Bah Zombbug!

First off, this is an exceedingly random post, filled with ‘Shaneish’ (Metaphors, sayings, quotes, and words of my own making.) So, it might not be entirely sensible. But, I like the occasional random post. They are most amusing for me, and perhaps just a little strange for you.

Every so often you go along, trying to make sense of something and you come across a little thing, something small, but it is enough to completely alter the entire thing you were trying to make sense of.

I have questions lots of questions, most my questions pertain to what it is that the human being actually is, I am one, naturally, I should be curious about it.

I enjoy learning, but am too easily convinced. As a result, I am often wrong, and am wholeheartedly wrong. Whether we speak of philosophies or where a comma should go in a sentence. When I’m wrong it tends it is something I use passionately.

However, one of the most enlightening years of my life was the year I made the assumption that whatever I was doing, was wrong. I don’t mean like morally wrong, or condemning, but simply incorrect. I could not believe the number of assumptions and prejudices that were revealed as a result of this experiment. It was, altogether speaking, a very productive year.

And what started it? I wasn’t always a fan of the Fantasy genre. In fact, I distinctly remember, for years, not only not liking, now get ready for it, The Lord of the Rings, but actually being venomously against it. I still lament the poor souls I used to argue with about it, I get it now. I never thought within two years after one watching of the Fellowship of the Ring, I’d not only be a passionate fan of the Lord of the Rings, but just about any other Fantasy book I could get my hands on. Within the same year, I also discovered another book series, slightly more questioned in the community I was in at the time, called Harry Potter. Lovely book series. Well, for a man who argued venomously against the Lord of the Rings, you can imagine what I had been like against Harry Potter, as much as it might seem, I was not living off on some deserted island, separated from the rest of society, I had heard of Harry Potter. Many people have heard the horror stories about people who would be rather venomous about them. That would probably have been my crowd, until I actually took the time to read them. And while folks like I would have been, might shake their heads lamenting that that Gandalf (I mean, just look at that pointy hat of his, and that, that staff! It’s outrageous!) and that little ‘arry ‘otter caused another poor soul to go a’tumblin into trouble again; Yes, I acknowledge things can always go the wrong way, not all concern is invalid just because I find it to have been mistaken in my own case, I have seen people foolishly go far outside what is wise by interpretations and misinterpretations of literature.  However, for me, I found delight and wonder as though I found nourishment for a soul that had been starved for years. It was sometime in this same year that I also managed to stumble through the Wardrobe and found myself in a place where it’s always winter and never christmas. I could not resist putting a lantern in our own woods after that. (And yes, it’s wired. It lights up. It was a ton of work, but so worth it!) If someone ever buys our house, let us hope they are a fan of Narnia, or they might just scratch their wee little heads and say. “Now, why would they go and put a lantern in these ‘ere woods for?”

These days, I write my own fantasy stories, and continue to delight in the work of others. In my language studies I’ve even found some whole new stories in which to delight in. Which is cause for doing happy dances and drinking Stash Holiday Chai. (Anything that serves as an excuse to drink that particular flavor of tea. Seriously it’s good, but only seems to be locally available around Christmas, so I try to only drink it on special occasions.)

To tell the truth a mere ten years or so years ago I was much more inclined to argue, which on the whole, I’m glad I’m not so inclined towards anymore, however, being proved woefully wrong has forced me to reckon with the possibility that this might very well not have been the only area I was woefully wrong in. I have to admit, it is a troubling thought, and you keep asking yourself if your actually right. It has helped break down more prejudices and such then anything else, however, so on the whole, I am glad for it, even if it is troubling.

One movie, that’s all it took to break nearly two decades of staunch argumentativeness  My single greatest regret in life is that I didn’t discover the Fantasy genre sooner. My goodness, what a dull life I must have had, a childhood without the fairy tales. What the heck did I do to learn anything that was worth anything? Oh, I could tell you roughly how far away the moon was, and several different kind of (archeological, not social) dating methods, and what a geologist might do to take a good picture. I could say why Mars was red, and explain several aspects of forensic science. (Let us say that I was comfortable with learning about dead people long before I met them in the context of fantasy. I was either a twisted child, or just into anything that seemed the least bit educational, the second more likely. I’ve always loved learning about anything I come across.) But, forget Dragons. I couldn’t tell you anything about how to slay Dragons, or ride one. Obviously, when it comes to it, there is no way possible for Bilbo to defeat Smaug the terrible. It just won’t happen, so why try? Oh, and I know it’s a popular practice to blame parents, teachers, and so forth, for this sort of things, but these blindspots where of my own making. I may have been a child, I wasn’t stupid, I did and to this day have, the capability of making decisions of my own, according to discoveries and ideas, of my own. Not taught, not told what to think. Yes, I know I’m probably blowing the circuits of how children are viewed by all sorts of people by saying that. But I was a child once, and I can still remember what it was like, I did think, independently, for myself, even then. A lot of times the response to such ideas is what kind of (insert adult or authority figure here) did he have? Humm? A notion that, while perhaps well intended, doesn’t always reckon with the idea that children can and do come up with notions of their own making.

Avoiding fairy tales is merely an Illusion of safety, but really, what do we actually learn from fairy tales? We learn that dragons can fall, and that Hobbits can succeed.

Believe me, as a small child, and we still joke about this to this day, I would watch home improvement shows, not the sitcom, but on my particular favorite channel, PBS. The closest I came to what I like now was probably Mr. Rogers, who I still find to be an inspirational man.

I suppose much of it came out of a ‘false’ sense of safety. Wee madness more like. Orcs, after all, were scary looking creatures. I never thought I’d be writing about creatures far more scary than orcs. (Raven for example, not to mention creatures I currently call ‘The Nightwish’ but will probably change the name of, as that happens to be the name of a music group. The Nightwish are skeletal, ghostly beings that are utterly deadly even to those characters of mine who are particularly powerful, even against them, they are exceedingly dangerous.) I almost enjoy scary things now.

Okay, I do enjoy the scary things now. I can’t deny it. I still love the one party I threw where I changed all the lights to green and put on a very subtle, but very spooky, howling wind sound effect. It was like eating dinner in a haunted cave, it was great! I think that was the day before I last saw, in person, some of my favorite fantasy authors, which is probably my least favorite thing about eBooks. I never see authors at book signings anymore. A sad thought indeed. But, perhaps in time, we may see authors again. I’m sure book signings have not gone the way of the dinosaur just yet.

The spooky thread keeps returning. I once discovered a spooky video on YouTube, that video led me to the video that got me started on language learning, something that I expect will completely alter my entire future. I shudder to think of all the lovely stuff I wouldn’t have learned if I hadn’t started learning languages. As such, the spooky video is endeared to me, simply as a stepping stone, yes, but without it, I wouldn’t have learned all these wonderful things I’ve learned from my language learning endeavors  and I really do expect I will now be going places I never thought I would be. Funny thing is, I’d been subscribed to the channel for years, but never actually watched the videos, until this one.

One YouTube video. Unrelated to the language learning in itself, but still life changing as a result. Funny thing is, it was my love for the spooky that attracted my attention to it in my YouTube feed.

Sounds familiar. Remember, one movie.

I love how great art inspires great things, and how a few moments of a story can come against years of being wrong, and win.

It’s almost a myth of its own sort. It almost makes me delighted to be wrong, I usually get something quite valuable out of learning I’m wrong about it. I would not be writing books if not for having been wrong.

As a play on words with both the myth and the spooky aspect, though likely a theologians nightmare: As terrible as always winter and never Christmas is, one could also say that it’s a terrifying prospect where it’s always autumn but never Halloween. But, that was, in essence  what my being wrong had robbed my of. The enchantment of being wrong, made it always autumn but never Halloween. I was too frightened of anything that I called ‘spooky’ to consider it. All jokes aside, this was, in short simply judging books, and even people, by apparences. It is a subtle but deadly poison that in sanitizing reality, offers one a steady diet of cotton candy and caramel corn, but is of no use against preparing one for the dragons.

Humph! Bah Zombbug! (I guess I just made a new word. Love it when that happens. Shanish: Zombbug, an undead humbug. Although, a humbug referring to a person who deceives, I suppose you could apply zombbug to some vampires.)

Slight change of topic, I think I’ll go and find some morose or upbeat music, and enjoy trying to write some more. I think I might finally have a means to start posting my books for all to read. I came across a website recently that might just do pretty much everything I wanted. It’s called wattpad. I still need to look through the site a bit to make sure it’s what I’m looking for. I like how I can post it a chapter at a time. I’ve already started on rewriting my first chapter of my first book so that I can, hopefully start posting the rest of the whole, rather massive, mythology I’ve written over the past seven years. My purpose has always been to tell a myth, and myths are made to be told. I could care less whether I get paid for it or not. I want it to be read.

All of this started because I’ve been considering something even more fundamental to my person than either myth, or holidays, or holiday chai tea for that matter. I’ve been pondering the importance and theological significance of the body. I think I’m mistaken in an assumption somewhere, and I think it has something to do with how I think of the body and theology. I can’t help but notice, there is at times a dislike of the body in me, and I have to ask why? For it is true that Christianity considers the body to be important, (most other theological philosophies, and this is an oversimplified statement, believe in the superiority or the only reality of the spirit. Diminishing or disregarding the importance of the body, of the physical.) But there is an error somewhere in my thinking, I can feel it. I can sense it, but I haven’t been able to quite identify it. But, I’ve been discovering the idea of what seems to be known as a theology of the body, and what little I’ve learned about it, is proving to be quite altering in my thinking of both myself and the world around me. Spoken or not, modern thought, in America at least, seems to ignore the importance of the physical. Either by ignoring the importance of the spiritual, or by ignoring the importance of the physical.

I’m beginning to suspect that there is something wrong with some fundamental assumption in my thinking. It’s like I know I’m wrong about something, somewhere, I can feel it, but I don’t quite know what exactly it is that I’m wrong about. It’s a very unsettling feeling. I think I will have to continue to study the matter, for I’m growing suspicious that much what unsettles me is because of some misbelief somewhere in my thinking, and for my part, I’m inclined, based on how I react to situations, and what my fears are, and so forth, to believe that I am wrong in how I think of the physical. The thing is, I know these questions are addressed extensively throughout the new testament, but I can’t seem to put them altogether to make sense of them.  But, to realize I’m in error, I suppose, is a good first step to finding the correction of it, and hopefully, my sense of where the error lies, will help narrow it down so that it can be corrected.

Which is why I say, and I can’t remember if I’ve said this before, but take anything you read on this site with a grain of salt. I write to think through my own questions, and sometimes I come up with good conclusions, sometimes not. I may write what seems at the time to me to be a brilliant post, and to me, at the time seems correct, but is actually about as far from being correct as it can get. I dislike the notion of removing things I know longer agree with myself on however, so I let them be.

Growing Older

Today, is my birthday.

It has been an interesting past year. Looking back over the past year, I’ve grown older, true, but I’ve also learned things. Things, a year ago, I never even imagined I’d be learning now. A year ago I had not the slightest interest in learning Mandarin Chinese, or attempting French, which, regretfully, I’m not actively studying like I am with the Chinese, but since I desire to focus on either one or the other right now, the French is on hold for the time being. Still, I find it slightly amusing that when I encounter French, and sometimes Spanish (Which I haven’t studied), I can sort of understand it, though very imperfectly. Well enough to know where I am in the French version of Harry Potter is about it. As for Spanish, I’m not sure why that makes as much sense as it does to me, and am not at all surprised when I don’t understand it.

I know I’ve been a bit quiet the last couple of weeks, I ran out material in my journal to write from, have been rather tired, and have been, to be honest, in one of my seasons of what my guess would be something like a depression. Every few months I get in these states where everything seems to lack meaning, or purpose, it feels like, well like I’m wandering around in a fog, or am in a very deep hole, or perhaps walking through Máiréad’s Labyrinth. It is something that I have, and I am not resentful of it, a great deal of good is produced out of these dark moments, I learn things I wouldn’t learn otherwise, and it is often these times, once they are over, out of which the works I consider to be my best are often born from. For me, this is part of life, even though at times it feels a bit mad. As a whole, I know what other people are feeling more often than not, because I too have been there, as a whole, I feel the good times, and also the not so good times, are what make us human, this is life, and it is a gift. The joys and the sorrows alike.

We must face the breaking down, if we are to be built up. We must face the reality of what we are, if we are to be made into something better. It seems to me at times to be something of a circle, or a cycle, if you will. You are broken down, cleansed, rebuilt, broken down, cleansed, rebuilt, over and over again, but every time, more preciousness is revealed as a result, every time you become something more than what you were before. With every refinement you shine the brighter. In many ways we live in a symbolic world.

I, at least, tend to look at things in terms of symbolism, and even my clothes often have some symbolic reason for why I chose them. For example, if I’m wearing black, white, and red. I’m wearing it as a symbol for death, purification, and redemption. The black represents death, the burial of the old man, the breaking down, the reduction to an absolute elemental state, the white represents the purification, the cleansing, of the elemental state that the black has broken me down to, and the red the redemption, the rebuilding of me into a man again, or if you will, the rise of the new man. The red represents the victory over the unman. Yes, I do consciously choose my outfits at times, not all the time, I am, after all, interested in fashion too, I don’t always wear something because it means something, or to tell as story with it.

Again, as I see it, life is a journey, and it tends to go in circles, it isn’t like a straight line, but rather a process where one goes, the finds oneself back again where one started, over and over again. A cycle that seems to hold a purifying effect upon us as we learn more, and grow more. This circular pattern, it is like the seasons of the year, every year the same four seasons repeat themselves, then again the year after that. Life tends to be that way, very repetitive, and full of seasons. I suppose my outfits represent these seasons as well, we find ourselves in a continuous process of being broken down, purified, and finally a new man for it, different from who we were before. Sometimes I think there is a little more red each time the process is repeated.

It is my birthday, and I can think of no better day than today to talk about the other day that marks my story, and that is the day that I die. There is a beginning, and an end for me. In time, I will die. It is part of my story, it is the final part in this chapter of my story. That said, if I die, and If I’m ever to be buried, and have a funeral and all that, perhaps I should like to be dressed in red I think, it is an appropriate color to represent what I’ve become in my death. A new man, an entirely new man. But, I must do more research on burial traditions, there might be a good reason, that I’m not aware of, not to wear red to my funeral.

Sometimes, I find it strange that I do not seem to fear talking about, or thinking of my death, what I fear, is forgetting to live.

On the subject of death I find I can talk about my own almost without thought, and it seems odd to me that this is the one subject you do not talk about, at least in this culture, a culture which is afraid of old age, not to mention dying, forgive me if I seem a bit weird for it, it’s not like I’m trying to be brave or anything, and it’s not that I talk about it casually, it’s more that I do not feel any particular need to remain silent about something that is a part of my story, a reality, and a part of my existence. Death, I suppose I know that it’s part of the equation, so I ask myself why should I ignore it?

Yes, it’s true, I suppose, when I consider the bigger picture, that death loses all power of fear over me, almost to the point of being something I long for. An escape from a lesser world into a greater one. It is not a looming shadow to my soul, but the beginning of the next chapter in my story, there is an anticipation for the next chapter, even though I am not in any particular hurry to turn the pages to get there. A story has to be lived, a page has to be read, before the next page can be opened, one has to first read what comes before. So it is with my death, it is the beginning of a new chapter, but I still have to finish this one. This is good, and it is not wrong to take my time, to savor every word, every moment of this life, it is the story of the present moment, and it is my story, the new chapter will come, it always does, I would do wrong to refuse to continue on the story, staying still, forgetting to live, and I would be wrong to rush through the story, turning the pages before it is time. This is the life I am living now, and it is to be lived today. I am alive, and not without reason or purpose.

And yet, as a Christian, it can be said, that in many ways, I am already one who has died already, and at a very young age I died, and became the new man. I am that new man, I am no longer the old man. There is death for everyone, but the timing and nature of it can be a little wibbly-wobbly. Thus, you might say that I do not need to fear death, for I answered that door a long time ago. In many ways, I can’t help but think of what I will call the conversion experience, as being very alike to a death of the old man, and the beginning of the new man.

Now, this is mostly speculative, I can’t exactly point to verses or tradition and suggest it to be the absolute truth, but it could even be said that though I may yet be buried, that it’s not me that is being buried, for as far as I can tell, I’ll even be dwelling in a new body at that point, so I won’t even be home, so to speak when they bury it. Yes, this body will die, in a sense.

Or to put it another way, you have to almost think of yourself as being two in nature, but one in essence. There is the old man, and the new man. I am the new man, but the old man will die. Let it, and do not grieve, as the new man I am alive forever, and there is nothing that can change that. Nothing. Not even the end of the Universe itself can end me. I am forevermore to be, forever. Without end. I am an immortal man. Thus, death is technically, not really in my equation, except in the sense of the old man’s death.

In the view of the Eternal, life in this world is but a vapor, it is but a little while, and then it is gone. The Universe itself is but a small and passing thing, something that is, and then fades quickly. But my home is forever, my hope is forever. This world is not my home, neither is this Universe, which is really part of this world in a sense. Even if the human race where to spread itself out among the stars, dwelling throughout all the universe, it would still be this world. I speak of a home beyond the borders of these lands, outside the Universe itself, if you will.

I am a wanderer, an alien, a pilgrim passing through. I am like Gandalf, this is not my home, I’m here, I’m to help those who dwell here, but it isn’t home. My home lies on distant shores, far beyond the borders of these lands. And in my heart I am always troubled about something, though I don’t always know what it is, there is this sense that I don’t truly belong here, that this world, this universe, is not my home, this is where I dwell, yes, but it isn’t home, for the true me, is the new man, and this is not the home of the new man.

I’ve come to realize, too that I am what can be called a contemplative soul. Someone who likes to ponder, to contemplate, to consider, or as my tagline on my blog says, I’m a thinker in progress.

I suppose it is the lot of a contemplative soul to feel deeply, love all, and see light in the darkness, but the price for the beauty is the crying soul within you. You feel not only your own pain and suffering, but you feel keenly the sufferings and pain of those around you. For the contemplative soul, the forsaking of oneself, the more decentralized you are, the more you are happy, but again, it is a price to be paid that you lose yourself, you lose your own identity, and can be spread thin, too thin at times. It makes one brittle, yet that is the price to be paid, the reward is that it is this soul that changes the world around it, it empties itself in the process, but the impact it leaves, lives forever, working miracles long after it passes from this world. It is to be beautiful, and almost glasslike. Fragile and strong. It is something wondrous, miraculous in a sense.

And, realizing that I tend to be this way, I see that such is my lot, to feel deeply, and to throw myself into the world, emptying myself, and taking up the pains, the sufferings, and the hurts of others, as though they were my own. It is, I suppose, a gift, one that I hope to see used in me more as my story continues. I truly feel that for me to have the greatest impact upon the world, I have to do exactly what it is that I am called to do, what I’ve always been called to do, to take up my cross, to deny myself, and follow Christ. To love in the manner of Christ. It isn’t always the strength of conviction that one will suffer for, sometimes, the strength is in the love you hold, even for those who would hurt you. That is the love I desire to have towards those around me.

When I read books, like The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolklien, I am inspired by those, like Gandalf, like Galadriel  and I feel as though I am called to be something, something more, someone who is not interested only in my own little world, and my own little self. I suppose I am growing discontent with what I must call a self-centered theology, yes, it is true that I am part of the story, but I am not the only part, and the story doesn’t revolve around me. There is in me, a desire towards interest in, not my own little world, and my own little self, but something greater than that, and like I said above, of late I feel restless, like a wanderer, like one without a home. I feel as though everything I once knew is changing, and that there is a greater truth to be found than the lies that I have believed, I’m just a part of a bigger story than my part of the story.

But the pain of facing the lies of the self-centered life, it is greater than I expected to find, yet it is something to be confronted and deeply, if I wish to be something more. I want to be a wanderer, a pilgrim. However, I also want to be one who stands for what is true, I want to be like Gandalf. A restless wanderer without a home, changing the world for the better, insofar as it is in my ability to do it, and yet, holding fast to what is true.

I may not have great power, or magic, nor do I have authority, I’m not a king, or a ruler. I’m just a man. A man, a lone man. A solitary man. One man, and a little man, and all I have is an almost impossible dream, and a few words. That is all.

It is my dream to just be, to just know, to just love. I want to care about those who I might otherwise despise, hold compassion on those who don’t deserve it. I need to be a man that is, a man that is a man. In many ways this means being a rebel against my culture, against almost everything I’ve ever known. But it is fundamentally a good rebellion, an almost holy rebellion, you could say. It is a rebellion against the self-centered man that is, with a dream of something better than my own little world.

It is desirable to me, to be a man who loves, and I truly desire to love all. My fear, I suppose you could say, is that I will not love the monsters, or will turn aside, loving only those whom I like, or simply turning inward, and loving only myself.

And, again, concerning death, it’s not like I’m particularly courageous or anything, but I do know that from the perspective of this world, I appear to have death ahead of me, and in consideration of the bigger picture, knowing that there is another chapter, it appears as a gift to me, and I am thankful for it, but it is not a gift that I may take at my choosing and in the wrong time, it is wrong for me to have. However, besides the fact that my story continues after this chapter is over, it is a gift because the idea of living in this world forever, I shudder at it, I do not want to live forever, not here, not like this. This is a world of pain, of darkness, a fallen world, it is a world that dwells in the shadows, and my home is a place of light.

Even so, there is so much I want to do before that day comes, there is still so much yet to be done, here, in this world, in this life. Speaking of the term, ‘in this life’ I suppose it can’t really be said that I have a next life, so much as a continued life. I still am me, no matter what. I always will be me. Always. Still, there are things I’d like to get done while I am here, in this world, in this season of my life. A season which is a bleak season, even on its brightest days, for it is still a shadow world, but nevertheless, I am not here without reason or purpose, and that is a comfort to my soul.

One of the things I’d like to accomplish is to tell my story, the great story, the story I have to tell. To see it given to the Earth as a gift. That is what it is after all, a little gift to the human race, in the form of a book. It’s a story, and it’s mine, and it’s not much perhaps, but it’s my heart and soul, and it’s my gift. I want to get it out of me and into the world. After all, what gifts and talents I do have, what use are they if I hoard them unto myself?

It is my birthday, an appropriate day to talk of the whole of life, the beginning, and the end.

Perspective and the Jabberwocky.

It was tempting to start this post referring to the flight of the Jabberwocky. But as it is completely irrelevant to anything else I have to say, and it is not known whether a Jabberwocky can fly anymore then a Balrog can, it is about as pointless to argue either for or against the flight capabilities of either a Balrog or the Jabberwocky. However, if either appears, running is usually a good option, assuming you’ve not had your breakfast yet. Unfortunately, there are some corners of the world where these questions are taken very seriously, to the point where people start getting quite nasty indeed to each other. Over Balrog wings. Is not loving your neighbor a little more important than whether a Balrog has wings or not?

Therefore, I shall talk about rubber chickens instead. Although there isn’t a lot to be said about them, they’re chickens, and they’re rubber. How cool is that? I always say, instead of political arguments, why don’t we all argue about rubber chickens? But, alas, the political arguments continue, and on the subject of chickens of rubber, there is silence. Talk about the purpose of a rubber duck then! You never know when you’ll need to know the answer to the all important question as to what exactly its purpose actually is.

If bored one can always throw tea in the harbor, any harbor will do, though for some odd reason Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America, is usually prefered for this sort of activity. It is rumoured that this is a tradition going back centuries, often for some protesting purpose or other such thing, so you might want to think up something to be protesting beforehand. Unfair treatment of rubber ducks for instance. Or to demand that a statue of the Emperor of the United States is to be placed in every city. (Yes, there was actually a person who declared himself to be Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico.)

I firmly believe that hot chocolate could solve most of the world’s problems, as the problem is that people are so notoriously stubborn about things, but if we all got together and drank hot chocolate together, then perhaps we could find that we could work together in more than just drinking hot chocolate. No wonder these government things never get anything done. Who can do anything in such a grumpy, look at us, we’re big important people, atmosphere? That’s where the hot chocolate comes in handy. It’s hard to maintain such a grumpy, I’m a big important person, manner when you have a whipped cream mustache. Never say dreams are impossible, I read an article a couple of years ago about how one man’s children suggested just throwing a sleepover with the leaders of the world to solve the world’s problems, and they did. I find it inspiring, and it’s not so very different then the hot chocolate solution to the world’s problems. It’s a miracle in itself I found the article again, I couldn’t remember anything other than world leaders, sleepover, and children. Thank goodness for Google.

Yes, it’s a big scary world out there, but that doesn’t mean there are not solutions, they just might not be the expected solutions. In all seriousness, it is important to have an answer to the purpose of the rubber duck, a statue of the Emperor should be placed in cities, and hot chocolate should be served at every gathering of the world’s leaders, and maybe at a sleepover. We are often keen on pursuing things, but forget that sometimes we over-complicate them in our desire to see them as important.

Practice.

I can’t help but feel a certain sense of, I don’t know trepidation, or nervousness  whenever I sit down to start writing something. It is a difficult process, mostly in the starting of it. Once I get started it seems to get significantly easier. But when the screen is blank, or the paper, it can take me hours just to get started. I’m not entirely sure why this is. I’ve felt like tearing my hair out in frustration about it at times, but that really wouldn’t do me much good, as I would be bald as well as not having anything to say.

What I think is that it comes down to the fact that I still am too afraid of what other people think of me, and if I write something that is wrong, I will be rejected, I will be ridiculed. So I freeze. It is a paralyzing effect, that ruins more than just my blog post, it is also the same thing that holds me back from joining conversations, letting people read my books, and so forth. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve written up a Facebook status, even long ones, and then deleted them. How many times I’ve written up a reply to someone else’s post, and then deleted it.

First: Why do I care? Does it really matter what other people think of me? Is it going to change anything?

Second: I am going to displease someone, it’s just a fact. Anytime I have anything, anything at all to say, there is someone out there who is going to find it objectionable.

Third: I’m brilliant, and wonderful, this is true, but I’m still just me. I don’t need to think so highly of myself that my ideas, thoughts, and opinions are the only ones that matter. Yes, it’s true, I’m an intelligent man, who writes beautifully in terms of writing the sort of things I enjoy reading and thinking abou. However, I am, just a man, and not a god, I have no more, or no less, than those beside me.

Despite being at it for about twelve weeks now, I’m still not used to the idea of writing post, containing my innermost thoughts and ideas, and then sharing them with, gulp, others. It is a terrifying thing, true, but it is a monster that needs to be confronted. I can’t afford to be withdrawn into myself any longer, it’s not healthy, for me, or for those who are around me.

I believe fears are best faced head on, most of the time, though I suppose it is possible for there to be exceptions. There always seems to be exceptions.

I don’t know if I’m bothered by the fact that there always seems to be something I haven’t taken into consideration, thought of, or known about, or have simply forgotten, or if I’m excited by knowing that there is much that I do not know as that means I still have a lot to learn, which is an exciting thought. I wasn’t born knowing everything. That sort of thing takes time, and there always seems to be something new to learn about.

I like writing, and getting out my ideas, once I actually do it. Once I hit that post button, I’m usually feeling excited, full of energy, and perhaps a little nervousness, especially if I’d talked about something that seems to me to be a controversial subject.

This post is basically me, just forcing myself to just write, and not care, just write. Probably a good part of my problem in writing is just writing, and often times, this is where some of my more brilliant things come out, as I tend to write from my heart as opposed to writing from my head, when I just write. Or I come up with a bunch of random gibberish that doesn’t make sense to anyone, myself included. That can sometimes happen. But to just write, is a very important concept, and it is a discipline I feel I really need to push myself to do more, even if I end up with a few, or more than a few gibberish post, papers, and so forth, as a result. Sometimes we act as though there was this ‘force’ out there that is just looking for some pathetic ‘author’ or ‘writer’ wannabe so that they can squash them like a bug, and refrain from doing the sensible thing that actually turns us into authors and writers. Practice. There will be gibberish. Who cares! Practice. There will be mistakes, even embarrassing ones. Who cares! Practice. Yes, seek to improve your craft, but a large part of that is practicing it. Practice never starts perfect, so we shouldn’t expect it to, but persistent practice will perfect it, so long as we don’t stop there, but proceed to practice some more. Write, write, write, and write some more. Or if writing isn’t your thing, paint, paint, paint, and paint some more. Or draw, or sketch, or sing, play music, or dance. Whatever it is that you are, do it, and do it some more.

There will be drawings that were meant to look like our grandmother, but ended up looking like a tomato. Don’t worry, keep practicing. There will be sketches that look more like scribbles. Keep practicing. There will be songs that are out of tune, missed a line, and might have sounded better sung backwards or upside down, keep practicing. There will notes hit wrongly, steps missed or completely in the wrong direction altogether. Practice, and never stop at perfection, but proceed to practice some more.

It is a discipline as much as it is about talent. Practice is required.

Yet, remember, that someday you might look back at some of those scribbly sketches, doomed drawings, woeful writings, sorrowful songs, notorious notes, or devilish dances and find something there you didn’t expect. They still had a bit of you in them. Not all of these works are wholly pathetic, and some of them capture you in spite of yourself. They become reminders, rather than embarrassments, on the journey you’ve taken, and if nothing else, help you know you’ve traveled somewhere.

But keep at it, even if you make a mistake, it’s okay to make mistakes. Practice is full of mistakes, learn from them, and practice some more.

Words, Stories, and the Facing of Fear.

Words.

Sometimes I think words are the most dangerous thing in the Universe, and depending on how you look at it, it can even be said that the Universe itself is composed of words. It has been an idea in the back of my mind for over a decade now, that perhaps music is what Universes are made of, but I’m more inclined to think that perhaps it is words, and perhaps music. I suppose it could almost be said that the Universe is a song, for those who have the ears to hear it.

In my stories, the stars are beings, and if they desire, they may take on human form and walk amongst us. And while these may just be stories in my heart, there is still lessons to be learned from them.

It is these stories, and the naming of her, that brought about an appreciation for Cymbeline, known to most people as the Sun. Her name is Cymbeline, and I find bright days so much more bearable for knowing her name, and her nature, than I did before that discovery. It is a small example of how the stories in my heart have had an impact on my life in this world.

You have to understand that for years I found the Sun to be too bright, and too hot, and would shun it. But the love for something overcomes all such things, and once I named her, I found I could tolerate her brightness much more than I used to be able to.

It is merely the power of words, the Sun hasn’t changed, and physically speaking, I haven’t changed either. But the words used have. I created a story for something I found difficult to tolerate, and in turn, loved her for it. Cymbeline, dear Cymbeline, the beloved Star of the Solar System.

If I had to describe her personality, it would be difficult, but I shall try to attempt it. She is bright and energetic, but also very sad. In many ways she reminds me quite strongly of Miss Marianne Dashwood, from Jane Austen’s Sense & Sensibility. The same passion and the same sorrow.

Stories are beautiful, even if they are stories in our hearts, they are still stories, and they still help us, and in many ways they make a real world more real than if we had to do without them. They force us to escape our narrow little view of the world, and imagine a better one.

If I find I am feeling inclined to hate someone, I find if I write a story in which they are someone wonderful, it does have an impact on how I see them, and in almost all cases, hate is in the eye of the beholder. If I hate someone, it is my responsibility to change that, not theirs. If I have to imagine better to do it, then so be it. It gives me something to hope for, and allows me to hold them in a place of compassion and love, as opposed to hate. By writing them a story I am essentially launching an offensive, not against them, but at my own hatred. This is the power of story. This is how I manage to remain calm even when I’m around those who if I did not have this, I would probably hate. The hurt is real, the pain, is real. But that doesn’t justify hatred, the only thing it justifies is the desire for redemption. Redemption is all that I have to hope for. I may not like a person, but I pray I never find myself in a place where I think of a person that they could not be better. It is, I suppose a method for destroying bitterness, but it works for me, to use art, in a sense, as a weapon against the darkness in my own heart. My heart is central. I cannot control the circumstances of life, but I can control my heart. I can choose to forgive, even if forgiveness isn’t asked for, or no apology has been given. The danger is in the disappointment, if we forget that the person and the story are not the same. Nevertheless, I do find I can tolerate, even if I don’t particularly like, a person.

It is not only my stories that have transformed me. The stories of others have shaped me, much of what I am, I am because of the stories of another. Time and time again I can trace back the decisions I’ve made, the interest I’ve developed, and so forth, to a story. I would never have started writing my own stories without having known about the stories of others, and their power to create change in me. I find delight every time I notice that a story has changed me into a better person, or has opened up a whole new world of possibilities for me.

One example of a story that has had a huge impact on me was the book Divergent by Veronica Roth. A delightful book that brought to my attention the concept of fighting fear. Since then I’ve found myself becoming increasingly aware of how much I’ve let fear hold me back from good things. I’m still trying to decide if all fear is an evil, or if some fear is useful for the sake of preservation, but I do not desire to fear anything. I am still, nevertheless, quite afraid of a lot of things, but reading Divergent was a turning point from where I was before and I see a great deal of improvement since I became conscious of the problem, and the desire was awoken in me to improve it. I adore courage, bravery, and even fearlessness. I strongly suspect that I would be of The Dauntless, if I was part of that particular universe. An example of things I am afraid of? Posting this. This entire post is a post about the power of words, and to post it means I’m sending forth words, words are powerful, they hold influence. Even though I do not desire to be, I’m still strongly fearful of what it is that people think about me. I know this is a fear is built upon another fear, one of what I suspect is what I call a ‘root fear’ in me. That fear? Rejection. The idea of being rejected is probably one of my deepest fears. Thus, I fear to take a stand for something I believe in, or to share an idea, because the thought of rejection is terrifying. The reality is that rejection does happen, but that doesn’t mean I should be afraid of it. In my mind I tell myself that ‘these people are too important to me’ ‘I don’t want to lose them for an idea’ and so forth. But if I’m not being me, am I being entirely honest? If anything I would think it shows a lack of trust in others, so I present to them someone I’m not.

This very blog is an attempt to fight that particular part of me. Not so much for this blog’s sake, though that might be a part of the story, but because if I’m ever going to do greater things, I’ve got to face the darkness, and the darkness that I see for me is the fear of rejection, and other such fears.

Another fear I hold is the fear of allowing others to know what I am, what I’m thinking, and so forth. I suppose it is the fear of intimacy, and no matter how we speak of the term, it is something I fear. I fear opening my heart to people, so I try to be superficial, detached, and closed. So, I shut myself down, becoming something of inward-centered being, a creature so withdrawn within myself that I cease to hold a healthy view of the world around me. This is not good, and I know exactly what it stems from, fear of familiarity. It’s not so much that I’m shy as I’m so trapped within myself that I feel as though I cannot ever escape it, even to offer something other than a detached ‘Hello’ to those around me. This is not good. It is a self-built prison that does more to destroy me than protect me.

Knowledge alone is not strong enough to defeat it. Knowing what the problem is doesn’t fix it. I know I’m afraid of rejection, and of intimacy, and so forth. But knowing that, does nothing to defeat it.

Much of the world operates on fear, but that doesn’t make it right. Fear is my enemy, and I do not think myself alone in that. So the question is, what do I do to break the chains of fear in me?

One way, is to just force myself to do things even though I am afraid of them. For example, actually posting this, instead of doing what I did with the last five post I’ve written up and making them private. Another way, is to find things that combat these particular fears. It is needed.

Like with the Sun, this is another place where the stories I hold in my heart have helped, rather than hindered me, but I suppose stories can also create fear, if they are not the right kind of stories. I do not desire to heed things that fuel fears rather than helping me to overcome them.

That all said, I tend to view life itself as a story, and I am often curious at what the story will look like as a whole. Which always brings to my mind yet another fear, which is the fear of insignificance  That I’ll simply be forgotten. You are born, you breathe, you live, you die, you are buried, if you’re fortunate you get a little stone with your name on it, that might be around for a few hundred years, visited only by a few, and then completely forgotten as the stone itself wears away, and you are left buried, nameless and forgotten. Insignificant.

Curiously, it is fear itself that is the greatest thing making me someone of no significance. It is a self-fulfilling fear, if you will. For the most part, those who are remembered are those who stood for something. Remembrance belongs to the overcomer, not the coward. I do not want to be a forgotten coward. Now, I don’t exactly know what to say of those who are remembered for the evil deeds they did. I can’t exactly say that they are better men than I for having taken a stand for something wrong. I don’t want to be remembered for the wrong things either. Nevertheless, I think there is a part of me that desires to be remembered, and the idea of being forgotten, is an intolerable one to me, but perhaps it is my fate to be forgotten, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t stand for what it is that I believe, love those who I love, live life fully. Even if I am forgotten, I should make the best of it as I can. Be content, even if in the end, I am buried and forgotten, once I am dead. Death happens, it’s a fact. I can assume I will one day be dead. But I don’t know if I want to waste my entire life away in fear of the fact that one day I am going to be a dead man. Today I am alive, what am I going to do with my life today? That is the question I need to ask myself. Yes, I acknowledge my death as something that will, most likely, take place at some point in the future, whether it be in a few days, tragedies happen all the time, there is no guarantee that a trip to the grocery store this coming Thursday means a return, or in five hundred years, though I’m not exactly expecting to live that long. Not entirely sure I’d want to, it is a sad sort of world, this place. It’s like a big, empty, house, with lots of cold, dark, rooms. Where is everyone? The older I get, the more I expect this world to feel like a big, empty, house, with more rooms having been discovered, and always, there is a sadness to them. Five hundred years in this sort of place, beautiful in places, but for the most part, a sad, empty, sort of place, I do not know if I could desire that. The fact is, I will die. But, there is today. Life is today. What am I going to do? Live in fear of what may come, or even that which I know is to be, my death? On the other hand, I cannot say fully that I ever will truly die. In many ways, it can even be said that I am already dead. It depends upon how you look at it. My life already is upon me. All the more reason to live today. You hear people say that we should live each day as if it is our last. Perhaps it would be better to say that we should live each day as if it is our first. For me, fear is an obstacle to that, telling me to live it as though it is my last, but I am a new creation, I need not fear my last day, it is already come and gone, I have already faced that day. I am of the redeemed, which means I am alive, and alive forevermore. I need to live as though it is my first day, and not fear the day that has already come, and has already gone. Yes, I know, I said above, death comes, in the future, and in a sense I suppose it is true, I should seem dead in the future, but I shall never truly face a death that is true, that death has already occurred in me, it is finished. I am no longer bound by a true death. My future, that which seems to be my death is to at last become more fully alive than I ever was. I do not need to fear death. Take that, ye old zombie self.

So why do I fear rejection, openness, and so forth? I mean seriously, I do not need to be afraid of dying, so why am I afraid of the little things? It is foolish for me to be that way. If I am alive, I should live the life of the living, and not live as though I am dead.

It is why I put up little things to remind myself that I do not need to be afraid. I’ve written on my computer monitor, an object that I do tend to stare at quite frequently: “I need not fear anything” to remind myself that I really do not need to live a life of fear.

Some Will.

Contemplation upon people can be fascinating, and while writing about them here I do usually change the names, and sometimes the gender, age, personalities, and so forth of the people talked about, I do learn a lot from watching and reflecting upon those around me.

I suppose in a fashion one of the reasons I think so often about people such as Violet and Minerva is that they are so unknown and so alive. I’m enthralled, naturally. I do not suggest it to be necessarily a good thing, perhaps it is, perhaps it is not. The question I suppose is whether or not I am. Perhaps self-contemplation would be more wise, except that I honestly believe that too much of it will quickly lead to a self-centered mind, which I find to be disagreeable. So I enjoy thinking about those around me. I must think, or I feel as though I will go mad.

I suppose, whether I should think or not is all in the intent of the matter. Perhaps it is true that things are best left undisturbed, though I do not believe this to be the case. I do care, if you will, about those of whom I think about, but it is a care unknown. So, I pray to my father that they will be blessed, I pray to Him that we may be friends, if it be his will and his purpose to do so, and I will be content to merely think well of people, if not. And yet, at times, it seems as though, if it was required, and possible I would forsake my very soul, facing torment, damnation, and eternal darkness, even for strangers, that is to face the very core, the center, the doorless room, the innermost labyrinth. Or as some might call it, Hell. That is the intensity of this fire within, that though strangers, the fire that does burn within me, burns indeed. It is not like one who feels, it is more like one who is. I do not burn because I am like a fire. No, I burn because I am a fire. And when I encounter those, like Violet and Minerva, or Idris and Emerald, or Phillip and Andrew, or whoever it might be, my true nature steps into the light, and I find I am willing to burn. To consume and be consumed. What I am trying to say is that I care because I am caring. It is in my nature to love, to care, to think well of those whom are precious to me. For my part, I only wish that I could burn with this kind of fire for all whom I encounter, willing, truly willing, to put their interest and such ahead of my own. I need not tell you, I suppose, but I’m not there yet.

But, I am troubled, for I find I am having a difficulty in thinking well of Willow. I also thought well of her, but I cannot deny I now hold feelings as of frustration, and perhaps even a little, I don’t know, the closest word I can come to it is jealousy perhaps. I do not claim it is right for me to feel that, but I am troubled not because of these thoughts concerning Willow. But because it reveals the possibility of disappointment in the watching of all. I see the darkness in one, and I feel fear, fear for all.

I ask, who can deliver humanity from themselves? I want to think well of people, to hope that they are seeking to do what is correct, not actively seeking to do wrong. But they are a bunch of rambunctious rebels, the lot of them, and while I may dream of a world of people who truly desire to do good, I am not ignorant that it is but a dream, the reality is a bleak world, and it is full of rebellious people, who seek to promote themselves at the expense of all.

But then I find among them precious jewels. Perhaps this is why you think well of Violet and Minerva, and those who are like them. They appeared as jewels against the bleakness of humanity, or in my case, more specifically, Willow’s secrecy. A secrecy which did serve one good purpose, and that was to reveal my own maddening secrecy, which is still quite present indeed. Something to be fought against indeed, and yes, I say this in a post where all names, and people are mixed up, kept secret, changed outright, and even whether it is a girl or guy I’m talking about might have been changed. Secretive indeed. The difficulty I suppose is in balancing the madness of secrecy and the desire to respect people’s privacy and personal space.

What bothers me is that history tends to repeat itself. You see those who are precious now, and you wonder, with the weight of statistics, the high probability, that in time they will be monsters. And maybe it hurts to know that it is likely that several who are precious now will be monsters. I still recall Ariana before she chose the darkness. Less noticeably, I remember what Jane, what Willow, what Sybil, what Douglas was, and I see what they are now, I hope they may still find their own lost souls.

Which is why I fear for Violet and Minerva Ancientsong, for Idris and Emerald Raventhorn.  In one meeting, already I sensed threads of darkness in Emerald, threads that I hope to see turned aside. Adelaide may be a creature of strength now, but even she my yet fall. Do I dare to hope that Violet and Minerva will stand forever? I fear the dark paths my own feet will dare to tread, even in this coming year. Can I dare to hope that those who are precious at present will remain so? Or is it utter foolishness to hope that these will stand?

Is all humanity doomed to turn inevitably to the darkness? If so, is there a point to resistance?  If we are all doomed to turn inevitably to the darkness there really is no point to resistance. If we are all doomed, than is not resistance utter foolishness? If we are creatures doomed to darkness, why even resist the darkness? Why not embrace it wholeheartedly, forget the future, and enjoy today, for tomorrow we will die, if this were the to be the case. But, it doesn’t ring true to me that there is no value in following the light, and that the only path left to humanity is to embrace the darkness.

But if some of the precious can stay precious forever, then it is worth fighting the darkness with every part of us, resistance is no longer futile, and the light no longer remains a joke, an unattainable fantasy that we can’t ever be, or attempt to be, or even pretend to be, but the light is thus worth embracing. To resist the darkness becomes worthwhile, if some may be true.

But, it can only ever be thus if it is actually possible to be good, to be true, to be beautiful, otherwise it is utterly foolish to even dream of it, and far more sensible to embrace the darkness, and die, than to live pretending to be virtuous, but pointlessly doing so, unless it is possible to actually live virtuously, there is no point in trying to be virtuous, as failure is guaranteed in that.

If it is true, however, that some of the precious may be precious, and precious forever, should we not do everything possible to help them, and ourselves by the promotion of virtue? By the seeking of truth, of beauty, of goodness?

It seems to me that most assume that all humanity is doomed to turn inevitably evil, and that evil reigns supreme in all men, but how can that be true? Are the good deeds merely lies as this would imply, delusions of something they are not? Goodness is goodness wherever it is found, is it not? Or how can it be called good? If it is possible for a man to do good, then by all means all men ought to do everything they can to be good people. Yet the messages I hear time and time again is that we are desperately wicked,  deceitful beyond understanding, and that there are no good people, and so forth. Condemning messages indeed.

The hope that Violet and Minerva, Idris and Emerald, Adelaide, and so forth may overcome the darkness and remain precious forever gives me, the watcher, strength, and hope.

Hope for myself, and hope for those like Jane who have turned to the darkness. They too may one day find the light. There is still hope for Jane to be precious again. She may yet find her redemption, or more specifically, her revelation, that which she seeks is right within her hand, but she cannot be told it, she may only discover it herself, that she already holds in her hand that which she is desperate for. She won’t know that, however, until she realizes it, for herself. Nevertheless, I remain troubled as the watcher, to see what was, what is, and what may yet be, and to consider that which may never be.

In the end, my question is whether it is pointless to pray for those we hope for, or if they are doomed to be or not to be whether we pray for them or not, and if prayer avails not, what hope do we have? If we pray for the precious, will they remain true? If not, what then? This is a troubling question indeed, and I do not have the answer for it.

In regard to the future, it is true that I hate to waste time enjoying what presently is by focusing on what may be, imaginations of that which I do not know, built largely upon fears really. Why should fear of future possibilities, not certainties, but possibilities, rob from us our present joy? And yet, I’ve seen so many fall, how can I believe otherwise than to say that it is likely to happen again. But, why should it? Why can’t it end, now? Why does it have to be certain that people will fall? Is it certain? Is it not better to hope, rather than to doubt?

I don’t know what it is that I seek. I feel as though I’ve lost something, something so special, and so precious to me, something really important, but try as I might I can’t remember what it is. It is like I feel as though I’ve forgotten something and cannot seem to find it. There is something of it in the Ancientsong’s  arts, but muse on them though I may, I cannot seem to find it, only feel it. Nevertheless, I smile upon them, for I do find hope, though I may not always understand why.

Still, there is a part of me that questions why. Sometimes I despair at ever being free of doubt. I am weary of questioning my every thought, action, deed, motive, interest, belief, and so forth.

I guess, right now I am just glad that such creatures do exist within the world of Men: Humanity is not totally lost. That Violet and Minerva, and those like them, exist is enough for me. Bless them. Surely these are not the only such creatures. Surely others of the likeness of them exist as well. I just don’t know them yet. But if these exist, so must others who I have yet to encounter. We have hope, thanks to these creatures, I have hope, once again in humankind. These souls are special to me because of what it is that they represent. They are rather like the Mockingjay in that sense, important in themselves, yes, but also important in that which they represent. Hope.

I wish I could be this kind of creature for someone. But I’m not, at least as far as I’m aware. But it is quite likely that Violet and Minerva and the others probably do not know that they are such creatures either.

Maybe there is someone who I give hope to. Perhaps I’m someone’s Mockingjay, I would like that, I think.

The Soul of an Artist Wanderer.

It seems sometimes as though we find ourselves trapped within the darkness of our souls, and it is these moments, where we seem so desperate to escape, some of us turn to the darker things, but many times this is but a reflection of the torment within. How it hurt us, the wounded soul.

I am an artist.

The question, I suppose is whether I am an artist before I am a human, or am I a human before I am an artist?

It is rather like the question, am I transformed by the work of an artist because I love them, or do I love them because their work transformed me? That is what often takes place when we see a work of art, we develop a connection with the artist on a fundemental level. Like in the outpouring of their soul, their heart, their love, into their work, when I partake of that work, I receive with it a measure of that which was poured into it. In some ways, to partake of a work of art is to become in a manner of speaking, part of the art, and having the art become part of you. It transforms you. It also makes you a reflection of the artist, not only the art itself.

I am an artist, but what is an artist, in many ways an artist is not so different from a warrior, or a hero, they are creatures who pour themselves into their work, and the noblest of them do so for the sake of others, while those who are not so noble do so for the sake of themselves, and despite this, still prove of benefit to others, but fall short of their potential. Art is one of the great enemies of the enemy. It is the distributor of the beautiful and the true, even when it tries not to be, if it is a good work, it can’t help it, it’s in its nature to reflect truth, beauty, and goodness, in some way, all good art will reflect that. There is no truth outside of the truth, there is no goodness outside of the goodness, and there is no beauty outside that which is beautiful. These things are always drawn from the same source, and therefore can only fight against that which sets itself against it, never for it. Art is something that makes us more fully human. Evil, by nature, wants for us to lose our humanity.

Yet, I know not whether to identify myself as being first and foremost a human, or first and foremost an artist. One is what I am in terms of what it is that I’m comprised of, while to be an artist is to be something different, both more humanly human, and at the same time entirely different than to be human, to create, in many ways, is one of the most remarkable things a being can do, to form an idea and make it into something, that is beautiful in and of itself. It’s not that the artist is separate from humanity, or an ascended form of humanity, but to be an artist, at its best is to embrace what it is to be human. There are few things more sacred than the arts, for they are the very outpourings of the human soul.

The soul, what is the soul, it has a great deal to do with the central person, their thoughts, their emotions, their ideas, what it is that makes a person unique, I suppose, the tree from which these grow. It is a place both of darkness and of light, of great horror, and the greatest beauty. But what is it exactly?

The soul is rather like a labyrinth, one can get lost when one reflects on the man within. One begins to lose oneself, and if one is not careful, he or she may very well be changed by the experience.

Sometimes it is rather like traveling through Máiréad’s Labyrinth. Dark and cold, lit with a ghostly light,  and one is ever tormented with the cries of the hopeless, and feels oneself hopeless. Other times it is like traveling through the Labyrinth of the Red Queen, a woman, dressed in a red robe with a voice that can be heard throughout the Labyrinth, with walls of white, and light that shines brightly but not blindingly. She it is who is found at the center of it. It is the most peaceful of places, and whoever the lady is, there is no evil within her, but wisdom. Once her song is heard, it is never forgotten, and ever sought.

I have never forgotten the song of the lady in red, nor the look in her eyes, nor the sound of her voice. Sometimes it seems like I meet people who remind me of her, but they’re not her. It is a dream I suppose, and nothing more, but if wisdom was a person, she would be this.

And yet, it seems one more thing that makes me feel as though I do not belong here, but am an alien to this world, a visitor, a pilgrim passing through. That this is not my true home, but there is a land, a faraway land, where there sits the Red Queen, and where Máiréad’s Labyrinth is but a far off memory, not the all-consuming weight on our soul it is at present.

The three gods are not to be found. (Three immortal beings, beautiful to the eye, of great power, utterly dangerous, and utterly without mercy. Beautiful in apparence, but deadly beyond imagination. They seek to kill, to destroy, to hurt, and to harm.) Neither is found Raven, either in his fair form, or in the form of a bird-like man. His lies and deceptions remain with him, both now and forever. Nor is the dark fire anymore to be. How can I not rejoice at the idea of the separation of these from my soul?

Yes, I tend to refer to my soul in terms of personalities, and powers. How else can such a strange thing be described, but placed into such terms. I could describe my soul as being fire, for that is the closest thing I can think of to describe what it looks like, fire, and light. Water and darkness. Always two sides, always dual in nature. If there is one part, there is always an opposite aspect. I am dauntless, and the enemy of that part of me, is fear. I despise fear, and even more do I despise cowardice, especially, in myself. I find it intolerable in others, but I passionately hate it in myself.

Enter with me into Máiréad’s Labyrinth, where you will find all that is darkness. This is where the battle against all Hell is fought, in this labyrinth. Destroy it, or be destroyed. There is no middle ground. It is a frightful place, the very walls are filled with fear. Come, enter there. It is a cold, dark, dismal sort of place. But such is the darkness within. But it is a road that must be traveled, come along.

Enter with me into the Labyrinth of the Red Queen, listen to the sound of her song, and heed what words might be heard in them.

There is a part of my soul that longs to fly, and based on the number of times this wish is seen in the realm of fairy tales, I would suspect, there is something in the soul of most of human kind that longs to fly. And while airplanes and such, help us with this, they still don’t cure it. There is in us the desire to go onwards and upwards, unaided, to simply fly, without the worry of falling. The question must be asked, why do we long to fly? For centuries we’ve been discontent to keep our feet on the ground, we want to fly. Why would this be so persistent a part of our collective imagination? It is like a memory that has crept through the ages, so even though we’ve lost our wings, we know we were meant to fly. Perhaps it’s the impulse to jump, to push, to go higher, always. For me, I call this part of me, the Dauntless part of me. It can make me almost reckless. It’s the part of me that would rather be riding on top of a car than in it. It’s the part of me that rejoices when I hear a driving beat, loudly played. It’s why I can’t be content with watching, and with waiting, but must find some way to involve myself, it is why I speak at all, in many ways. There is this longing for something reckless. I know of few joys greater than the thrill of this: the impulse to run, to fly. It drives me to learn, to leap, to jump, to go faster. But this part of my being is reckless, almost insanely so, and never content. It laughs in the face of danger and is a constant whisper to me, it is, I suppose a rather dangerous aspect, for once the road is chosen, I go forward, heedless of all else. It is why I throw my heart wholeheartedly into all that I touch or seek.

This desire to fly It is often mistaken for rebellion I think by those who are outside it, but it is about as far from rebellion as one can get, the drive to act, the impulse to stand. This dauntless heart is also a heart inclined by nature to stand for the beliefs of the soul that holds it.

Sometimes I meet people who remind me that this is not my home, and the gods of this world, whether they be in number three, or deceptive beyond the working of words hold not any authority over me. These precious souls are fellow pilgrims, but they have truth and walk with love, and with grace. They know what is, what is not, and above all, know that they are strangers in a strange land, pilgrims passing through, aliens to the world that is. Citizens of another realm, here, amongst us, yes, but this world is not their home, nor my own. Curiously, the more transparent these are, the stronger they become, they seem to become more human somehow, in the realization of their being strangers to this world.

In the seeking of the beautiful, I am alive, sometimes beauty is found in dark places, sometimes it is in the light, sometimes it is the light, and even the darkness itself is not entirely without beauty, but above all, beauty as we see it here, is but an image of that from which it is drawn. The realm I call my home.

Sometimes, I think what l need, is someone to walk this world with. Someone to walk with through either labyrinth, be it light or dark, and someone who will walk with me through them, it is tiring to walk alone, even if it be the way of the song. But, alone, I may walk, however weary a road it is to be. Nevertheless, I find comfort when I find other travelers on this road, and hope to see many more. To walk alone, I cannot be content in that, but must do so if required.