Title: At the Bottom of the Stairs
Subtext: At the end of the book.
Date: 03 Oct 14 (Friday in the PM)
Time: 1 minute
Replies: 4
Revisions: 10
Publicity: Superfeed
Visual: View
Visual: View

Picturesque college campus, circa 1963. In the main library, up a spiral staircase to the third floor. Quiet.

A young professor looks down. He thinks he sees something and squints. The carpet, a standard institutional mash of greys – it appears gelatinous.


The fellow takes steps closer, but slips near the bottom of the stairs and falls through the ground by a water-like layer of escape. He lands in Borges’ Library of Babel and recognizes it immediately. Weird Fishes/Arpeggi plays firmly and presently overhead.

Without second thought he begins looking for the biographies. He turns for a sign that informs him, among other things, that biographies are so many exponential light years in the direction of an arrow. He pushes a slowly flashing button marked WARP and a woman’s voice asks, “To where?”


“With error or without error?”

“Without error.”

“Complete or incomplete?”


The gentleman is deatomized and delivered in digital packets to the complete biographies without error where he is reatomized, having the sense that only a few moments have passed.

He walks from room to room for years and years hearing only Weird Fishes/Arpeggi, surviving on the will to know and the essentials allocated to a wall in each. Finally he approaches the room he seeks, slowing into a glide. He stops at his destination and takes a conscious breath – a wall of biographies. He scans their bindings down to the detail, finds his, and turns to the last page.


Elk » Authorship
Elk » 10:54 PM 18 Apr 18
Elk » 11:08 AM 14 Aug 17
Elk » 8:03 PM 27 Jan 16
Elk » 6:53 AM 11 Nov 15
Elk » 9:16 PM 07 Nov 15
Elk » 5:18 PM 23 Jan 15
Elk » 11:29 AM 09 Oct 14
Elk » 11:14 AM 09 Oct 14
Elk » 7:16 AM 04 Oct 14


There's no difference between the 10:54 PM 18 Apr 18 version of this piece and the latest version of it. It's possible that this represents mere publication by an editor, or that only metadata was changed, or that another nonsubstantive edit was made.

The Thread (4)

 Author's voice in grey. 

  1. Now we’re getting somewhere.

  2. Fun stuff.

  3. Multimodal.

    This reminds me of a discussion following some other vignette. Which one? It was about the role that space/blankness plays in narration or describing. Maybe we discussed an author’s attempt to create that effect. Maybe I had that discussion in my head. Or maybe I wrote a reply to that effect and then deleted it. Maybe I wrote it and no one responded. What’s the difference?

    I’m thinking about visual art that plays with perception in this way. Music too.

  4. How might a written piece have sfumato?

New Reply

Rooster Land
Verses & Vignettes &c.


It has been 2028 days since Rooster Land congealed online.

Nota Bene

"Sure, it’s simple, writing for kids. Just as simple as bringing them up." – Ursula K. Le Guin