a new ocean somewhere? Where? Kids with eyes in the back of their heads? For what? I guess those are the mysteries of the future. You make people think. I like the way you go back and forth from one place to another in your stories. Africa ~ New York, etcetera. Story made me stop and wonder about alot of things. Good writers like you can do that.7/18/2011 #8
Been out of town for a while and not keeping up until now. Cody Rochon was so dynamite that I said I hoped you'd have a great comback some day. And here it is! Short, easy read this time, but what a read. And true life as well! They have already pushed on the the rising pagss a Scribd in what only two days! You got it all nailed here. The context thing I didn't understand at first, then I caught on finally. You can't see the future and know what is going down if you got no idea of what anything is or is for. And that's what Nostradamus came so close but was usually so far off. Haven't read much of him gotta confess but some. This all sounded like a Foreign Legion Story at first until I realized that it was about regular French soldiers like you were. Drafted. They still have a bleepin draft over there. They take every guy at 18. That must have been your case. Story is hard to swallow but I'm going to state right here that I believe every word of it. You described the dogs perfectly right from my experience, and that small detail means you had to get all the rest of it right too. You even got into the married and cheating stuff without worrying. Well, that is like your honest writing and readers like me (2x divorced) can relate. Some of them said they wanted more biography. Well that goes for me too. You do it great! Get us something back sooner this next time but it is going to be hard to top this one! Damn good story!7/19/2011 #9
Am I the only one here who's never eaten dog? At least not knowingly; I've been to my share of Chinese buffets. ;)
Anyway, I finally had a chance to post a review, though there's not a whole lot I could add to what others have already said. Great story, Devon! I liked it even better the second time I read it.7/20/2011 #10
Good to see you here again. Also, thanks for your boost at Scribd. I don't think my experience could ever answer all your questions. Yes, they are just mysteries of the future. Maybe. I'm glad I reached you with this true tale. Keep on wondering. That is what drives us from day to day. Many thanks for your readership.
Gary, Mike, Martin:
Read your reviews in this order, so I'll write back to all of you as such. All three of you had great reviews that showed me where I highlighted the right details from this true story. I appreciate the time, thought and energy that went into all of your reviews more than I can tell you.
I did not at first think this memory based tale was going to go very far. As Dani mentioned above, those who work with me---some of them----have heard this before. Or at least parts of it. I was accurate near the end in saying that I never really unveiled the whole thing at one time as I have done here. But I did provoke a lot of discussion about even the term "future memory." Now when I google my story to see which outside websites have reposted it (as they do from here) I get all kinds of articles that I never knew existed on the topic, only some of which I have been inspired to read since last Saturday when I wrote and posted this story. It was a one-day project. Something I just wanted to do. Maybe I did it in Jolicôté's memory somewhat. His was an impression that has never left me, but I must confess that the mere oral rendition of my story in bits and pieces to people here and there has never produced much of an impression other than shrugs, etc. So it needed its own story frame, which is not embellished, but it is ordered (as Martin and Mike noted) to give the story a kind of there vs here tone. I'm thrilled you all noticed that.
Martin brought up the point that perhaps Jolicôté had witnessed a universal time that may have indeed been part of an antediluvian past instead of, as Jolicôté said, a future memory. I think that may be an interesting starting wedge for further discussion, and I cannot discount the possibility. In fact, all three of you brought up some possibilities. But I was glad to note that you all also touched on the themes of context and the bioengineering of animals. When I was young and hearing Jolicôté's story firsthand, the term "bioengineering" was not part of anyone's vocabulary that I then knew. Jolicôté did not use it, but today I think it is very appropriate. Jolicôté, as I wrote, only stressed the hollowness of the bird and beasts used for human transport---and it was the caged dogs in the restaurant that really did recall this to me later in the US.
Someone on Acid Pulse (yes, I am Brentel on AP) posted one of those interesting accounts of how different 1911 was from 2011, something I too have written about before. "Brentel" responded with a largely ignored post mentioning the comandeered animals and the "wet" biology. I was planning some fiction around the idea then, but on Saturday decided instead to tell the whole story where I got the idea from the person who first mentioned it to me: Jolicôté.
Martin is right in that I had a far more receptive context than Amber to give credibility to Jolicôté's story, given that I was stationed in Africa at the time and knew about strange happenings in the interior. I'm glad that Martin picked up on that, as well as the contextual reasons why Amber was so reluctant to believe Jolicôté but so willing to have credence in Nostradamus. Context is indeed everything.
As you all know, setting plays a very important role in my stories, whether fictional or biographical as was this one. The whole French experience in Africa from the 19th Century onwards, something that I played a small part in, has always been something that I feel needs further exploration, so I am appreciative that all of you liked the descriptive and historical parts of this story. I didn't want to just jump in and say I met an old, crazy veteran. I need to establish a context for that. As Martin notes, it is a very unfamiliar context for most contemporary Americans, although in France it is still very much alive and remembered. Mauritania, Mali, Niger and Chad are places of horror and mystery even today. One small example is the amount of outright human slavery that is openly practiced in all three pseudo-countries---and this with a convenient blink of the eye from France (who is the real master in these places).
Martin says he never ate dog. Well, the other two of you can confirm that it is not a grand culinary experience. Tasty but not all that great. It is only in the fervid imagination of Asians, I think, that some of these exotic foods become so dramatic. But the dead shark eye appearance of edible dogs is striking, and it was the thing that got me thinking about Jolicôté again when I was in college---and thus the episode.
Many thanks to the three of you again for your penetrating reviews! They were, to me, as exciting to read as my story. And Martin, special thanks to you for the really insightful extrapolations in to other areas of speculation, something you always do so well. You all did an excellent job, and I am humbled.
Incidentally, I got a PM from two PWR regulars on this story, both positive. People are still asking for my return to PWR, and I do slip in sometimes as guest, but I have NOT posted anything. I have a "double" over there, as I said, who sometimes poses as me, and does it very, very well---too well. I have read his/her posts and thought at first that they were mine! That is how close this person gets. I don't mind anything they say on PWR, but such close imitation freaks me out a little. And I did notice that a work colleague of mine mentioned a ghost story that I recently wrote in French and may endeavor to transform (not translate) into English for these sites. Time and inspiration will tell.
With appreciation to all three of you,
Devon7/21/2011 . Edited 7/21/2011 #12
Note on the above. Gary, I forgot to thank you too for the mention on Scribd, and, since Martin always does this as well, I will thank him in advance. I may get another teeshirt, LOL. Scribd still has, I think, the largest number of readers but it is a bitch to deal with even on a big server like we have here at work.
And finally... I mentioned going as guest to PWR on occasion but not posting. I want to express my gratitude to whomever posted notice of my last story there, and I believe that to be Martin. Thanks a lot!!! There are obviously those on PWR who still like my stuff. If it was not Martin, thanks to whomever did it!!
Devon, I did my best to try and get a discussion going on PWR but the fish just weren't biting! It seems there has been a bit of a brain drain over there lately that goes beyond just you leaving. It's too bad because this is truly one of your better stories and it deserves to be read and discussed widely!
Can you remember any more details of the vision as it was described to you? I notice you mention both sights and sound. Were there any recognizable bits of language or anything else that could serve as a reference point to the familiar?
Like I said, I think it could just as easily have been a glimpse of some vanished civilization like the fabled Atlantis, or maybe a jumble of past and future eras. One of the first things I was reminded of while reading it was the way the the mid-20th century pulp writer Richard Shaver described the antediluvian world, particularly the emphasis on bioengineering and the cavern people. I don't know if you've ever heard of him. He was mostly dismissed as a crank but I've always found his work intriguing.
I wonder if the visions are limited somehow to the collective human experience, or if it is possible to access things like the dinosaur era? I've long suspected that if we could see the world as it was then that it also would appear much more 'alien' than the way it is usually portrayed.
Speaking of dinosaurs, were the "leather birds" of your story with that name at all inspired by the strange featherless birds described here, or is the connection merely superficial? Interestingly enough, there are documented sightings of pterodactyl-like creatures in West Africa. Possibly the most famous was by the cryptozoologist Ivan Sanderson in the 1930's in Cameroon. He said what he saw could have been a pterosaur or a giant bat. Maybe a featherless bird?7/22/2011 #15
Thanks for trying to get some interest on PWR. I read through that thread to the end and saw where the famous Leia, one of their "respected" stalwarts, gives it her nod of approval. That's an accomplishment. There were also some other complimentary comments that didn't sound like you, so I guess others have been reading. As I said, I received a couple of PMs, though nothing big. These people do not want to be associated with me openly, and I will protect their identity for what it is worth. I am assuming that a lot of them still come here. The story and forum numbers continue to mount inexplicably.
You brought up some interesting questions by mentioning Shaver. I just looked him up online, but I do remember him being popular in France when I was a kid. This was, I think, largely due to Jacques Vallée, Louis Pauwels, Jacques Bergier, and especially Serge Hutin---all were very popular paranormal researchers/writers when I lived in France as a kid. They made the climate much more receptive for the paranormal in France than it apparently was in the US, and writers like Shaver (in translation) had more popularity there than here. The same had been true a generation earlier with Lovecraft, but that was mostly due to the fact that his translators simplified his prose when they put it into French. French readers had long been accustomed to reading supernatural fiction because of such classic writers as Villiers de l'Isle-Adam and De Maupassant. Also the Englishman Arthur Machen was very popular in French translation as well. In all, these kinds of writers---whether in fiction or in supposed fact---did better in France than in the US. One needs to remember that it was the French who made Edgar Allen Poe famous long before he was well-known in the US.
What stuck with me in Shaver's works is the Déros, but I'd forgotten the underground aspect and the bioengineering. I need to rediscover all that some day. Thanks for bringing him back to my memory.
I do not remember much more from Jolicôté than what I wrote. His account of the hairless dogs and featherless birds had a much different tone to it than the usual science fiction. His emphasis was always on the "lifeless" aspect of these creatures, the fact that they had been created for human usage. This robbed them of any evil volition of their own and made them simply hybrid slaves to what he insisted was indeed a future race as reflected by the Kanuris in their rituals. I remember his account being solely about "vignettes," which can translate in French as "temporary pictures" as well as a number of other things. There was no mention of language or a narrative that accompanied these.
When I wrote Leather Birds,I was not thinking of my episode with Jolicôté, rather pterodactyls, which have been sighted in various places around the Earth. Joey, somewhere, discussed these as well. The leather quality of the pterosaur is something I added because of the French words that are always attached to their sightings: "cuireux" and "tanné," both of which mean "leathery." This was the opposite of what Jolicôté described because he used words like "chaireux" and "charnu" which amount to fleshy or flesh-covered---these to describe both the dogs and birds. So the pterodactyl inspiration was not directly from what I heard from Jolicôté.
Well, it was a good experience last Saturday to get this into a narrative form after all these years. I'm squeezing writing in between work these days, and that has to stop. I have lots more fiction left in me, and a few more mémoires as well.
Thanks again for your appreciation. It means everything to me!
Devon7/22/2011 . Edited 7/23/2011 #16
Bump to put this on top for Martin and avoid the long, tedious econ post which I have inserted only for a few non-registered visitors.
It is a shame that so many PWR patrons feel they have to hide their appreciation for your stories. I can tell a lot of of them read because of subtle comments they make from time to time. It is such a clique over there. I am reminded of high school, and not in a good way!
Richard Shaver was most famous over here in the late pulp era, from the mid '40's to the early '50's when his writing (albeit heavily edited and embellished) was prominently featured in "Amazing Stories". There was even a brief and not too complimentary piece about him in "Life" magazine, which was a big deal at the time. He continued to write up until his death in the mid '70's and was published in various obscure journals. Years ago I collected most of his writings. Almost as interesting as the stories themselves were the letters that readers would send in regarding their own similar experiences. You have to take all of that with more than a grain of salt, but it makes for some entertaining reading. Through imagination, inspiration or both he described a lot of things that were way ahead of his time, but he was never the wordsmith you are!
I'm sure he was discussed by some of the French paranormal authors you name, all of whom are impressive in their own right. "Morning of the Magicians" (English title) by Pauwels and Bergier is one of the all-time classics of the genre that probably everyone here is familiar with. Bergier and Hutin in particular each produced a vast body of work, much of which was never translated into English. Some of that material is now available online. To your list I would add Robert Charroux, whom I mentioned previously. He wrote a number of lengthy books about ancient astronauts and vanished civilizations that are far superior to those of Von Daniken, though the latter became famous.
The concept of these strange animals being bred as lifeless slaves by a more advanced human civilization is most fascinating. There is lots of fertile ground here for future fiction. Wherever and whenever they exist, I wonder if they can keep themselves alive indefinitely by cloning new bodies? Might humans themselves have been created as hybrid slaves of some more advanced race? That is far from a novel premise in itself, but the 'volition' angle is perhaps something that could be explored in new and interesting ways.7/23/2011 #18
BTW, I did also read (and enjoy) your 'econ' post, but there's not much I can think to add to it. I defer to your expertise on such matters.7/23/2011 #19
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