March 11, 2011

Image by gwenflickr on Flickr.

I think everybody is the addict of their own drug. Its identity does not matter — for in addiction we’re all the same. We seek the pleasure that brings us pain, no matter at what price it comes. We spend our sanity looking for it. We lose our sanity using it. But for what use is sanity in a world without pleasure?

In our darkest hours we sit in corners deprived of light, lingering in the shadows, our souls consumed by hunger. That is pain. Looking out windows streaked by rain, we tell ourselves our addiction has gone too far, and that has to end. But walking away from pleasure is near impossible to do.

Especially so as we experience the ecstasy of our drug anew, and are reminded why we keep taking it. It’s because the pain is such a small price to pay for such immense pleasure. And that’s why we persist through the torturous pain — because the pleasure — however fleeting it may be — is what gives our lives meaning.

No-one but the addict may understand the appeal. But it is there, or there would not be such a thing as addiction.


March 9, 2011

Image by Khaalis on Flickr.

I am a prisoner, free to roam to my heart’s content, but tied down, stuck, unable to move. My body and spirit are clashing, battling. One day mind shall lose to matter.

I hope that day is far away, when I am reduced to nothing more than a whisper in the night, slowly fading as the sun rises to purge the forest of its secrets, when my flame is reduced to a fading trail of smoke, bound to be forgotten.


February 27, 2011

Modeling duck
Image by Zach Bonnell on Flickr.

It’s raining rivers and my street is a pond. A mallard is watching me from afar, through the curtain rain. I feel invisible, like glass. That stare; the bird isn’t blinking. It’s still. As if it knows all the secrets I hide.


February 26, 2011

Golden Tussilago

I found Tussilago by the water’s edge. All is well now, on the surface. The clock is ticking in the silence. I wonder if everything I do is wrong.

Beware the man of one book
Image by pyth0ns.

I did not start to think of myself as an amateur writer until a few years ago — shall I be honest, it is not more than two years ago, perhaps three. A friend remarked on a short story I described a picture with, that it would make the perfect beginning of a book. That, in addition to my friend being a writer, inspired me to follow her advice and turn the few lines into a book.

It proved hard, to not say impossible. I worked on and off on the plot for almost two years until deciding it was a hopeless case and that I should leave it and pursue other projects. And so I did; my next story currently growing one chapter at a time whenever inspiration strikes.

Yesterday, however, I remember the story I had abandoned and all but forgotten. I was on the train, riding through the most wonderful beech forests and rolling hills, when I all of a sudden realised that was the very kind of world my very first story was supposed to have been set in.

And, no sooner than I had thought that though, the main character of my forgotten story waltzed into my consciousness with pleading eyes, wondering why she had not heard from me in such a long time.

At that moment, I wondered the very same thing.

And the more I thought about it, the more I realised I am not over her story; I simply do not know how to handle it. In order for her story to be written a fair amount of research is due, but due to the nature of the story itself, I am unsure whether the final product will be worth the effort I would be required to invest in it.

It is food for thought, indeed!

I do have to admit, that I am one of those dreadful people who likes to see results. I do not undertake a project unless I know some success can be derived from it. If I spend hours and hours without end contemplating a story, and months painfully typing it down, I would like to one day see it being enjoyed by others; justifying my hard work.

My forgotten story is however not the kind of story I think would have any chance of ever reaching the hands of others, which brings me to the dilemma which made me abandon my character the first time around; I love her and her story, and I want everything I intended to happen to her to come true, but I don’t believe in the story per se.

It’s painful, to say the least!

But, I am curious, if any of you who read this are writers, have you ever been in the same situation which I have found myself in? How did you solve it? Is there a point in completing a story for personal satisfaction alone? Anything else that comes to mind? Or, do you think some stories are best left short, allowed to speak for themselves?

The Story:

A heavy book lies on a table, its cover says it is several centuries old.
As it is opened, it screams, blinded by the light its pages have been hidden from for so long.
A cloud of dust rises from the ancient pages, the old parchment fragile and dry.

From one of the pages, a face looks out on the world.
It is the drawing of a young woman, who studies the world with interest.
When she was shut inside the book for the last time, the world was so different from what it is now.
She wants to be part of it, but can not as the parchment she is drawn on is the only border she never will be able to cross.

Candy Coated
Image by jakevol2 on Flickr.

The entire day had been spent in front of the computer, that modern marvel that had replaced the versatility and charm of pen and paper with sterile pixels. Chemical formulae, mathematical equations and labelled compounds had each figured on the back-lit screen, each as important as disinteresting. Fundamental as the concepts were, they had failed to appeal to her curiosity and imagination.

Despite the occasional diversion, in the shape of more inspirational writings on evolution, individual thoughts, or general prose, she felt the day had been a waste. Surely, a lot had been accomplished–but nothing of value. The day could have been spent in countless more appealing ways: the map on her wall could have been coloured and life granted to her imagination’s continent at last, or its inhabitants could have been allowed to speak and contemplate–to come to terms with who they were and what their desires were.

The notes scattered before her–with their chemical compounds and skeletal formulae–tasted bitterly in her sight. It felt silly an entire future could depend upon something that so evidently was not for her. Having forgotten who she once had been, she had failed to savour the challenge. As long as she managed to rise with the earliest birds the following morning and travel for hours to attend an assessment a mere half-an-hour in length her efforts would not have been in vain. Beyond that, she found her mind preoccupied with other desires and dreams.

The indoor air had grown stuffy, the illumed room an isolated space outside which darkness already had fallen, the skies a fading blue as the sun dipped beyond the clouded horizon. Failing to mimic the splendour of the sun the street lights spilled copper onto the ground. In an instant the decision was made, and even before she had risen and collected her pink-lined coat from where it had spent the day; in the shadows of oblivion.

Exiting her little cavern of light–the home she once had feared she never would find–she wandered aimlessly into the evening, swallowed by the mild air and veiled by the murkiness. The atmosphere was perfect; cold enough to numb her senses, but without painfully nibbling her fingers and nose. No mists accompanied her breaths and her thoughts were clear–cleared, perhaps, for none swirled beyond her eyes.

Blackbirds sang in the rose and blackberry thickets the winter winds had stripped of their grandeur. Yet, symphonies were delivered from within their blackened expanse, the birds marvelling over the beauty of the evening. Their melodies reminded her of the songs she had savoured in another life; one lost, but never forgotten. That life had been lived in-between dusk and dawn upon the misty fields of mid summer. It had been an untroubled life, and as such, destined to never last beyond the span of summer itself.

Peculiarly, the birds spoke in a different tongue. She knew their vowels and the other-worldly sounds that emanated from their silken throats, yet, there was an element to their tune that was foreign; ethereal in the silver context. The many miles that separated her lives were evident in the accent of the avian musicians, so soft it was barely perceptible, its nature impossible to palpate. Still, despite their novelty, the sounds soothed her senses, the spring evening reminding her of those long-lost summer nights.

forgotten glasses

Potential is something that needs be realised in time in order for the world to thrive through the accomplishments of its inhabitants. Is the promise of certain improvement denied, ambition will falter and forgotten geniuses are all that remain.

Time is a relentless beast leaving nothing without scars as it passes by, casting its shadows upon what is below. As it circled me — before leaving me to be one more time, however promising to return — it shaved off a cloak of denial which I had draped myself in previously, and made me realise that what I currently study are studies studied a decade too late. To learn the characteristics of all the modern-day phyla in the animal kingdom now interests me little, despite the fact that I find zoology one of the most fascinating sciences.

Ten years ago, when I was ten, I would have treasured the opportunity as I then studied it all on my own, dreaming of the day when I had come of the age when university studies were to be allowed for me to indulge in. Had I been allowed to move at my own pace in my younger years, I would have made everyone proud – because my passion would have rendered me unable to disappoint. When I now study the course a decade too late, I have moved yet further forward, being unable to remain still and await the time of mine which never comes.

What would have meant everything to me oh so many years ago I now find rather mundane, my ambition having been allowed to go to waste because it was before its time. What does it matter is a ten-year old is allowed to go to university as long as they enjoy – and is good at – what they do? Talents differ and everyone should be allowed to realise their own potential when the time is right. Such people as my younger self should be supported and valued instead of being neglected and forgotten. Instead of creating geniuses one then ends up with people such as myself — geniuses forgotten.

Two days ago I attended a lecture on the topic of human evolution. I have been fascinated by humans and their nature for about five years now, and that is well enough time for someone to learn most of what there is to know, rendering lectures such as the one two days ago rather pointless. Though it was designed to invoke a sense of awe in its listeners it failed to affect me to any mentionable extent. It is not because I found the subject topic boring, but simply because I am past that stage; I am a listener no more, I am a doer; I wish to be the person holding the lecture for I feel that there are so many more things which also could have been said!

My childhood self — the person I now would need to be — wanted to work in, or own, a very special museum because that was where I believed scientists and ponderers perched, wandering through never-ending hallways where every zoological wonder in the world was stuffed and placed in cabinets to which only the most accomplished had access. I was truly mesmerised by the thought and its implications for my future life. I believed it to be paradise and my greatest desire was at that time to gain access to the winding hallways I sincerely believed ran throughout the entire museum; passageways I then was not allowed to enter. But one day when I had grown older and more accomplished I would. And I could not wait.

I have not visited that museum for over a year now, despite me passing it by every day. It is located just outside the university campus and I have to pass by outside its archives in order to reach my home. The last time I went there I became gravely disappointed, for despite I then knew that the paradise did not exist there in the form my imagination had suggested, I on that day realised that it was true; that I never would find happiness there. My reason for being there over a year ago was because I wanted to see their latest exhibit “The Human Journey” that had been praised in every review as the exhibition to visit was one interested in human evolution.

But when I ventured there I became disappointed – not in the exhibit – but in myself for having once more succumbed to the allure of the dream of a paradise for people such as me: the exhibit was not aimed at people such as myself; its target group were the others, the ones who did not mind if some things were wrong. Pressing my nose against the glass, as if I wished it to be a force field camouflaging a portal that would remove me from the confined space where I stood, I sighed and asked myself why the models of the pre-humans looked the way they did with fair skin — although with dark hair — despite living on the African savannah where such lack of pigmentation would have meant certain death.

But no-one was there to listen, for I yet have to accomplish enough to gain access to the winding hallways of zoological wonders that I know are out there in the world somewhere. All that was there was a fair-haired model of a pre-human that stared without blinking at me where I stood. I turned around and left, and I yet have to set foot in my childhood self’s paradise again.

What saddens me most — however — is that I know I am not the only forgotten genius in this world. Until it has been realised that not everyone is one and the same, the amount of people stunted in their intellectual development will be innumerable; and it is all at the world’s loss.

Tell me, do you ever feel like a forgotten genius at times?