For my digital artifact I choose to write a short story. I got the idea from the professor:
Write a short story or short film treatment in which everyone is a journalist, or poet, or short story writer. Everyone, from kids to seniors and beyond. Posting and commenting, and analysis and deliberation are the actions of the day. Utopia? Distopia? No change?
The story started with a simple idea–a world where everyone writes/blogs. I then began to think of ways to attack this. I immediately thought that this type of world would never exist unless a law was enforced to do just that. I have never written a short story before so it is likely pretty average. I had to make it entertaining, readable and applicable. I did my best.
This is a futuristic action/drama about a man, who by law is forced to blog every day of his life. He makes the conscious decision to cease his blogging and fleas. I tried to make it easy enough to understand while making it complex enough to stand as my crowning achievement (ha!).
don’t stop blogging.
a short story by Jack Tuthill
Where am I? How did I get here? It appears I am in some sort of cellar. The smell; the damp floor; the chipped paint. It’s dark, but I can see enough to make out these details. It reminds me of the one I spent time in at our old farm as a kid. I am bound and gagged. Maybe I can slip through the handcuffs. Negative. I may not remember how I got here, but I can certainly think of a few possibilities.
I have been news blogging since I was four. It’s law now. Once you turn four years old you are given a choice. A simple choice—what kind of writer do you want to be? A journalist? A blogger? A news blogger? A novelist? A poet? A film writer? There are others, and it has to be your choice. I barely remember picking one; it must have been at random. Our textbooks illustrate that human beings have been writing every day for over three hundred years, ever since the war. It is supposed to bring peace, safety and equilibrium to us all. Our ancestors deemed it necessary to our survival.
After beginning my news blogging profession, at the age of five, I slowly became aware of the dangers that come with the job. People disappear. A lot. It’s common knowledge that they must have ceased writing, which is punishable by death according to law. Where must they go? What happens to them? I suppose they end up here; in this dank cellar. I now know I will never leave this place.
My best friend Gerald hinted one day that he quit writing his latest book, The Dying Breed, and that he was “on the run.” We bumped into each other outside a coffee shop, and I thought he was making a mockery of me. He told me that we are prisoners; that people don’t have to write, it should be a choice. He was perspiring, hysterical and quite loony. I didn’t listen to him, but his remarks stuck with me.
That was the last time I saw Gerald; he “disappeared” soon after that, I saw it on the news. Maybe he made it to the other side—across the great sea. It can’t be easy to escape from an island, but why would you want to? There’s nothing out there. No food, no people, no housing. It was all scorched away during the war. We’ve all seen pictures, videos, and outdated blog posts that showcase the mass destruction.
The war began after a controversial book by Alex Burns started a peaceful revolution. Burns’ book led a wave of extreme bloggers, writers, journalists who called themselves Produsers. They exposed governments, officials, dictators, warlords—the kind of people you don’t want to piss off. These people fired back at the Produsers with deadly force and it started a worldwide nuclear war. Our island made it through better than most. Maybe we were forgotten. We lost touch with the outside world many, many years ago. All this information is a little fuzzy because I haven’t read about the early years since I was a boy. Long story short: we must now document, write, blog about nearly everything we see on a given day. It keeps us informed, safe, aware, and busy.
With everyone writing in one way, shape or form, our little world in always informed. There is practically no violence; drugs don’t exist anymore (which I have never seen, but we are told they once ruined societies); people are disciplined and work with each other and for each other. But this little world we now coexist in is chaotic. Constant movement. Information overload. The government likes to pretend they do not dictate us, but they do and we know it.
If there is a vehicle accident, someone is there to help instantly because everyone is required to blog and follow each other. We are given alerts when something needs our attention. So, when an accident takes place on 5th and Westing, the local residents are alerted to exit their buildings and help in any way. Ambulances will be alerted within seconds.
Blogging can now be done with our mind, so it is quick. All you need to do is start your blog by pressing your “button” and your blog will appear right before you. No more “typing,” just thoughts. If you want the word “exasperated,” you think it and it appears before you. How is this possible? Micro-chips. They implant chips in the back of our heads. They do not seem to be harmful.
I’m starting to remember how I got here. I will start from the beginning though. Two days ago I didn’t blog for the first time in my life. Or is it three days? I’m not sure how long I have been in here. Missing your daily posts itself isn’t all that rare. People occasionally get sick, have other things to attend to, and so on. But you will get warned of your discrepancy, as I was.
I was on my daily stroll through Yorkshire. Everywhere I went I saw people posting. A mother and her small child, possibly five or six, writing in the park together. An elderly couple interviewing residents about the extreme heat. A band of young boys who all write books together about their “adventures.” It’s insanity, I see that now. I should probably mention that everyone has two jobs. I am a news blogger and a dentist. That’s where I was headed then—to my practice. Some people are traders, actors, mechanics, teachers, etc. These are given to us, not by choice. With all the literature we have at our disposal it is easy to learn a second job. Dentistry was hard at first, but has become easier than I could have ever imagined.
I never made it to work. I was knocked unconscious by a vagrant in an alley. I haven’t seen a vagrant in years. Where did he come from? Vagrants usually “disappear” after being reported. I was robbed and woke with a horrible migraine. My blood created a circular pool on the pavement. How did nobody see this random act of violence? Why did I take this alley? I never do.
I went straight home from there, watched some tele, and dozed off. I was probably concussed. The next day, two men were at my door alerting me that I missed my post yesterday—I had 24 hours to get back on schedule. Something like that. I pleaded my case but they had other business to attend to.
I don’t know why I did what I did; maybe it was the never-ending headache, who knows, but I packed a bag and headed for the east coast that afternoon. The east coast was symbolic for “freedom.” There were always rumors about people finding refuge from writing out here. Some say they made it across the sea to the next world. My life had become mind-numbing chaos, so I split. I often wondered if Gerald started a life out here, even after the news claimed he “disappeared.”
I made it to the coast that night. Where do I go from here? I decided to sleep on it. The next morning I awoke to two officers approaching my car. This isn’t good, I thought. They quickly smashed the driver’s side window and grabbed me. I somehow managed to slip my hand into the officer’s holster, grabbed his pistol and shot up towards his head. The man fell to the earth. I killed a man. The other man was in shock and I managed to shoot him in the shoulder. He eventually attacked me, and tried to choke the life out of me after knocking the gun out of my hand. He almost succeeded.
Now here I am in this cellar. Could this be a dream?
A door opens and a light blinds me. A tall, dark man enters. The pain in my head and my neck has me wishing for death. I can tell he doesn’t like his second profession. There is a lot of pain behind his eyes; he’s likely assassinated hundreds of escapees. His left hand lifts. He is armed. He slowly pulls back the hammer. I peer at the floor; blood and sweat dripping onto my lap. I think of my wife, who “disappeared” five years ago. Claire. Finally we will be together again. A smile finds its way onto my face.