Hearts & Tails: Source and Memory

My twenties were belligerent. A few decades of living in fear will result in belligerency, apparently. They were also creative, beautiful, and engaged in the 1990’s post-punk industrial world of queered-up vampires, feminist philosophies, anarchist role models, cyberpunk promises, and aggro-rage mixed-media music, poetry, performance, fuck-this-shit manifestos. This photo of me says, “Fuck you buster, I’ve got a bad-ass custom-built dream-computer, boom box, no gender, and a bad attitude, and I’m not afraid to Rage-Art, so don’t even think about stopping me.”

slightly scowling white person in their 20's with shoulder-length frizzy hair and a white shirt and black vest playing solitaire on a chunky CRT monitor with a boom box, printer, and beige computer tower in the background

My twenties were about danger and anger, but also about community, and the protective factors that come of sharing cultural space. As we got older, we spread into a diaspora. We calmed down enough to get Real Jobs(TM)–which then ate our lives. Shit happened, and not much can be done about that, but I think we’re the poorer for it.

The Mac Carroll multiverse, where my Spoon Knife 4 novella “Hearts and Tails” is set, is my call-back to my twenties. Everyone’s angry and hungry, but they’re also a tight creative community.

There’s “the epic industrial act Recyclr…They’ve got a killer chemical synth, more vacuum amps than can fit on The Parlor’s stage, and Mikal can do more with a fiddle bow and the literal trash people throw at him for a challenge than should be possible outside of actual magic.”

There’s Mac’s best friend Florence…”He and Anais are working up a new performance piece called ‘Nerves.’ Anais calls it ‘a post-modern tribute to nihilism in the age of mutually assured chemical annihilation,’ but Florence describes it as, ‘a multi-media bit on fuck the system, plus we get the audience drunk!'”

There’s Mac’s fierce love of his friends, that he has a hard time expressing in any way that doesn’t come across as just belligerent. “Maybe Flo will want to go out, burn off some of his rage with me on the dance floor. Maybe then he’ll tell me what happened to his eye so I can make the motherfuckers pay.”

Outsiders drawn inside to build our own community, fearing the vulnerability it creates even as we desperately craved it.

The Mac Carroll Multiverse is smaller and more personal than the Liminal Universe where Hoshi is set. Being an alternate 1991, it’s got a lot more of our world to it, and, for reasons associated with the space-time phenomena that creates a multiverse at its heart, all of its stories take place within the confines of a single city. It’s SF/F, sure, cuz I’m not a memoirist, but it’s my 1991 too. My twenties. My community that I wouldn’t be alive today without <3

“Hearts and Tails” is available in Spoon Knife 4: A Neurodivergent Guide to Spacetime. Autonomous Press, Amazon, or ask your local bookstore.