In the Toque of Madness: nightmarket paintover experiment_01


paintover nightmarket_01

Paintover of a digital photograph.

I was working on the colours for our current project, working title, In the Toque of Madness. The first scene, as we’ve drafted it, takes place in the night market. So of course, we went to our local night market with a dear friend of ours who happens to be a fine photographer. She provided us with a slew of reference photos which I’m already finding useful.

Go visit her. She’s a dear, and she’s a good eye behind a camera.

I thought I’d play around with one of her photographs, a blurry one, to see if I could get a nifty stylistic thing going with my paint tools. I’m trying to emulate what my monotypes and monoprints look like, with the sort of heavy,  brushed strokes and thick blacks. I dunno if I’ll revisit this, but I’d like to use different styles and looks to evoke different moods in this story, so something like this might be on the table for certain scenes.


Neil’s Bookshelf

experiment, fiction, scene, writing

He thumbs through books he’s read a dozen times…

There aren’t many books on his shelf; once he’s done reading, he only keeps the ones with parts that stick in his head and give him the impression he’d be worse off forgetting. He’s fond of old, heavy books based in history and off-the-wall speculations on what most would consider pseudo-history.

A Collection of Twelfth Century Vrellenie Poems (translated by Stanley Fish)

The Maiden Voyage of the Amalthea (and the curious events that followed) by Verosa Ribbons

The Ruins of Alkhaven Roads

The Dictionary

The Amphigorvian Railway

There are others.

There is also a noisy metal box of the sort used to hold paper and coin currency, with a little locking latch. The box sits on the bottom shelf, pressed against the left hand side of the bookshelf. The sticker on top, peeled from the front of a cigarette packet, reads

Tobacco and Prose.

It matches the label of the little box perched atop the bookshelf. A single pale cigarette peeks out of the opened top.

The Green Grocer’s

class portfolio, experiment, fiction, scene, writing

At the grocer’s, Neil tries to remember which sort of fruit is meant to elevate his endorphin receptors. He’s uncertain of what that means, but the language of the doctor’s office has taken root in his brain. He’s drawn to the familiar tart green apples, but knows it’ll take something more exotic to trick him into feeling better. He palpates a large pink fruit, fat and shiny.

It twitches and emits a cloud of spicy spores. He drops it back into the basket, where it wheezes out another peppery puff of spores and deflates somewhat. Neil sneezes into his elbow. Decides to let it go.

He takes his groceries (coffee, apples, spinach, milk) to the counter. As the girl packs them into his bag, the Condition reaches out from under his raincoat, reaches towards the rows of cigarette boxes. Her eyes go big. Neil  grabs the tentacle with both hands, bends it around his elbow, twists until he hears it hiss. He lets it go. Like the slapped hand of a child it retreats under his coat. In the ensuing silence, Neil clears his throat and points towards a pack of his brand.

“Those too, please.”

Neil’s workplace

experiment, fiction

Neil makes his living in the warehouses used for storage of filters, chemicals, canisters, and cleaning supplies by the proprietors of the Clean Air Project. He transports and organizes crates, canisters, and cargo containers, maintains a record of their location and condition, ensures that safety procedures regarding containment and contamination, and regarding human activity, are followed according to government standards, and believes that his entire paid occupation could be adequately summarized by stating that he “moves stuff around.” He is of the opinion that there are more interesting things to discuss.

It has been a rough week.


experiment, fiction, in-world, writing

The fruit in question is a somche, a sort of hybrid between a fruiting fungal growth encased in the thick rind of a somsin fruit.

The spores have a mild, sweet, peppery flavour, and are used in seasoning. The fungus-impregnated flesh is moist and meaty. Cooked properly, wrapped in somsin leaves to prevent the expulsion of spores, the mature somche is said to be among the most healthy and invigorating foodstuffs available.

It is unique in fungus-impregnated simple fruits for having been officially declared, by a host of culinary experts, botanists, and epicurean scientists across the known territories, as “objectively delicious.”

It is high in potassium, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, and tryptophan. Because of its pleasant flavour and nutritional value, it is considered a Good Food. For those same reasons, five years from the time of writing, somche will be the subject of an immense foodie trend, which will lead to increased demand, an absurd leap in price that will make it difficult to obtain by its own growers, and the release of many statements by agriculturists and food scientists alike that could be generalized to read,

“”Honestly. You people. It’s a fungus-impregnated simple fruit, not a miracle cure-all. Leave some for the natives and get more exercise. You want a revolutionary nutritional law to live by? Everything in moderation.”

If Neil knew this, he would feel somewhat superior for passing it up. Given what we now know of the somche’s virtues, however, we can see that Neil’s ill-informed decision cost him a delicious meal that would have been a perfect pick-me-up after a rough week.