I interview him in his house. It's a cramped space, and made even more so by the hundreds of books, film reels, newspapers, and magazines scattered around it. They adorn dressers and tables, every available space, piled hundreds high at places. The house he won in a game of Stehm.
He's eighty three. He lives alone since his wife passed away. His days are filled with reading, designing, and carefully arranging setpieces. Though most people haven't heard of him, those that have agree that he's one of the masters, and he bears the scars to prove it, including a missing arm.
I first became interested in the process when I was a boy. That's not surprising I guess. If you don't start young, you tend not to get anywhere in this business. It all started because one of my neighbors was a processor. My father hated it, tried to keep us from talking, but he wouldn't tell me why. All I knew was that for some reason, I had been forbidden from seeing this man, which meant I had to see him. So one day I faked sick, and when my father was at work, I climbed over the fence to see what all the fuss was about.
I can't describe exactly what I saw then, even now. Everyone's version of the process is different. He motions towards the various literature scattered around the house. He was hunched over a workbench trying fit together these two glowing white and pink spheres. They were just fauxtoms of course, but to a seven year old it seemed like magic. He didn't notice me, just kept on working. He would fit two spheres together into a larger sphere, set it aside, pick up two new spheres and start again. Eventually he ran out of the small spheres and began putting the larger spheres together. And there were close to a thousand spheres, so this took a while. I didn't move or make a noise the whole time. I just stood in the bushes and stared. I didn't know what else to do. Finally I got up the nerve to ask what he was doing. Gave him quite a shock. He whirled around and accidentally hit his head on the top of the workbench.
After I fetched him some ice he started to explain the process. I can honestly saying being there with him, having the process explained to me for the first time is one of the greatest memories of my life. I was with him for something like two hours, just listening, until my dad finally found me. He was furious of course. Grounded me for a month, but I didn't care. I knew I had found my calling. I knew I wasn't going to stop at anything before I mastered the process. Every processor I've met has said something similar. It's how you know if you're cut out for the work. Being a processor… it's not something you can half-ass, if you'll excuse my language. You need to devote yourself fully to the work. I must have spent somewhere between five and seven hours a day, six days a week working on the process. That's the kind of dedication you need. Come, I want to show you something.
At this point, we move to the shed in his backyard. Unlike the house, the shed is kept in perfect condition. It looks small from the outside, but inside it's massive, the size of an Elfazt tank at least. Like the house it's filled with clutter, but rather than inspirational materials there are building blocks. Massive tanks with fauxtoms of hundreds of colors, binding chords, bits of twisted metal and half finished projects. He tells me to wait, then goes to the back. He returns holding a small black cube, and I shiver in anticipation as I realize what's about to happen. He places it on a nearby table, and I take a seat. He explains that this is a piece he made years ago, and chose not to release to the public. He wishes to continue the interview inside it.
The hum of fauxtoms pulsing in unison begins to fill the room. Already I can feel my mind shifting, coming into tune with the minute physical differences of the world I'm about to enter. As Burnsbury speaks, my vision begins to peel away, revealing the world inside the cube.
The first thing that strikes me is the coloration he chose. It's almost entirely black and white, except for a few blue accents, a radical change from his previous, almost garish work. I'm standing in the middle of an empty street lined by identical houses on each side. The street doesn't go anywhere: a hundred feet in front of and behind me it ends, blocked off by a house.
I begin walking towards the house in front of me, a massive blue monstrosity that seems constructed from bits and pieces of a thousand others. Rooms extend past the borders set by the walls. The windows, each a different shape and size, are unaligned with one another. Doors are placed several feet above the ground. The roof is like a mountaintop, spiking up and down to form jagged teeth. From behind the house, I can hear a child crying.
I try to go around to investigate, but am blocked by a massive brick wall stretching as far back as I can see. A similar wall greets me on the other side. I try to open a door or window, but they're all locked. A voice comes from behind me, and I turn to see Burnsbury.
This was the first pieces I created completely on my own, using tools provided by my neighbor. As you can see, it's the type of “game” world I'm always railing against nowadays. I was a rather stupid child, who didn't grasp the intricacies for a long time. The coloring isn't a specific choice. I only had black, white, and blue fauxtoms at hand, so I had to make do. As you can see, I didn't do a very good job of it. All in all, the piece took almost six months to complete, working at least five hours a day. Without my neighbor's guidance, I never would have been able to create this. Everything I know comes from his teaching.
Since then, I've worked with a single goal in mind: I want to help other children through the path of becoming a processor. Think of how many people there are who, like me, felt intense passion for the process, but unlike me never had an appropriate teacher. Children who are too poor to afford materials. Children who must blindly stumble through the process and give up in frustration because they think the fault is with their own skill. I want to help these children. There are official schools for teaching the process, yes, but they are unaffordable to all but the most wealthy.
For the past five years I've been working on creating an institute that acts as an alternative, created with the dream that one day, one won't have to rely on luck of birth to become a processor. It will be focused on three things: Providing materials to those who can't afford them, providing instruction, and giving unknown processors a place to showcase their work.
Consider this: There are currently only 34 active processors, by which I mean ones producing publicly available work. It takes approximately one and a half years working 40 hours a week in order to create a full world. Even if somebody could find a processor to teach them, the chance that there would actually be time is incredibly slim. When I create this institute, me and three of my colleagues plan to retire to focus on teaching full time. We'll be teaching a four year course for people between the ages of seven and sixteen, designed to give a full understanding of the concepts of processing from the ground up. We'll have to start small, with less than a hundred students, but I hope we'll expand quickly. Tuition will be free, paid for by donations from various other institutes that I can't reveal at this time.
Processing is a powerful art Mr. Wildane, with which we can achieve more than we'd ever hoped for. In my opinion, the world creation us processors partake in is only one small piece of what we could actually achieve. Think of what the world would be like with hundreds, even thousands of minds working to achieve the impossible. People like to say the process is the art of God. I say, then why not give everyone a chance to be God? Our world will certainly be better off for it.