Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Mirror of Mauve Arcs
by Mark Billings,
GAIT Publishing

The subtitle of this zine is "a guidebook for unlocking Earth's Unknown History" and seems to identify as a work to be filed under "Alchemy/Time travel/Meta-history/Anthropology". So already, this looks to be a pretty ambitious undertaking. 
Is it successful? I'm not sure.
I'm pretty certain that these writings aren't intended as a "how-to guide." Rather, it may be that the actual reading of them is intended to open up areas of consciousness in one's mind that allow the aforementioned nifty mystical things to happen.
But does it work? Again: I don't know.
back cover
I do know that this small zine of seemingly-connected short stories doesn't lend itself to "skimming," or half-conscious reading. I had to put some serious effort into this. The writings are divided into "partitions," and the first several read like outsider poetry; perhaps a creation myth filtered disjointedly from raw experience right into English. There's an extreme economy of syntax, some of which may be experimenting with the use of E-Prime language. There are also many things that seem like misspellings or poor grammar that actually evoke other meanings when considered carefully. New words pop up throughout ("It was in a simulgramatic form"). I thought a reference to "daaley incense" was a misspelling until I encountered other references to "daaley leaves" & such, but still never determined what it was about. Other words, like spurynayil, tendlnsc and frinaly are anyone's guess.
Later in the book, the narrative & dialogue becomes more coherent, though the connection between stories remains obscured. Perhaps that's the most important part of this work; that which is implied by its absence. The final story ends abruptly, as if the last sentence were cut off or a page were missing. And as with so much about these writings, I'm not sure if this is intentional- but I think so.
It could be a slow-burn sort of magic. I'd like to pull these writings out 20 years from now & see how they affect me then.

Reading this, I kept thinking of experiences people report from taking DMT. There's lots of lush symbolic imagery, seemingly shamanic in nature, that seems to be coming from a similar place as Castenada's Don Juan stories, though the language is far more distilled in the zine. The visual language of Jodorowsky's mystical films might also be a good comparison.
Visually, the zine itself is pretty austere. It's almost all text, of a fairly small and skinny font, which marks from dirty photocopiers can make more difficult to read. There are a few primitive drawings throughout, attempting to illustrate certain concepts in the stories. With these, it helps to keep in mind that nothing is merely decorative. The only color is two small overlapping blue & red dots placed at the center edge of each page, all of which are very unevenly cut. It made me think of a reference to 3D glasses. The only other clue I have to this is 2 lines from the zine itself:

"Turn this inside out. Blood is blue inside and red outside."
(under this were two triangles, one pointing up and another inversed.)

Like I said, nothing in this zine is merely decorative. It was when I started to realize the very focused, unadorned attempt to communicate with which Mark Billings created this zine that I began to get intrigued and drawn in by the work. It placed the zine into another category for me, beyond the "random psychedelic gobbledygook poetry" that I might have otherwise dismissed it as.
Well, that, and one other thing:
I am fortunate to actually know Mark from the various times he's lived in ABQ, organizing music events, meditation sessions & flea markets. A very gentle, friendly guy; a world traveller who also makes some great psychoactive guitar noise/drone under the moniker Yellow Crystal Star. "Dude seems like he's permanently on mushrooms" is the usual glib assessment people make, and Mark definitely seems like someone who's had a glimpse of some alien realities. Trying to communicate those experiences to people trapped in the mundane, 3-dimensional world has got to be frustrating, though. I know I've had a couple of perplexing conversations with him. I respect the hell out of any attempt to communicate something beyond Consensus Reality, though. In fact, I think it's essential for our survival as a species. I don't know if Mark's really accessing the Akashic records, or if reading this zine will give you Time Travel skills, but I'm really glad it exists. If you're interested in checking out this zine yourself, contact Price is negotiable, trades welcome, give what you can.
As Mirror of Mauve Arcs states at the beginning: "all text is fictitious and all text is nonfictitious and all text is possible".
Well said.
My copy came with a really cool sticker.