A Theorist Fan Fiction
by Madison Hames
Something about myself.
But also about you.
List of Characters (in no particular order)
Marsha P. Johnson
A loving and whimsical person. An activist. A singer. An artist. The magma churning underneath a sleeping volcano.
Virtuoso. Black activist of the 60s and 70s. A voice that sounds like gravel or molasses depending on the day (dualities, a cement fixture, sealed into one body). Performs at Lighthouse, sometimes in duet with Marsha.
French queer theorist. Madly in love with Daniel. Likes cats and leather.
Sociologist and HIV/AIDS activist. Partner to Michel.
Trans eco-poet. Developed somatic rituals to produce large amounts of writing. Hilarious. Loves crystals.
Queer theorist. Known pool shark.
Queer theorist. Known as “straight” to some and queer to those that matter. Bartends at the Lighthouse as a side hustle. Writes books.
alexis pauline gumbs
a self described queer black troublemaker and black feminist love evangelist. composed of saltwater. also a poet.
Historian and writer specializing in reimagining Black histories. Voice sounds like cutting into room temperature butter. Patient and kind.
Genderfluid 20-something-year-old with a love for the ocean. Curious personality. Writes poetry. Frequents the Lighthouse between AA sessions. Friends with Cuttle.
Flamboyant cuttlefish. Likes to express themselves by changing color according to their moods. Has no pronoun preference but will definitely notice if you only use one.
Poet. Carries themselves like a dog wildly running towards the light. Talks about foam, which Ghee thinks is a sort of essence.
Three small mammals in a trench coat; has some great ideas. Really into parts theory, probably because they're just three small mammals in a trench coat.
Table of Contents
I have found edges. Under a microscope they get fuzzy. Teasing bunny hair. A linear thing once so narrow and pointed now breathing. Fractal on a screensaver.
*Brian Eno’s Music For Airports plays in the background*
I understand. But I am sick. The world understands and reflects in the form of orange lungs and we are becoming generalists. Lots of little knowledge there something deep here.
I want to specialize in the healing potentiality of poiesis.
I want the brilliance.
I want the everconnected sociality and timelesness of bonds. I want the stardust. I want bloods of all colors. I want to recreate myself with ferns for legs and abalone for ears. I want to dream and wake and dream and wake until my brainskull can no longer distinguish between pancakes and skipping stones.
This, here, is an experiment in molding something much larger to come. In this, I am talking with things that are close to me, close to my heart. I suspect this relation to generate a magnetic field with the ability to beach submarines and pull drones to earth.
I am awaiting the first crash of a SpaceX satellite.
I am driving nails through baseball bats.
I suppose I’m seeking where theory can exist.
You know, if it exists in the (i)(n)(b)(e)(t)(w)(e)(e)(n).
Many people feel things they cannot explain but are being perceived by their mesh.
The brush with it all is kitten whisker.
Scene: Short Sands Beach (4.0 miles from Lighthouse)
There’s a wiggly figure emerging from ferns. One leg born from fronds and the other from the body of a redwood tree. Tattoos. A daisy chain, a twink cherub boy, a song title, a butterfly on their right foot, flowers, many flowers, a gift from Marsha P. Johnson.
Ghee is singing ...gospel...to the gay god Neptune...
“...There is a balm in Gilead...to make the wounded whole...there is a balm in Gilead...to heal the sin-sick soul...”
Fishes washed up on the sand, beached from white coral, already dead. Ghee mistakes them for gifts from Neptune. They have a special talent for seeing opportunity in death. They go to each, arms like noodles, opening the scaley mouth with a swiss army knife. Taking it upon themselves to remove the eyes and replace them with crystals.
For Weakfish, a hunk of aquamarine to ease their chaosmic spasms.*
For Lemon Soles, a rose quartz to help them love in heavenly estuaries.
For Starry Flounders, a citrine flake to aid them in the inevitable depression of immortality.
“...To make the wounded whooooooleeeee...”
* “Chaosmic spasm” is a term coined by Guattari to describe the relaxation of a spasm. Spasm, in this context, is understood as a fatal compulsory acceleration of an organism induced by the media semio-universe.
Eve & Ghee
Scene: The Manzanita Lighthouse (the hearth, 0.0 miles from nothing)
Ghee comes clinking and clonking through the swinging door. Platform boots make them six foot one.
Eve: Gheeeeeeeeeeeeee! Where have you been sweetheart?
Ghee takes a moment to recharge their breath. Breathing in like a eucalyptus tree and out like sizzling oil. The Lighthouse is the perfect place to let yourself do this. Silence is welcome here.
G: Mmmmmmm, Eevee, I’ve been all over today. I got sand in my boots and I found these fish eyes. I was thinking you could do something with them, make them into a book, like you do with everything else, like you did with my soul!
Eve: You’re the only one with a soul, Ghee. That’s why we love you.
G: We’ve all got souls, Eevee. I can feel it when I look at you. Like our souleyes meet and my feet feel like dancing!
Eve: I’m sorry G, but I don’t think we have an essence.
G: It’s not an essence, Eevee. It’s something woven into the body, like an iridescent threading. A lightning-like current pulsing through cells. It is felt as anxiety, as twitches, as nausea. It is not beautiful, it is a multi-dimensional ever-refracting energetic reaction. A silver-footed riptide. A fox doing the tango. A body of ----
Eve: --- Want some pickles, G?
G: Mhmm, yes please. Spears not slices?
Eve: Spears not slices.
Ghee & Jack
Scene: Mural of dogs playing poker (∞)
Jack is taking notes for his book. Butter yellow legal pad and silver bullet.
Ghee is a little suspicious of Jack, but they’ve felt like failure their entire life. Jack has argued that that’s a /very/ queer thing (to fail) so G takes comfort in this.
There’s a knockknock at the door of the Lighthouse. Ghee scrambles over, swinging the death mahogany fossil open and lowers their eyes.
Eyes locked on the taste of turkish delight spreads over their tongues.
Cuttle is floating three inches above the concrete.
Ghee: Cuttle, I missed you.
Levitating in a sealed hamster ball full of ocean (with a small plug to refill water and such).
Translucent ghost bodies swimming in tune with the inevitability of death. Ghee assumes the soundtrack is Bach’s cello suite no. 1 in G major.
Cuttle’s sides waterfall neon green, small flickering lights of pink and orange speckle. Ghee giggles and their cheeks burn a summerose hue. The brilliant pinks mirroring one another like two brothers panting, covered in mud, ants nipping their ankles. Ghee picks up the hamster ball to inspect the cracks sealed with hot glue.
Ghee: Let me know if you think it needs a touch up, ok Cuttle?
Jack (from across the bar): ..wildness raises the specter of death...this is nothing like the falcon...
Ghee looks over their shoulder and holds Cuttle close. Cuttle turns mellow with a few purpley stars. The stars contract, becoming big as the sun and dwindling to dust in a single slip.
G: hehe, I think we’re all dust, too!
Over and over an astroworld birth to a rhythm not unlike Bach’s cello suite no. 1 in G major. Ghee consults the key. Finger tracing hieroglyphics.
G: Cuttle, I understand that Jack is just interested, but like can he be interested in somebody else? To be put under a myopic eye day in and day out means I’m more likely to break out! We have been subjects of observation for as long as the mountains have been capped in an icy destiny! They have pinned fish like you to sterile observation tables! They’ve cut open your mother and prodded your live sisters! I can hear them all crying! Crying because of mascara! lotion! jellies! bath bombs! science!
Cuttle’s legs form an ‘X’ against the plastic capsule.
Ghee stops, three deep breaths.
They uncork the tiny bath plug of the hamster ball, touching Cuttle’s leg.
Ghee & alexis pauline gumbs
Scene: Lighthouse 3:33 pm
Enter alexis pauline gumbs.
She sits next to Ghee at the bar. Ghee is swimming in their earl grey tea and rubbing vetiver oil on their wrist.
G: Have you smelled vetiver before? It’s musky but also sweet and juicy like a ripe pear. I looked online and they say it’s made from grass.
alexis: vetiver? it’s grown in india, but its essence is made in the large chambered heart of a whale.
Ghee is interested. Their nose crunches and shoulders turn abruptly to the fresh face.
G: Nobody here but me believes in an essence.
Ghee moves ninety in their boots, not breaking eye contact.
Tiny beads of salt water strewn across a spider thread between them.
alexis regards Ghee with her left eye.
alexis: essences are more diverse than people believe. there are lineages but no linearity, there are kernels but no truths.
G: Yes, yes. It’s ALL about relation. There’s this thing, it’s called the mycelial network. It's a fungus that lives underground. It’s like telephone wire. I heard it can transmit the emotions of trees, an everconnected body of bark and dirt. Forests know when they are dying. They can hear their sisters scream.
alexis: there is a jellyfish that lives forever. becomes a polyp when it’s ready to die.
G: Gobies can change their sex back and forth.
alexis: there is a shark in the ocean that is over five hundred years old.
alexis: there is so much fascination in the world, ghee.
G: Things made from dust and turned into living magic. How do I harness it, alexis?
alexis: dig down star until you find the water. mine the water. mind the water. mine. the water waiting in you. dig down dream until you find the river. find the salted brackish liver, find the giver, find the gifts. find the guilt. find the rifts. running rivulets, the spit. the snot, the not willing to get. don’t forget. dig down star, until you find the ocean. mind the notion that it’s calm. find the potion, find the balm. my star dig down until tears come up. don’t get stuck inside your charm. these are my arms, your shaking lungs. this is the way. these broken rungs. stretch out your bones, starfish. become.*
Ghee is silent for several moments.
G: when I die, alexis, I’d like for the sea worms to eat me. I want rocks tied to my decaying body and I want to be thrown off a fisherman’s boat. No commercial lines. A small fisherman’s boat.
alexis pulls a small shell from her pocket and rolls it between her thumb and pointer finger. she puts it in her mouth.
alexis: that can be done.
* These are not my words. They are alexis’s and alexis’s only. You can read more of them in her book called dub (page 71).
Scene: Outside Lighthouse at dusk
*a scene of cuttle leaving the Lighthouse, rolling along the side of the highway to the beach*
*rolling down steps quick quick*
*@ the beach with small sandbar*
*pops open the corkplug of their plastic ball and the water drains only thing left salt*
*they emerge slick slimy slug looking thing*
*hide their plastic ball among the tidepool wiggle it between anemone friends*
*flop their body to the foamy mouth*
*in they go, bloop*
*to the thing we see as dark*
*to them a subworld of neon song*
Ghee & their Therapist(s)
Scene: Freud's couch (86.2 miles from Lighthouse via 26 East)
Therapist(s): Thank you for coming in today, Ghee.
Ghee: 'Course, yeah, couldn’t leave you hanging.
T: How was the week?
Fuddling through small basket full of tinks; palm meets snow.G: Oh you know, ups and downs. When I’m feeling this way I think of Cuttle bobbing through the ocean–-imagine living a life of real ups and downs! I was with a friend the other day and brought up that the Antarctic grows some seasons. I was told to Immediately! Stop! Talking! They didn’t want me looking like a climate change denier; they didn’t want to appear to be talking to a climate change denier.
T: The Antarctic grows?
G: Sometimes, and then it shrinks. And overall the ocean’s levels are rising. People don’t like nuance, especially if it’s impolite.
T: You don’t like being impolite?
G: No, it’s rude.
T moves in upholstery. Ghee observes three green auras revolving around T's body, which according to the internet is the signed of a committed nurturer with a natural inclination towards empathy. Fluorescence yields insight. They've never confronted their therapist about how they contain three. There's meant to be a healthy distance between researcher and subject. T: We, I mean, I was thinking of what you said the other week, that when you confronted your Adderall addiction, you stopped writing.
G: Yeah, I was a sinkhole. I had no choice but to stop if I wanted to face life with some sort of ~zest~ again, even if A was creating my own paper-based one. Once the little blue pills disappeared I was clipped from the source.
G hides two small ankle stubs that once contained wings, in the palm of their hand a refreshing whiteness saunters.T: In some ways, Adderall is the antithesis of dissociation.G: And dissociation is the antithesis of connection.
G: I’ve been thinking about my psychic framework, T, what my cerebral protector cloaks. What was that thing you said last week–-the Freudian baby complex?
T: Unity of duality; not truly a Freudian concept, but used in his work nonetheless.
G: Yeah, yeah that’s the one! So, unity of duality, right, it describes the synthesis of pleasure and connection as a tiny fetal crumb. You have everything you need–-nutrients, warmth, protection, a plug into the sweet pulse of nearly-there existence--soulful life unburdened by individuated confinement. It’s funny, when asked if I want kids I’ve always told people that I don’t want to give birth, but I wouldn’t mind being pregnant forever. Maybe it’s because I subconsciously recall the Venn diagram. I miss my cord; it’s the only memory I have of being mushroom. T: Being mushroom?
G: Mushrooms never experience life alone. I doubt they’d even conceive of [a][l][o][n][e] if we were to interview them! After birth, synthesis, extension, whatever, their bodies are indeterminate and free to be in ways unfathomable to someone with a cerebral dependency. Imagine having the will to grow a few XL limbs when faced with a tree-climbing challenge, T!
T: Do you like to climb trees, Ghee?
G: I did when I was a tot. I had a friend who owned a ranch–-lots of horses. We used to ride bareback, that's where I learned to respect wildness, allow it to steer. But, the trees. Once we climbed fifty feet up a pine to just sit in the silence. It’s quiet up there, besides the wind. It’s no wonder birds' ears are behind feathers.
T: I want to take us back, Ghee, to the unity.
G: Unity is the same as froth*, you know.T: I was wondering the same thing.
G: Or at least froth is the activation of unity, of all pleasure and connection swirling around this walnut and kissing heaven. I was thinking, T, of why I fear froth even though it’s a space of goodness. I was free (while) writing, you see, and followed Freud’s line of thinking just for the gag, and it brought me to a clearing–-the kind I’d stumble into while hiking around South Lake Tahoe in my youth. Deer eat in meadows in order to see predators and I, much like a deer, find comfort in being able to point and name the parts of me plotting my downfall.T: Or protecting you. *chirps the second aura inhabiting T's belly*
G: Yes, yes, or protecting me. But, the metaphor made too much sense to abandon. Therapy is not unlike a clearing, but I'm getting off topic. What I’m trying to say is that, despite froth’s unity-access and animation, it terrifies me because I was ripped from the womb. We were all sliced and made individual with the anticipation that our cord will come to a natural, yet abrupt and painful, end. Birth really is the worst come down.
T scribbles a few things in a notepad, quickly: "MOMMY COMPLEX
" in big bold letters, no doubt underlined. Ghee kicks on unphased by the slight perception, much different than their dislike of being observed by Jack.G: There’s more to be said of my childhood after that, but the kernel is this: we may experience froth momentarily, but we primarily exist in proxy, adjacent to, yearning for what we once felt in tummy linings. I strive to recreate this perfect unity of pleasure and connection, while subjecting myself to the anticipation of Crash. Many artists spend a lifetime at these junctures: pleasure, connection, anticipation, end, grief, pleasure, connection, anticipation, end, grief, pleasure. Of course, the politics of living run through these things, but there are motifs of experience that cannot be ignored by anyone fiddling to the trickster lightning of life.
T: You ended with pleasure.
G: I always hope to.
T looks intently at G, suspecting a rumble. Ghee retracts into a small pearly shell; snowmelt.T: Oh! Look at the time. Ghee, we'll have to pick this up next week.*
Froth can be understood as depathologized manic euphoria, which can be accessed through rigorous routine aimed at nourishing expansive creative connectivity. It's suspected that Froth sounds similar to the Earth's plasmasphere hiss
Nina & Marsha
These two are magnetic. They perform beautifully together. Nina’s voice can be like gravel and Marsha’s is like a pan flute. They sing each other songs. They talk about flowers and how to find joy. They talk about how, often, love and hate are the same thing and the illusory distinguishment between dreams and waking life.
Jack, Michel, & David
A mash up of theoretical inquiry. Pool as a research technology. Jack talks an awful lot about falconry and the desire for wildness. Michel and Daniel play footsie.
Saidiya & Ghee
Ghee is in love with Saidiya; not in a romantic way per say, but in the way that Ghee could slump over the bar stool for hours just listening to her talk. Like looking at an optical illusion, Saidiya is dynamic, brilliant, entertaining, patient, cool. She talks about things Ghee has never thought about, like storytelling as theory, archives, and interspecies family. Ghee takes meticulous notes. They wish they could offer something in return besides their undivided attention.
Ghee & CA Conrad
In this scene, Ghee & CA share their crystal collections with each other. They talk about being eco-queers and poets. How to see light fractals between tree branches. They talk about existentialism and mitigating violences. They talk about the role of the poet to reimagine the soulscape of the world.
CA Conrad & Jack
These two are quite fun together. They talk a lot about silly archives. CA shares their project where they document the sounds of extinct animals, explaining the absence of certain resonances affecting the electromagnetic world. Jack talks about children’s movies, and how they reveal inequitable systematics.
Foucault, Michel & Chomsky, Noam. (he/him) & (he/him). “On Human Nature.” Debate. Netherlands. November, 1971.
Halberstam, Jack. (he/him). “Jack Halberstam: Notes on Wildness (This is Not a Manifesto).” Lecture, Hemispheric Institute. Montreal, Quebec. June 22nd, 2014.
Hartman, Saidiya. (she/her). Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Riotous Black Girls, Troublesome Women, and Queer Radicals. 2019. W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.
Hartman, Saidiya & Jafa, Arthur. (she/her) & (he/him). “Saidiya Hartman and Arthur Jafa.” Conversation, Hammer Museum. Los Angeles, California. June 10, 2019.
pauline gumbs, alexis. (she/her). dub: finding ceremony. 2020. Duke University Press.
Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky. (she/her).Epistemology of the Closet. 1990. University of California Press, Ca.