Hypomania // Connor Goodwin

You situate your fingers on the strangely elevated islands. Each island is slightly concave, perhaps formed by volcanic activity. You type out the title, twice as it were. Tiny metal arms whack the paper in turn, the impacts producing a series of clacks that noisily ring out. You look at the paper and some letters are now stamped on the white page before you. You like the sound of that clack. You start typing away, creating a clutter’o’clacks. These globules of clacks are the results of long toiled thoughts and were now spilling forth onto the frothy tepid white of the page. You’re clacking the murky discourse you’ve been having of things you don’t care to say aloud to anyone, even yourself. There are also things flashed in there that never belonged to your thoughts, but seemingly belong on the page before you, and so they’re there too.
If you could, you’d stamp your mind onto this piece of paper. You’d love it if someone would cut open the side of your head, dip your pulsing cranium in an oversized inkpad and stamp your once pink, now black, brain onto the page. The formless splotches would look like the ink blots in Rorschach’s test.
You start thinking of Rorschach as some mad doctor who can’t even figure out his own estranged brain. You think of Rorschach as harvesting patients and their disturbed minds. First, he carefully cuts through the skull to the glistening pink tissue. He notes the appearance of the exposed brain, whose fleshy canals run everywhich way and pulses regularly, making faint wet sucking sounds. Rorschach then gently guides his patient’s head toward a wooden table where a swollen black inkpad rests. He gently presses the exposed brain onto the pad and slightly rolls the head to one side and then the other, to make sure the ink spreads evenly. Next to the inkpad is a blank piece of paper, onto which Rorschach stamped his patients dripping black mind. The resulting blots were read like an oracle and the illness of the patient was localized, diagnosed, and treated accordingly.
Of course, it’d be meaningless – unrepresentative of anything you wished to say, sort out, reconcile. What’s more, it wouldn’t have even made any use of the typewriter you had just bought. You must resign yourself to the fragmentary ordering and arrangement of that ultimately may or may not accurately express just what actually is lingering in your mind. But you’re not minding yourself with that looming task presently. Presently, you’re just furiously clacking.
The clutter of clacks is encouraging, addicting even. The flux of the clatter has a pulse to it. In brief moments, the very thing you’re trying to stamp seems suspended. The mind is paradoxically removed from the process and you’re a vessel – a vessel whose only nutrition is that clutter of clacks. And you’re gluttonous, too - a sloppy fiend. You slob all over the tablecloth and chomp on heaping run-ons and lick the juices of tender adjectives that spilled onto the napkin tucked into your neck collar.

You’re clogged. Your esophagus is straining to shove down some huge hunk you vacuously inhaled, but there’s nowhere for the hunk to go. You rip the seeming choking napkin from your neck to no avail. Your stomach has disappeared, your wild appetite stolen from you, from right under your nose. The page has ended.
You hadn’t noticed the margins steadily receding, and there you were at the very end of the page, the long tails of Gs and Ps and Ys dangerously toe the edge. But all is well, after some difficulty you’ve rolled in a whole new blank page and are ready to go. Your fingers are back on the little islands, harboring their shores, waiting for a great wind to fill your white sails onward to unchartered lands

 

 

 

Goddamnit!!

The silence has wrapped chains around you and you’re now clinking around hopelessly, yearning to clack once more. The chains’ clinks are a sick mocking of the invigorating clacks that transfixed you just moments before. Your mind has gone utterly blank. You just stare at the keys of the typewriter, hoping to see some pattern that’ll catapult you into another typing frenzy. But no, you’re dumbly examining your untrimmed fingernails, some of which have accumulated a dark grime from god knows what.
You force some shabby description of the setting, just to throw a few clacks out there. It’s awful though; it feels like you’re retching. Gag reflex has finally been triggered and your esophagus is hacking up that harmful hunk that got stuck in limbo. Not only are the words awful, but the marvelous clacks now echo back as clucks! And you feel like a chicken who knows its head is about to be lopped off. Clucking madly. Clucking your promise to produce more eggs if only you can keep your head. Clucking your plea to cluck a little more. Clucking that they should kill the pig instead. Cluck. Cluck. Cluck. You finally give up, and the chicken is silenced. And you don’t know if it died or only shut up.
The ecstasy that the clutter of clack induced is long gone. You read back over the page you just wrote, hoping to get back in the vein of production, but looking back you see numerous typing mistakes, awkward sounding sentences, sparse transitions, and unintellectual digressions. The words don’t like who they’re sitting next to and don’t work well together.
You sit for a bit. You wish to be possessed once more. Possessed by that clutter of clacks. Was it the clutter or the clack? Or was it their synthesis? You tried clack on its own and got cluck. So you figure to try clutter next.
Looking around, you survey the room you had just cleaned for the guests you expect this weekend. You violently stand up, meaning to knock over the chair with your force, but it smartly scoots back on wheels, and so you kick it square on and it rolls away and falls over the edge of a rug. Next you turn to your dresser and yank at the drawers as if they were drawers to the file cabinet containing medical records of Rorschach's patients, your fat fingers paw all about. Unable to find your file, you yank out the drawer entirely and drop it to the floor, one after the other, until the dresser is naked. You admire and then topple the tower of drawers and grab fistfuls of clothes and throw them into the air, a blizzard of cotton. You tear the curtains from the window and their plastic rings snap off. You bring the curtain to one side of your waist and your posture straightens and you clench your bottom and stare straight ahead. The salty sweat on your face tries to, but does not interrupt the seriousness of your gaze. Abruptly you whip the curtain up and around some imaginary charging bull whose thick cords of muscle are matted in tasty blood. You drop the curtain and now feel that you are that bull. You’ve been speared in the back and you’re raging, you turn and turn rampantly, looking for some victim and settle on your mattress and you rush at it and heave it and something crashes to the floor and breaks, but you don’t even bother to look.
You do it all in a great fury, you’re a raving madman, you’ve started to sweat and your cheeks are bright red. It feels good to shove everything into disarray. You slow and finally pause; waiting for some words to spring to the forefront of your mind and put your ready fingers to motion. You wait and wait, but the nonappearance is loud and defeating. You see the utter stupidity in your little episodic tantrum, and sluggishly right your chair up and plop yourself into it, resting your head into your folded arms.
But what’s this? Out your window you hear a string of successive clicks. The click! – a cousin to the venerable clack, was somewhere near. The clicks weren’t at all sporadic or pulsing like the clacks, nor were they the senseless idiocy of the clucks. Rather, the clicks were metronome-like, an authority of order. You move toward the window. But then they’re gone. They were just there! Steady and timely, clicking sure enough.
You return to your desk. Your hands are unwilling to rest on the key islands because they feel wrong, guilty even, just resting there, and so they sit, carefully folded in your lap. You see the page before you, now stained with words describing a fictional weather. They look like distant and lost figures in the worst blizzard Alaska has seen in years. A little caravan of them, trekking to where? Don’t they know the page is finite? That they’re stuck in this blizzard forever, that maybe they should just lie down and die. But they don’t do that. They stand there, all of them, arguing which direction to go. And they’re bickering is a strange thing to your ear. Their speech is composed of various inflections of the pronunciation of themselves. Their squabbles produce a strange sequence of words and non-words to the English ear. [They don’t even realize that their current order and organization is poor and dumpy, about some pale sun navigating through stripes of thin clouds. ]
Oh but you’ve been entirely mistaken, the clicking wasn’t coming from out your window at all. It was your neighbor upstairs adjusting her clock. Was it not daylight savings today? Did you mistake the tick of a clock for a click? This must be the case. You look toward your dresser where your clock usually sat, only to see it gone. Beyond is the gleaming mirror and you see me in the mirror, naked and ink-smeared and wide-eyed.
You turn to your desk and grab a pen, cross something out, give me another glance, turn to the typewriter and type: You situate your fingers on the strangely elevated islands.

 

Connor Goodwin is a student at the University of Chicago. He writes: http://cgoodwing.blogspot.com/. And tweets: https://twitter.com/condorgoodwing