On July 9, 2022, “The Dream Machine” was featured during a live broadcast called “Authortube After Dark” (on Youtube). The podcast’s host, Katie @YearOfTheAuthor, is a professional editor who accepts open submissions to the show for live critiques, which could be the first chapter of a novel as well as flash fiction.
Accompanied by her co-host Ian Kirkpatrick, who read the piece aloud during the show, the pair exchanged constructive commentary as well as developmental insights, while the audience chimed in with quips and engaging banter. Authortube After Dark gave me a chance to interact with the hosts while receiving feedback on my work. The laidback atmosphere was lighthearted and fun, but also offered an invaluable experience for an independent writer.
"Manifesto of an Antihero"
A Vignette by Jonathan Rossignol
I am not doing anything to people that they aren’t already doing to themselves. They ignore their problems until those issues become too much for them to handle. The difference is that they expect other people to shoulder those burdens that were brought about through their own complacency. To rely upon the kindness of strangers, when one has two legs with which to stand on, is to take human compassion for granted. This blatant act of hypocrisy begets the opposite of what the act of compassion is meant to do. How am I to find compassion in people who see no issue with the idea of eating me alive just because they’re afraid to die?
I do not hate the hero, because at least he would die with honor. However, I’ll never understand why the hero sacrifices so much for shameless parasites that would rather watch the life drain from his eyes, than have to suffer a single inconvenience in their own lives. What good is a man of his word, when he is willing to honor such treachery?
I am called a villain, because I can’t be bothered to fix other people’s problems, and expect that individuals will take responsibility for the burdens that they themselves create. I always imagined that a villain would be someone who either wishes ill-will or forces their burdens upon others in order to benefit off their blood, sweat, and toil. I do not wish to force my burdens upon any individual, but I also have no respect for any individual who wishes ill-will to be enforced upon me. How could I respect myself if I were to venerate such villainy?
I do not wish to be anybody’s hero. A hero is someone who goes around saving strangers with no sensible rhyme or reason except to stroke their own ego at the expense of their humanity. People believing in the idea that self-deprecation can lead to salvation has consistently throughout history proven to be of greater negative impact, upon the long run of civilization, than any villain of society has ever hoped to achieve through heinous acts, alone. Isn’t the road to hell paved with good intentions?
I am someone who minds his own business, as I believe my business is my responsibility and no else’s to consider. I have compassion, but my compassion does not extend beyond certain values. It’s because of my willingness to uphold certain values that I‘ve been able to continue my existence in a world where everything that once had value to me, continues to depreciate. All value originates from thy self, and all value begins within thy self. If I appreciate myself then I become a vessel of inherent value. I then have the ability to appreciate anything or anyone, but I’ll be damned if I ever denigrate myself to become someone’s hero. What kind of an example would I be setting?
I’m not in the business of saving people, but if people pay attention then they might learn how to “save” themselves (if “saving” is what they believe they need). Individuals can appreciate themselves and learn how to work among others, like themselves, in order to create strong communities built upon shared values. I do not wish to sacrifice my values so that I may become a “hero” for strangers that do not appreciate their environment and loathe themselves as individuals. Their hearts are bitter, their minds are destructive, and they harbor wicked spirits inside their restless souls; that is not what I wish to appreciate (or increase the value of) through acts of so called “compassion”. I suppose the longer my lot refuses to be heroes for the self-entitled, it’ll only be a matter of time before they all gang up and turn us into martyrs one by one. What’s the difference between a hero and a martyr in the end time?
©2022 Live Free Live Rich Entertainment
“I’ll just get her warmed up for us.”
Imagine how it would feel to have plenty of wealth, fame, and the adoration of a significant other, but be completely incapable of feeling anything at all. For Beatrice Langley, that’s all a day in the life of a renowned artist who suddenly finds herself uninspired by drug fueled benders and her boyfriend’s sexual escapades. That is, until Beatrice remembers the feeling she got when she encountered that mysterious stranger at the Neon Dream nightclub. She becomes obsessed with him. She becomes possessed by the idea that she would do anything to capture that feeling again, even if it means losing touch with reality. Beatrice will discover the price she must pay in order to feel some type of way, in “Strange Flesh”.
“We were leather and wind.”
A traumatizing run-in with some Demons leaves four men dead and lands Michelle behind bars for manslaughter. After breaking the bank trying to appeal, Michelle realizes that there is no such thing as getting out of jail free. Then one day she is visited by a lawyer who represents a local motorcycle club, and he offers her a chance at freedom… except there’s a caveat. She will have to restart her life working for the club president. All seems well and fine until events surrounding the club begin to remind Michelle of the demons from her past, as several members of the gang try to protect her from those who seek to exact revenge for what happened. Between working for the club and trying to stay out of harm's way, Michelle struggles to regain her sense of self and fit in among the crew of outlaws, as she pieces together the intentions of those closest to her. There’s Walt, the club president, Indy, the cocky daredevil type, and Ice, a killer with an even keel who maintains a cool demeanor in face of danger.