Made by Hand

Letter #3 (TimeBomb)

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Letter 3

December 19th, 1989

We will all wake up together. A piece of graffiti on the Berlin Wall. I’d seen it before, but in the future, as a photograph in a bar in California. The way it makes me feel to even hear my inner voice say those words. How could it feel for someone who was experiencing it for the first time. I watched it on TV. I remember feeling something, a kind of fullness in my chest and tightening of the throat as I realized what was happening. History was crumbling. Individual citizens,  students, teachers, merchants, people were responsible for the demise of seemingly untouchable rulers. The regime’s paranoia had been a potent distraction in the everyday lives of the regions’ inhabitants. Their political system was no longer tolerable.

Though at the time it felt like I’d just turned on the TV, switched the channel, this was not a sudden revolution. Hardly ever. Revolution is slow. It churns undetected, underground and at the edges, sometimes dormant, other times awake but frozen, thawing, warming, swelling. It takes so long for the heat to build. Then all it takes is a spark, one dreamer, one wild one, a dancer, a painter, a rock wall climber to initiate the first action. Against the bloody cold legacy of previous street battles between the occupiers and the artists, this time back in 89, despite, or more likely because of the the backwards power structure… the many overcame the ruling few.  

They moved through the streets like a velvet serpent, collective impossible, deep maroon dreamers. The many found a common love in their Rulers’ eviction. The commons shimmered through the television pulsating with exaggerated color. The crowds were a sea of winter caps, kept warm together. As I watched alone, on the 18 inch Zenith I saw their collective exhales form a mist rising up above their heads.  In the cold November night air, changing the atmosphere. Us. See what can we do if we’d only trust each other and see how we can be…. 

But it doesn’t all much matter. I know how this is going to end. 

Give it a few decades and the new class of Rulers will surface and this brilliant triumph will seem like a dream.  Give it a few more and it’s lost in a sea of cached data or long recycled printed matter. Books at the bottom of the sea. It ended like a dream, in an era of conscious unconscious, collective complacency, collective exhaustion… what do we have to love now that we’ve let our dreams end.

Love and risk are twins. One can’t exist without the other. 

Last night I I took this photo with a disposable camera. A friend processed the film. I made some copies. I thought you might appreciate the sentiment. 

To wake up, 

together.

Letter #1 (Time-Bomb)



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August 15, 2087

As I write this I’m dead already. It’s a crazy thing to think, to write down. I can’t think through it. It’s like a wall that runs off forever in either direction and rises too high to climb. All I can do is write this down and hope you’ll find it, like we planned. But these are strange times. Since the development of time travel what does dead really mean? Had we understood the liquid nature of time, that it was more like waves, currents undulating like water columns in the ocean, stratified but susceptible to sudden and violent disturbance, and how it’s all really just a matter of scale. Was that not enough to keep us fascinated forever? It’s never enough with us. First it was the expeditions and conquests, genocide and oppression of the survivors, more land, more industry, more technology, more extraction, more war, more money, more death, more money, more and more until even the earth had nothing left. We’d taken from her all she ever had to give, all that ever was or would be... Okay, so I might exaggerate. There was something left, for those who could afford it, but the peak times had passed decades ago, oil, water and people. All earthly resources were in a post peak. The population, human and nonhuman had begun to drop precipitously. A curse or a gift depending on who you ask. Some of us knew the truth. The Future was disappearing.

It’s been determined that homo sapiens cannot time-travel to the future beyond 2087.  There’s some insurmountable wall that the routers can’t penetrate. I’ve been here, this year, this time, for a month. I think. I keep a pile of pebbles to track the days. 28, 4 weeks, one month, right? There is more and more slippage. Sometimes it feels like we are going backwards or the sun seems to stay in one place in the sky for hours. If I had my phone, a watch, maybe I could tell for certain, but we have none of that here. No power. Even when you find someone Outside with an s-panel, there is no way to set a clock. There are sun dials in the clearings and deserts. They are all relative to the sun. Some people say we are slowing down, the earth, it’s orbit has slowed. Winding down now. The sunsets are longer. Each color rushes across the sky as I breathe in and blood pulses through my veins blue like the darkening sky. That sudden shot of green we used to try to see just when the sun drops below the horizon, it lasts a good 5-10 breaths now. I’ve started measuring time with my body. It’s all just relative to the sun, to our bodies, this planet. Fuck clocks. They can have there fucking clocks.

The Complex is enormous here. As far as my eyes can see. It curves around and blocks out the horizon to the east. The channel separating it from the Outside is so wide some mornings the mist rising from the runoff makes it all disappear, like fog over the bay. But it’s there. You can feel it’s hum in your chest. You can feel the heat coming off the routers when the wind blows onshore. Others say all the best minds from the last 100 years are in there, taken from their time to work on cracking the Future. What’s that like? How strange it must feel to be suddenly taken out of your time?  It was strange for us too, but it came on more gradually over decades after the Mars cataclysm. Like the planet itself shook them off. Tragic really. Kids were among the 10,000. The workers too and their families. The animals and cyborgs that had no choice. And the Elites, I have to believe not all are bad. We come from the same place. We are one. How different we are now.

It was a definite blow to their numbers. There are so many more of us Outside. Like it’s always been. They have power. But we have the numbers.