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Tag: depression

FakeReview: Ever’s More by Germaine Ellson

So, over the last month I have read Germaine Ellson’s by all accounts completely alright book, Ever’s More, and I confess it made me feel a little uncomfortable. The book starts mildly with a famous quote by Robert Graves: “It is slightly inconvenient to: mock a poet, love a poet, be a poet.” And it only gets okayer from there.

We meet the main character, a decent man with no name who can’t help but point out to the reader that our emotional responses somehow seem stunted. He mentions, in direct communication with you the reader, that watching a dog react to its owner coming home in a wholly okay way almost suggests that there should be a word beyond okay. “What if,” he says as if inviting us to contemplate with him, “the human emotional range went beyond mildly uncomfortable and mildly comfortable.” He does not quite have it in him to make it into a question.

Other characters in the book quickly bring him down to earth by pointing out that the adverbs mildly or almost or moderately or blandly or not exactly are a necessary component of the adjective phrase, just like how you can underwhelm but you cannot whelm. You can be all right but not all wrong. The limitations of our language, the place where the borders go, literally define us and to venture beyond those dells into uncharted semantic territory is akin to go sea-diving and touch the bottom of the sea and to dig and to expect water. It is just sand. And you are running out of air, and it is starting to feel like something might happen that could threaten the amounts of okay you feel in the future.

“It is just sand,” is a line repeated many times throughout the novel, often when the main character accidentally comes up with a neologism that seemingly challenges the status quo of our limitations. “What if there is more?” he asks, rudely and provocatively leaving out any kind of noun after the “more”. This is just poor editing in my opinion; the scene where this happens has the main character observing the ball of fusion that brings light to our planet become increasingly obscured by an ocean. It is a kind of attractive sight, we are informed. He picks up a rock and places it on the ocean by waving his hand in an okay arc and letting go at the right moment, causing the rock to fall upwards a little bit. I asked myself, “more what? More rocks? More light? More water?” but it is clear that Germaine Ellson does not care about that. It is just more sand.

The hill-crest of this sort of bumpy ride of a book comes when one character, who is the sister of the main character, ceases to exist and starts to produce a lot of blood instead. This is inconvenient for the main character in many ways, especially how it gets the front of his shirt sticky with blood. As he feels a little sad and starts to need glasses he turns to the reader again, and says a lot of things I did not understand.

This book made me a trifle uncomfortable. I do not think you should read it. Three stars out of five.

What I Needed

I found what I needed once, in an old dream like a discarded dress in the back of my wardrobe. I picked it up. It was monolithic, covered with five different kinds of black, and it seemed to have its own climate. When I touched it, it was hot to the touch, and my hand felt alright, like it didn’t need to exist anymore, and while it was inside it, it ceased. And when I pulled my nonexistent hand back out of it, a part of me woke up, and that is the part that is talking to you now.

Sandcastle Man

Sandcastle man sits on a cold beach like something medieval. His hands vanish into the grey sand and it must be cold for him, stark naked. His skin has assumed the same colour as the sand itself. The water is beating at his legs, nibbling at his toes, and soon surrounding him. By unfocusing his eyes he can look at his arms as if they’re trees rising from the water instead of columns pushed down into it. He stays unfocused, and eventually he falls apart, and in but two tide cycles the sand is perfectly smooth where he once sat.


[Trigger Warnings: violence, murder, mental illness, abusive behaviour]


When we’re there in the car, my legs uncomfortably propped up like I’m a giant sitting on a treestump with my dangling hands touching my ankles, knees pointing upwards and outwards like parted trees, when we’re there in the car nothing else exists but us and the car. There is a fine layer of glass but the glass only half-exists – it shows me false images. When I open the door again, when we stop, when this hellish car ride is over, everything else might exist again, but right now when we’re there in the car, nothing else exists at all.

It is stunning then, even remarkable, that she should be crying. She should be driving; she should not be crying about someone who does not exist. There’s a false red light ahead of me and I stare at it, and I wonder what would happen if I rolled down my window there and then, but I don’t roll down my window and I don’t reach out into that blackness, even though I suspect that the red light might be real. The images shift. Flat people walk across zebra stripes. She is crying but she wipes her tears and presses the pedal at her feet that makes the images wash over us like we’re being pulled forward. She is telling me about him – that is why she is crying.

Some background might be needed.

An hour ago someone poured poison into my eyes and it ate its way into my brain. There were all the physical symtpoms of feeling happy, but I felt distressed. I felt the poison round my eyeballs and twine its way into the nerves that meet up with the happy nerves. The happy nerves were then cut off and the poison, which was eggs, hatched right there in my head right where my thoughts were, and the hatchlings grew together into one thing and it felt happy. It felt content. I felt nothing, but my body was relaxed and I stopped biting my nails, and the corners of my mouth twitched. The man in the labcoat told me he would kill the thing and reconnect my nerves, he just had to shine a lamp straight through me first, and he’s got little tweezers for my eyeballs. The pupil is where the light comes in and this man widened it for me and shone an evil light in through my skull, trying to find the poison creature. In the end he had to pluck my eye out just for a second and grab the little fucker, and then he said I’ll heal perfectly fine by myself. My eye retracted back into my socket exactly the way the cord retracts into the vacuum-cleaner again, only slower.

So I had to call someone, to drive me somewhere away. I called her. When we’re there in the car, and nothing else exists, she is crying.

Some background might be needed.

I come from the alternate universe in which I am not a coward, but that one had to shut down. It was too good to be true. I was reallocated. In this universe I am a coward, and I have not killed anybody with my bare hands. I sleep poorly.

He is still out there.

She is crying because he is so broken up about us not being a family. I ask her, “Are you sure you’re not projecting, here, because historically that has been the thing that you have had breakdowns about,” but I don’t ask her that. I let images course past us. I am not meant to be here. He tried to kill me, and she refused to witness so I had no case. Boys will be boys. He was just messing around. (The reason I know he was not messing around is that I hate him, and I want to kill him, and in exactly the way he tried to kill me, and I wanted to kill him long before he picked up that hammer. If you want to find out what someone truly thinks of you, let your thoughts drift and find out what you really do to them in your deep fantasies.) Now I somehow believe that I can ask for one favour without him being brought into the conversation. That is folly.

She explains how she has tried to explain the world to him. He won’t listen. He is depressed, like I said before when no-one would listen, like I know now when I won’t speak. I love him because he is human, the way I love any person, and it hurts to hear that he is catatonic, maybe suicidal. She is catatonic, maybe suicidal. I wish I had killed him properly, and not run away.

I wish she would drive full-throttle into that wall. There’s a drab, solid wall on our right side, but it’s easy to tell that nothing is real outside this car, because the people we almost run into sort of smear off at the edges; they blur out when they need to. Sometimes cars in the mirror will split in the middle and their parts will move away from each other, mitosing, and sometimes we run over big grates and the blue cars just sort lose coherence and fall through like they were liquid butter, which, of course, they were not. They’re not real. I wonder if she drives into the wall, if the wall will just fracture and rush over us like baleen teeth or if it will move away before we hit it.

I look into the eyes of a toddler who is standing up in her baby carriage, all by herself, and something tries to make it seem like she is looking into my eyes but she’s got the lateralization all wrong. Her left is supposed to be her right. From the moment I look at her she looks somewhere far ahead of me, and follows this imaginary thing (there are no cars where she is looking, not even the not-real cars that seem to be everywhere in this city) until I intersect with it and for a split-second I stare into her eyes and see the poison thing in those big black holes, and then she’s staring somewhere behind me until I stop looking at her, at which point she falls back into her carriage like a thing unpossessed.

To my left, there in the car, the driver is crying. She is showing all the outward signs of emotional toil, but inside she is already dead. I open the car door and the false images disappear and a great black expanse paints itself the colours of a new city.


A fog rolls in, billowy and fistful, and an ocean follows it. Rivulets of water race each other across my yard, surrounding my house. As soon as the water has covered an area, it goes still like a mountain pond, and I see a perfect reflection of the sky in it. My house starts sinking, I rush to the rowboat perched on my roof. I manage to climb into it and then I am alone.

(Somewhere far away, you tell me that you love me.)

(I left the words I wanted to say to you behind, now all is fog.)

Curtains, but No Windows

This room has curtains, but no windows. They hang in such a way as to suggest that they are blocking the sunlight. If you were to look behind them, you feel, sunlight would flow into the room like water from a burst dam. This is an illusion you keep with you. You know not if gravity still affects you. Your legs are touching the floor, you cannot lift your arms; but you got like this long ago. Your heavy heart. Maybe now you’ve moved somewhere where the sun is nothing but a distant star, where nothing pulls you home anymore.

The Cloud Thickens and Darkens and Broods

The cloud thickens and darkens and broods and no rain can ever come out of it now, no matter how hard you try. From a distance, you can see the sparks fly, and if you stand under it, all your hair will stand on edge, pointing upwards, it will crawl like insects over your naked body, and jump up like fleas that never come down, but the lightning never comes. The cloud will never emit a sound, much less thunder. Rivers will dry up like tear ducts, and the elegant beasts that swam there once will migrate away or die.


There were two Martins, by his best count. They had whittled down in numbers until only two remained. Good Day Martin planned on leaving Bad Day Martin alone, and hoped he would go away. Bad Day Martin planned on murdering the other one. He was the whittler.

He woke up on a Good Day. His chest ached. There were two new voicemails on his phone. The first one was from himself on a Bad Day; the second from Martin’s estranged wife. Now there were only Bad Days left.

He had thought he would feel victorious. Or regretful. He felt nothing.


I feel like a shipwreck. I sank like a stone. The finest masonry this side of the ocean I tried to cross did not help, but I got exactly halfway before anything happened. Cracks spiderwebbing all over my hull and you will never pull me up in one piece. You can salvage the fine china. I can feel your wires and divers attach magnets and hooks but if you move me, I will fall apart like a slow-motion fireworks display. The waves are doing their part, the corals theirs. Perhaps one day I will bloom with them but for now …